A recent phone conversation with a friend in the business got me to thinking about the TV debris I’ve collected over the years. Mine’s no pristine menagerie, mind you - just rather a smattering of dusty broadcast relics the bride knows better than to throw out. At the center of this detritus is The Camera. Given to me by an local telescope junkie, this antique Ampex never ever blinks as it stares out across the carpeted expanse of my upper lair. Were I not so damn slack, I’d research its lineage, but I suspect it spent much of its life pointed toward a conveyor belt filled with taped-together news scripts. When I consider all the clichés that must have passed through its glass, I get a little dizzy.
Luckily, I got a place to sit. From my creaky throne, I can easily survey my miscellany trinkets. There’s the desktop NBC chimes, the Hard Copy ballcap, the battered microphone flag featuring a weaponless Boba Fett and easily a half dozen heavily logo’d coffee mugs. Sure, I don’t take very good care of my schwag and much of it could better enrich my life by way of eBay - but it’s my STUFF. Besides, every TV news photog has a similar salmagundi, in much the same way those boring banker guys display their most pompous golf balls on overpriced, green felt shelves - the better for their pastel-clad admirers to Ooh and Ah on-cue. No accounting for good taste, I suppose.
Truly though, there’s only one broadcast bauble I care anything for and you’re looking at it. It’s a WITN TV license plate, circa 1972. The blue “7” and the old school “N” are signposts from my youth, for I spent many a dreamy afternoon watching the local news geeks radiate under that very logo. Little did I know back then, I’d once (dis)grace the very halls of that TeeVee Temple down the road. Little did I know I’d lay awake in bed plotting my escape from the building with the lucky number out front. But I did. In fact, the day I finally tunneled out of that dump, I carried my beloved plate between my clenched and chiseled but-TOCKS. Today it hangs over the door to my sanctum, where I stare at it often and recall the day I smuggled us both to freedom.
Damn thing’s sharp, too.