My TRAFCO job led me to the Los Angeles Council of Churches Radio and Television Committee. Because I always was, and still am, an idea man, I had many creative suggestions. I quickly got deeply involved. It wasnít long before they voted me chairman. When I found that there was some dissension in the group, I quickly backed out of that job.
"Iím sorry, but I canít get involved in your problems here. Besides, I really have too many responsibilities at USC and TRAFCO to take on another time-consuming job," I told them.
The governing committee tried hard to convince me to continue as chairman, but I was firm in my decision.
I did have some interesting experiences while on the Los Angeles Council of Churches Radio and Television Committee. These were connected with the National TRAFCO program called "Talk Back."
The format for the "Talk Back" series was simple. Short episodes depicting some controversial situation with religion overtones would be depicted. The situation would be left unresolved. These short films would be sent around the country to TV stations. In each case a local committee or the station would be responsible to get a panel of "experts" to follow the film clip with a live discussion on the air. In Los Angeles, the LA Council of Churches Radio and Television Committee sponsored the "Talk Back" programs.
On one occasion I was asked to take charge of the warm-up session for the panel before the show was aired. The panel was allowed to screen the film ahead of time so they could be prepared to discuss the situation and its religious significance on the air.
Imagine my thrill when I was told Dale Evans would be the special guest on the panel that day. For years, back in Kansas, I had seen Roy and Dale in motion pictures, and after we came to California, their TV show had been one of our favorites. As yet I hadnít met any film or TV celebrities since coming to Hollywood "country," so it was natural for me to be excited about meeting Dale Evans.
When we met the morning of the show, I discovered that Dale Evans was very friendly and just acted as if she were no more important than any of the other panel members. Nevertheless, to "star-struck" me, the experience was one I have always remembered with pleasure.
Another time when I was in charge of the panel for the "Talk Back" show, I had a different kind of surprise. The special guest didnít show up and I had to fill in. Imagine me as a "special" guest on a TV show! I was very nervous about the prospect. I guess I did OK, but I have no memory of just what I said or what the theme was for that day.
Because of my TRAFCO work for the Methodist Church, and my duties on the Los Angeles Council of Churches Radio and Television Committee, I also got involved in the Los Angeles Religious Public Relations Council. I kept a membership in that organization for a member of years, even after I moved to Washington, DC. During those years I had some good times and met some very nice people. I canít really say that the group was very action oriented, but they did have interesting discussions and speakers at the monthly meetings.
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