Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I Regret Not Meeting Kup!

Regrets, I've had a few, but then again, too few to mention...except, I AM going to mention them, or this would be my shortest column ever.

This past weekend marked the tenth anniversary of the passing of Irv Kupcinet.  Everyone knows that he played for the Philadelphia Eagles football team in 1935, but did you know that he was also a journalist that covered the biggest names in showbiz?

Irv Kupcinet in 1989
Kup covered Chicago gossip for 60 years, practically with the same newspaper, (as he began in 1943 with The Daily Times, which then in 1948 merged with The Chicago Sun, becoming The Sun-Times).  His daily column was called, Kup's Column.

Besides his newspaper column, for 27 years, Kup hosted a long-running television show, called Kup's Show.  (Yeah, he was pretty simple and direct).  However, his unique show often combined national celebrities with local personalities. It was also different, since it didn't end until he was done.  Kup had the freedom to do an hour, two hours, four hours, whatever he felt, depending on if he felt that the conversation was still interesting to continue.

During the early days of my old TV show, we contacted his office to book him on the show.  Stella Foster, his long-time assistant, (and at that time an uncredited writer for his column), told us that he was unable to appear, as he was wheelchair bound and couldn't get around all that well.  She also seemed very annoyed that we even asked.  Maybe we got her at an off moment.  We were always friendly and willing to accommodate others, and would have done whatever we could to chat with Kup, but we decided to not pursue this any further after that conversation.

Me reading Kup's Column, circa 12:45:32 PM, today-ish. 
I would have very much liked to have had a chance to speak with Kup, to listen to his stories, to be with a guy who really loved what he did.  Kup is on my list of people I would have liked to have interviewed.

Robert Feder once told me, regarding my own show, that I had "a parade of stars on each week" - but I could not compare with the actual list of stars that Kup would be joined by.  (Not that he or anyone was making that comparison.  I am just trying to illustrate, to at the very least, humble myself, how I am not even close to being in the same league as Kup.)

I am proud of the guests I had on, but I am nothing compared to Kup!
Kup had made Booth One at the old Pump Room, practically his office.  Major stars would share his booth, like Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, and Lauren Bacall, as explained in The Lost World of KUP.

Years later, I welcomed my friend and entertainment lawyer, Jay B. Ross, onto my own show.  He had his own show many years prior to mine, where he interviewed many big name guests.  So when he joined my show, he came with some great old interviews that we were honored to feature on my show.  When Kup died, we aired a snippet of Jay's interview with the great legend himself.  This was the closest I was ever going to get to Kup.

Well, I did have Kup's granddaughter, Kari, on as a guest many times.  She was always very nice and a great guest.  She would come on to promote the store that she started, G boutique.  A store where, (as their website says), women could feel comfortable shopping for fabulous lingerie, sex toys, books and dvds screened for female clientele, massage oils, lubes, whips, cuffs and more.

I'm guessing that my conversation with Kup, would not have included any of those things.  

Tony Lossano, Broadcast Producer (TV & Radio, Chicago), amateur bicyclist, a fantastic dog walker, and has never been married to Alyssa Milano.

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