Dick McGarvin writes from Los Angeles:
I’ve been catching up on stuff, including a backlog of Rifftides (high tide?), which brings me to…
I’m not sure why, but your letter to Gene Lees about Willis Conover touched me even more than when I first read it in the Jazzletter. Maybe it’s because of reading TAKE FIVE and knowing more now about that great 1969 New Orleans Jazz Festival and your relationship with Willis. (By coincidence, I just recently was playing the Gary McFarland album PROFILES on which Willis Conover makes the introduction.) Ironic and sad that one of the most important broadcast figures in this country’s history is one of the least known.
This slightly belated response to your item about Willis Conover was also prompted by the news that, yesterday, as I’m sure you know, this year’s Presidential Medal of Freedom awards were presented. There were fourteen recipients, including Alan Greenspan, Muhammad Ali, General Richard Myers, Aretha Franklin, Frank Robinson, Andy Griffith, Carol Burnett and Paul Harvey.
I agree that Willis Conover should have been on that list years ago and, if there is ever a petition to have him awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously, I would like to add my name.
P.S. – All this got me to wondering if Edward R. Murrow (another recent Rifftides
subject) ever received the honor, so I checked. He did. In 1964.