Murphy Martin of Channel 8 was a great influence, brings back memories of summers in Dallas.
It wasn’t that long ago that I had the distinct privilege to speak at length on the phone with Murphy Martin, a gentleman and journalistic professional who played a small yet significant role in my life. It was Murphy’s demeanor, professionalism and delivery that impressed a young boy growing up in Mexia, Texas as I watch him deliver news on WFAA-TV, Channel 8 in Dallas. Not long after in a rare moment I attended a Cowboy’s game at Texas Stadium. Imagine the thrill of hearing Murphy’s booming voice on the P.A. system as he introduced a Texas Stadium game day tradition: “Tommy Loy with…our National Anthem.” Tommy Loy played trumpet at every home game.
Murphy Martin passed away over the 4th of July holiday weekend after a courageous battle with heart disease. The content of our conversation isn’t all that important. It was his engaging persona that somehow made me feel like he was more honored that I would take time to talk to him, than I was in speaking with one of my broadcast idols! True legends act like that.
Many legends don’t measure up to expectation. Murphy Martin did to me. Perhaps it was one of the few things we share in common – both being raised in small towns. Murphy was a native of Groveton, Texas in the eastern part of the state.
Thanks to friends Dave and Mary Lou Behne for making these conversations possible. The older I get the more I appreciate people who impacted me in one way or the other. Murphy Martin brings back some great “growing up” memories like vacations at Aunt Mary’s in Dallas off Bluffview Blvd., the excitement I still have to this day of watching planes land, a little-kid thrill developed watching Braniff jets at Lovefield, learning to appreciate a new product at 7-11 just down the street called “The Slurpee,” and watching WFAA-TV News when most kids were doing other things with their summer time.
I didn’t know then how 35 or so years later, watching Murphy Martin and Verne Lundquist (on sports) would help set a career path. But the older I get I find out how little I really knew then, or how little I knew at 16, or at 25, or at 35 or – OK – even now. We learn everyday, and in the next blog, I’ll share notes, e-mails and communications with viewers. We learn from the harsh and appreciate the positives. There is a bit of “National Enquirer” in all of us who hopes to see the harsh. You’ll get your wish. Painful though it may be, know that we respond, react, and will continue to improve by learning to HEAR what viewers have to say.
May we accept input with class and respond appropriately, and remain humble in accepting compliments. Murphy Martin set an example. His memory can live in some small way by continuing those qualities he exhibited to his audience at WFAA and to 9-year old kid.
What young person might we be impacting with our actions right now? It could be someone you would never suspect. Maybe a 9-year old.