Hal McClure's Star Still Shines
Hal McClure, Associated Press Middle East
Bureau Chief, editor TAD & filmmaker
As Associated Press wires buzzed with news of Hal McClure's death on May 26th, veteran AP staffers, around the world, recalled stories they'd heard about Hal and for a few lucky ones, how fortunate they felt to have worked with him.
On Telex and laptops they tapped the keys in a flow of words expressing respect, love and admiration for the legacy of a Chief of Bureau. For young AP staffers they felt taller with a twinge of pride as they read about Hal's contribution to newsroom lore.
During the print era we knew Hal as Editor of Travelogue Magazine, then TAD, Travel Adventure Documentary, the new online magazine. He asked me (Jocelyn) to continue a column about people in the Travelogue business penned by Lucia Perrrigo Meyers.
Top to bottom Lucia Perrigo Myers,
Golda Meir, Groucha Marx, Richrd
Nixon, Harry Truman, Pope
Paul VI, Zsa Gabor
Lucia's lines about Hal McClure in Travelogue Fall 1995 need no editing, no updating. Her words of long ago are a tribute to Hal as we knew him. Today they brighten our memory.
"Our own former U.S. Air Force pilot landed himself the top honor that can be bestowed on a member of Intrafilm by his peers of Performers and Presenters, that of the Performer of the Year and Hall of Fame Award."
"To none other than the editor of Travelogue Magazine, Hal McClure, go the accolades so deserved for a distinguished career in pursuit of people and places that made worldwide headlines."
"For more than a quarter of a century he roamed the globe in search of news and newsmakers, traveling from the Sound Stages of Hollywood to the jungles and paddies of Indochina and the deserts of the Middle East."
"He interviewed presidents, prime ministers, pashas and princes. He reported on kings and queens, murderers, spies and terrorists."
"As signed to the New York bureau of the Associated Press, he later was chief of bureau in Istanbul in charge of news operations in the triple
hot spots of Turkey, Cyprus and Israel. Later, as chief of bureau, he established the first US news wire direct from Tel Aviv."
A highlight for Hal was covering the visit to the Holy Land of Pope Paul VI. It was the first time a pope had left Italy in 151 years. The pontiff had never flown before and host Israel enacted the strongest security measures.
"Hal recalled. 'We had an Arab on horseback race down the slopes of Biblical Mount Tabor with the news of the Pope's arrival there after our radio communications broke down." He said, "The show must go on."
"The tall, engaging Hal, wearing his movie maker hat, produced films with a sense of high adventure, a love of literature and the drama of history." His audience rode with the Pony Express, encountered the dreaded Dracula in Transylvania and toasted the joy of liberty at Rick's in Casablanca.
"He walked with Harry Truman, ate apple pie with Richard Nixon, dined with Golda Meir, searched for smugglers in Tangier and chased pirates in Borneo.
Hal's quick reply: "It has to be. Groucho always insisted on talking to reporters at Romanov's Restaurant, just walking distance from his Beverly Hills home. His screen character was not too different from the real man. He was zany, irreverent, witty." Hal confessed, "On one occasion, my interview was interrupted by the arrival of Zsa Gabor wearing a rather daring gown. Groucho, the eternal ladies' man, made me switch seats so he could get a better view. He was a real King Leer."
"In 1978, Hal was voted the travel film profession's Rising Star Award," Lucia wrote. There is no brighter star in the Travel Adventure galaxy.
"Those words echo across the footlights. The award given over three decades ago is still relevant today. He loved what he was doing, returning to towns where the welcome was always warm. He loved the audience and they felt it. For them, for us, Hal's star forever shines."
Sunday, August 18th is the date we will celebrate the life of our colleague and friend Hal McClure: 2PM to 5PM — Club House 3, via Gate 3 off of Moulton Parkway, Laguna Woods, California. Password at gate is: Hal McClure Memorial Club House 3.