In the late 80’s, I worked as a television writer for Cartrends on the Financial News Network (now defunct). The show offered automotive reviews, segments about classic cars and interviews with industry personalities. I was paired with a producer named Shane. He was a tall, former college football player from Michigan who’d come to Los Angeles to become an actor. He fell into producing after meeting the owner of FNN at a local bar.
Every morning, Shane drove to Gold’s Gym in Venice for a workout then stopped at a local juice bar for a protein smoothie. Shane was smitten with the owner of the juice bar, a woman named Helen. Throughout the day, he’d wax poetic about her flowing brown hair, deep green eyes and curvy figure that would make a monk renounce his vows.
One morning, Shane asked me to join him at the juice bar. He introduced me to Helen saying, “This is the girl I’m going to marry.” She laughed then blended his concoction of bananas, spinach and apples. She was friendly and attractive in a news correspondent kind of way. I liked her immediately. Shane nudged me with his elbow.
“My friend wants me to ask why you won’t go out with him,” I said.
“Tell your friend I’m taking a break from boys,” she replied. “Too much heartache.”
Shane was undeterred. He asked her out every single day for the next month. Each time she smiled and said no. He became convinced she was his soul mate.
Shane was a workaholic. He toiled late into the night logging video footage and editing episodes. He survived on burgers and fries, ordering double doubles from In-N-Out for lunch and dinner. He urged me to join him but I opted for turkey sandwiches I brought from home.
Every Friday, we recorded intros and celebrity interviews with the host and executive producer Jim Wilson. Jim was a a likable guy from Indiana who’d worked in marketing for Ford and GM. Cartrends was his baby and he used his car industry contacts to procure interviews with celebrities like Carroll Shelby (designer of the AC Cobra), Bob Hall (designer of the Mazda Miata) and Jay Leno (classic car collector).
During the interviews, I was stuck in a cramped control room with Shane as he grilled guests hoping to yield usable anecdotes. Shane was a talented…