Friday, July 26, 2002

One of my gripes with the Naval Special Warfare Group history now being compiled is the fact that the grunts, or swabbies, such as myself don't even come in for an honorable mention, or for the matter, even in the footnotes. That, of course, brings me to the people at CBS that are the heart and soul of the company. The support technicians that do all sorts of functions. They do their jobs without the fanfare and so-called glamour of the studio-field techies.The Mantenance, Control Room, Master Control, Engineering staff personnel provide all the hi-tech support gadgets that get the job done. Actually, the management teams that have existed over the years at CBS have been top-drawer. They hired all the talent that made CBS the premier network in the entire world. Petty politics aside, the paternal atmosphere that William "Bill" Paley engendered in the entire staff was the glue that made a cohesive organization from the top down. It was all destroyed when the "Barracuda of Wall Street" came along and decimated this once great company and today, I am told, the company is only a shell of the former great network. Nevertheless, the men behind the scenes were the magicians that put the great shows on the air, and "on time."

It seemed too, that each department had its own "mensch." When I served in Telecine Maintenance, I would be hard pressed to name just one, but who could argue with the name of Dick Locke, a gentleman and a very good mechanical maintenance man. Then there was a guy, that really might not come up on anyone’s list. Val France, who was built like a linebacker and had these very thick hands, but he could fix anything. What most people don't know about Val France is that he was one of the most generous men alive. He liked to help budding musical talent and in many cases if he heard that there was a student that needed an instrument to continue studying music, without all the fanfare and such, he would purchase an instrument and donate it anonymously to that person. I know, because he bought an accordion for a neighbor of mine after I mentioned the need to him. Neal Curtis should take a bow, even though that would embarrass him. Walter Prince and Herb Foster are gone now, but if in your travels to the netherland, look for Walter and you will find him in a cloud of cigarette smoke and probably helping someone adjust his wings and things. Tony Tobia, Pete Constantine, George Gray, Bernie Sweeney, Barry Yuzik, all characters that have interesting backgrounds and each contributed to the growth of CBS, along with most of the staff.

CBS, was my home away from home. I watched it grow and change during my lifetime there, but, I wouldn't swap one moment of the time I spent there for any other profession. The men and women were bright, erudite, and professional and the key to the success of the great company of Paley and Stanton.


Tony Cucurullo