You Have My Word On It

May 2, 2011

Back in the 1990’s – before Isuzu cars were pulled from the American market – an ad agency created a TV character called Joe Isuzu to help move the metal –

He was earnest, and affable – a regular guy.  And a pathological liar. A constellation of qualities that made him an extremely popular TV Pitchman.

I was working out of Grant Tinker/Gannett’s USA TODAY on TV national television news broadcast LA Bureau at the height of Joe’s popularity.

And I got one of many dream assignments in what was probably the best TV news gig on the planet.

Fly to Maui – and build a kicker for the Monday broadcast around wacky golf tips at the Isuzu Kapalua Golf Tournament – featuring none other than Joe Isuzu – or rather actor David Leisure – who played Joe on TV.

Bummer. Work all weekend.

In Maui.

Well, someone had to do it.

I flew to Maui with my camera crew (one man/person bands by then – the great videographer Catherine Cummings).

And after arriving and getting settled at that world class resort – I spoke with the press liaison and found out – Joe Isuzu was a no-show. Something about contract negotiations.  He would not be there.  The segment, as intended, was DOA. Those fickle externalities strike again.

Despondent, I called my bureau assignment manager – L.A. TV news veteran Joe Ramirez – and started yammering a million miles an hour – like a Nuyorican – only in English… Joe… what could I do? What should I do? What do you want me to do?  I have no one to build my segment around?

And I will never forget what Joe said…

“Alex, Alex, Alex…  Where are you?  Maui, Hawaii, Right? Relax. Have a Mai Tai.  Have two.  Then call me back.”

Below is the piece we made – complete with my scratch track – that we fed by satellite to Arlington, VA,  Monday morning for air that nite.

I did a lot of talking (begging really)  to get the (obviously) unplanned piece that you see here, complete with wacky golf tips (and real ones) – and featuring PGA great Peter Jacobsen – who actually won the tournament – giving a priceless golf tip to NY Mets pitcher Sid Fernandez!

Sometimes the best laid schemes…

 

 

 

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ed Alpern May 6, 2011

Love it. Did you work for Tom Kirby? Had to be one of El Sid’s best throws.

Viewser May 7, 2011

Thanks, Ed – when the chicken salad comes together out of the ether like that, I would always, jokingly, attribute it to my great planning and pre-production skills.

Yes, I was part of Kirby’s troops – but, I think he was one of 4 EPs I worked under in the short run of that great program. Steve Friedman (of TODAY SHOW fame) started us off… I am sorry not to remember the other 2. After all, I was in the provinces (L.A.) and not toiling on the mother ship.

As for El Sid… a great sport – and a NY MET.

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