When all the dust is settled, more and more, I feel a certain homesick feeling.
Homesick For My Little Office
By Richard Mabey Jr.
Long before dear old Rod Stewart’s raspy voice sang to us about his old love, Maggie Mae; Rod cut a fantastic album entitled, “Gasoline Alley.” The song, “Gasoline Alley,” started out with the lyrics, “I think I know now what’s making me sad, it’s a yearning for my own back yard.” These days, living in Happy Land Gated Community in Central Florida, I really and truly know what dear old Rod was talking about. Rather I should say, singing about.
For the past week or so, I keep having this repetitive dream that I am back in my little office at Sammons Cable TV Company in old Dover, New Jersey. For the first two years, of its five year run, “Cross-Talk” was filmed in the Sammons Studio. I hit the jackpot with having my own little office with a very cool desk. I loved it.
I am basically a crazed workaholic and an insane perfectionist. From that little desk, I would work out every detail of each and every show. Right down to the details of camera location, exact timing for commercial breaks and exactly when I wanted to drop a bombshell question to create a dramatic moment.
I had hit the jackpot, there was a little refrigerator located just a few feet to the left hand side of my desk.
I remember so well that I used to eat lunch at my little desk. I hit the jackpot and then some. It just didn’t get any better than I had it at old Sammons Cable TV Company. Just a few feet, to the left hand side of my desk, stood a little refrigerator. How cool was that?
I always brought my lunch to work. A brown bag containing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple and one napkin. Oh, and sometimes a Twix bar. I know I’ll hear from my health food friends on this one, I used to buy a can of Coca-Cola at the vending machine down the hall.
It was a grand and glorious moment when old Mr. B, my old editor said to me, “you’re doing okay kid!”
One time, I had one of my old newspaper editors, Mr. B, on the show. It was so funny because we both wore white jackets and brown ties. I remember I made the joke, “great minds, think alike.” Mr. B didn’t think it was funny.
At one point, Mr. B and I were talking in my office beside my little desk. There was this great moment in time. Mr. B looked me in the eye and said to me, “you’re doing okay kid!” Call me sentimental, but it meant the earth to me.
In this photo, you can see the plain, ordinary little black push-button telephone that adorned my desk. This is the very phone from which I made my historic phone call to the famous comedian, Dick Gregory.
There was an old telephone on my desk. It was black. Just the most plain and ordinary, push-button telephone that you could ever imagine. It was from that very telephone that I called the famous comedian, Dick Gregory, to ask him to come on the show. He accepted.
But, I have to confess that I was a nervous wreck before calling him. I remember pacing back and forth in that little office, working to get up the nerve to call Mr. Gregory. It was like the first time that I ever called a girl up and asked her to a school dance. I remember that it was so nerve racking!
Dick Gregory’s appearance on Cross-Talk gave the show a real boost in ratings!
Dick Gregory was one of our most dynamic guests that we ever had on the show. He gave our ratings a great boost. Plus, we got considerable news coverage from his being on the show.
The famous set of Cross-Talk.
For the most part, I had a certain fear of the television set. I always dreaded the walk down the hallway, from my little office to the studio. I would get the worst case of butterflies flying wildly in my stomach. The palms of my hands would sweat. I would get a slight headache.
But when the cameras rolled, for the most part I was okay. I think that I did a decent job as a talk show host. But, the truth of the matter is that, it was the time that I spent at my desk that I loved the most. I loved the job of lining up guests. Working out planning details for the show. And, just overall making sure that everything was set to go for each day of taping.
I’d like to have just one more time at bat, before I go Home to be with the Lord. Just to produce even one more documentary. I’ve been seriously thinking about producing a documentary on the old Morris Canal. I pray the good Lord helps me, in this quest, this dream, this goal.