KTLA Channel 5 just announced that Stan Chambers died this morning at his home in Holmby Hills. He was 91 years old, but here are the real eye-popping stats. Chambers worked for the station for 63 years and did 22,000 stories. Since we're doing numbers, Stan is survived by 11 children and 38 grandchildren.
From KTLA's story:
“He will be remembered as a pioneer in the industry, and a pillar of the KTLA family,” KTLA News Director Jason Ball said.
Chambers was fresh out of the U.S. Navy, enrolled in USC and working on the campus magazine when he first heard about KTLA.
“I heard a program one night saying that one of the local television stations had expanded its broadcasting schedule,” Chamber said during a 2010 retrospective of his career. “I didn’t even know that television was on the air. And I said, ‘How about doing a program on a campus magazine?’ That was my debut and after it was over, I thought, ‘Oh, this is a wonderful job.'”
A few months later, KTLA invited Stan to join the fledgling station. He started work on Dec. 1, 1947.
The story notes that Chambers worked off camera at first, then played a role in a key episode of the emergence of television as a news medium. He covered the story of Kathy Fiscus, a 3-year-old girl trapped in an abandoned well in San Marino. Again, KTLA:
Chambers, along with journalist Bill Welsh, alternated coverage during a live 27-hour telecast covering the rescue operation. Despite only an estimated few thousand television sets in Los Angeles, the groundbreaking moment proved to be a shared experience across the Southland, Chambers said.
“We had no idea of the impact that this was going to make,” Chambers said. “It really brought the city together. Los Angeles was a big city, but on this one weekend, it became a small town. Neighbors would visit neighbors they didn’t know very well. They’d sit in front of the set. They’d have dinner there. They’d go to sleep on the floor, really right up to the end.
“For the first time, they experienced the long form of television, that they were a part of this whole broadcast from the moment they started looking,” Chambers said.
Chambers retired from KTLA officially in 2010, at age 87. Here's the LA Times obit and coverage at Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. Every Los Angeles TV news station has also posted stories about Chambers. Previously at LA Observed:
We could call him Sir Stan Chambers
Stan Chambers makes it official
Standing ovation: Stan Chambers to retire
This day in history: KTLA airs live nuclear blast
Reaction starting to come in:
Stan Chambers was one of the best reporters who ever worked in LA and a true gentleman. I was proud to work with him. pic.twitter.com/p2sD3VhojL— frank buckley (@FrankBuckleyTV) February 13, 2015
This week just got even worse. Legendary @KTLA reporter Stan Chambers has died. He was a gentle soul who loved reporting the news. R.I.P.— Marc Brown (@ABC7Marc) February 13, 2015
So sad to hear longtime KTLA Reporter Stan Chambers has died at 91. One of the sweetest & nicest men I've ever known. pic.twitter.com/ikwqhjbawI— Hal Eisner (@HalEisner) February 13, 2015
Just saw the news - Stan Chambers has died- long time @KTLA newsman - thoughts & prayers to his family— Liz Habib (@LizHabib) February 13, 2015