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Cut to Bob Dale - An off-camera chat with the bow-tied veteran of San Diego television

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Search for Honesty in Post-war Life - Plenty

Armageddon Averted: Where Will You be on August 16. 1987? - Inside Art Goes to the Frontiers of the Mind

Of Speckle-Faced Rats and Supernovas - Michael McClure

George Coates - The Physics of Performance and the Art of Iceskating

No Escape from the SOUNDHOUSE - Maryanne Amacher

A Pynchon's Time

Grants - State of Art/Art of the State

Poetry from Outside the Pale - Allen Ginsberg

Once Upon a Time - In Berkeley

The poet from Turtle Island - Gary Snyder

Noh Quarter

Joyce Jenkins and the Language Troubles

Philip Whalen

Cut to Bob Dale
An off-camera chat with the bow-tied veteran of San Diego television

November 23, 1988

There’s some really depressing stuff coming over the monitor in the control room at Channel 39, some kind of hellish chitchat about naked kids being found dead with strangulation marks on their necks. And this isn't even the newscast; it's Donahue. The Channel 39 news producer and director and assistant producer and technical people are drifting into the control room and putting on their headphones and bantering with each other, so it's hard for me to make out what Phil and his guests are talking about. One word — "autoeroticism" — keeps popping up.

"Those are the nicest color bars I've ever seen" the assistant producer tells the technical crew. I guess she's referring to the stripes of color that are on display on one set of monitors. God knows there are enough monitors in here. The one that Phil is holding forth on is the one that indicates what's actually going out over the air; others are meant to show the image being sent from news remotes, others are trained on various parts of the news set (which is located a couple of rooms away), and on one of them some footage from Superman: The Movie is inexplicably and soundlessly reeling.

Autoeroticism? It seems to ring a bell, much as I wish it didn't. Some weird thrill-seeking phenomenon, frequently related to drug abuse, in which a person (usually male, I think) puts a noose around his neck, masturbates, then causes the noose to become tightened as orgasm nears — the idea being to super- intensify the sexual rush. All very well and good, except that some practitioners lose track of what's going on and end up dead by strangulation. Phil sees the whole thing as quite a social dilemma. "Masturbation? We're supposed to teach school kids about masturbation?" he asks in a theatrically provocative tone.

The news producer notices what Phil is up to. "We've got to come out of this?" she says, understandably peeved. Ah, now a bunch of the monitors toward the center of the wall are picking up the various members of the news team as they arrive on the set and take their places, cross their legs, check their apparel, primp. Almost every one of them is a snappy looking yup who could scarcely have been born before 1955. The director asks for a mike check. The assistant producer criticizes a live shot of the sky that's being beamed in on one monitor: "It looks like a painted backdrop for Big Valley or something.”

Finally, Phil goes off the air and the newscast begins. First up is a story about a guy who allegedly stole a large number of credit cards from as many as 20 mailboxes per day in order to support (again allegedly) a methamphetamine habit. Seems the fellow ran a red light this morning, the officers found a mess of dope and plastic in his car, and now here he is being led to jail with his hands cuffed behind him; in that position, he can't screen his face from the camera the way malefactors always used to do on TV.

Now Denise Yamada, the female co-anchor, leads into what is clearly the show's big segment: a remote report from Cuyamaca about a seven-year-old boy who's been missing for four days. The remote correspondent, who looks fairly woebegone, says that searchers are getting discouraged because they haven't managed to come up with a single clue to the boy's whereabouts. From there, the news team segues into a kind of sidebar item concerning an organization called Hug-A-Tree designed to prevent exactly this sort of occurrence.

Then comes something pretty nifty: Denise and Marty Levin, the male co-anchor, interview a stock expert on the occasion of the first anniversary of last year's market crash. The expert looks like a cross between Geraldo Rivera and Lumpy Rutherford of Leave It to Beaver. The interview reaches its denouement when Denise asks. "Can there be another Black Monday?"

The expert replies, "The answer to that, as always, Denise, is: Depends.”

Thank you very much. Meantime, folks in the control room are a bit agitated about the appearance of a live, remote guest. Ah, now he's in place, but wait, he doesn't have a mike. The assistant producer is chanting, sotto voce, "Plug in, goddam it. Plug in, goddam it.” Someone does something, and she says. "Mark McGwire, can you hear me?"

Hey, so it's Mark McGwire of the Oakland A's! A World Series game is about to get under way at Oakland Coliseum, and someone at Channel 39 has had the brilliant idea of arranging a pregame palaver with McGwire.

