Club members met with former KYW and NBC reporter Carl Stern on June 16, 2011, at the National Press Club. Carl grew up in New York but moved to Cleveland in 1959 and until 1967 worked in radio and television there while at the same time taking law courses at both Case Western Reserve and Cleveland Marshall schools of law.
Carl regaled the Club with memories of Cleveland in the 1960s. He recalled such a cold spell during one winter that he and his wife, who worked at the Cleveland Public Library, moved into a hotel for three weeks rather than drive back and forth to an apartment east of Fairhill Boulevard. He told of interviewing the pilot who flew the first jet aircraft into HopkinsAirport and of being on the air wearing spectacles with no lenses so that he could both look scholarly yet show no reflection from the glasses – at times he would scratch his eyelid through the frame but no one seemed to notice. He recalled factories and the Lake Erie salt mine, and covering the second trial of Sam Shepherd, the one in which F. Lee Bailey won an acquittal for the former doctor. He recalled interviewing Richard Nixon in 1961 while on a visit to Cleveland and during which the future president seemed oddly unsettled by his interviewer.
Carl had gone to lengths for the Club’s lunch; he brought pictures of his television crew from the days in Cleveland, his original press pass (the picture was stapled on), and other mementos.
Cleveland memories filled the bulk of Stern’s presentation, but members also wanted to hear something of his 26 years covering law and politics in Washington. Stern spun lively stories about Watergate’s Saturday Night Massacre, and about Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy, as well as cameos of J. Edgar Hoover, Bill Saxbe, and William O. Douglas. Stern’s memory was delightfully sharp and his penchant for stories profound. His tales and recollections were a delight to all members present.