Who influenced you? Who can you influence?

TV Land is one of my favourite television channels. I usually take my daily dose of laughter with “Green Acres,” “I Love Lucy,” “Gilligan’s Island,” and “Bewitched.”
That’s what keeps me healthy!
Part of the charm of TV Land is the wonderful retro-commercials the station often plays. Many of their classic slogans are engraved in our memories.
Clairol hair colour: “Does she . . . or doesn’t she?” Charmin toilet tissue: “Don’t squeeze the Charmin!” and Wendy’s: “Where’s the beef?”
But the one that I like best is StarKist tuna’s classic: “Sorry, Charlie.”
First introduced to the public in 1961, Charlie has been StarKist’s spokesman ever since. Charlie is a very smart tuna. To impress the fisherman with his intelligence, he puts on a hat and glasses, sits straight and tall on his back fins, and reads a book.
But he is still rejected. A voice apologizes, “Sorry, Charlie! StarKist doesn’t want tuna with good taste. StarKist wants tuna that tastes good.”
That resonant voice belonged to Danny Dark, who died recently in Los Angeles. For decades, Dark was recognized as the “king” of voice-over.
“Dark’s distinctive voice has been heard in more award-winning commercials than any announcer in broadcast history,” according to the trade paper “Radio & Records.”
His was the voice representing hundreds of products and services, including RCA TV, Keebler Cookies, Budweiser, AT&T, and K-Mart. And it was Dark’s voice that declared in commercials for Raid Ant and Roach Killer, “Raid kills bugs dead.”
“Those were not just anonymous voice-overs, but they are classic lines, a part of pop culture that Danny Dark brought to life with his unique style,” said Joe Cipriano, an announcer for Fox Television.
Cipriano praised the “voice-over king” and called Dark “my mentor.” As Cipriano’s mentor, Dark was only passing on the legacy he received from his mentor—his high school English teacher, Miss Isabelle Ronan.
Dark, whose real name was Daniel Melville Croskery, grew up in Tulsa, Okla. He graduated from Central High School in Tulsa, where he studied with Ronan.
Ronan had a lively interest in her students. She not only taught them literature and grammar, but also exposed them to speech, drama, and radio.
Each year, Ronan arranged for her students to take over the production and performance responsibilities of a 50,000-watt radio station for a day. In addition, her students planned and produced a weekly 30-minute program every Saturday morning.
Under Ronan’s tutelage, many students developed lifelong interests in radio, television, and theater.
Among her famous pupils are A. Leonard Rosenberg, who changed his name to Tony Randall and became famous for his “Odd Couple” character; and Paul Harvey Aurandt, who dropped his last name and built a career as noted radio commentator Paul Harvey.
Ronan was a wonderful mentor who not only tutored her students but also helped wherever she saw need. Although she lived on a meagre teacher’s salary, she often gave small gifts of money or books to help her students pursue their dreams.
No wonder many of Ronan’s students went on to succeed and to pass on her legacy to subsequent generations.
What about you? Think about your mentors and what you owe to them. Then reflect on what you can do now to help pass on the legacy.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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