"Raise your right hand if you can hear me Mark McGwire," the assistant producer goes on. Now I've got him picked out on one of the monitors, and, sure enough, he's raising his hand.
"But I can't hear him," the assistant producer complains. Does sound like a problem there.

Now Bobby Estill, the Channel 39 sports guy, starts out on his interview with McGwire, whose microphone at this point is working fine. It's the usual blah blah blah, he came to play ball, it ain't over till it's over, et cetera; then halfway through the segment McGwire suddenly can't hear Estill's questions. Like an old trooper, the noted athlete simply sums up his comments and gets out of there. Estill grimaces humorously at the camera and remarks, "Great technology they have in Oakland.”

The newscast is in cruise control by now, everything going smoothly scarcely any talk in the control room. Larry Himmel comes on screen with a novel approach to electoral reform he wants to share with the folks at home. He advises everyone to stop signing petitions so that the ballot won't get so cluttered up with niggling little propositions as to cause "gridlock at the polling booth.”

Then Denise is saying, "Bob Dale says it will be drier ... " And there's a commercial, then Bob Dale comes on to report the weather. It's right here that the whole tone of the newscast softens up a bit.

Bob Dale is no 30-year-old graduate of broadcasting school making a six-digit salary for being aggressive and sexy in front of a camera. No, he's a fellow well along in late middle age who's been doing yeoman duty on local television since way back in 1956, and he's said currently to be making something under $75,000 a year — substantially less than the comparative neophytes, Marty and Denise. This year Dale celebrates his 40th year in broadcasting.

If you're a longtime resident of the San Diego area, you've undoubtedly seen a great deal of him over the years. During the late Fifties and Sixties, he hosted Zoorama, an award-winning half-hour documentary series that was broadcast from the "world-famous" San Diego Zoo. He's also hosted local talk shows and movie shows. During the late Seventies he did the "Lighter Side" segment on Channel 8's news shows. Some years back he switched to Channel 39, and these days he serves as the station's evening-news weather reporter. Instantly recognizable to generations of San Diegans by dint of his broadcast ubiquity, his easy warmth, his engaging garrulousness, and his trademark bow tie, this cross between an indulgent uncle and a helpful floorwalker is now trying to keep his head above water for a few measly minutes a day while the much younger and brittler men and women who are his latter-day co-workers vie for cathode-ray fame and fortune.

The assistant producer, who never got over feeling dissatisfied with the Big Valley weather shot mentioned earlier, has replaced it with a shot of Seaport Village to be used in the segment succeeding Dale's; and she's barked several instructions to the news set to ensure that Dale will be aware this is the case. As his segment begins, he musters a comment about the image: "Remember when the Coronado Ferry used to dock there? And you and the kids would drive on and throw your coins in the nickel-grabber and ride across?" Then, as though realizing this might be construed as a complaint about the existence of Seaport Village or about development in general, he adds, ''But this is lovely just lovely.”

“That's what I miss about television,” Dale tells me later. We’re talking in a conference room at the station, and at this point I'm struggling to come to grips with a feeling of disorientation caused by actually meeting face to face this man whom I've known exclusively via TV screen since almost my earliest days. "When I was starting my segment just now," he goes on. "I was thinking about how much I'd like to have the time to say, 'Do you remember how much fun it was to stand in front of the ferry when it was coming in for a landing? Remember those old pilings? Remember how they'd move and go graaaahhhcchh, and you'd wonder if this was the time they'd move all the way?' But you can't take time to do that anymore, because it's not important. As lucky as I am to have worked all these many, many years-and goodness knows they keep trying to open the door to the pasture for me a little bit, and I keep dragging my feet – I’m really kind of proud of the fact that I’ve never done anything important. So many people have to do the earthquake, the fire, the big story; and I've kind of been left to do stuff about weeds growing through a crack in the driveway.”

For one thing, Dale is more youthful in appearance than I've been expecting. Of course, he is only 63, but he actually looks younger in person than on camera. His brunette hair is about as brunette as it ever was, and his face is almost free of lines with the exception of a couple of deep creases. What's really disorienting, though, is the fact that he's obviously a tall son of a gun. When you're used to seeing someone measure no more than 10 or 12 inches on the screen, it's surprising to see — even though he's hunched over a sofa — that he must stand at least six foot three in his stocking feet. Also, there is a certain air of melancholy about the man that he would never allow to show through while being pleasant on camera. And being pleasant on camera is essentially what Bob Dale has made a career out of.

