Tuesday, September 27, 2011

James M. Cannon, journalist, biographer, and presidential advisor

Between 1992 and 1994, I was a periodic fill-in host for a talk show on a Philadelphia NPR station. (At the time I was also host of my own weekday talk show, on a radio station in Bucks County, PA.)

In 1994, on the NPR station, I interviewed James M. Cannon. He had been a political reporter and war correspondent for The Baltimore Sun, was later a writer for Time magazine, and was subsequently National Affairs Editor at Newsweek. Following his journalism career, he became a political advisor to Governor Nelson Rockefeller, was an advisor to Gerald Ford, during Mr. Ford’s presidency, and later served as Chief of Staff to Senator Howard Baker. I interviewed him in 1994 because of a biography of President Ford he had written, Time and Chance: Gerald Ford’s Appointment with History.


I have worked in radio on and off since the mid-1980s, and my interview with Mr. Cannon remains one of the conversations I have most enjoyed.

Time and Chance, his biography of President Ford, was a fine book, and I found Mr. Cannon to be a thoughtful and incisive guest. He grew up in Alabama, and I recall that there was, about him, a gracious, warm and dignified southern manner.

Mr. Cannon recently passed away, at age 93.

Here are two obituaries; they are from The Washington Post, and The New York Times.



Saturday, September 24, 2011


Parts of the past couple of weeks have been, to me, rather interesting. Surgery (and that which both precedes it, and follows it) can be an oddly intriguing experience.

I am grateful for the fine medical care I have received. Yet various parts of the experience have nonetheless been quite difficult. Having a ruptured appendix (and recovering from the surgery for it) has not been a lot of fun.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention

The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention is taking place this week in Hunt Valley, Maryland. The convention will open with a film presentation Wednesday night, and beginning Thursday morning will feature three days of events and presentations. This is the convention's sixth year.


The convention, run by Martin and Michelle Grams, will include appearances by Patty Duke, Michael Constantine, Karen Valentine, Davy Jones, and others. There will also be presentations about such subjects as “The History of Zorro,” “Lady Aviators in Real Life and Popular Fiction,” and “The History of Buck Rogers.”

On Sunday, the convention was the subject of an on-line New York Times piece:


My friends at the Internet radio station “Radio Once More” (http://www.radiooncemore.com/) will be broadcasting from the convention Wednesday night, and throughout the daytime hours on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

On Thursday, Neal Ellis, who founded and runs the station, and who appears four nights each week as host of the station’s talk and entertainment program, The Live Show, will be conducting an on-stage interview at the convention with actors Tony Dow, Billy Gray and Lauren Chapin. The next day, his Live Show co-host, Ken Stockinger, will be conducting an on-stage interview with Patty Duke.

Incidentally, Martin Grams’s latest book was recently released. It concerns the 1950s television show Science Fiction Theatre. Here is the amazon link for the book:


Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Tenth Anniversary

(Photo, circa 1978, courtesy of artist Jenny Lynn)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

"The Mike Douglas Show," Cleveland, 1962

Here are two pictures of my mother and Mike Douglas, taken from a copy of a 1962 videotape.  They are singing a duet of the song “Exactly Like You,” on Douglas’s Cleveland TV talk show.  

In 1962, my father, an obstetrician & gynecologist, was scheduled to be interviewed on Douglas’s program; he had co-written (with my aunt, who was, at the time, a journalist) a book about childbirth. When Douglas learned about his upcoming appearance, he asked that my mother appear on the program as well.

On the 1962 broadcast, my mother sang two additional songs: “Makin’ Whoopie,” and “It’s All Right with Me,” and she and Douglas reminisced about the period when they had performed together, with bandleader Kay Kyser.  

Douglas’s program began airing nationally in 1963, and during the 1960s my parents made periodic joint appearances on the program; my mother sang, on the shows, and my father discussed medical matters.