I can’t imagine Channel 5 without Stan Chambers. That’s like New York without Times Square, Paris without the Eiffel Tower, the post office without lines. For 63 years Stan has reported the news on KTLA. In his mild-mannered way, Stan has been on the scene for every major local story. Imagine Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood during a riot, brush fire, or earthquake.
The good news is that Stan, at 87, is still in relatively good health. This was his decision. It’s not like he was fired to make room for some young 75 year-old reporter. I’m sure he’d like to travel. I doubt if he’s ever seen an oil spill or tsunami.
But it just won’t be the same watching Channel 5. In 1949 (before I was born, by the way. Television is actually older than I am), a three-year-old girl tragically fell down a well shaft and Stan stayed on the air for 27 hours ad libbing and describing rescue efforts. Let’s see Bianna Golodryga do that.
He’s really the last link to a time in journalism when facts were important and objectivity was valued. He saw his job as providing information not turning you against a political party.
And he was ours. He never left us to go national. Los Angeles was his home, Los Angeles was his beat. I can’t begin to count the number of news anchors and reporters who came and went from the LA airways during Stan’s tenure. Carpetbaggers looking to climb that next rung. A constant parade of Ted Baxters, future game show hosts, former models and Miss Americas (yes you, Tawny Little). And through it all, there was Stan – pronouncing street names correctly, tapping into personal fire department and city hall sources he’s known for fifty years. Let’s see Jillian Reynolds do that.
A couple of times over the past year I’ve anchored KABC radio’s disaster coverage on major brush fires and storms. I once quipped on the air that if you hear my voice and it’s not Dodger baseball people are evacuating their homes. But my role model was Stan Chambers. I kept thinking “How would Stan handle this?” Of course I wasn’t Stan. No one was. But that’s okay because for 63 years we Angelinos were blessed to have the real Stan.
Have a great retirement. As far as all of us in Los Angeles are concerned, that old expression is wrong.
We LOVE the messenger!