DelcoReviewSummer2017 - 37

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Celebrity attorney F. Lee Bailey waived his standard and substantial speaking fee to address a luncheon meeting.
Baseball Hall of Fame announcer Harry Kalas joined in a
Celebrity Jeopardy program (and later sang the Notre Dame Fight
Song, quietly and unbiddenly, into his microphone).
U.S. Congressman Curt Weldon donned a bellhop's hat and
made a cameo appearance at the Club's renowned Off-White
Christmas musical extravaganza.
Along the way, big city mayors, nationally known journalists
and broadcasters, best-selling authors, newsmakers, and, yes, even
an Indian Chief or two, were among the speakers and guests who
helped form the history of this unique organization.
And yet, the real history has been made by hundreds of reporters, correspondents, photographers, editors, public relations specialists, publishers, writers, and other communicators who have
lived and worked in Delaware County and the surrounding 'hood
for the past 25 years. They are more than 200 strong today - a bit
of a jump from the seven visionaries who met for lunch one summer day in 1979 and said something like: "Hey, kids, let's put on a
club."
One of the first official Press Club meetings at It's About
Thyme featured a belly dancer on the program. (We hear Walter
Cronkite, the first choice of speaker, was stuck in traffic in the
yet-to-be completed Blue Route.) The original seven (a mildly dignified bunch that included editors, correspondents and PR people)
begat seven more typewriter-pounders, and they in turn . . . well,
you get it.
For more than 25 years, the Delaware County Press Club has
hosted hundreds of informative and entertaining luncheon meetings and dozens of professional development seminars for members and the community.
Its legendary fund-raising events have endowed scholarships in
memory of former members at area universities: The Robert Finucane Memorial Scholarship (named after the man everybody
agrees was the presidente des presidentes) at Penn State Delaware
County; the Jack Steck Scholarship at Temple University; and the
Charles Crist Scholarship at Delaware County Community College.
Through contests for high school writers and their student
newspapers, the Club has awarded additional thousands of dollars
to the most talented in its continuing mission to encourage communications as a career choice among young people.
Some of the events that raised the money for the scholarships
and prizes are among the most memorable in Delaware County
history. The Wine on the Brandywine evenings, replete with tasty
cheese and tasty art, take place at the Brandywine River Museum
and Conservancy. The not-quite-annual event attracts the area's
lawmakers, wannabe-lawmakers, journalists, and corporate, education and legal world leaders.
An Off-White Christmas - a live, full-length parody of the
movie, with some original songs - drew 300 people to its one
and only performance at the now gone Log Cabin Inn. Just about
every newspaper, editor and broadcaster in our town got the goodnatured needle in story and song.
This is Your Life, Jack Steck, was a two-and-a-half-hour tribute to that late Philadelphia Pioneer Broadcaster (and the man who
selected Dick Clark to host American Bandstand when it went
national). Dick Clark hosted and local celebrities (Julie DeJohn,
Steck's grandson Danny Bonaduce, Al Alberts of Four Aces

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fame, Grady and Hurst and many Philly broadcast pioneers)
participated, and the 400-seat auditorium was sold out. (And this
is the event for which Walter Annenberg, Jack Steck's former
boss at the old WFIL, threw in a few bucks of support for the
scholarship effort.)
The Great American Picnic, the Juleps at the Mint (drinks
and fancy hats on Kentucky Derby day at the Franklin Mint),
celebrity spelling bees and Jeopardy tournaments, and even a
psychic fair produced laughs, new members, and private charitable dollars.
The Delaware County Press Club is one of the few organizations to welcome journalists and corporate and nonprofit public
relations professionals. It makes for great information exchange,
networking, and encouragement to young people to build communications skills. While we have a website, we retain the
"typewriter" logo to remind us of our roots. Most of us have
moved on to computers (the last holdout actually got e-mail last
year!), and some of us are into digital cameras, instant messaging, and Podcasts.
It's been a fun run, and we're ready for the next 25. To our
own Magnificent Seven (Dorothea Reynolds, Charles Crist, Barbara Ormsby, Janet Shay, Chris Parker, Dr. Margaret Mary Kearney and Joyce Ellis - hope we didn't forget anyone) and the rest
of whom they "begat" over this quarter-century, thanks!
See you in the newsroom.
Thanks to former club President Joe Biscontini for this
brief summary and to Barbara Ormsby for her great memory.

*

Summer 2017

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