Friday, February 29

Hear Here

I've written before about Roger Grimsby, the legendary co-anchor of WABC's Eyewitness News for almost two decades. I even quoted the sign-off he and Bill Beutel gave for so many years as the #1 anchor team in New York—which made them, de facto, #1 in America.

"Hoping your news is good news, I'm Roger Grimsby."

"And I'm Bill Beutel, good luck and be well."

But I've never quoted Roger's famous opening line. This is from

"Grimsby was known for beginning his broadcasts with the phrase 'Good evening, I'm Roger Grimsby, here now the news' and ending them with the phrase 'Hoping your news is good news, I'm Roger Grimsby.'"

So there you have it, right?

Not so fast! I got to wondering—a quarter-century after I worked with Roger and Bill—was Roger saying, "Here, now, the news"—as in, the news is coming at you here and now? Or was he saying, "Hear now the news"—as in listen up? I had never paid attention to what was written on the scripts, so I just didn't know.

I asked my WABC boss, former News Director Cliff Abromats, and he didn't know--he never bothered to look (and, admittedly, it wasn’t exactly a pressing problem for a guy who was administering a $27 million news budget and ministering to Big Apple egos).

So I dashed off an email to former WABC producer Alan Weiss (now the owner of a successful New York production company)—and he didn't know. He said it was just something Roger ad-libbed every night, and he had never seen it written down. But Alan was kind enough to track down longtime Managing Editor Phil Tucker, the man who polished the prose on just about every Eyewitness News story for years. Phil recalled having seen it once on a script Roger had written—ONCE!

"Hear now the news."

Take that, Wikipedia!

By the way, when Chevy Chase started doing his mock newscast on the very first Saturday Night Live, his greeting, "Good evening, I'm Chevy Chase and you're not " was said to be a subtle tribute to (and poke at) Roger Grimsby.

And now you know the rest of the story. Wait. Sorry. That's someone else's line. My bad.