Friday, September 12, 2008

So Long, Sweet George!

The legendary George Putnam, veteran of more than 72 years as a reporter, broadcaster and commentator, passed away last night at 94. I hesitate to recommend reading about him on Wikipedia (very slanted)... so here is a short bio of his incredible life... and here is a little family history in George's own words. Read some of his glorious memories at this link. It's so fitting that this great American passed away as the lights went out on 9/11... and he will be sorely missed in this world.

George's was a wonderful American life. But what few people realize about him is that he served in the Navy twice and was a war hero having flown many dangerous missions as a reporter! During WWII, George served first in the Army and later as a First Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, winning two citations during his three-year stay. Prior to entering service in WWII, he acted as Master of Ceremonies for "The Army Hour" and he and Lowell Thomas shared the role as the voice of Fox Movietone News. While George achieved early success in New York (where Walter Winchell described his voice as "the greatest in radio and television"), he has been a fixture on the Los Angeles news scene since 1951.

He's perhaps the one reporter who interviewed the four most decorated war heroes - Sgt. Alvin York, Audie Murphy, Joe Hooper and Col. David Hackworth. He has covered every presidency since Herbert Hoover, whom he interviewed after he was out of office and has known most of the big names in politics - Nixon and Reagan in particular - whom he knew on a first-name basis before they rose to prominence. At one point when George was the highest rated television newsman and anchor in Los Angeles, he was urged to run for governor of the state of California. He chose instead to support his friend Ronnie.

For almost a quarter of a century, George Putnam's daily "Talk Back" program on LA's powerhouse KRLA was a blend of two-way conversation with in-studio guests, newsmakers across the nation and his listeners who are likely to hear people of all ages and from all walks of life. And he refused to turn that microphone off almost 'til the end!

Always on top of the latest happenings in the world, George's "One Reporter's Opinion" became a very popular op-ed column on the Internet via top news services such as I should know; I helped George write his weekly column for more than 7 years - we met once a week like clockwork. If I was one minute late, he'd call me: "Where are you? Up and at 'em!" He kept me on my toes, inspired and taught me all about people, the world and politics. And it was fun. He was such a gentleman and so thoughtful and considerate! We had a ball working on that column, of which I was so proud. When he wasn't warning us about porous borders, gangs, and radical Islam, he'd pay humble tribute to some of the big stars that passed. He knew EVERYONE and outlived them all!

I kept trying to get him to write his memoirs but he always told me he had to wait until he died to do so because otherwise they'd crucify him! I still hope "One Reporter's Opinion" becomes a book - those columns are so full of wisdom and insight from a man who lived an amazing life. He was so humble about that and always said, "Sandy, I'm just One Reporter... I don't have anything new to say." But I could never repay him for all he taught me in those 7+ years. It was like going to the school of life every Thursday for an hour or two and listening to a man who understood the ways of the world, politics, people... and how he loved his sweet gal Sal and all the animals!

One of the best times I had working on the column with George was the one about his good friend, Doris Day. He told me how they'd climb under barbed-wire fences to rescue a cat. She actually read the column and was thrilled. He told me of his time with Helen Keller and how she touched his lips to interpret his words. He told me how Mae West tried to kiss him when he was a young man starting out in the business. He recalled living next to the Jackson 5 in Hollywood and how innocent and sweet Michael once was... and how shocked he was at how rude broadcasters had become. Not to mention, his tributes to Nixon and the Gipper, Ronald Reagan, were famous!

Here are some of my favourites:
The Origins of Television - and George should know!
Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Flight
The Presidents' Press Throughout Time
The English Language Tower of Babel

We love ya, George and will miss you greatly! I'm sure you're having a drink with the Duke, a one-liner with Tallulah, a smooch with Mae, and a slap on the back with the Gipper!

Please send condolences to: George Putnam c/o Sallilee Conlon - 13610 Yorba Ave., Chino, CA 91710

VET Foundation Event for Nick Popaditch, "Once a Marine"

New York, NY -- 9/11/08 -- I had the honor of attending a benefit for Veteran Employment Transition Foundation - VET Foundation - on the 66th Floor of the Trump Towers in Manhattan on the historic seventh anniversary of 9/11. It was an incredibly moving and inspiring event and what better way to spend 9/11 than with the heroes who make our freedom and American way of life possible.

These people are doing wonderful things to help injured vets to transition back to normal lives with good jobs. My Dad would have been so proud - and those wonderful Marines! So dedicated to each other and to their wives and children. Even Donald Trump was briefly in attendance. I couldn't help but think of one of my all time favorite movies, "The Best Years of Our Lives" and how far we've come with this fantastic organization! Read about Harold Russell.

