Sunday, August 28, 2016

Rich Heldenfels, who came to the BJ in 1994 as the TV critic, with Mark Dawidziak switching to critic at large, will retire from Ol’ Blue Walls on Wednesday, August 31, his 65th birthday.

Rich writes:
“Folks: I am retiring from the Beacon Journal. I have some pieces that are set to run after that (retirement) date. I will continue teaching at the University of Akron and expect to keep writing in some fashion. And Connie (his wife) and I will remain in our stately local manor. But it's time to chart a new course.”
Well, this completes my triumvirate of TV critics who created masterpieces under my skillful direction, which I learned from the master, Patrick T. Englehart.
The first was David Bianculli (1980-83), who was responsible for the sun shing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida before he came to the BJ, then moved his vaudeville newsroom show to the New York Post, setting him up for a lot of ridicule, before later switching to Rowan University professor in Glassboro, New Jersey, National Public Radio’s “Fresh Air” and his “TV Worth Watching” web site. David lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Next came Dawidziak, who brought his wife Sara Showman from Bristol, Virginia and Kingsport, Tennessee with him in 1983, and who later took his talents to the PD, and who puts on shows with Sara and sometimes daughter Becky, about Mark Twain, Edgar Alan Poe, Charles Dickens and anyone else who has white hair and a mustache. And knows more about the “Columbo” TV series than star Peter Falk.
And has written a dozen or so books about some of those personalties.
Dawidziak was still at Ol’ Blue Walls when Rich showed up – but with an R.D. Heldenfels byline at that time – as TV editor. Rich schlupped to Akron from Schnectady, New York. Rich had 32 impressive years at the BJ.

Dawidziak started at the Beacon in October 1983. He was the TV critic until 1992, when he became the movie critic. In 1994, began the critic-at-large title, which meant he reviewed movies, did TV, theater and books and probably swept the newsroom floor before he went home. He left the Beacon in June 1999, moving to the PD as TV critic.

Mark was born in Huntington, New York, not Brooklyn as I once thought for years. A graduate of Harbor Fields High School, Class of 1974, and George Washington University, he was in the Washington bureau for both Knight-Ridder and the Association Press.
Whoever takes over Rich’s TV coverage at the BJ won’t have the benefits of my tutelage.
I retired from Ol’ Blue Walls in 1996, and ever since have been traveling to 55 countries, 44 states, Mountaineer Field for every WVU football and The Villages, Florida for winterizing with former BJ State Desk reporter Paula Tucker when we aren’t at our Tallmadge home.

No comments: