The day I interviewed Al Molinaro

Al Molinaro died yesterday.

Interviewing him was just one of many great thrills of my time in K-Town. My turn had come up in our newsroom rotation to produce a “What ever happened to …” feature, a weekly staple in community newspapers like the ones for which I worked. The news editor maintained a sheet with story ideas, and one of them was to catch up with Molinaro. Problem was no one seemed to know how.

As I recall, I had hit several dead ends before I finally got a hold of a phone number that maybe was his. It was my last shot, and I called it early in the week. I was 99 percent sure the voice on the answering machine greeting was Molinaro’s. I left a message and asked him to give me a call, but I wasn’t so confident a retired Hollywood television star would return the call of some young reporter in Kenosha.

That Friday morning, with the deadline for my story looming and still no return call from Molinaro, I was turning my attention to a backup plan. ... Then, out of the blue, the phone rang at my desk, and it was Al Molinaro!

We chatted for about a half hour or so. It was kind of a rushed interview – as most phone interviews with celebrities were. I don’t remember much about the questions I asked or his responses to them. What I remember is what a gentleman he was and how proud he was of his Kenosha heritage.

When our interview finished, I hung up the phone, beaming. I cranked out my story, and it was published in Monday’s edition.

Thus, his 2004 interview with the Kenosha News is being referenced in newspapers across the country this morning.

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