With the passing of the legendary broadcaster, I was reminded of the privilege of my one personal meeting with him. I had been working with Billy Graham (Paul Harvey's same age, 90, by the way) on his memoir, and Mr. Graham was reminiscing about the 1957 Times Square event. There at the conclusion of his several weeks of preaching at Madison Square Garden, hundreds of thousands jammed the streets for a final meeting.
I said, "I would love to get his memories of that."
Well, I've worked with a lot of famous people, yet I remain amazed at their ability to get other famous people to take their calls. Mr. Graham asked his secretary if she could get Paul Harvey on the phone, and a few minutes later the two were talking. Mr. Graham asked if I could visit and interview Mr. Harvey.
A few weeks later I reached the top floor of a Chicago office building that Paul Harvey News occupied in its entirety. I was struck by the ceremonial keys to cities and honorary doctorates that lined every hallway. It was from him I stole the line, "If I get one more honorary doctorate, I'm going to start seeing patients." (If I'm not mistaken, Paul Harvey received more of these than anyone else in history.)
As he scurried about collecting news bits off the teletype wires and writing his own newscast, he wore a blue smock, like doctors wear. When it was time to do his newscast live from his own studio, he removed the smock and put his suitcoat on over his shirt and tie. "You dress up for work," he said. "Shouldn't I?"
He allowed me to sit right next to him as he waited for his cue, suddenly exercising his voice by breaking into a loud, "Mee may mah mow moo!"
He hummed and coughed and cleared his throat, and when he got the signal from behind the glass, he shouted so loudly that I nearly jumped out of my chair.
"Hello, Americans! This is Paul Harvey!"
I'll never forget that, nor will I forget the flavor he gave the Times Square anecdote for Mr. Graham's Just As I Am.
The two giants were friends, and Paul Harvey was an outspoken believer in Christ. So we know where he is now.