On September 15, 2009 radio hall of fame writer-director-producer Norman Corwin held an audience of approximately 100 admirers spellbound at the book signing of his latest–a manuscript written 60 years ago and tossed in a drawer! It’s called “Norman Corwin’s One World Flight: The Lost Journal of Radio’s Greatest Writer.” Many notables were in attendance, including Ray Bradbury, Leonard Maltin, Eva Marie Saint (who performed a book reading with her husband), Richard Dysart and Janet Waldo (voice of Judy Jetson and star of the radio series “Corliss Archer”).
I, too, was in the audience and very happy to see the mass of humanity crowding around the table where the living legend sat. The applause that greeted him was long, loud and warm. Norman took it all in, a smile on his lips and a twinkle in his eyes. He gave credit to the book’s editors Michael C. Keith and Mary Ann Watson, who were also in attendance. For nearly two hours people waited for their chance to get an autographed copy of the book and perhaps have their picture taken with him.
I was lucky. I did not have to press forward to reach Norman. My autographed copy was back at his residence and I would stop by several days later to receive it while visiting Norman, chatting and drinking some tea. I felt so blessed that I could consider myself a personal friend of Norman Corwin and I enjoyed every moment of his rock-star-like status at the Westside Pavilion Barnes & Noble.
As an artist I feel too often that I have not accomplished the things that I’ve dreamed of and fear the onslaught of time racing to overtake me. I constantly press forward and struggle to attain the lofty goals set inside my head. And yet there is wisdom in stopping for a moment and taking a look around. Here I was, a boy from Shamokin, PA, at an event for a great man and personal hero. Even more amazing, I was now a friend of this man. To my right was the always gracious Leonard Maltin standing unintentionally by a rack of his own books. I smiled. The my left was Janet Waldo. She was quietly being introduced to a little girl as the voice of Judy Jetson. When Janet spoke (Judy Jetson is her natural voice) the little girl smiled and her jaw dropped a bit in awe. I smiled some more.
I inhaled the air of Barnes & Noble deeply. For in this moment in time, I felt more successful than I had ever felt before.
I’m just saying…