Back in the early 1980s a Chicago literary agent had a terrific idea that can be faulted in only two respects: she had it about 30 years too soon, and it involved me.
Her idea was that Walter Jacobson, then riding high as the brash coanchor (with Bill Kurtis) of Channel Two’s ten o’clock news, should write a book. And as Jacobson was a busy man, and an unproven writer at any length beyond his two-minute nightly “Perspective,” he’d need help. So I was roped in. Our collaboration went this far:
Jacobson dropped off a thick packet of old Perspective scripts. I made an effort to read them. My mind first reeled then froze, as if an old sock had jammed its gears. I had no idea what to do with these manuscripts, and the project collapsed. Jacobson was willing to entertain the notion that he was a celebrity worthy of hardcover treatment, but if I recall correctly, he had no more idea of what a book by and about himself should consist of than I did. The collected Perspectives of Walter Jacobson collected dust at our house for years to come, but eventually out they went.