Today, my heart hurts. I just learned that James (Jim) McCarthy passed on. I have delved into my reverie in the past to laud over the different fine CBS people that have passed through this mortal coil. They all deserved the reflections I conjured of their past efforts in the raising of the art of television. But, every once in a while someone walks to the edge of the Rainbow Bridge and deserves a long look into his past.
Jimmy McCarthy was every mans man. He would be my point man in any act. During WW 2 he was an artillery man, as a result he had a slight hearing problem.
During a golf match Jim was doing camera on a boom covering the fairway. I was operating the arm for him. This boom had a truck platform and people would like to climb on it and get a better view of the golf shot. It was OK with Jim if he wasn’t covering, but when he was on air he would ask them politely to please get off as they could shake the camera head. Well, as it happened we had a couple of wise guys, I could handle them my self and they did indeed leave but to add to the drama when the shot was over for Jim I asked him to throw his wallet down to me. When he did I removed the picture he had of himself with Lucky Luciano, the head of the Murder-in-corporate during the 1920’s and 30’s, when Jim was a young man and looked the part with his broad brimmed fedora walking arm-in-arm with Lucky. Needless to say, the camera was steady for the rest of the afternoon.
Jim was one of the nicest and gentlest of men to work with. He cried his eyes out when he learned that his dog died, he couldn’t continue on camera that sad day.
A tribute to his talent came from Jackie Gleason when he invited Jim and his family to take a leave-of-absence from CBS and join Gleason in Florida for about 6 years. Jim raised his son and daughter there and later his son Tom became a great cameraman and a field supervisor for CBS.
I received a call at home one day from the union office telling me that Jim was in a head-on-accident in the parking lot of the Meadowlands Stadium. I lived nearby, and I rushed to the hospital. I actually got there before Jim arrived. I spent the next three hours in the operating room assisting a surgeon save Jim face. The left side of his cheek from his eyeball to his mouth was separated. The surgeon had me put my finger in the opening on his forehead to keep the skin from closing while he did the face. I actually soaked up enough blood to flood three face towels. All this time Jim was awake, he had minimal sedation. He never complained once about all the stitching to his face, but, he was saying, Tony, check my leg the pain is severe. Well, as you know he survived that ordeal.
We must all someday go with Jim and Stan, and the other brothers and sisters, but it hurts when it comes to such a dear friend. My wife Paula knew Jim and Grace, for we shared many a wonderful meal on Sundays. Grace was a great cook. Her Sunday gravy, (I know for you non-Italians, sauce) was mouth wateringly great. Right Tommy?
Gosh, this one really is sad. God Bless, to all the McCarthy’s.