Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

There Goes My Hero...

Little Red NewsterEver since television  engineers stitched together the first test pattern out of stolen horse blankets, lenslingers like me have been expected to ride side-saddle. Case in point: this extraordinary find by broadcast archivist Amanda Emily. That's Harry Truman in the upper right. Known for his two mile hikes before breakfast, here the ex-President pounds the San Diego pavement with cronies in tow. It must have been a celebrated troll, for why else would KOGO-TV plant their finest photog in a Radio Flyer? It had to be a bumpy ride - even with a suited cohort at the helm, er, handle... Ya know, this is the part of the post where I usually make fun of the shooter's wardrobe, heap scorn on the retro-tech or just generally disrespect the mission at hand. I was all about to go down that road when Amanda hepped me to the man in the wagon... 

That's George Potter, a man who had lived several lifetimes before he ever plopped down in that child's toy. In World War II, he was a member of the famed 'Easy Company' - the group of soldiers immortalized in the book and mini-series Band of Brothers. Potter parachuted into Normandy, lost his rifle in mid-flight and landed on a rooftop. Later, he received the Bronze Star and at one point broke his leg. But when he heard E Company was about to jump into Holland, he removed his cast, fled the hospital rejoined his unit in time. George Potter survived the war, but he didn't come home completely intact. He didn't talk much about what he saw there, but he did once tell his sons about pulling the boots off a dead soldier to appease his own frostbitten feet. Surely, there were even darker moments overseas and while Potter was clearly tortured by many of them, he wasn't the kind to foist that on his family. Instead, he went to work - eventually landing as TV News photographer for KOGO-TV (now KGTV). What George Potter saw during (and after) the war could no doubt fill a book, but much of it has been lost in the dustbin of history. One thing is for sure: there's often more to that man behind the camera than you see at first glance.

But you knew that.

4 comments:

Porter Versfelt III said...

Excellent story! I love the Red Flyer Wagon innovation.

Amanda said...

Sadly, its easier to find the stories of the lives and times of newsreel photogs compared to early TV photogs.

Newsreelers were headliners even if they hated the attention from the public...TV photogs, well, they just drop in and then drop out of history.

Atlanta Media Guy said...

I know I would have ditched the hospital to go to Amsterdam!

Jennifer & Jason said...

I first just saw the camera guy, and couldn't understand the picture. then scrolled down, and it made me laugh, not at him, but with him.