Friday, September 27, 2013

Wanted: A New 54-Year Old Chevy

Collectors of older cars have had this weekend circled in bold red pen for about six months's the weekend of the long anticipated Lambrecht Chevrolet auction.  Here's the background:  The Lambrecht family had a Chevy dealership in Pierce, Nebraska, for over 50-years.  Ray and his wife, Mildred, Lambrecht loved their much so, that if a car or two didn't sell, well, they just kept it.  Every year.  Some of the cars were squeezed into a warehouse in the back of their dealership and others were parked on their nearby farm.  Years passed, the dealership closed and the couple passed away, leaving their family with a huge find.  Of course, everyone knew the Lambrechts had kept some cars but few realized just how many--over 500.  Some of the cars date back to the early 1950s and some are as recent as a 1980 Monza (remember them?)  But most amazing of all, a significant number of those automobiles were never driven...ever!   Over fifty of the cars have less than ten miles on the odometer....some with only one or two miles.  It was like auto archaeologists entering King Tutankhamun's garage.  Now there's no question most of these cars will need a little love--new rubber belts, tires, a good washing.  But imagine hopping into a "new" 1958 Belaire....or a 1959 Impala.  
That's the car that caught my attention.... there are four '59s in the auction with single digits on the odometer.  Mom and dad had a cream colored, '59, two-door Impala--it was the first car I remember and I can still picture, from the dank depths of my memorybanks, the rust colored interior, large chrome speaker grill dividing the back seat, unique steering wheel and dashboard, and the trunk that could haul a B-29.  Although I was only about 5-years old when my parents sold it, I remember running my hands along the big, bold rear fender fins and cats' eye taillights.  Sigh...I won't be in Pierce this weekend and couldn't afford to participate in the auction even if I was there.  But if someone out there lands one of those '59 Chevys and you're passing through Cincinnati, let me know.  I'd love to see it and run my hand along the fins.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Marian McPartland and Me

One glance at the title of this post and the reader might be mislead and so I'll immediately fess up and say this is a story of scotch, ignorance and a major goof.
The events took place in the Spring of 2003.  Licking our collective woulds over a Peabody snub for our audio documentary, Cincinnati Radio: The Nation's Station, 1921-1941, my WVXU boss, Dr. James C. King, treated co-producer Mark Magistrelli and I to a trip to New York City to pick up a New York Medal award.  Not quite as prestigious of an accolade, it was, however, a free trip to the Big Apple, so off we went to the Marriott on Times Square where the awards banquet would be held in the hotel ballroom.  As it turned out, Mark decided to attend another event that night and so Doc and I dutifully trudged off to the event, open bar and all, to receive the award.  Don't get me wrong, it was a very nice event--but neither Doc nor I are great socializers and as the drinks flowed, the silliness of the pomposity of the evening became more and more apparent and small, under-breadth comments were exchanged between us.  Also slightly amused at the proceedings were two quiet, but pleasant, women seated to my left at our table.  We exchanged small talk.  The woman next to me was named Shari and she was a producer at a station in South Carolina.  To her left, she introduced, was an older woman, simply, "Marian."  I said hello and we shook hands.  Shari seemed very nice and joined in a bit on our comic play-by-play commentary.   Eventually, our station's call letters were announced and Doc and I went to the stage to accept a "Best Documentary" award.  Marian, the older woman, gave us her congratulations as we returned to the table.  Shortly thereafter, the announcement of "Best Music Program" was announced.   "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz!" (you probably know where this is going, by now.)  I slunk into my seat.  "That's....?"  To make matters worse, our station used to carry Piano Jazz years ago, but cancelled it because of a shortage of financial support.  Well, Marian barely sat down again before she said she was tired, bid us adieu, and left us to return to her room.  Shari Hutchinson, her longtime producer, remained and entertained us with delightful stories of working with this great woman and jazz pioneer.  By the end of the evening I felt slightly less of an idiot for not recognizing Ms. McPartland and boldly asked for an autograph, which Shari kindly mailed to us days later.
So that's my Marian McPartland story!  The nice thing about "time" is that it eventually allows us to laugh at the mistakes we make.  In the meantime, rest in peace Marian McPartland--a jazz and radio legend who died last week at the age of 95.  And congratulations to Shari Hutchinson, who, I understand, now manages eight public radio stations in South Carolina.