Nick Popaditch and his wife, April, were guests of honor. They'd been to Ground Zero in the morning, Nick was on WOR radio's morning show guest-hosted by Rita Cosby, and was lined up for events and radio interviews all throughout the day. When I arrived, April greeted me with her warmth and gorgeous smile and introduced me to her husband, "Gunny" - a strikingly handsome man with such humility and humbleness and the most beautiful eyes - one of which is prosthetic with the Marine Corps emblem emblazoned in it - eagle, globe and anchor.

During Nick's presentation for the VET Foundation, he told the story of how he'd enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1986, was badly wounded commanding a tank in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 and suffered grievous head wounds that left him legally blind and partially deaf. The USMC awarded him the Silver Star for his valor and combat innovation. And now he's written a wonderful book documenting his experience having gone to hell and back - Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery. It was the first time he saw his book in print! And co-author Mike Steere told us some of the adventures they had writing the book. [more...]

I had the honor of meeting Marine Sergeant Edward Chin of the 3rd battalion 4th Marines regiment, an ethnic Chinese who moved to New York when he was one, and who was the soldier that scaled the fallen Saddam statue to put the chain around the neck of the giant Saddam. He also attached the American flag, and then climbed back up to replace it with an Iraqi one.

David Eigenberg, of Sex & the City fame, rounded off the evening with his own presentation for the VET Foundation, joking about his job as "skivvies stacker" in the Marines - "I wasn't a war hero, but I played my part," he said, obviously very moved and inspired by his fellow Marines.

As I drove off, I was thrilled to be able to get a glimpse of the 9/11 memorial lights shining in the night from Ground Zero and felt so proud to be an American. Semper Fi to all those wonderful troops who keep us safe in America! [Go here to watch the slideshow of the event...]

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Real War Hero in NY for 9/11

Nick Popaditch enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1986. He was badly wounded commanding a tank in Fallujah, Iraq, in 2004 and suffered grievous head wounds that left him legally blind and partially deaf. The USMC awarded him the Silver Star for his valor and combat innovation. And now he's written a wonderful book documenting his experience having gone to hell and back - Once a Marine: An Iraq War Tank Commander's Inspirational Memoir of Combat, Courage, and Recovery. He's available for interviews this week from NYC where he will attend Ground Zero ceremonies.

Readers the world over will stand up and cheer for this valiant Marine's Marine, a man who embodies everything noble and proud in the Corps' long tradition. Never has modern mechanized combat seemed so immediate and real, or the fight in Iraq seemed so human and worth believing in.

The real triumph in Once a Marine is its previously untold, behind-the-scenes tale of the day-to-day life of a career Marine noncommissioned staff officer. In most books and movies, a "Gunny" is little more than a cardboard character. Nick's portrayal is a man complete: a husband and father, as well as a warrior and a molder of young warriors. He reveals himself completely, something no memoirist in his position has ever done before. This includes our very personal introduction to his wife April, whose heroics in the story equal Nick's, together with dozens of others who, as Sgt. Popaditch writes, gave so much, so selflessly and freely, to him. Like the man himself, Once a Marine is full of gratitude and refreshingly free of false bravado and braggadocio.

All Americans, of all political persuasions, should meet this courageous and admirable fighting man, an exemplar of all our military men and women who give so much out of love for their nation. Meeting Gunny Sergeant Popaditch through the pages of his inspirational memoir offers up new reasons to be proud and shoulder our own responsibilities as Americans. Once a Marine will instantly take its place among outstanding combat classics. And once you read this remarkable and uplifting book, The Marine's Hymn will never sound the same. [more...]

Sunday, September 7, 2008

'They Must Be Stopped' By Brigitte Gabriel

The dynamic, sassy, irreverent Brigitte Gabriel's done it again! She's written what's sure to be her next best-seller, They Must Be Stopped: why we must defeat radical Islam and how we can do it. She's starting her book tour on Monday, Sept. 8th - you MUST have her on your program to weigh in on McCain vs. Obama when it comes to defeating radical Islam and protecting our national security. More on Brigitte Gabriel

Monday, September 1, 2008

HOT Obama Book! and WND Books present the hottest book about Obama to date! The Audacity of Deceit contains blockbuster information that voters and the media will not find in any other Obama book. Barack Obama touts "change" but his slick rhetoric hides the frontal assault on American values and traditions he truly intends. In this shocking, meticulously researched book, Brad O'Leary takes you deep inside Obama's plans, including using the concept of a “living Constitution” to eviscerate the values and freedoms Americans hold dear. His goal? Replace the Judeo-Christian values that gave birth to the "land of the free" and implement policies certain to send us on a downhill slide. More...