Monday, January 29, 2007

Our Land Is a Bit Less Delmarvalous Today

Scorchy Tawes has died. He was 86.

For years, Scorchy was a local television personality; the kind you are proud to have on your set.

He produced and narrated human interest and nature stories for WBOC television, out of Salisbury. His stories were folksy and sappy. He focused on the small joys of small town life. And on the grand beauty of the Delmarva Peninsula. He talked about "wandering this delmarvalous land of ours."

When he retired they tried to replace him, but the new guy, though competent, just wasn't Scorchy.

Scorchy did a story on the Lovely Karen once. It was back when she was working as a music therapist at Stockley Center. She had a bell choir of made up of some of her clients and Scorchy came in to film them playing Christmas carols. It was sweet.

There's irony in the timing of Scorchy's death. He'll be upstaged in the news cycle by the death of Barbaro. But he would have been all over that story; it's just the sort of story that he loved.

Rest in Peace Scorchy Tawes. You helped define life in Southern Delaware and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.


Bill Sammons said...

Hi Mike- I had the pleasure of working with Scorchy at WBOC from 1979 to 1983. I was just a street reporter, 22 years old, with no video experience...but Scorchy let me shoot for him and taught me how to frame a shot, how to get close ups on hands and eyes to really 'see' the person, and how to put people at ease when interviewing them. He even took me flounder fishing for the first time in my life, and when I caught the largest flounder that day he showed it on his fishing report and ad-libbed that I spent the first hour looking for the trigger on my fishing rod. He had a way with words, with a camera and with people. He will not be replaced. I had the privilege of producing a documentary on Scorchy (for Discover Delmarva - WBOC) a few years ago...and I got to spend a couple of days riding around and talking to Scorchy again. He walked slower and his voice was raspy, but his mind was as sharp as a tack. We talked about his career and his family and his legacy, and only after begging did he let me shoot some of his awards. That's when I noticed he had an Emmy! He practically begged me not to show it on the documentary because he didn't want to people to think he was too big for his britches. Scorchy -- thanks for the lessons on life and shooting video. I'll miss you.

Mike Mahaffie said...

Well put, Bill. I remember that you worked there, way back when. Scorchy was slower, and lower, but classier, wasn't he?

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