Friday, October 26, 2007

Do you remember?

Does the gentleman on the right look familiar? You may remember the Timex commercials. He was their spokeman for twenty years. That's him, John Cameron Swayze.

But before all of that he was the very first network news anchor for NBC News. His show was called "The Camel News Caravan". I remember, because I was his mail boy.

My very first job at NBC in New York City was in the mail room. They called us mail boys back then and there were about twenty five of us. The dress code was jacket and tie at all times. And every hour on the hour we delivered the mail to the NBC offices throughout the RCA building in Rockefeller Center.

Swayze's office was on my route, which was the fifth floor. And on my final run of the day I had strict instructions not to enter his office, but to slide the mail under the door. He was busy memorizing his script.

Precisely fifteen minutes before air time , he would head down to Hurley's bar on the ground floor, where a very dry martini awaited him. He would take his reserved seat at the end of the bar, down the drink, and then return to the studio for the news.

Swayze is best remembered for his breezy catch-phrases. On the news set it was "lets go hopscotching around the world". And the famous Timex line "It takes a liking and keeps on ticking".

John Cameron Swayze is the first person shown in the montage of former anchors that currently begins the NBC Nightly News. He died in 1995.


kenju said...

How interesting! I do remember him and also the Timex commercials. He seemed very trustworthy back then; the kind of person who ought to do commercials, since you tend to believe what they say. I wonder why he needed the drink before the show? I'd want it after.

Ginnie said...

Great post, Bud. I always loved his voice...never knew he oiled it with a martini first !
It's fun to know that we were both working in NY City in the TV/Radio business at the same at NBC and me at ABC.

Anonymous said...

more like this.

traveling 5,000 miles a week (10k this week). it over in 8 days, touch base with ya then.


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I've been reading about, Bud, and enjoying what I've read...And scrolled down to this post about JCS....I didn't realize he was The First! Bless him! Do you think that a lot of anchors still take a drink before Air Time? Those were the days of drinking, that is for sure....! Another aspect of MAD MEN that they have 'right on the moneyt'...ALL the smoking and drinking that went on back in the day.