David Brenner


David Brenner died today. 78. Didn’t look it.

Interesting story. He started in local TV at KYW Philadelphia. He produced filmed documentaries, many fronted by Tom Snyder. David was an Emmy Award winner for his work at 3rd and Market.

I remember him coming up as a comic through the seventies. Carson was in New York then. One shot on the Tonight Show and David Brenner had a career (see video below). The show was that powerful.

My parents, Helaine and I saw David Brenner perform in Las Vegas. Here’s part of what I wrote July 7, 2004.

After dinner, Helaine, my parents and I went to see David Brenner. He’s playing as the ‘house act’ in the David Brenner Theater at the Westin Hotel on Flamingo. The hotel is low key and subdued which is a weird juxtaposition against the small casino which sits in the center of the entry area. In design, it’s tough to have a casino look right without having over-the-top decorations. That doesn’t necessarily mean garish – though garish usually works.

Brenner was great. Helaine and I had seen him before. He’s very bright, very much in control and confident on stage. He worked a solid hour and a half and had the audience every step of the way.

It’s a small theater, and even then it was less than half full. He made a reference about 100 people, which sounded about right. With promotion and good word of mouth, this guy should be packing them in. It’s a shame. I’d see him again in a second.

He stood on stage with a thick deck of file cards. Probably not jokes, but incidents and observations to be included.

I said then, “very much in control.” How many other comedians can make that claim?

As we get older the pace at which those in our lives die, increases. David is among a blur of names from my life that have disappeared recently. That sucks.

David Brenner was a sharp wit and very funny man. I’m glad for the memories.

Brenner’s final request, according to family spokesman Jeff Abraham, was to have $100 in small bills tucked in his sock — “just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going.”

Don’t Piss Off Alec Baldwin

This is how a child fights. This isn’t the response I’d expect from an adult.

Alec Baldwin is a gifted actor. He needs a little lots of anger management help.

Remember how he railed at his daughter… the voicemail heard ’round the world. Now he’s going off at Jack Cafferty, CNN’s avuncular gadfly.

This isn’t to say Cafferty hasn’t said wrong minded things about Alec Baldwin. I think he has. From HuffingtonPost’s “Man of the People” column written by Baldwin:

“I was sorry to watch, live on CNN, Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and all around “Man of the People” Jack Cafferty spit on me on his broadcast today.

After decrying the notion of “actors and comedians” running for public office, Cafferty stated, “Baldwin’s credentials are questionable… but Franken is no slouch. He’s Harvard educated.”

So Franken fits the mold for Cafferty because he went to Harvard? What other schools does Cafferty approve of as breeding grounds for office holders in America? What other professions does Cafferty believe should be excluded from holding office? “

OK–I can understand Alec Baldwin being upset, but how far does an adult go? Is this too far?

“I would like to make a deal with Cafferty. Jack, you don’t tell people that a career in the performing arts disqualifies them from seeking elected office, and I won’t say publicly that your being convicted of leaving the scene of an accident in which you struck a cyclist and then ran two red lights while you were pursued by the police and were subsequently ordered to serve 70 hours of community service back in May of 2003 disqualifies you from posing as a “Man of the People” on a major cable news network.

Fair enough?

This is how a child fights. This isn’t the response I’d expect from an adult.

If Baldwin does decide to run for political office his education will be a lot less important than his explosions.

We are all flawed. We are not all volatile.

Intern Jayne Moves On

The last time I wrote about Intern Jayne Smith was during the summer when she helped out with Emmy award judging. Jayne had been a college intern in meteorology at the TV station and spent a few semesters in the Weather Center.

She’s a very nice girl. We were very happy that she was always available to be Ivy’s companion when we went out of town. She is shy and quiet… maybe too shy and quiet.

It has been very tough for her, a degreed meteorologist, to find her first job. First, you need a tape – which she made at Channel 8. But, without experience her taped work was always a little on the edge (As it should be for a beginner. If it were too easy everyone would do it).

She’ll be great, but she needs to work regularly, under deadline, on camera, show-after-show.

After some very disappointing and drawn out turndowns, and over a year of looking, she has finally been offered a job and will move, sight unseen, to Bismarck, ND. It sounds very scary.

Luckily for Jayne, Bismarck is the perfect place to go. She’ll be working with some stable, nice people, used to working with beginners. There won’t be the same pressure in Bismarck that there might be in a larger market. She’ll have the opportunity to forecast nearly every kind of weather from heat waves to tornadoes to blizzards.

My first job was at WSAR 1480 in Fall River. MA. I remember it like it was yesterday… even though it’s about 35 years ago. It’s likely Jayne will remember this job forever too.

She’ll be great.

Emmy judging

I am a 7-time Emmy Award winner (OK – it’s the local rectangular base version, not that nice round national one – shoot me), so I have some sort of obligation to NATAS and will try and fulfill that by hosting an Emmy judging party for the St. Louis region next Saturday.

I found an email from the NWS in Taunton, MA and took all the email addresses from there. Hopefully, I didn’t miss too many people.

A long time ago, Helaine and I attended a judging session held at Channel 8. Good God! It is scary to think this is how it’s done. People were inattentive and we hardly ever got through an entire tape.

I hope to live up to that high standard at this session.

Here’s the letter I sent:

Hi (Insert Name Here),

I’m writing this extremely personal note on behalf of the Boston/New England Chapter of NATAS and the annual Emmy awards. As you may know, each year entries from our area are judged by our peers in other markets, where it doesn’t rain every day during the month of August and the dew point doesn’t stay above 70 for- – – oh sorry – – – I haven’t taken my medication yet.

Anyway, as we are judged, we are called upon to judge others. This year, it’s your chance to steal good lines and map drawing techniques as we watch the weather people from St. Louis, MO and environs.

Would you be willing to help judge? I have volunteered my house in Hamden, CT to host a judging session next Saturday (8-16) at noon. Pizza and soft drinks will be provided. Ivy the dog will be there for one-on-one petting sessions.

It’s your chance to meet some of your fellow weather people, tell us how awful your station’s owners and management are, and trash everything you see from St. Louis. You’ll get a better understanding why the Emmy always seems to go to some no talent… sorry… again no medication yet.

As an incentive to you in other states, many Connecticut State Police officers have pledged to write no tickets to anyone traveling below the current temperature (Celsius only). You folks in Boston should remember we schlep there every year for the actual Emmy ceremonies, so don’t kvetch.

Please let me know if you can attend. Detailed directions will be provided.

Your name and email address was actually plucked off an email from Glenn Field at NWS. If you’re now out of the business, selling cars, please excuse the intrusion.

All the best,

Geoff Fox

WTNH News Channel 8

ps – You know, most people read the “ps” before they read the letter.