Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Franklin D. Murdock, America’s Man of Vision

Special broadcast honors his contributions and wishes him well
Normally it’s the inspirational words of the venerable author and poet himself you hear on BlogTalkRadio at 6:30 EST on Tuesdays, but for several weeks now he’s been recovering from an undisclosed illness. Producer Miranda Spigener and Joyce Lest (“Momma Joyce” of Messages of Hope on the same network) have been filling this space to keep the prayer chain open toward his recovery.

This week, as one of the few people to have heard him speak in person, I was invited to join them.
I first met Franklin Murdock two years ago. We were both attending the massive and chaotic Book Expo America, BEA we call it, an international convergence of publishers, publicists, writers, media, celebrity authors, and every salesman even remotely connected with the industry. It’s held in the cavernous Jacob Javits Center in New York City. Mr. Murdock, in his 90s and all but blind, had made the arduous flight all the way from LA. Fortunately his granddaughter, a darling girl also named Mary, came with him.

What’s really neat is that the home where he lives in LA also operates a home in Battery Park, which is sort of  near the Javits Center, and they agreed to assume his care while he attended the BEA.  
It was the last day of the Expo. Mr. Murdock had gone to rest up for a press meeting to be held at the home later on. I stayed behind with Miranda and Nick Delarosa to help break down and pack  up the VerveStar booth. Since my own meeting was to be after Franklin’s at another location, I decided to just tag along with them.
Franklin Murdock with granddaughter Mary at the BEA
Well, we finally collapsed into a cab with all our stuff, and headed for Battery Park.  I didn’t know what to expect of a place called Battery Park. The name conjures up crumbling ramparts with rusty revolutionary war canons, or worse, an AC Delco factory. But it was absolutely gorgeous – tree-lined boulevards, classic red brick buildings, and a lost cabbie who showed us quite a bit of it.
Inside the home it was all dark, polished wood, Persian carpeting, mirrored walls and stylish floral arrangements. Really lovely.  We wandered down a labyrinth of corridors until we found the conference room. Mr. Murdock and Mary were waiting for us. There was also a nice gathering of residents and staff. The kitchen had even put out a pretty tray of fresh fruits and veggies.

Frank has a very commanding voice, and when he stepped to the mike he was instantly in control of the room. When you realize he couldn’t really see us, that’s pretty remarkable. All he actually sees are blurry figures about 10 feet in front of him. Nevertheless he looked right at us – definitely making us a part of it.

I wish I’d taken notes instead of just sitting there in an enthralled stupor. As I recall he began with his more technical achievements with the Douglas Aircraft Company and later with the A4 Skyhawk. He described in detail I can’t remember the many engineering projects he either headed or was closely involved in. But because I have a number of relatives who were military pilots, that certainly held my attention. It really blew me away to know he was behind the HUD – or heads-up-display so vital to pilots today. What he did led to the iphone and all the other gizmos in our lives today.
Then, just as in his last broadcast before being hospitalized, he went into his childhood. I’m so amazed at the memories he recalls so vividly. He didn’t go into the detail then that he did on the radio. He went on to his working years, confessing how absorbed he was in his career to the detriment of family life. By the time he got to the way God touched him and called him to inspire others I was completely ready to hear it. He closed with that wonderful prayer he shared on his last broadcast. In fact, he handed out copies of it to us afterward.

Please get well soon, Mr. Murdock. We’re all ready to hear more!

No comments: