Writing a Memoir; Growing a Friendship

When Mort Meisner set out to write his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, he had no idea he’d gain a friend along the path.

Mort had some reservations about the first writer he commissioned to help him with the project. When the writer decided to depart to a foreign country with no explanation, those reservations were confirmed.

Feeling slighted, and justifiably so, he wasn’t in any rush to find someone new.

And as is so often the case, he would find what he was looking for when he wasn’t actually searching.

A Chance Encounter

One morning, Mort went to his usual café to grab a coffee before work. A small group of friends was sitting on the patio; a group he nodded to and smiled at every morning. Being the quintessential “people person” that Mort is, he finally introduced himself.

They were warm and receptive and welcomed him to join them.

Among them was a former drug counselor, a musician, and… a writer. He felt he’d stumbled upon something really good. And he had. Not only would he cull some amazing bonds and friendships within the group, but he’d unwittingly stumbled upon the writer who would help him pen his memoir.

Making the Connection

Mort was quick to form a connection with the writer, Stephanie Ruopp. He needed someone to write posts for both his agent business and cannabis marketing business blogs. She was happy to oblige.

Meanwhile, he joined the group each morning before work for coffee. And as his professional relationship and personal friendship with Steph continued to grow, it dawned on him that she could be the one to help him with his story.

He asked if that would be something of interest and she was open to the opportunity. They decided upon a trial run to see if they “clicked” well during the writing process.

They did.

Writing a Memoir Takes Courage

Steph soon discovered that Mort had a wealth of amazing stories about his life in the news industry and as a rock and roll promoter. They were stories that would wow people at parties. And they would certainly be a great part of the book.

But there had to be more than just those.

Steph noticed that Mort also talked frequently about the “funny” things his father said to him as a child about being lazy or generally worthless. Except they weren’t funny at all. They were cruel.

From the memoir:

My dad was clearly depressed. I see it now. But as a child and teenager, he just seemed crazy and out of control. Even in later years after we left Detroit to live in the suburbs, he sometimes got very dark and headed to the attic. First he pulled down the creaky stairs, then he began to heft his heavy body up them.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“I’m going up to the attic to hang myself,” he responded. “Do you want to come?”

I always laughed. But it wasn’t funny.

There was also physical abuse. And though the relationship with his mother was marginally better, there was verbal abuse on her part as well. All of this, while growing up in poor Detroit neighborhoods in the racially tense 1960s.

These were the stories that also needed to be in the book. But it was tough.

As Mort began to convey more of these stories to Steph, those old feelings from childhood crept back in and surfaced. It was as if he were experiencing the trauma all over again. And to some extent, he was.

Deciding What to Disclose

Obviously, Mort found it difficult to share the stories about his parents and the abuse he suffered during childhood. Yet Steph kept gently encouraging him to explore those stories and include them in the memoir. After all, they were an inherent part of Mort’s life story and pivotal in making him the person he became.

He had to agree.

There was another aspect of his life he wasn’t sure he was ready to share, however. In fact, he didn’t know that he ever wanted to share it. And that was his cocaine use.

It was something he hadn’t yet disclosed to his adult children.

Meanwhile, as the months wore on, Steph and Mort continued to grow their friendship – meeting with the group every morning for coffee. He continued to support her and connect her with others who needed her writing services, and she, in turn, used her training as a life coach and yoga instructor to offer ways for Mort to cope with his dark past so they could keep forging ahead.

They trusted each other implicitly. And this made their collaboration all the easier.

Eventually, Mort told his children about his cocaine use and included it in the book. It was agonizing at times and he struggled with the usual feelings of shame and regret. But as is often the case with such admissions, it was also incredibly liberating.

A Bond That Can’t Be Broken

Mort and Steph had no idea what to expect as they embarked on the journey to write Mort’s memoir nearly two years ago. And there have certainly been plenty of other valuable players along the way that were essential in making the book a reality.

But at the end of the day, working together to tell Mort’s story enabled them to forge a solid and enduring friendship. Even now, in the freezing cold of winter in the middle of this pandemic, it’s not unusual to find that same small group, bundled up, seated six feet apart, and drinking coffee in a tent.

And central among them are Mort and Steph – forever grateful for their bond that can never be broken.

Mort Meisner Has Lived a Rich Life

If you’re interested in reading the fruits of Mort’s and Steph’s labor of love, pick up a copy of Enough to Be Dangerous today.

