Thursday, May 16, 2013

The way we were...Jay Maeder's People Column in the Miami Herald


Today is the Miami Herald's last day at One Herald Plaza.(Will someone please remember to turn out the lights?)

The paper has gone through a lot of changes over the years, and editorially it bears little resemblance to the Herald many of us remember from 20 or 30 years ago.

Want proof?

Check this morning's Herald and see if you can find anything like these wickedly funny items from Jay Maeder's People Column that ran on page 2A in the early 80s.

For those of you too young to remember Maeder, here's how Glenn Garvin described him in a 2002 column:

1975: Herald reporter Jay Maeder gets part-time work as a Nazi zombie in an el cheapo horror movie, "Shock Waves," being filmed in Key Biscayne and Coral Gables. (Co-stars: Peter Cushing, John Carradine and Brooke Adams.) When the film opens, Maeder reviews it and praises his own performance (at 1:28 in video above) as "brilliant . . . sensitive . . . plumbing as it does the subtle nuances of the human condition.'' Maeder's skillful impression of a murderous Nazi promptly catapults him into management, and he eventually becomes the Herald's People columnist.



May 28, 1982

Well, what do you want to do this weekend? We don't know, what do you want to do this weekend? Say, we've got it. Let's fly down to the Philippines and eat some dog. You know what a delicacy dog is down in the Philippines. Not at your better hotels, we grant you, you don't walk into the Metropolitan Manila Hilton and take a table and announce "I believe I'll have the dog," or "Just the dog for me, thanks." Or things like that. What you do is you go up-country and find a little luncheonette built out of rusty Coca-Cola signs and you rub your belly and point at your mouth and if the proprietor still gives you a blank look you go "Arf. Ralph. Owooo." a couple of times and then the proprietor says "Ah." and he brings you a steaming bowl of dog. They love their dog in the Philippines, have for years, and some say dog is actually quite tasty. If you like that sort of thing.



December 17, 1984

In Lewistown, Pa., this weekend, dumfounded physicians were fixing to make some kinda medical history in the case of a 600- pound woman who has been discovered to be suffering from a 250- pound ovarian cyst. Nothing like this was ever discussed back in med school and the physicians aren't real sure what they're supposed to do with this patient and at press time they were bringing in steamshovels and forklifts and stuff and preparing to operate or something. This is about the most disgusting story we've ever heard in our life, frankly, and we don't believe we're going to continue this item another minute.



September 7, 1983

And now, a funny animal photo for you young people. Here's a dog with a metal arrow through his head. Ha. Ha. Can you put a metal arrow through your dog's head? Do this right now. Tell mommy we said it was OK. Actually, this is just a joke picture, and this dog is wearing one of those trick arrows that does not actually go through his head. The item is one of the things on sale at an arts and crafts festival up in Lakeland, Ga.



July 22, 1983

In Johnson City, Tenn., this week, meanwhile, they're going ahead with plans for The Second Annual International Worm Race despite last year's grim tragedy that saw the accidental deaths of most of the contestants. Last year's worms, it seems, were laid down to race on what proved to a blistering hot summer's sidewalk. "We fried them," sighs race official Miss Louise Dorton. Once the grand marshals realized what was happening on the speedway, they turned on water hoses to cool things down and proceeded to drown most of the remaining worms. Johnson Cityans "learned a little about life that day." remembers race official Miss Martha Reilly.



July 2, 1983

So life is just one exciting time after another when you're a March Of Dimes poster kid and little Miss Lela Taylor was happily looking forward to posing for pictures with the nice man in the bear suit up in Chicago the other day. Except it turned out that the bear was a real bear, 250 pounds of large Syrian man-eater from the Circus Vargas. Nobody had told Little Miss Lela it was going to be a real bear. You've got to be kidding, she said, and she proceeded to scream and kick and bawl and refuse to cooperate with any of the photographers until after they called mom over to the hotel. Mom fixed things, mopped up the sniffles, sent the kid back into session ready to shoot, and Miss Lela patted away at the bear while everybody got their March Of Dimes pictures. Did you know this is March Of Dimes Telethon Weekend? This is March Of Dimes Telethon Weekend.