It takes little prompting to get him to talk about his television origins in Cleveland, Ohio, not far from Canton, where he grew up. After being separated from the military at the end of World War II, he was attending the dramatic arts program at Western Reserve University when he got the chance to do a little work in radio. "I was tending bar going to school on the GI bill, and I found out they'd pay you 16 dollars a crack if you could do voices, accents," he explains. "They had a little regional network out of Cleveland called the Ohio Network, and they had a program called ‘The Ohio Story' — 15-minute shows, once a week; and if you could do different voices, you could pick up 15, 16 dollars.” Adopting a backwoods Midwestern locution: "'Hi. I'm Johnny Appleseed' — and you've got 15 bucks, enough to live on for a long time. But that's the only radio I ever did.

"Then there was this new thing called television. There was a television station in Cleveland, and they needed someone over 21 to fill in temporarily while their announcer went back to Kansas to get his family. Since the radio stations, which were very frightened of TV, wouldn't let any of their announcers work part time in television for a couple of weeks, the TV station sent over to the university asking for anyone over 21 years of age who could talk. So the speech prof sent me over to audition, but they said I sounded too much like an actor reading a script. So I got on the Greyhound bus and drove back down to Canton so I could do my stint tending bar at this place where my mother was a cook and a waitress. And the TV station called that night and asked when I could start, so I guess the other people they auditioned must have been really bad.

“It was about that time that they got the first camera that would allow you to go outdoors," Dale goes on. "We were shooting a parade about a half-block from the station, and a cow got loose; and the next thing I knew we were getting the extension cord hooked up, and we pushed the camera out there on a wooden tripod, and I interviewed that cow. In those days there was no half-hour show, no 15-minute show; we went as long as we could. And I did what I called the world's first organic taffy pull — I milked it. Oh, did I milk it. And people gathered around. There was one of these newfangled TV stores right next to where I was doing this, out in front of the station, which was a converted women's athletic club; and people were there staring through the window at me on the seven-inch screen, and they could turn around and see me there with the cow. That was pretty big stuff in those days. I sang to the cow — you know, 'Did Your Udder Come from Ireland?' and 'They Call It the Jersey Bounce.' Oh, my goodness. And I went for 42 minutes. So I guess the station figured anyone who was 22 or 23 years old and could talk to a cow that long, that was the kind of person they needed. They kept me on as an experimental guy, never telling me what to do.

"From there on in, I did everything where they couldn't afford talent. I could do character-acting roles with wigs and makeup and things, so I'd do the kiddy shows. And I was awfully good at bringing props from home. Wouldn't cost the station a nickel. Invent things to do with cameras that only television live cameras could do — superimpositions, we used to do that at the drop of a hat. We'd do infinity shots, where you'd put a camera on a monitor and get a shot of a shot of a shot of a shot of a shot. You don't do that anymore. People don't have the opportunity to futz with the cameras and do dissolves and supers and special effects. It was a matter of necessity then — you're playing records on television, say, and what do you do while a record is playing? You do things with cameras and clown around.

"I had one show called The Dinner Platter, which went on during the dinner hour. Of course, at first television never went on during the daytime or morning or afternoon; people were too busy, they were working. From five to six, the station would put up the test pattern and play recorded music behind it. The test pattern was a circle with a lot of lines on it, and everyone would adjust their sets to get it in focus. Otherwise, Howdy Doody would be stretched out with big cheeks, or he'd be tall and skinny. Anyway, they decided to have an actual show with the recorded music instead of the test pattern, and that's where I came in. I found an old barbecue set and an old barbecue apron, and I served up records and mugged around while the records were playing. And I'd go down to the corner store and get a bowl of goldfish, and I'd have the camera do a close-up of the goldfish and my face and play ‘The Three Little Fishes' — so there'd be this gigantic goldfish swimming by my face. People had never seen anything like that before. Or, it sounds corny now, you'd get behind a water cooler and the camera would show your face all mottled, and you'd press the buttons on the cooler and the bubbles would go up.

"At one point the station hired an orchestra and put them on at five. It was going over very well, so they decided to do the same thing at noon. It was called Take Five, and I'd plod around for an hour at noon with the orchestra. 'What's your favorite tune, what's your birthday?' People would write in their requests on a penny postcard. Then they had me playing records again, this time at ten o'clock in the morning. I called that Bob's Inn. Then I did basically the same thing with a bed and a monkey at eight o'clock in the morning, and that one nearly killed me. I was getting three, four hours of sleep as it was. I never had time to shave, so I'd come on in my robe and plug my razor into the camera — those old Dumont cameras had an outlet in them — and shave in the monitor while the records were playing. That show I called Comes the Yawn."

