Friday, September 9, 2016

"Sully," and Flight 1549

The film Sully, directed by Clint Eastwood, and starring Tom Hanks, comes out today.  I'd very much like to see it.

The story of Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, his crew, and US Airways Flight 1549--the flight Capt. Sullenger landed on the Hudson River in 2009, shortly after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York--remains an extraordinary one.

Here is a very fine and very moving piece about Flight 1549, from CBS's 60 Minutes, reported by Katie Couric in 2009.  She interviewed the heroes of the flight--Capt. Sullenberger, and his crew.  The program also brought together Capt. Sullenberger, the crew, and some of the plane's passengers, in Charlotte, North Carolina. The plane was headed for Charlotte, when it was forced to land on the Hudson.

The 60 Minutes story is taken from YouTube, and is in three parts.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Morgan White, Jr., and children's television hosts (including Boston's Major Mudd)

A few Saturday nights ago (actually, starting at 2 o'clock in the morning--so, technically, Sunday), I was a guest of my friend Morgan White, Jr., on Boston radio station WBZ; Morgan was hosting the station's weekend overnight shows (Friday night/Saturday morning; Saturday night/Sunday morning). These are the shows which were, until the first week of July, hosted by Jordan Rich (see July 1st post); the station has not yet named a new permanent host.

The subject of the segment with Morgan was children's TV hosts/programs, from decades ago--primarily the 1950s and 1960s--including such national programs as Bob Keeshan's Captain Kangaroo, Fred Rogers' program, and Kukla, Fran and Ollie.  The latter show, telecast from Chicago, began airing in the late 1940s, and lasted until 1957 (at least in its first incarnation--it later reappeared, in other forms and venues).  Although it was a children's program, Kukla, Fran and Ollie had, interestingly, a substantial adult audience. 

We also talked at length about local children's hosts, and because WBZ is a Boston station, a number of Boston hosts came up during the conversation--such as "Big Brother" Bob Emery, Rex Trailer, and Miss Jean (host of the Boston version of Romper Room). 

Major Mudd (Ed McDonnell), at Boston's WNAC-TV, circa 1973
Another host we discussed was Ed T. McDonnell, better known as Major Mudd. The character of Major Mudd was an astronaut; the shows ended, memorably, with Mudd declaring "I'll be blasting you!" The show--a very popular program--was seen weekday mornings, on Boston's Channel 7 (WNAC-TV).  It made its debut in 1961, and continued into the early 1970s.

While in high school, I had begun writing a great deal, and arranged an interview with Ed McDonnell, to be conducted at Channel 7, which was located in Boston's Government Center. 

There was some sort of miscommunication, however (very possibly my fault); the day I went to WNAC, Mr. McDonnell, after the taping of his show, told me the interview was not on his schedule for that day, and he was unable to do it.  I nonetheless took some pictures, including the one shown above.  McDonnell is at the center of the photo (without his signature astronaut's helmet).  The picture is likely from 1973 (I was seventeen, at the time).

Speaking of Morgan White: he hosted WBZ's overnight show last night (filling in for weeknight host Bradley Jay), and will be doing so again tonight (starting at midnight.).  He'll also be the host of this weekend's overnight shows--in addition to hosting his regular Saturday night program, The Morgan Show, from 10:00 until midnight.