Herb Shaindlin handed my friend Bob Martin a small cardboard match from one of those flip-up match packs you carry in your pocket.
Then Herb told Bob to hold the match upside down with the match head facing the floor. Then he asked Bob to peel the cardboard stem apart and to hold each side between his thumb and fore finger on each hand like he was holding a tiny set of handle bars.
Now Herb asked Bob to clear his throat three times.
As Bob proceeded to do just that, he sounded a little faint and pathetic, and he was having a hard time keeping a straight face.
After Bob cleared his throat for the third time, Herb asked “What's the matter? Are you having trouble starting your Honda motor scooter?” Bob and I laughed at Herb's joke. And that was our introduction to Herb Shaindlin.
It was Saturday morning and Bob Martin and I had been standing in the studio of KTVA channel 11 in the McKinley Building in downtown Anchorage, Alaska. It was 1965, and we were both high school students who were working on KTVA's teen dance program, “The Varsity Show” which was hosted by Ron Moore at that time. Herb had been in the KTVA studio doing a public service program.
Following graduation, I began working full time at KTVA. I was assigned to work as a camera operator on a weekly 30-minute public service show called “Your Army Neighbor”, hosted by Herb Shaindlin, who was serving in the Army at that time. Herb was also working part-time doing the news for KFQD radio.
Some years later, I wrote and directed a short movie called “Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me”. Even as I was writing the screenplay, I had envisioned Herb Shaindlin as the villain, “Dr. Rodent”. He just had that look.
Happily, when I asked Herb if he would play the part in my movie, he said, “I'd love to.”
While working on the movie with Herb, he was a total professional. He knew his lines, offered suggestions, and had a lot of fun with his part.
Check out this fun movie trailer for
“Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me”
During the wrap party for the movie, I sat down with Herb, and we talked for about an hour. During that time, I got to know a very interesting Herb.
I learned that Herb Shaindlin had been a film editor on the 1956–1957 NBC TV series “Tales of the Bengal Lancers” a series I had watched and enjoyed with my family when I was a boy.
If you were in Anchorage when KHAR-TV (later KIMO and now KYUR) first signed on, you may remember that they ran monster movies on weekends. Those were hosted by a man in a Frankenstein monster mask. Occasionally, the host wore a black cap outfit. He also wore that costume in “Double-Oh-Marcus; The Spy Who Flubbed Me”.
Yes, the monster movie host was Herb Shaindlin… And he was having a blast.
Herb did so much in front of the camera, or behind a microphone in Anchorage. And we all have our own favorite memories of him.
One of mine was when Herb gave some stern, professional advice to a young videographer. I was standing there next to Herb at the time and when the young man walked away, Herb turned to me and asked “was I too hard on him?” My answer was “no Herb, he'll thank you later.”
Once, when I was directing a telethon to help raise money for Hope Cottage on KTVA, Herb came over from KIMO to do his bit. At the end of his presentation, Herb said, “isn't it about time to identify the station?” and with that, Herb spun around, and there on the back of his shirt was written the following: “KIMO Channel 13”.
Herb could hear me screaming in the KTVA control room. On his way out, Herb opened the door to the control room, stuck his head in and said, “got ya!”
We both had a good laugh.
Herb could always make me laugh, and he was always professional.
That's the Herb Shaindlin I remember.
What are your favorite memories of Anchorage's Herb Shaindlin?
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