A bed and a monkey?

"Well, I'll tell you about it.” Dale says. ”Some old drunken sailor came down one night and dropped off this cute little monkey. So I took him and fed him and used him on the show, just taking shots of him feeding and scampering around. It was terrible. But that's what you did. What I did, anyway.

"Then you'd do the charade shows, then the gas company wanted to sponsor a movie; and that's when I fell in love with English movies, because English movies were all you could get in those days. Basically, they were stretching me and stretching me because I didn't need scripts and people would put up with almost anything because television was fairly new. Shoot, I got to the point where I could take a half hour to say hello. Whatever I saw, it would remind me of something. That was fair game. You went, and the cameras went with you. Which would still work pretty well in some instances, but today they'd have a fit if I got up and walked from the news set over to the weather set. They have to cover me with a piece of video — a street scene or a snow pile or something. Everybody sits and reads the teleprompter.”

So the Seaport Village shot during the newscast was to cover him while he walked to the weather set?

"Yeah. Of course, it’s no problem because they have a number of live cameras set up in various places,” he explains. "And they expect me to know what the shot is, and if I don't know, they get angry. And I'm supposed to interplay — with Brian. Brian Hackney, that is, who came on after me this evening; they've got him doing the weather at 11 o'clock now. They're trying something, and I hope it works for them. Now they want Brian to be lovable and warm and neighborly. But I'm afraid it's something you just can't turn on; it happens or it doesn't. I've seen it, you've seen it. It happens in writing, or it doesn't. You don't say, 'I will now write about kittens and little children and that will melt people's hearts, that'll get to 'em, damn it.’ It doesn't work that way. You can't be insincere. And you've seen it a million times, like on telethons, where you sing to a crippled child; and what you're really doing is saying, ‘Aren't I wonderful? I'm crying. Aren't I wonderful because I feel empathy?' The public is not that dumb.

"So anyway, then I came out to San Diego in 1956 and did the same thing." he continues. "In Cleveland we had an Airstream trailer all gussied up that we used as a remote unit. People think that doing live remotes is fairly new, but it's not. We had that right from the beginning. We had cameras that we put up on the roof, and we had an audio board and a control board and everything. We'd tie into a telephone line or bounce the signal off the terminal tower. So when I came out here, because of my experience with remotes I started doing 'Zoorama.’ I was kind of proud of that show. It was the only locally produced show in San Diego to go on network. CBS bought it to use as a lead-in to Lassie. And I thought, 'Oh, great.’ But I'll be doggoned if they didn't have a big pennant race that year, and practically every Sunday baseball game ran over. So we got chopped down to 15 minutes, and they'd join the show in progress. Later, the show went into syndication and played all over the world. And they had a heck of a time dubbing it for the foreign markets, because I stutter and we didn't use scripts. It was just me carrying on — you know. 'Gee whiz. Is that right? Boy, oh boy. My gosh! Look at that!' And they'd have to put that in Swahili or Japanese, and it about drove them crazy. It just goes to show how many ways you can say the same thing. 'I didn't know that. Isn't that amazing?' But it played everywhere. Of course, even all the animals are dead now.

"Then they had me doing two-hour movie shows, and the reason for having them run two hours was that it was getting to where they had to cut the movies too much to make 'em fit into an hour and a half and still get the commercials in. But by stretching the program to two hours they needed me to do fill-in stuff — like interviewing Mrs. Gottrocks, which they wanted me to do in the middle of the movie. Believe me, when you're new in town, to interrupt movies is not the best way to make friends and influence people. So I was bound and determined that I was not going to interrupt The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with Charles Laughton, to interview Mrs. Gottrocks at a La Jolla garden party. Since I knew a little bit about movies, I turned it into a kind of movie club. I'd bring out my scrapbooks and talk about the character actors, why the movie was made, that kind of thing. But the format was designed simply to leave room for more commercials, and to hell with the rest of it. But I wasn't interested in just making the program last longer; I wanted to make it worth the viewer's while. Now you can't afford to do any of that. It doesn't bring in enough revenue, and it isn't fancy enough. Now, you've got to have all the Pac Man ding ding ding type stuff— which I don't think is necessary."

