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On Friday, November 17, 2006, Alan Scott was inducted into "The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia's Hall of Fame."

Communications Times

February 1978

Mr. Rivets say a few words

By Joe Earley

Unless you habitually scan the obituary columns, you never would have noticed it. Three simple lines, direct and concise, devoid of frills and sentimentality.


"Jan., 22, 1978. ALAN, of Wayne, Pa., husband of Maralene B. Scott and father of Jonathan and Amy Scott. Services and internment are private."

He could have written it himself. He wanted it that way--private.

By this time you will already have read about Alan Scott, feature writers extolling his talent, recounting his accomplishments in radio and television, a list of credits from Chicago to New York to Philadelphia. Memorials and quotes from associates, all praising his ability as newsman, television personality and writer. But there was another side to Alan Scott, a private and personal side which only a few people knew.

scot and partner working

From 1954 till 1957, 1 worked with Alan Scott at Channel 3 (then WPTZ, now KYW TV). For four years, six days a week, we created, wrote and performed six one-hour shows, Monday through Saturday. In cramped quarters, with deadlines to meet and volumes of material to create, working under the tensions of live television, where you can make mistakes, I saw the private side of Alan. In all the years we worked together, under the most trying conditions, I can't recall one argument or heated discussion. Alan was a gentleman.

His feelings of concern and compassion for his fellow man are known only to those he has helped. On countless occasions he would lift the phone or write letters to secure employment for those less fortunate than himself. He always had time to talk, to give advice, professional or personal, and to give an encouraging word when it was needed most.

I recall that he received a letter one day from a young mother in West Philadelphia. Her son had been crippled and unable to walk. After a series of operations had been performed, the doctors said that he was physically able to walk, but mentally believed he couldn’t. His mother was unable to get him to take even a step . . .

mr rivets with young boy

At that time, Alan and I, Mr. Rivets, the character I played, enjoyed a great popularity among the younger set, particularly with this boy. The mother thought that if we could somehow come to her home, the boy might be influenced enough to take a few steps in order to shake hands with Alan and Mr. Rivets. Alan was most willing to make the appearance if there was a chance that he might be able to help the boy, so we made arrangements and packed the Mr. Rivet's suit in the back of Alan's station wagon.

We were about ready to leave when the promotion department heard about it, and down they came with cameras ready to record the boy's first steps. What a story to release to the press: "Alan Scott and Mr. Rivets help crippled child walk."

But Alan was adamant: no cameras and no publicity! It was a personal and very private matter, and he was not about to exploit the boy's infirmity for the sake of some press coverage. WeIl, we went without the cameras and the boy took his first steps. But only a very few knew.

Sometimes it was the little things you remember most about Alan. Some years back he was sent to Israel on a news assignment. When he returned he gave a small gift to my mother that he had brought back from Galilee. For an aging Irish woman, who would never see the Holy Land which played such an important role in her religious beliefs, it was an emotional and moving event. She cherished it till the day she died. Alan was a considerate man.

There were fat years and lean years for Alan. In those days of Alan Scott and Mr. Rivets, his show alone took in over one quarter of a million dollars a year in revenue for the station, not including his afternoon show or his nightly commentary on the news.

And yet, when times were difficult for Alan, the memories of television executives seemed to grow dim. But Alan could never bemoan his fate or burden you with his troubles. He was a proud man.

Very few people, if any, knew that for the last years of his life Alan suffered from incurable leukemia, although, ironically, it was not the cause of his death.

Coupled with this was the tragedy of the death of his eldest son Jeffrey, leaving behind a young wife and Alan's first grandchild. But he never allowed these personal tragedies to show. Whenever you saw him there was always a cheery smile and "Hello," a question of interest in your career and family. He was a courageous man.

The last few years of his life Alan was a booth announcer at WCAU TV. Some people would think this a comedown from the television stardom he once enjoyed. But Alan knew better. A long time ago, he said to me, "Once you're in this business, there isn't anything else you want to do."

The last time I saw Alan was about eight weeks before he died. My wife and I attended a small get together with Alan at Don Sileo's, a lawyer friend of ours. Don, who is a neighbor of Alan's, had met him for the first time that evening: We sat and chatted, and Alan reminisced about his early days in radio and television. Don, who is usually vociferous, sat silently in awe as this man used the language the way an artist uses his brush. When the evening ended and Alan had departed, Don's only statement was: "There goes a man with class!"