Friday, June 06, 2003

Looking at the names that attended the CBS Luncheon on May 14th. I remembered lot of them. However, it brought to mind the names of some of the gents that passed on to the schedule desk in the sky.
At Grand Central Station, in the late 1950's, up on the 3rd floor, ( I guess?) there was a department known as Vidicon-Valley. The group of technicians that plied their trade there became a tight nit group of misfits.
As I recall we had Joe Cook, Bob Abernathy, Norm Johnson, Jim Kelensen, Bruno Fucci, Matty Camillo, and Forrest Bishop And some young pups, or "Piss Pots" as Bob Abernathy would refer to anyone he didn't like.
Many others came and went through this department. But, for sheer characters, this cornucopia of talent would fill two volumes of a Damon Runyon novel.
Joe Cook, who resembled a "Soprano" character actually has two sons as NYPD Detectives. Yet, he played the hitman to the hilt. He was a fun character, and he new where his bread was buttered on. He played to the production minions of the news department.

Bob Abernathy was a somewhat look-a-like of WC Fields, the movie star, and comedian of his time. (I do stretch a lot, but, that is so you get the flavor of the person) maybe because he could imbibe on occasion, or only when it suited him.
Bob, spent many years out at sea as Radio Operator, as did many of the technical people hired in the early days. He was a straight shooter and he pulled, "No punches" as to his feelings. He particularly disliked those that didn't support the Union during the 1958 strike. They truly were, "Piss pots."
Forest Bishop, was hired by CBS-NY because of his excellent background as an Audio Engineer, where he served in New England. He never got to do Audio in NY. But, he had this decided Boston brogue, and he could spin a yarn when he cared to, He was almost reclusive, and kept to himself.
But, he did tell me of a New England practice when courting a woman. It is known as "Bundling." It seems that with the severe winters up there, and the fact that young men had to walk to their paramours. It therefore required that the man could sleep over next to his future bride, but, only if a board was placed between the two by the brides father.
I asked Forrest, "Did that work?" He looked at me and said, "Since Adam, man has found away around such obstacles."

The men I wrote about are not today's computer oriented nerds. They were a hard drinking, but talented. The quality of their work is their epitaph.
It was a nice time to work there.

Tony Cucurullo