Reprinted by permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., from What Makes Business Rock by Bill Roedy. Copyright (c) 2011 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.
Born in the U.S.A.
Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll.Television was the miracle of my childhood. The reality ofmoving images being sent through the air into your home wasbrand-new when I was growing up in Miami, and for me our12v black-and-white TV set was my escape capsule. My family wasstruggling; my father was long gone and money was a problem. I canremember being in a grocery store and wondering if we could afford a17-cent jar of mustard or a loaf of bread for 22 cents. But every night at7 o'clock, my grandmother, my great-aunt, my mother, my sister, and Iwould gather in front of our set and be transported to places wherepeople were happy and having adventures and living exciting lives.Those people on television didn't struggle to pay the mortgage, orscream at each other, or have to meet an endless series of potentialstepfathers. Television was our only respite, and one of the few times Iremember hearing laughter in our home. At 10 o'clock, much too late, my mother and I would sit togetherand do my homework--with the TV on in the background. The TVwas always on; it brought the whole world into my life. Even as a child Irealized that television was magical. As I got older, to please my mother,each week I would memorize the entire TV Guide, and my motherwould proudly have me recite the primetime schedule for her friends.Maybe other kids could recite the preamble to the Constitution of theUnited States, but I could tell you what time and on what channel HaveGun--Will Travel was on. I loved television. I loved everything about it, and my dream was towork in that industry one day. Even at that age I understood the powerof television. It was the ultimate shared experience. Everyone I knewwatched TV, and most of us watched the same programs. In school,whatever show was on the night before was almost always a subject ofconversation. I listened to the way the people I knew talked abouttelevision and I saw how it affected their thinking. It made an impact onme. Television was important to everyone I knew. I figured that if I waswatching, so was everyone else--and television could be my way toconnect with those people. If I could work in television, I believed,I would have the ability to influence huge numbers of people. AndI might even get to meet the star of Have Gun--Will Travel, RichardBoone!
--John Lack, August 1, 1981