The Last Stage Manager Standing:
From Behind the Camera Lens, A TV Vet Tells All
Editor’s Note: Television is one of the most significant inventions of our lifetime. It’s an integral part of most people’s daily routines. From the morning news to soap operas, children’s shows to live sporting events, prime time dramas and comedies to late night talk shows, the TV is always on, shaping our culture–for better or worse.
But what goes on behind the camera? Daniel Morgan spent more than half a century as a stage manager in New York City, working on both a local and national level for ABC, CBS, PBS and others. Stage-managing is one of the unsung jobs in the business, yet stage managers are essential to the complicated, fast-paced and stressful process of live television.
In his just-published memoir, Last Stage Manager Standing, Morgan shares hundreds of anecdotes, detailing all the drama and shenanigans from the shadows of the sets he worked on—the indecisions of producers, the egos of on-air talent, and the inner workings of the television industry.
In these exclusive excerpts Morgan shares with The Reporters Inc., he isn’t afraid to name names or pull punches in his first-person account. From Diane Sawyer to Bill O’Reilly to Martha Stewart, he paints the stars he’s worked with as regular people, warts and all.
Excerpts from the Introduction, written by Connie Chung
I have always had great admiration for those who work on the technical side of the news business—those behind the camera. They aren’t as overbearingly self-absorbed and egotistical as my esteemed colleagues in front of the camera!
In the studio, my lifeline was always the stage manager—the only live human being an anchor can vividly see in the studio. It is the stage manager who shouts “Quiet on the Set!” and “Standby!” and then motions me to begin (more…)
One Last Round
You Can Never Say Goodbye
BY JERRY HUFFMAN
Editor’s Note: 48-year-old Mike Johnson died in July of 2010 after nearly 20 years fighting AIDS. The Milton, Wisconsin native contracted the virus through heterosexual, unprotected sex in the early ‘90s. He then spent more than a decade traveling the country, educating thousands of high school and college students about the risks and dangers of HIV transmission.
In 2005, AIDS began taking a serious toll on Mike. His health was slipping and, while he would live another five years, his friend and golfing buddy Jerry Huffman thought it was important for Mike to know just how much he meant to him—to tell him while he was alive, as opposed to saving his thoughts for a eulogy.
July marks the five-year anniversary of Mike’s death and Jerry has chosen to share what he told Mike, with readers of The Reporters Inc. It’s his way of reminding all of us about the fight thousands of AIDS patients around the world continue to face every day.
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Mike, is this really happening? Since the day we met I knew you would die someday. The good part about defining something as “someday”, though, is that it never really comes.
There was always a way to put it off. Your blood counts would go south and the doctors would patch you up. We would deal (more…)