August 24, 1983

Did you know that there's an active Ku Klux Klan chapter in Southern California that stalks black television stars? Young Mr. Todd Bridges of Diff'rent Strokes reports that the KKK has been shooting rifles at him and showing up at his front door with baseball bats and leaving threatening notes on his windshield and he's had to put his Canoga Park home up for sale. So this is why he carries around a loaded .45, he explains. Young Mr. Bridges has been explaining this now that Beverly Hills police have charged him with carrying a concealed weapon. Cops found the piece in his Porsche after they stopped him for speeding and running a red light. He goes to court shortly. "They got John Lennon, they could get me." says young Mr. Bridges.



September 24, 1983

On the save-the-animals front, it develops that Miss Brigitte Bardot, the noted saver of animals, has lately become aware that Polynesian people eat dogs, and she finds this barbaric and shocking. This week she press-conferenced in France to announce that she intends to call world attention to this situation and maybe get sanctions imposed against the Polynesian people until they agree not to eat dogs no more. Miss Bardot was joined at her press conference by a small, fat, juicy friend.

Photo: Brigitte Bardot with dog.


  1. Regarding Jay Maeder's Zombie performance:

    When we cast the Nazi Zombies for Shock Waves (then Death Corps), we held open auditions at a cheap motel in the north Gables, advertising in the classifieds of the Miami Herald. Hundreds would-be actors and zombie-files showed up. Among them, Jay Maeder.

    Of course we had no idea that he was incognito, doing a story on what he assumed was a bogus casting call. Instead, it was real, and due to his angular, Germanic facial features, we hired him on the spot. Others that were hired was a large, rotund comic-book aficionado (he's the zombie with the shaved head) and a rough young veteran who carried a loaded 38 in his bag (he's more or less the lead zombie since we could count on him to do most anything - he the one walking on the bottom in 20 feet of water in Pennekamp Park with no breathing apparatus). All were required to be comfortable in the water and have their hair stripped of color.

    Jay was a great zombie! It was not until the shoot was completed that he revealed his true identity, setting up a piece for TV with the then film reviewer, Bill Cosford.

    The film went on to a network TV showing (CBS) plus world-wide distribution, translated into a dozen languages. Jay and his zombie cronies became sensations - this in the era prior to the internet.

    In a later film, we actually shot a scene at the Miami Herald.

    It's a shame that era is over. Best wishes for the Herald and her staff.

    Reuben Trane
    Producer and Director of Cinematography
    "Shock Waves"

    1. Hello! Just wanted to reply to your comment and wanted you to know that Shock Waves/Death Corps is an AMAZING movie! I watched it for the first time as an eight year old, and was entranced by the underwater shots- they were so dreamlike and creepy. The zombies were so fun to watch! I would have given anything to have been around and on the set of Shock Waves- if only to be the gofer =/ Was Jay Maeder the zombie who drowned Beverly's husband? If so- then yes- he was perfect! In fact- he was one of my favorite zombies to see =)

  2. Don't forget Jay's turn at cranking out the "Justice Stories" at the NY Daily News. From his Star of India story (10/09/98):

    "Kuhn and Murphy did two years in prison" [for stealing the Star of India jewel from the American Museum of Natural History. This is how you got in touch with Tech Support in 1964].

    "And Murphy in particular went on to much enjoy his fame as the sleek and classy gent behind one of the world's most romantic jobs.

    "This glamorousness [Jay does toss in a clunker of a word now and then, which, given that it was the Daily News, no one ever notices] abruptly diminished in 1968, when [Murphy] was charged with the murders of two young women who were [killed], tied to concrete blocks and dumped into a Florida canal."

    It's that part about that Florida canal that I think interested Jay the most about this story.

    We make movies about everything.

    Eventually, the Murf The Surf murder story must be filmed.

    If the Hollywood producer mixes in the theme of "Shock Waves" - Jay Baby gets to revive his award-winning cameo as the Zombie Who Dredges Up The Bodies!!!

    Nix the U-Boat cannibalism angle. Jay has gone vegan on us.


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