You can purchase it from independent sellers such as Paper Trail Books in Royal Oak or Book Beat in Oak Park. You can also purchase it on Amazon.

It’s the perfect read for over the holidays!

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The Power of Local News

Last week on 60 Minutes, former President Barack Obama spoke with wisdom and insight so many of us have come to miss.

He spoke of the disturbing fact that 71 million people voted for a man with whom he feels he has absolutely nothing in common. But he made an important point:

“The voters are divided. It has now become a contest where issues, facts, policies per se don’t matter as much as identity and wanting to beat the other guy. You know, that’s taken priority. I do think the current media environment adds to that greatly. This democracy doesn’t work if we don’t have an informed citizenry.”

In his new memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort Meisner talks extensively about the responsibility media has in educating the public – at both the national and local level.

And doing so with FACTS.

The Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan Debacle

In Mort’s book, he recalls one of the biggest stories he would cover.

In terms of notoriety, the biggest story of my career was the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan attack. The story made international and national headlines.

It’s what came later that made this story so unbelievable, so crazy, so bizarre that Tanya Harding’s gang of cretins had actually plotted to whack Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in the knees with a baton during a competition at Detroit’s Cobo Hall in January of 1994.

At the time, Detroit Police Chief Ike McKinnon remained Mort’s source on every aspect of the story. With McKinnon’s intelligence and the mad skills of investigative reporter Scott Lewis, Mort’s CBS affiliate station in Detroit was uncovering the whole twisted plot while national and international media circles couldn’t figure out how they were getting the story before everyone else.

In fact, they were breaking news on the case before every station and network in the country. It got to the point that when the CBS network questioned the veracity of the crazy story and asked Mort for his sources, he refused.

They threatened to not broadcast the story, to which Mort simply responded, “Fine. Don’t use the story.” When CBS turned it down, Mort gave it to NBC instead. Even though they were the competition, he knew it was crucial the information got out there.

So being able to get right into the thick of it at the local level gave them a distinct advantage. And they were able to uncover the true story.

Air Canada Flight – 1983

Ike McKinnon, a social warrior himself, was only one among Mort’s many connections that helped him get to the bottom of a story.

While working at ABC in Chicago, a fire started in the lavatory of an Air Canada flight that spread between the outer skin and inner panels of the plane. It was required to make an emergency landing.

From the book:

Ninety seconds after the plane landed, the doors were opened. The heat of the fire in combination with the fresh oxygen from the open exit doors created dangerous flashover conditions. The plane’s interior was immediately engulfed in flames – killing 23 passengers who had not yet been evacuated.

Mort had a source at the Federal Aviation Administration who provided him with these horrifying facts. Yet, the national newscasts were reporting there were few or no injuries.

But our local news was reporting otherwise with the data we had. In other words, we were reporting the facts and not fake news. This underscores the importance of having impeccable sources. Especially now, when a lot of bad information is getting rolled out as factual.

All of it gives one pause to wonder how much of what we’re hearing is actually true.

Media and Democracy

Mort’s objective was to always uncover the facts and present them with integrity and truth. Unfortunately, not every person in the media sees it this way.

In the hopeful words of President Obama from 60 Minutes:

“I think we’re gonna have to work with the media… to find ways to inform the public better about the issues and to– bolster the standards that ensure we can separate truth from fiction. I think that we have to work at a local level.

When you start getting to the local level, mayors– county commissioners, et cetera, they’ve actually gotta make real decisions. It’s not abstractions. It’s like, “We need to fix this road. We need to get this snow plowed. We need to make sure our kids have a safe playground to– to– to play in.”

And at that level, I don’t think people have that kind of– visceral hatred. And that’s where we have to start in terms of rebuilding the social trust we need for democracy to work.”

Mort couldn’t agree more.

Find out More in Enough to Be Dangerous

Has Mort’s story piqued your interest? Then be sure to pick up a copy of his memoir. You’ll be entertained, inspired, and even a little bit aghast at times.

It’s an interesting ride, to be sure.

You can purchase the book and support a small and local establishment by clicking here. Or if you’d rather, order on Amazon.

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Despite Restrictions, “Enough to Be Dangerous” Launch Party a Success

When Mort Meisner scheduled his Enough to Be Dangerous book launch party for the end of October, he had no idea what to expect.

After a long spring in lock-down, then a summer with some lifted restrictions, it was tough to know what to expect for October.

Nevertheless, the launch party at Andiamo’s in downtown Detroit last week was a success! And Mort was moved to see the many faces that showed up despite the virus and while observing social distancing.

