George Zucker

Upstart Oilman

06.1.2006 | George Zucker | Cultural Affairs | 2 Comments
But the big news that day was the source of all these divers and worthy tidings – the debut edition of The Titusville Morning Herald, a four-page broadsheet launched with lofty purpose in the heart of this prosperous oil town. It was Wednesday, June 14, 1865 – just two months to the day that a local oilman, John Wilkes Booth, gunned down President Lincoln.

Mother of All Peace Protests

05.13.2006 | George Zucker | Cultural Affairs | 53 Comments
One of America’s best Mother’s Day cards didn’t come from Hallmark or go to anyone’s mom. But in its own sweet way, it helped end the war in Vietnam and warmed the hearts of millions across the country. This special Mother’s Day greeting was mailed by the bagful in 1967 to President Lyndon B. Johnson. On the face of the simple, black and yellow card was a crude drawing of a sunflower. Between the leaves in a child’s scrawl were the poignant words, War is not healthy for children and other living things.

Hardly A Headline

For a while as an AP reporter in Los Angeles, I started my day chatting up the mother of a man who murdered Bobby Kennedy, tearing a big hole in U.S. history. Most of the world probably missed it last week when Sirhan Sirhan was again turned down for parole. Like a tree that falls unheard in the forest, little note was made of it -- even Sirhan didn't show up for his 13th parole hearing.

Getting It Right

“Hey – Stuckey says Wallace has been shot!”

My mind raced back to the night when an AP reporter phoned the bureau with the stunning report that Robert Kennedy had been shot. Before moving the bulletin, the bureau chief queried the reporter to make sure there was no mistake.

I grabbed the telephone. Now it was my turn to ask the questions.

© 2006 Hanna Mandelbaum

Artful Apes

01.25.2006 | George Zucker | Cultural Affairs, Media Affairs | 5 Comments

Let's set things straight for Shirley Temple Black, whose signature song has long been dissed as a maritime metaphor. Mrs. Black told me many years ago that she rarely meets anyone who knows the "Good Ship Lollipop" was an airplane, not a boat.

And let's stop dumping on "The Ugly American." He was the book's good guy.

Saucy Scene

01.10.2006 | George Zucker | Interviews & First Person | 2 Comments

Don’t look for the film in the dark recesses where video stores hide the adult tapes and DVDs. At the Florida premiere, and in the years since then, millions of moviegoers have missed the saucy scene because it’s on the screen for barely a heart-stopping instant.

Four Near-Death Labor Experiences

09.5.2005 | George Zucker
Hoffa blamed his troubles on the press and after he finished burly truck drivers swarmed about the press table as we got up to leave, blocking our exit and shouting epithets.

The Spoiled Coconuts of Bikini Atoll

07.18.2005 | George Zucker | Interviews & First Person | 2 Comments
The returning Bikinians would inherit the massive concrete bunkers and miles of copper cable – the only visible reminder that the tiny atoll had known the fury of the atom. No relic of their culture remained, save a few scarred tombstones in the village graveyard.

Space Monkeys, Gooney Birds and the Summer of 69

Over eight weeks, my small AP bureau in Honolulu lurched through the world’s top stories — the mysterious demise of Bonny the space monkey, Kennedy’s crash, the return of man’s first moonwalkers, a naval disaster that killed 74 American sailors, and the first U.S. troop withdrawal from Vietnam.

The Day the Martians Came

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Carl Phillips again, at the Wilmut farm in Grovers Mill. This is the most terrifying thing I have ever witnessed. Wait a minute – someone’s crawling, someone or something. I can see the thing’s body. It’s large as a bear, and it glistens like wet leather. The mouth is V-shaped with saliva ripping from its rimless lips. It’s about 20 yards to my right….”

Florida's Forthcoming Gun Fun

06.21.2005 | George Zucker | Cultural Affairs | 3 Comments
The last time Florida passed such a law, restaurant and tavern owners had to put up signs: “No Guns Allowed.” The law worked wonders, though, for my mom's friend Al, who patrolled the condo grounds, stopping every now and then to make hushed reports into his unlit pipe. She remembers: "He was always hearing sounds. He'd wake his wife up and tell her, 'The English are coming!' Then he'd grab his flashlight and gun and go out." It ruined the lake as a make out spot, mom told me.

The Name Game

05.2.2005 | George Zucker | Media Affairs | 3 Comments
At first, it tugged the ego to see Bill Crandall get credit for all my good work. But it was tough cashing a check or explaining to a traffic cop why the name on my driver’s license was different from that on my press cards.