Bob Moscone … He’s Left the Building …

Reading Time: 2 minutes

A tribute by Don Hallock

Rumor has it that Bob (“The King”) Moscone has passed. The news is – very appropriately – making the GBH rounds. If you’ve already been told, simply chalk that up to Bob’s beloved place in our collective hearts …. then send it on.

Those of us who knew him remember Bob as studio supervisor and lighting director at 84 Mass. Ave., from the station’s inception in 1956 to October 1961, when the entire operation was consumed by fire.  To say he was a ‘handsome and lovable devil’ would be at once an understatement and an expression of well deserved respect.

This was he.  But don’t let the ‘somber look’ fool you.  At this click of the shutter the station we loved had been little more than ashes for under 24 hours….we all felt that way.

In his official capacities Bob administered the building’s entire TV production level: training and scheduling the Boston University broadcasting-student interns and other volunteers (who staffed the entire studio operation from floor managing to camera operation); directing the placement and installation of settings in 2 studios; arranging the storage of scenery and properties; hanging and focusing of lights, as well as operating the lighting console during most shows; and in general, overseeing the cleanliness and serviceability of the production spaces.  From time to time he could even be spotted flipping title cards, operating the rear-screen slide projector, or running the teleprompter.  He was worth his weight….

Bob’s nicknames, “The King,” (so called, reverently, by those same BU interns), and “The Prince of Darkness,” (often lovingly spoken in his immediate presence) expressed the well-earned affection with which he was held by those who worked with and for him. Actually, Bob was liked and respected by just about everyone in the station, partly due to the vital role his job entailed in the operation of the TV facility, but just as much because of his aura of easy-going but committed capabilities – and that’s not to overlook a certain ‘bad-boy nobility,’ which surrounded him always.

If something needed to be arranged, Bob could almost always – one way or another – make it happen.

Oddly, handling all that responsibility, ‘The King’ never had an office.  His center of operations – when one could find it all (somewhere in a dark corner of studio-A) – consisted of a bedraggled office chair, and a badly beaten-up wooden desk on wheels.

You’ll be fondly remembered by your ‘family,’ Bob.  Travel well….

“And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”

You can find Bob’s obituary here: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/name/robert-moscone-obituary?id=53485299

8 Comments

  1. Lo Hartnett on January 12, 2024 at 3:10 pm

    Thanks Fred. Wonderful story and tribute.

  2. Fred Barzyk on January 11, 2024 at 4:31 pm

    A PROCLAMATION

    And so it came to pass, that in the year 1957, 12 peasants arrived in the old grand town of Boston. These common people had been chosen from the population at large as recipients of a grand prize known worldwide as the BU Scholar Fund. On arrival, the scholars soon found abode.

    I, Fred of Barzyk roomed with Tom of McGrath. We rented a dark and smelly hovel hidden in the alley of the Rats. Early on the first morning, we were awoken by two men crawling into our apartment thru a window they had forced open. The first man was last year’s BU Scholar, Bill of Heitz.

    He was a friend of ours and he introduced us to this companion.

    It was a smiling and gentle man named Dr. Murray Yeager, an academic from the great knowledge citadel, Boston University.

    Tom and I, in our sleepwear, were greatly impressed this person had come to welcome us. I mean, this man was in charge of the BU Scholar Fund! We knew immediately this was going to be an amazing year.

    After a gathering at the University, we were instructed to go to the small hamlet of Cambridge and to begin our servitude.

    Yes, servitude, for the grand prize required us to serve 3 days of work each week at the kingdom of WGBH.

    That afternoon, we huddled outside a nondescript building. There was a drugstore to our right and a record store to our left. And there, in the middle, a simple door that led to the TV station.

    We climbed the creaky stairs to the second floor. We were greeted by gentle lady Rose of Buresh. She told us to wait in the studio and that the King would soon be there. The King?

    For many of us, stepping into a real TV studio was awe inspiring. Cameras, a grid with lights, a boom, and a small TV camera crane. And then without fanfare, he arrived.

    It was the KING (Bob Moscone) ruler of this grand TV studio and the person who would control our lives for a year. He had dark hair, piercing eyes and a gentle smile. He walked with grace and determination. (It was rumored he was an exceptional dancer and had actually taught at the Arthur of Murray Dance Studio!)

    He greeted us and then introduced his liege, Kenneth of Anderson. The King explained to us that after our instructions on how to function in his studio, he expected us to function at a high level of proficiency.

    He instructed Kenneth of Anderson to demonstrate how to focus a light on the grid. Kenneth grabbed an enormous ladder, swung it up to the grid. The ladder clanked onto the metal grid.

    Then Kenneth climbed the ladder as if a monkey. He adjusted the light and then began his descent. We gasped as he removed his feet from the rings of the ladder, held on to the outer part of the ladder and flew down as if a fireman sliding down a fire pole. We didn’t know if we should applaud or cringe in fear. The King smiled and assured us he was just kidding. The King had a sense of humor.

    The rest of the royal court soon arrived. First was Gene of Nichols, known as the court jester. His job was a producer director. And then she entered. A beautiful woman with a gracious smile and the warmth of a true Southern woman. This was Jean of Brady. She too was a producer/director and an administrator. She and the King had a romantic relationship and we soon knew to call her The Queen.

    The Royal Court had a great celebration at the Marriage of the King and Queen. They flourished and had a boy child, Prince Chris. And then the black clouds gathered and the royal marriage was no longer. The King and Queen left the Kingdom of WGBH and searched for new adventures.

    Years passed and little information made it back to the kingdom.

    And then sadness settled on the land. It was announced that the King, the great Bob Moscone, had passed.

    I, with the power invested in me, wish to make one last proclamation.

    LONG LIVE THE KING!!!!!!

    • jack gill on January 12, 2024 at 5:17 pm

      sir fred, ye speak with great words and even greater emotional sauce. surely the king has heard you and waits patiently for your entry into the heavenly version of studio a. me thinks it is clear that when such as you opens thy mouth that great uterances come forth to us all. hale fred of gbh1
      jack gill

  3. Alex Pirie on December 22, 2023 at 8:43 pm

    One more memory bubbling up – Rolando Lastres, crew member for a while, a former film worker in Cuba (Old Man and the Sea), Rolando, shifting from Jefe, called everyone “Boss.” With one exception – Bob Moscone was “SuperBoss.”

  4. Dan Beach on December 15, 2023 at 1:36 pm

    I still coil the garden hose the way Bob insisted that camera cables had to be stored. Alex’s vision of his shooting his cuffs, goes along with the ever-present comb. He could do everything, and made sure that those of us in the crew could do it as well. He falls into the “one of the most unforgettable characters” category. Loved seeing him at a reunion. Thanks, Bob Moscone.

    • Alex Pirie on December 15, 2023 at 2:52 pm

      OMG(arden hose). Yes, and until now hadn’t realized it. Thanks indeed (literally) Bob Moscone, and for the reminder, Dan.

  5. Alex Pirie on December 10, 2023 at 8:21 pm

    Practical, immaculate (I’ll never forget his shooting his cuffs as he settled into a talk), and, yes, for the newbies, a little scary. And utterly calm and confident. Just what the frenzy and tight quarters at the MOS required!

  6. John Kerr on December 9, 2023 at 10:27 pm

    I so remember the index cards that Bob Moscone kept in his shirt pocket to keep us WGBH/BU Scholars organized and our crew assignments clear — his “office”. When our work went well, he’d give us his big smile and say thanks.
    Now it’s my turn to say thanks to him…
    Thank you, Bob Moscone. You made what we all did at WGBH better.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.