Anybody that lived in New England in the 70s and 80s knew who he was.
As the Boston Globe said, he was a reporter back when reporters were revered as celebrities. And that’s just what he and his former wife, Natalie Jacobson, were: celebrities. Chet Curtis was the face of WCVB TV Channel 5 in Boston and long before the movie parody, he was everybody’s favorite anchorman.
I was sad to learn he lost his battle with pancreatic cancer last week. Social media has been flooded with stories, photos and vintage newsclips paying homage to this legendary newsman, so I won’t regurgitate them all. But I will say there’s a lovely photo spread that Channel 5 ran last week.
My memories are probably similar to everyone else’s. His face lit up our TV every night. There weren’t a gazillion channels to choose from like there are today. But even if there had been, we still would have chosen to watch Chet and Natalie. In fact, I can’t recall any of the anchors from the other two stations.
But my fondest memory of Chet Curtis was long before I ever appreciated his journalistic talents.
I was four years old and participating in the local taping of the national kids show, “Romper Room”, which was done at the channel 5 studios in Needham. In between tapings, I wandered down the halls. (not sure how well we were supervised!) I made my way through some double doors and was greeted by Chet Curtis. It was close to airtime for the noon news. To my credit, I remember saying, “Hey, I know you!”
He couldn’t have been nicer as he quickly whisked me back to where I should have been. I don’t remember much else but I do remember thinking it was cool that someone from inside my TV was real.
And he was real.
And he’ll be missed.