Saturday, August 17, 2013

Walter Mitty dream jobs

OK, let's get one thing straight:

I've got the best job in the world.

Sure, the pay isn't great, the hours are long, you hear more complaints than applause, and when you screw up 100,000 people can potentially see it.

But that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I tell tales for a living. Doesn't get much better than that.

Still, I have my Walter Mitty moments. So, here are a list of jobs I sometimes dream about on cloudy days.

Being Rob Petrie -- I don't want to be just any ol' comedy writer for a TV show. I want to be Rob Petrie from "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Let's face it: He sits around all day thinking up jokes with Rose Marie and Morrie Amsterdam. Every now and then they get to make fun of bald guy Mel. They work for Carl Reiner's Alan Brady. At night, Rob goes home to Mary Tyler Moore circa the 1960s Capri pants era. (OK, we'll forget that he also trips over the ottoman -- sometimes! -- and for some strange reason has to sleep in a single bed next to Mary's.) His neighbor is Jerry Paris. What a life!

Being Jack Benny -- I'm a big radio guy and missed out on its Golden Age. Thank God I can listen to endless hours of Benny's classic comedy. Picture perfect timing, classic routines, the self-confidence to make yourself the butt of every joke, Jack Benny's show created the sitcom. He was everything his radio/TV character wasn't -- warm, generous, even talented on the violin. I would have loved to have had a radio show like Jack's, Sunday nights at 7. LSMFT!

Being Harry O/Magnum, p.i./Jim Rockford -- Yes, I would like to be any member of this trio of TV detectives. Oh, I know it's a fantasy. The work is hard, tedious, dangerous. But, I'll take a beachfront cottage in San Diego (Orwell), a guest house in Hawaii (Magnum) or even a seedy trailer by the highway in Los Angeles (Rockford). Shows about quirky detectives have given way to a saturation of rote procedurals. It's such a shame.

Being Jonathan Schwartz -- He's been a fixture on New York radio for decades. Jon Schwartz is one classy cat. Saturdays and Sundays on WNYC, he spins everything from Sinatra to the latest showtune singer. He used to be a cabaret singer himself. His dad was a famous composer. He lives in Manhattan. He likes baseball. He writes books. Yes, sir. Yes, indeed.

Being Robert Osborne -- Need I explain it? Although he's finally slowing down, Osborne has been the host of TCM since its inception. He waxes poetic about classic cinema. And he does it with class, confidence and cogent comments. Roll the next clip!

Being Vin Scully -- Oh, that sounds too pretentious, but I'd love to be a radio/TV play-by-play announcer for a major league baseball club. The national pastime is tailor made for radio really, and Vinny and the late Ernie Harwell and a couple of others are the cream of the crop. They knew what to say, they knew when to shut up and they did it (and in Vin's case is still doing it) with class and competence.

Having said all this, being Jake Mabe is pretty darn good.

But I can dream, can't I? (To coin a phrase.)

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