Hey, wait a minute. I’m a radio guy! When I first received an invitation to join The Daily Star as a columnist, I had to stop and think about it.
I mean, for two decades now, I have started my mornings off by putting on a pair of headphones and cueing up an old country music song. And now comes the bimonthly ritual of putting on a green visor and some sleeve garters and licking the end of an old No. 2 pencil to start scratching down my thoughts for readers instead of listeners at an old oaken desk in a dark warren somewhere at The Daily Star.
I read The Daily Star, sure. Doesn’t everybody? But to work there? Well, I am definitely not giving up my regular WDOS radio gig, but you will start seeing my column frequently within these pages. And that will be a challenging mid-to-late-life adventure that I am certainly looking forward to.
In 1959, our teacher took my whole class of youngsters on a field trip to our local paper, The Sidney (N.Y.) Record- Enterprise (now the Tri-Town News).
It was dark, musty, kind of scary and smelly. Ol’ John McLaughlin (publisher) remained crisp as a dollar bill throughout the tour of the work stations and printing rooms of the old paper. He reminded us to always “check the facts … and then check them again,” as he orated to us about the miracle of American journalism.
The little Tri-Town News was the only newspaper that I had ever been inside of, and that was 50 years ago. But still, I do have vivid images of what the inside of a paper should look like.
From the 1940 film “His Girl Friday” comes the image of the old roll-top desks lining crowded corridors. Reporters darted in and out of their offices hollering at each other with great urgency.
All of the women in the movie were secretaries, until, that is, Rosalind Russell whipsawed through the place shouting down every man she came in contact with, including Cary Grant. I haven’t seen a roll top desk yet at The Daily Star.
Badger-like reporters with hair over their collars shook the newspaper world to its foundation in the 1976 classic film “All the President’s Men.” This Watergate epic modernized the popular image of newspaper writers and editors. Gee, I wonder if I will ever be called upon to meet up with a local “Deep Throat” in a dimly lit alley somewhere along High Street behind The Daily Star building to trade confidential news tidbits some dark night?
On TV, I watched with great interest as blustery Lou Grant (Ed Asner) battled royally with his polished patrician publisher Margaret Pynchon (Nancy Marchand) week after week at the fictitious Los Angeles Tribune. I wonder what the walls hear when The Daily Star editor (Sam Pollak) closes the door for a meeting with his paper’s publisher (Tanya Shalor). Fascinating.
I have worked in radio long enough to know that the transition to writing will not be without its travails. On my radio show, I just turn on the microphone and start talking, and I have been talking since 1989 on WDOS. I’ve written several books, all of them about our upstate New York region and its people and history.
And yet, a regular column?
My loyal legion of listeners know that I am a storyteller, and that I love a good anecdote or factoid. You can rest assured that those familiar traits will surface with great regularity in my column.
I’m an observer by nature and a chronicler by trade. I look for the story that makes you question your sanity, the story that tickles your fancy, the story that puts a lump in your throat and the story that will make you say, “What the heck is he talking about?” We’ll take this new adventure together.
Oh, and one more thing. I’ll be keeping my eye out every time I drop by The Daily Star to pick up something or to meet with someone. And I’ll be looking for shades of, say, The Daily Planet from one of my great black-and-white TV memories of the 1950s, “The Adventures of Superman.”
Will Sam Pollak morph into a Perry White? Are there modern-day Clark Kents and Lois Lanes out there hunting down stories? Is there a cub reporter like Jimmy Olsen feverishly at work in the back room at the Star? I’ll let you know if they really are here or only in my mind.
After all, like I said, I am a radio guy, and I have surely worked with enough characters like Johnny Fever, Venus Flytrap, Les Nessman and Herb Tarlek to know that television and reality do indeed blend together once in a while, whether it is in Cincinnati or Oneonta.
‘BIG CHUCK’ D’IMPERIO can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his “Oldies Jukebox Show.” He invites you to contact him at wdosbigchuck@aol. com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar. com/bigchuck.
- Big Chuck
1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories
Well, the 86th Academy Awards are over. And for the record, I did a pretty good job in my Daily Star Oscar picks. I got them all right except one. Cate Blanchett was the spoiler in my clean sweep. Not bad, if I do say so myself.
There was just no telling about snow days
Winters get harder as we get older. Things change. It snows more. It snows less. It gets colder. It's a lot milder. It all changes as our knees start to creak and the thought of shoveling a foot of snow seems positively daunting.
And the music goes round and round
The day has finally arrived.
When did pranks turn into vandalism?
I was a teenage vandal.
Happy and sad memories of Jan. 7, 1966
Jan. 7 is always a big celebration day in the D'Imperio family. My twin sisters, Teri and Mary, plus my youngest daughter, Katie, all share it as a birthday. The date, however, is not without a dark significance.
- Monday, December 30, 2013
Lesser known greats that passed away in 2013
The year 2013 is drawing to a close and as it does I would like to give a tip of the hat and a fond goodbye to a group of famous people who left the world stage. Their departures will be noted here in this column although they may have missed a final adios in the major media outlets. Letâ€™s give them their moment in the sun.
- Monday, December 16, 2013
Reunions all the sweeter amid WWII
There is nothing like running into old friends in the most unexpected places. Like on a vacation, or in a mall or even in the supermarket. It is always a time for a â€œHail and how are you?â€� moment.
- Monday, December 2, 2013
There's no tough sledding when you're a youngster|
Winter weather is here. And so are outdoor winter activities.
- Monday, November 18, 2013
Vroman's Nose hike is no walk in the park
I haven't gone on a hike since 1961 when President Kennedy asked all Americans to take a 50-mile hike for physical fitness. I did it then. With a large group of my schoolmates and friends. We walked from Sidney to Oneonta and back.
- Monday, November 4, 2013
Being a grandpa will be better than just OK
I am going to be a grandfather.
- Monday, October 21, 2013
Some hits from the soundtrack of my life
As most people know, I wear two hats at my radio station.
- Monday, October 7, 2013
Some book picks from an avid reader
I came to reading begrudgingly. I was an impatient student easily bored with books. Finally an eighth-grade English teacher in Sidney, Kay Jester, figured out my problem. She told me that I had an inquisitive mind and had an affinity for storytelling. She also told me I was reading the wrong books.
- Monday, September 23, 2013
Swapping stories with a sweet centenarian
Marge Mathews is one very special lady.
- Monday, September 9, 2013
Farm honor system can grow on you
What a difference the flip of a calendar makes. I love September and the produce stands!
- Monday, August 26, 2013
My brush with a future president
President Obama came to town!
- Monday, August 12, 2013
Colonoscopy isn't much of a pain in the ...
When a professional looks you in the eye and says, "Sit down, I have something I want to talk to you about," your normal reaction is a flexing of the gluteus maximus and the appearance of sweat drops on the palms of your hands.
- Monday, July 29, 2013
An easy way â€¨to be a hero
It is not much to ask. Plus they give you a cookie and a glass of juice!
- Monday, July 15, 2013
Digging up memories, one box at a time
My Dad kept everything.
- Monday, July 1, 2013
Moms, girlfriends and wives of TV history
I recently saw on TV a birthday salute to actress Betty White. It included many archival videos, celebrity interviews and reminisces from her early days on television. There is no doubt that Betty has found the magic pill. Into her nineties she is still starring in a hit sitcom, "Hot in Cleveland!"
- Monday, June 17, 2013
Upstate theme parks offered affordable thrills
I saw in the news last week that Disney theme parks are raising admission prices to almost $100 a person. Children (who Uncle Walt considers 10 and under) are now $86 a day.
- 1965 Oscars? Thanks for the memories