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Don Blair (former WCBS anchor-reporter) 7/2/05

My two-year tenure at NewsRadio 88 was supported by week-end anchoring and several days of outside reporting during the week as determined by the various desk producers such as Ted Feury, Lou Freizer and others. One day as I sat around the newsroom looking and hoping for some way to make a buck that day, Lou called me over to his desk and assigned me to head up to the Central Park Zoo where a very pregnant lady ape (gorilla) was due any minute. Naturally I was thrilled and honored to be given such a coveted, hot news assignment and I fairly flew out of the building. Well, maybe not flew, but I did walk rather fast. Off we went to the zoo and it didn't take long to locate the site of the blessed ape event.

There was this zoo attendant who looked and sounded like a cross between comedian Charley Callas and the cross-dressing company clerk on MASH...big nose and all. Seems the great event had just taken place and the new momma was out of sight and being attended to by the zoo veterinary team. Her offspring was also acting frisky and glad to be in Manhattan rather than some less desirable spot in Central Africa. But I'll never forget how my zoo attendant friend described the "happening." While still in her spacious cage, Momma began to make a few grunting sounds, which alerted all the concerned employees that the moment had arrived. "Then, " he said, barely concealing his excitement over being an eye-witness, "she squatted, grunted a few times and the baby popped out." At this point, with my trusty Sony tape recorder capturing his every breathless word, he summed it up by telling me and my Sony, "It was a great day for all zookeepers (with zookeeper sounding more like zoo-keep-uhs...very Bronxy). I could easily imagine zookeepers the world over popping the champagne at that moment. I could barely contain my own excitement but managed to get back to Black Rock, write some wraps, edit the key phrases of my "actuality" and place them on Lou's desk where they would doubtlessly be heard by the multitudes for the next 24 hours at least.

You can't make up stuff like this. Don Blair, Venice, Florida

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