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Monday, August 23, 2010

Dave McElhatton -- They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore

Posted By on Mon, Aug 23, 2010 at 10:30 AM

Dave McElhatton
  • Dave McElhatton
If you're a Bay Area native, Dave McElhatton reading the news is woven tightly into the DNA of your nostalgia, along with Charley & Humphrey, It's-Its, Zachary's Pizza, and earthquake stories.

The news today that McElhatton has died hits locals hard. The brotherly, then fatherly, then grandfatherly man who visited our homes every night for damn near 50 years is gone. But, even more than that, McElhatton, to me, represents an era. A departed era, sadly. 

In today's news world, attractive twentysomethings are essentially tasked with scouting out stories, toting a camera, setting up shots, making interviews, editing, splicing, etc. It's part of the whole doing more with less mantra. I'm not about to digress into media criticism here, but I will say this -- it's hard to imagine that folks will feel nostalgic about the current state of affairs 30 years hence. And if they do -- heaven help us.

McElhatton, meanwhile, was what could be called a Little Walter Cronkite. He was an aging, eminently likable newsreader that locals identified with and thought of as their own. And, how to put this -- he was not a blow-dried, male model type, to put it mildly.

I still remember the wave of warm laughter at a Fratelli Bologna "Nativity Story" show when the action on stage ceased, a television was wheeled out, and a faux news report of the magical comedic yuletide events was read by -- Dave McElhatton! That was a San Francisco joke for a San Francisco audience.

Walter Cronkite is gone, and so, too, are his local iterations. Dennis Richmond is retired; Pete Wilson, sadly, died at age 62 in 2007. James Gabbert is still making dogs look at the television in wonder over at KOFY TV-20, but it's not the same thing.

Oh, and for the record -- at that Fratelli Bologna show, Dave McElhatton killed.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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