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RIP

Remembering the Simple Pleasures of Skip E. Lowe

When Harry Shearer wrote about Public Access talk show host Skip E. Lowe in 1998 for the New York Times Magazine, he got just one thing wrong. That wasn’t Lowe in the show’s opening credits; it was Mickey Rooney from A Midsummer Night’s Dream (as Lowe later corrected on his website).

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Otherwise, Shearer’s piece is absolutely the best way to remember – or, acquaint yourself – with Lowe, who passed away this week after a three-and-half-decades bi-coastal TV run. From Shearer’s September 1998 essay:

Skip E. Lowe Looks at Hollywood doesn’t so much re-invent television as de-invent it, returning it to those glorious days before focus groups, when the tube was safe for eccentricity and obsession. Regular TV could allow for such vagaries when the commercial formulas had not yet been ascertained and codified.

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RIP: John Slattery

JohnSlatteryPicSome terrible news. Just hours after filing a story for last night’s WCBS-TV Channel 2 broadcasts, the station’s veteran news reporter John Slattery passed away. From Larry McShane’s New York Daily News item:

General assignment reporter Slattery worked Wednesday, covering a Bronx attack on a 72-year-old Good Samaritan who stepped in to protect a mugging victim.

Slattery was among the city’s longest-serving television reporters, joining WABC-TV in 1979 and participating in the Emmy-winning coverage of the December 1980 assassination of ex-Beatle John Lennon.

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A Journalism Teacher Blessed with ‘Effortless Eloquence’

UniversityofHoustonLogoEarlier this month, at the criminally young age of 34, University of Houston journalism professor Jemimah Noonoo passed away. Before committing to the classroom, she had worked for Newsweek, the New York Times and the Houston Chronicle.

Cara Smith, editor-in-chief of UH student newspaper The Daily Cougar, took Noonoo’s class during her freshman 2013-14 year. Over the weekend, she remembered the many great qualities of her teacher and how the course very playfully ended:

On the last day of class, the last day I saw her, Ms. Noonoo had us do a “mock” twenty-year reunion.

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WABC Colleagues Will #NeverForget Engineer Donald DiFranco

There remains a prominent place in the 9/11 anniversary thoughts of ABC 7 anchor Bill Ritter and station colleagues for the late Donald DiFranco. Here for example is how Ritter remembered DiFranco in a 2010 anniversary essay, re-published this week on the station’s website:

DiFranco, a member of the Eyewitness News team, was on the top of one of the towers when it was attacked. Don was an engineer – and his first thought after the plane crashed into the building 20 floors below him, was to call us and tell us we might be off the air because of the crash. That was what he worried about.

I hope only that Don didn’t suffer.

DiFranco is also front and center in the Twitter feeds of Ritter and others at ABC 7. This touching photo montage created by Kellie Tarsia was re-tweeted by Ritter:

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That Time Joan Rivers Did the Cover of Cosmoparody

For The Observer, Lisa DePaulo has compiled a life-affirming hit parade of memories from journalists, journalism students and others who crossed paths along the years with Joan Rivers. Among those sharing anecdotes is our very own Lunch columnist Diane Clehane.

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But the reminiscence we want to focus on here comes from Edward Shain, president of TSM Publishing. It harks back to the mid-1980s, when Rivers was at the peak of her live-performance powers:

In the spring of 1984, my partner Jerry Taylor and I were putting together a parody of Cosmopolitan magazine. We were struggling for a good cover idea and someone came up with trying to get Joan Rivers to do a cover shoot. We didn’t think it was possible but we were going to try, and so we called her agent. Next thing we know, we are sitting across from Joan and her husband Edgar in an elegant suite discussing in detail what the cover joke was going to be. She’s smart, funny, knowledgeable and straightforward. She has no entourage. It’s just the four of us. We come to an agreement on her fee and it’s done. We’re in a state of disbelief. We got Joan Rivers — THE Joan Rivers — for our Cosmoparody cover?!

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RIP: Joan Rivers

ShutterstockJoanRivers2011With this afternoon’s sad news that Joan Rivers has passed away, we turn to the FishbowlNY archives to pay tribute to a force of comedic nature. We covered Rivers quite a bit over the years and it is our sincere hope that in the Great Beyond, she and Johnny Carson can finally make peace. Here are three favorite coverage memories:

1) “Joan Rivers Remarries Gay Couple

Our most recent item involved Rivers ministering the marriage of a male couple. It was well-intended, during a book-tour stop on the west coast. And then, made officially legal at the Plaza Athenee New York.

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From Crystal… to Billy Crystal

On his 63rd birthday, Robin Williams shared the following photo via Instagram. It depicted him with Crystal, his co-star from the Night at the Museum film series.

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Last night, the most striking aspect of Billy Crystal‘s wonderful Primetime Emmys tribute to the late actor and comedian was the photo of Williams displayed throughout. The selection of that picture made Los Angeles Times photo editor Cindy Hively very proud:

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Colleague Remembers a ‘Great Anarchist of New Journalism’

Be sure to read David Felton‘s wonderful essay in Rolling Stone about friend and former magazine colleague Charles M. Young, who passed away Monday after a long, courageous battle with cancer.

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Felton first met Young in 1977, when Rolling Stone moved its main office from San Francisco to New York. By that time, Felton had been contributing to RS for several years:

Chuck and I hit it off right away. We admired each other’s good writing and bad work habits. We scoffed at deadlines. And we developed other bad habits.

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Kirk Douglas on the Kindness of Lauren Bacall

AmericanAcademyDramaticArtsLogoThe year was 1943. And as Kirk Douglas touchingly recalls in this week’s issue of The Hollywood Reporter, the simple gesture of fellow aspiring actor Lauren Bacall made a profound difference to his early Big Apple experiences:

I met Betty when she was 17 and I was 24. We were both studying at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. I was on my own in New York with meager funds. That winter, Betty saw me shivering in my thin overcoat. She didn’t say anything, but she talked her uncle into giving me one of his two thick coats.

I wore it for three years. That sort of unassuming kindness was one of her most endearing characteristics. When I had the honor of presenting Betty with her honorary Oscar in 2009, I told the audience: “People said Bacall was ‘tough.’ She’s a pussycat with a heart of gold.”

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University Professor Recalls a ‘Fearless’ James Foley

JamesFoleyPicIn between Libya and Syria, journalist James Foley spoke in February 2012 at San Diego State University. His February 9 talk with students was part of the series “Understanding the Arab Spring.”

In the wake of Foley’s apparent, horrific execution at the hands of ISIS, SDSU economics professor Hisham Foad has shared with News 10 San Diego reporter Rachel Bianco some memories of this intrepid truth-seeker:

“The story he was telling was like a movie,” Foad recalled. “It was better than a movie almost, going out there, getting captured, his life in captivity.”

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