Take a look at my old, old, old buddy. This is Steve Torbeck.
Steve has a birthday tomorrow, June 14th, 2011. He will become 62! It's his first Social Security birthday and he deserves it.
I got to know Steve back in 1972 (he claims) when he came up from the "minors" in Tucson to join we "professionals" at what was then KTAR-TV in Phoenix. If Steve is correct, I beat him there only by months. I was a reporter/producer, Steve was a photographer. We hooked up and became great friends, probably due to the fact that we both liked to drink and be silly. Lots of adventures ensued.
Steve quit drinking more than a couple of decades ago and it probably saved his life. I haven't and it probably hasn't. But, amazingly, nearly 40 years later, we're both still alive.
Steve went on to become a "one man band" at Channel 12, originating "12 Country", where he not only photographed but reported stories from around Arizona. I can remember arguing with him about doing a "stand-up" in his pieces. He didn't want to, thinking (as many, many other reporters did in those naive days) that it just distracted from his story. I told him those days were gone, he was now a "star" and it was necessary to do it and keep his job. So, he finally agreed.
He left the t.v. station before I did and started his own company, which was known then and today as First Take Video. The name was a kind of in-joke dating back to his days in Tucson, where he earned the nickname Five Take Torbeck.
During my days as a reporter, Steve did me well. Later, during my days as a producer, he did me well with his reports from the backroads of Arizona.
And during the past few years, after Steve became a hardcore baseball fan, he's done me well by inviting me to join him at games in Phoenix.
Steve is one of my true, good friends.
Happy birthday, pal. I love you. (But for god's sake, don't ever tell anyone I said that!)