Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Fame: Joe Heller to Uncle 'Tony Pro'

By Bob Gaydos
A couple of weeks ago, in a display of pure ego, I wrote about the famous people I had encountered over the years. Kind of a check list on where the journey has taken me so far. They tell me it’s one of the charming things about blogs -- they don’t always have to be about serious stuff going on in the world. Sometimes they can be personal and can let readers know a little about the blogger. And of course, in this social networking world we now inhabit, willingly or not, it allows the blogees to respond with personal information of their own.
So, at the end of my personal who’s who of my life, I asked readers to send in their own close encounters. A few brave souls actually replied and so I will give them their due.
  • Elmer Brunsman (who reads and contributes to all those serious blogs) wrote: “You put down a challenge at the conclusion which you will regret. How about these for openers, just openers: Interviewed Harvey Milk shortly before he was notoriously assassinated in San Francisco (if you haven't seen the Sean Penn portrayal, rent it. It is one of the few best political movies ranking above "All the King's Men" and you name it); Daniel Ellsberg, Dick Gregory, Daniel (at a couple of seminars) and Phillip Berrigan (on my radio program), Little Richard, Dr. Meyer Friedman (Type A Behavior and Your Heart), numerous writers including Kay Boyle, Leonard Bishop (with whom I studied writing), Francis Ford Coppola, Ralph Nader (that one was only in front of an elevator), Jane Fonda, lesser figures such as Diane Feinstein before the Senate, before mayor, while on board of city supervisors ... I think I'll stop now.
Thanks, Elmer, I get your point. Thanks for stopping (and somewhere in the back of my brain I have a fuzzy recollection of meeting the Berrigans as well). Ellsberg? Cool.
  • Jeff Page, fellow Zest blogger, who worked for the Times Herald-Record before joining The Record in Hackensack, N.J., wrote: Here are some of the people I’ve spoken with as a reporter: Cesar Chavez (in a visit to Paterson); Barbara Deming; Allen Ginsberg; Christopher Reeve (when he rough-landed his small plane at Teterboro); Estelle Parsons (at her country house near Mohonk); Matt McHugh; the incomparable Maurice Hinchey; Pat Robertson; Tony Provenzano (“Keep your nose clean, kid,” he advised.); John Hall, the congressman; John Hall, the Jets place kicker; William V. Musto, Hudson County pol (went to prison); John Armellino; Hudson County pol (went to prison); Tom Whelan (Hudson County pol (went to prison); Dennis Flaherty, Hudson County pol (went to prison; Bella Abzug; Howard Samuels; Mary Ann Krupsak; Arnold Toynbee; Louis Ginsberg; and Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Jeff’s Hudson County (N.J.) reminiscences stirred a vague recollection in me of a meeting with Neal Gallagher, Hudson County pol (went to prison). Since Jeff and I escaped, many more Hudson pols have followed the same career path. In fact, I challenge anyone to match my home county for political corruption. And Jeff, I’ll give you Krupsak even though she was a lieutenant governor, because I like Allen Ginsberg.
  • Anita Page, Jeff’s wife and a writer in her on own right, offered: Bob, I once interviewed Joe Heller who gave me this advice. “Every writer should have a bed in his office for frequent naps.”
Wow, Joe huh? It’s still Mr. Heller to me. And he sure took one, long nap. But he was right about the bed. My computer/work area is in my bedroom and I frequently catch 22 winks. Get it?
  • Finally, checking in from Ulster County, former TH-R reporter Jo Galante Cicale humbly wrote: I often thought I didn’t do so badly for a kid from the lower East Side. OK, so Tony Pro (photo) was my uncle and Carmine Galante, too. But that hadn’t anything to do with reporting. (Mario) Cuomo was a family friend – yeah, I’m boasting now, but you started it. John Hall a neighbor and friend; ditto with Hinchey. But, the most memorable from reporting days was Al Sharpton who, during the Brawley days, was more street gangsta with dirt under his nails, lots of gold and body odor.
Yo, Jo, no disrespect intended. Drop names all you want. You win.

Bob can be reached at bobgaydos.blogspot.com.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be civil.