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09/27/2006: "RIP Ralph Story"

Unlike a lot of people, I don't have a ton of memories from my first decade of life. I don't remember every little aspect of what it was like to be 5 years old, or my first day of school or most of that stuff. But I have a few very strong - and unrelated - memories that stick with me 40 years later.

One of those is of a TV show called "Ralph Story's Los Angeles" - a series of small stories about the history and heritage of Los Angeles done in what today is called the "magazine-style" of television. I remember the intro - an animated rendering of driving through the pass from San Fernando into LA and seeing the lights. It helped fuel a love of the lore of Los Angeles that remains today. He was folksy without dipping down the the "aw shucks" level of his logical successor, Huell Howser, and did stories that made you want to see what came next.

I mention this because yesterday, Ralph Story passed away at the age of 86. Ralph had an amazing history in LA media. He was on KNX in the '50s, before quitting in protest over the number of commercials run - clearly he was a man before his time! From there, he went on to host a little show called "$64,000 Question" where he had a front row seat to the game show scandal (he wasn't part of it). He was also part of KNXT's landmark "Big News", the Jerry Dumphy-led broadcast that set a standard for local news coverage that's still in use today - although I'm sure he'd be embarassed by "Eyewitless News" and some of the current iterations.

He'd been in poor health and out of the public eye for many years, but his legacy lives on in the memory of folks like me. It's one of those unfortunate reminders that time marches on, and things will never be like they used to be ... sad

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