Dale thinks for a moment, hunched over on the sofa. A Styrofoam cup of coffee resting near his elbow emits little heat waves into the air of the conference room.

"I learned something in my twenties," he says finally, "and it still makes me furious today. But I'm too old to fight it anymore. Someone got the word going many, many years ago that the average age of the television audience is something like 12 or 13. And the idiots still believe that sometimes! And they talk down to people! Now, how in heaven's name can you spend as much as two weeks in front of the public doing that and not realize how dumb you are? There isn't a single subject you can bring up that there aren't 50 people out there who know far more about it than you'll ever know. It makes your head swim. And you value those people; you value the fact that they're still sitting there and haven't turned you off.

"Since news took over, it's hard to do things the way you know they should be done. For 15 years now, if it isn't news, it isn't important. The days of the quiet little movie shows and zoo shows are pretty well gone. It's just hype hype hype hype hype. For the first 20 years, news was a guy in a baggy suit sitting in the corner with a microphone and a desk doing 15 minutes. He was a journalist, he was not show biz. Well, as soon as local news became the biggest show in town, things changed. If you walk into the men's room at this station today, you're taking your life in your hands. You're going to get hair spray in your eyes, rouge, mascara — it's incredible. Everyone wants to go for a joke, a laugh; and it's difficult for them, because they haven't been trained for it.

"I can't sell it to management nowadays, and I wouldn't even try, but there was a time they'd leave me alone with the responsibility of filling an hour so I could do things the way I felt them. I always did what everyone else wasn't. If everyone else was coming on with 'Ladies and gentlemen,’ I'd think, ‘Wait a minute. They're not "Ladies and gentlemen,” they're two or three nice people in their den or living room who were kind enough to tune in. That's who I'm talking to.’ People ask me, 'Don't you get nervous talking to 80,000 people?' And I say, 'You can't get that many people in a living room, it's impossible.’ I always talked to people. The camera was never a camera. I didn't care what angle they had on me. It's not that I don't care how I look — I don't want to disgust anybody. But the idea is to try to get some information across, to make people feel that it wasn't a total loss tuning in. And now they're trying to make celebrities out of people.

"It's going to be interesting, within your lifetime, to see where it goes. I think it's going to come down to honest work, and it'll take an honest person to survive in front of a camera. But maybe not. You hear these days about how people take that remote control and — what do they call it? Grazing. They just keep going from channel to channel to channel to channel, just grazing, not paying any attention, looking for what, I don't know. In 1980 the networks had something like, what, 95 percent of the whole prime-time audience; now they're down to about 62 percent. There's more of your independent stations, with satellites, getting their own news programs. And so wouldn't it be weird if it went back to being the scramble it was in 1949, with cardboard sets and with people who just want to please the public. We may be getting back to that, because no one will be able to afford a big operation.

"The next big thing, of course, is going to be pay per view. The guy on American Movie Classics is doing basically what I used to do, but you have to pay. And you have to want to watch old movies and have some guy tell you a little bit about who's in it and where they are now, why the movie was important. But that's a specialty now, whereas it used to be part of the general programming to round out the entire broadcast day. And people pay a fee for that, once a month, and they can tune it in anytime they want. I'm only 63, I'll be 64 in March. Who knows? There may be some little cable company someplace that'd like to have me sit there and drag out my scrapbooks and say a few words about a movie no one's seen for a long time."

He would be agreeable to such a proposal from a cable company?

"Oh, sure. As long as people didn't think I was an expert, because I'm not an expert. But I like to share, and I may be able to tell you something about a movie you didn't know.

"But I'm just glad I'm not 23 again, because I wouldn't survive more than two minutes in the present atmosphere. There's no room for a person like myself to stutter around and feel warm with people. It was a two-way love affair with the viewers back then, a family-type thing. Of course, I was always aware that as far as management and the sales people and the advertising agencies were concerned, the whole purpose was to earn a dollar; but I never thought about that while I was working. Never did. That's why I didn't do very well on commercials. Selling bread and bottled water, I could do that because if someone didn't like what they bought, they were only out 12 cents.  Selling a car, I couldn't do that because they'd be out thousands of dollars.

