-------- Original Message -------- Subject: really real Date: Mon, 16 Mar 2009 11:38:58 -0700 From: Edwin Cooney <edwincooney@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> To: <Undisclosed-Recipient:;> Hi All,I'm sure this will strike you as obvious, but the main thing I carried away from the day I write about below was that Paul Harvey was really real. Come to think of it, perhaps a better word would be authentic. His voice and his speech patterns were the same throughout. There was know affectation to him. His personality bubbled to the surface of one's personal connection with him. One got the impression that Paul Harvey was a force, perhaps occasionally a formidable one. I wouldn't have always felt comfortable were I accountable to him,but if such was the case, I'm sure I'd bennefit from that accountability. He was taller (six feet two inches) than many people I spoke with expected him to be. Of course he was personable, but as articulate and forceful as he was, he possessed the ability to listen to people. When he talked to you he seemned to focus on you. You could almost hear him listen to you and watch him observing everything around him. He admitted that he was a very impressionable person insisting that his impressionability was why he needed to work out of Chicago rather than in the intensified atmosphere of New York City. So, here's my memory of a very special day and a very special person. I hope you like it.
Please accept my thanks for the time you take to read this. Warm Regards, E.C. MONDAY, MARCH 16^TH , 2009 THAT GOOD DAY -- COMPLEMENTS OF AN UNCOMMON AMERICAN BY EDWIN COONEYHello, Americans, said Paul Harvey, but this time he wasnt on the radio. He was emerging from a small aircraft he had flown from Chicago to a small airport in the Finger Lakes region of central New York State.
It was Saturday, September 26t^h , 1964. Paul Harvey was invited to speak to those attending the annual Grape Harvest Festival at Naples, New York. It was shortly after three p.m. when he arrived. I was invited to ride into Naples with Robert Simpson, a local businessman, and his wife who were acting as Mr. Harveys official hosts.
The approximate thirty minute drive into Naples from the airport through rich central New York farmland was pleasant. I sat in the very rear of the station wagon. Mr. Harvey sat in front of me in the back seat while Mr. and Mrs. Simpson sat up front. Although anxious to ask many questions, I minimized my conversational participation since I was a guest of the Simpsons.
Mr. Harvey, I asked, I know President Johnson is considerably ahead in the current presidential campaign, but do you think Senator Goldwater can catch up?
His campaign hasnt really caught fire yet, Ed, Mr. Harvey replied. Then, perhaps realizing that his answer was discouraging to me, he continued with that cheery optimism in his splendid voice, It still could. Theres time. It just hasnt, as yet.
Periodically, as we rode through the fall foliage, Id ask Mr. Harvey about something he had said during one of his broadcasts. Finally, he said to me: You know, Ed, youd make somebody a good wife. My wife is always reminding me, Paul, you said this and you said that.
Most eighteen-year-old boys, me included, dont get much pleasure from the suggestion that theyd make someone a good wife, but this was Paul Harvey, after all, and he did chuckle as he said it, so I chuckled in response.
Finally, we arrived at the place where wed have dinner and where Paul Harvey would address us. I rejoined my mother -- she had arranged everything -- our school principal Mr. Paul Ruhland and his son David, and then Mr. Harvey went on his way.
Of course, I would have liked more time with him, but I had the satisfaction of knowing that I had met, shaken hands, chatted, and had my picture taken with one of the finest men -- and voices -- in broadcasting.
As the evening wore on, I met two local Rochester, New York celebrity newsmen from WHAM (1180 on your AM dial) and their assessment of Paul Harvey seemed to me to be a tad reserved. To Ray Hall and Dick Tobias, Paul Harvey wasnt a newsman, he was a news reader. /He gets all of his material from the wire services, he doesnt go out and seek information from primary sources/, they insisted. However, they heartily agreed that he was an excellent broadcaster!
As for Mr. Harveys speech, it was entertaining and inspiring. He said that: America is the greatest nation in the history of the world and it can continue to be so as long as Americans stick to the Ten Commandments and the Constitution. They must remember that liberty is the business of the people, not of the government. Only through eternal vigilance, he asserted, would we successfully keep on keeping on -- a key phrase in Paul Harveys lexicon.
Saturday, September 26^th , 1964 was just past Paul Harveys forty-sixth birthday. It was within only the fourteenth year of what would be his 58 year ABC broadcasting career. His brief television stint and his Rest of the Story feature were yet some years
away -- as was receiving the Medal of Freedom from President George Walker Bush in 2005.
My political views would be in tune with Mr. Harveys for another decade or so, but eventually they would shift. The irony is that as a 1964 Conservative Republican, I found his assessment of the GOPs chances for victory too objective. However, as my own views became increasingly liberal, I found Paul Harveys points of view too rigid and, even worse, too partisan. As a broadcaster, though, he had few peers. Paul Harvey deserves to be right up there with Edward R. Murrow in the front row of Broadcastings Hall of Fame.
Harsh as his judgment could occasionally be, his social and political pronouncements were void of personal attack.
Over 44 years have passed since that happy September 26^th . I still possess the record album I purchased called The Testing Time and the printed evening program he autographed for me that night after his address. The picture taken of him and me standing by his plane is, of course, still in my wallet.
Good day, was Paul Harveys closing signature of every news and commentary broadcast and, as you can imagine, those two words perfectly describe Saturday, September 26^th , 1964.
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