Monday, June 13, 2011


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!)