"I was down at the San Diego Yacht Club not long ago,” he recalls, "to see the man who takes care of my financial matters — annuities for the family and things like that. Of course, it’s not how much you earn; it's what you do with what you earn. I'm a very conservative person; I can't spend $1.10 out of a dollar, I have to spend 90 cents out of a dollar. So I talked to this fellow about what would happen if I get kicked out of here — because I've been waiting to get fired for four years now. Of course, I'm still here, but I always have the feeling that next week I won't be. After all, there are younger people coming up, and I'm only doing the five o'clock show now. So a younger fellow was there in the process of taking over the business from this older friend of mine, who, as I say, had invested the few dollars I have. And we were talking about how much money I should have if I retire, what I would need to live on. And actually it's not much, because I'm getting to the point where I don't need the big fancy house, and I bought one of my cars in '63 and the other in '66 and I still have 'em. And this younger fellow says, 'But don't you want a few luxuries?' And I said, “The things you call luxuries, in my experience after you get them they turn into a damn liability sometimes. It's just another thing to scrape a barnacle off of or to worry about or to rent space for or to fix.”

"Sure. I like to get a nice new pair of shoes once in a while, but a lot of this stuff will just sink you. At one point my wife just had to have a swimming pool, so I got a swimming pool. It was nice that my kids got to learn how to swim, but I still have acid holes in my underwear from trying to maintain that stupid thing. And I'd feel so terrible when I saw a poor little beastie drowned in there, a gopher or something. And sure, you can hire someone to take care of it, but there again you've got another expense. You can hire someone to clean your house, but, my gosh, if you're not crippled or sick, why can't you do that yourself? Why should I pay extra to have someone put gas in my car, just because I can afford it? I'm perfectly capable and will possibly do a better job — I don't spill as much. It's not being cheap, although I pretend to be that way sometimes."

Finally, the theme of money and possessions and status and careers leads Dale to these observations:

"These days I see young people coming up, and it seems to me they have it backwards. Maybe they always did. They're desperate and they're very frustrated; they want their name in the paper, they want to drive a fancy car, they want to be known when they go to restaurants, they want to be asked for autographs. And that's putting the cart before the horse. You've got to want to please somebody. The other things — and sometimes they're good, sometimes they're bad — come afterwards, and it's really only an indication, a barometer. If you go into a place and someone says, 'Hi, Bob, how's it going?' — that's acceptable. And if you go into a place and someone says, 'Do you have any identification, sir?' — you don't think one way or another about it. But to go into this business only wanting to be recognized or wanting to have your ego swabbed — that's sad. It has nothing to do with anything. Wouldn't it be kind of like being a doctor who's lousy at what he does wanting to be called 'Doctor' and have a passport to the country club and have all the perks that go with having that title? I wouldn't think he'd enjoy being a doctor very much if he was a bad one, just because he had the perks.

"Now, I've spent a lot of time in stars' homes — some on the way up, some on the way down — and there's nothing that'll bring it home faster to you than three o'clock in the morning in an overly air-conditioned room in Las Vegas after they've done their two o'clock show; and the makeup is this thick, like flesh- colored plastic wood, and you see the trays and trays of cold, yucky-looking food in the hallway outside the door. Glamour? Forget it. It's hard, gut-wrenching work. A lot of people start out in this business who just have the wrong idea of what it takes and what it’s about. You can't be a nurse just because you wear a cute uniform and guys make goo-goo eyes at you; you better be able to really care about people who are bleeding and smell bad, because you're going to have to clean up after them when they're sick. I don't think I'm wrong. But since I've never had a million dollars, I can't prove I'm right.” Brief pause. "Yeah, I know I am."

After Dale finished his weather report, the newscast continued with Brian Hackney doing a "Lighter Side"- type segment from Seaport Village — an interview with a fudgemaker. But right in the middle of this semi-comic relief, all heck broke loose in the control room when the producer got off the phone with someone and announced to the crew that the seven-year-old had just been found, alive and well, in Cuyamaca. Of course, the fudgemaker interview instantly became expendable.

"Mayday! Mayday!"

"Wrap it! Wrap it if you can!"

They finally managed to bring it back to Marty Levin, who informed the audience that the boy had indeed been found. There were few details to impart, since no further information was forthcoming. It seemed the remote unit in Cuyamaca had packed up their gear and headed back down the hill as soon as their earlier segment went off the air.

So it was time for "Health Watch": Dr. Dean Edel explaining that women who engage in long-distance running expose themselves to serious health hazards; their periods may stop, and then their bones won't get sufficient mineralization. And time for a brief bit involving Governor Deukmejian and the proposed HOV lanes. And time for "Crime Watch": it seems 1977 Celicas are easy to steal and scores of them are being stolen every day. And, to round things out, no one was sanguine about the chances that three California whales trapped in arctic ice would survive much longer.




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