Monday, November 2, 2015

Thoughts about Fred

I'm thinking about Fred Thompson (August 19, 1942-November 1, 2015).

It annoyed me that he, like Henry Winkler, lowered himself by flogging reverse mortgages on television. But he led a rich life as an actor and public figure.

Except for the manager, I was alone in a small bookstore in the Tysons II shopping center in northern Virginia, doing a book signing, when Thompson walked in. All six feet five of him.

He spent twenty minutes to a half hour in the store, browsing from one end to the other, impervious to my table, sign, poster and books. He was interested in everything in the store except me and he departed without eye contact, a nod, or a word of hello or goodbye.

Thompson was the Capitol Hill questioner who elicited from presidential aide Alexander Butterfield the revelation that there was a tape-recording system in the Nixon White House.

My mid-1980s interview with Butterfield was much shorter than Bob Woodward's interviews for "The Last of The President's Men" (2015), but I did a better job of describing Butterfield's flying of the F-101 in my book "McDonnell F-101 Voodoo" (1991), which is out of print although used copies are available here.

The reverse mortgage thing disturbs me but I do think kindly of Fred Thompson and I shall miss him.

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