No Social Distancing in Rock and Roll

When Mort was a young rock promoter, he never could have imagined we’d be in the midst of a pandemic in 2020 that would cancel concerts and shows indefinitely. (Then again, who could have?)

His life back then was one wild night after another. Mort recalls the first show on the first night at The Eastown in Detroit in his memoir:

The backstage scene of the first show on that first night was like an old-school carnival freak show featuring fat ladies, geeks, and midgets. What made it so strange is that this was rock ’n’ roll. While anything goes, this was beyond the pale. Cocker, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, and Claudia Lennear (who had a long-time thing with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger) were performing with a cascade of world-class musicians while these “weirdos” danced, drank, and got high.

Last week at the launch party, he thought about how very different his life is now almost fifty years later. And while there weren’t any big-named rockstars at the event, plenty of media folks were there to celebrate the other huge aspect of his career.

Memories of the Wild Newsrooms

Having worked in newsrooms in Detroit, St. Louis, and Chicago in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, Mort often witnessed more action in the newsrooms than what they were covering out on the streets.

He recalls in his memoir:

It’s no big secret now that back then, Chicago newsrooms were incestuous and drug-infested. People were carrying on in a sexually and drug-charged atmosphere both within newsrooms and between newsrooms at other stations. Sometimes, people were having sex in one office while others were doing drugs in other offices. It was pervasive. I was there. I saw it first hand, at least on the drug side.

During those years of Mort’s life, cocaine was taking its toll and there were times when he wondered if he’d get back to the other side. It would have been inconceivable that he’d some day be at a launch party for a memoir that he wrote.

Yet, as he safely mingled with many from the news industry last week, he was reminded of his many successes and what an adventure it has truly been.

Success All Around

The journey from thinking about writing a memoir to the final hard copy in his hand was a long one. And it wasn’t always easy.

But as Mort felt the tremendous support from the community and the big turnout last week (despite the coronavirus) he was overcome with gratitude for all of those who showed up to enjoy themselves, share some stories, and buy the book.

It was certainly an uplifting night in the midst of these darker times.

If you’d like to order a copy of Enough to Be Dangerous, it’s available  through Amazon, or online through several independent booksellers including The Book Beat in Oak Park, MI.

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Building a Family – Part Two

As chronicled in his new memoir Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort Meisner recalls his life in TV News and Rock & Roll. But a person cannot be defined by his or her job alone. Each of us is more complex than that.

In last week’s blog post, we highlighted the deaths of Mort’s parents, the birth of his son Mark, and the contentious court battle that enabled him to finally adopt his beautiful daughter, Nicole.

Mort’s experience as a father didn’t start with Nicole and Mark, though. It began with his son Jason.

The Harrowing Days of Cocaine Use

While writing his memoir, Mort struggled with whether he should include his “cocaine years.” Eventually, he succumbed to the idea. After all, it certainly played a pivotal role in his life.

Three years into working at WXYZ in Detroit, Mort wanted to see a Bruce Springsteen show in Chicago. Through a series of events related to this show, he would end up meeting the woman who would become his second wife.

She was a working for a rock promoter and they were regulars at concerts.

Then Mort discovered cocaine. It was like candy. It made him feel happy, upbeat, and omnipotent. It wasn’t long before any time and any place was a good time or place to do it. Plus, it never impacted Mort’s ability to get to work.

Sometime after that, Mort’s girlfriend became pregnant.

Building a Family… Sorta

Pregnancy did not inspire Mort to stop using cocaine.

Of course, he didn’t realize that the cocaine was helping him mask the pain of his childhood. Even so, he moved to Chicago in 1982 to marry his girlfriend and his son Jason was born in 1983.

After Jason was born, Mort was still using heavily. When his wife threatened to leave him, he didn’t believe her:

Things got worse from there. And when I missed Jasons first birthday party because of a breaking news story – which now is inconceivable to me – we had a huge fight. When I came home from work the next day, she had cleared out everything from the house. EVERYTHING. I thought wed been robbed. But she had taken Jason and moved in with her parents. She filed for divorce in 1983. It was clear though that our happy little home was never going to be of the white picket fence variety.

After that, Mort was only allowed to see Jason one day at a time and he couldn’t keep him overnight. It was one of the biggest heartbreaks of Mort’s life.

He didn’t get to spend enough time with him during his formative years. Even as Jason got older, Mort still only saw him every other month. It was never enough.

Eventually, Mort would establish a relationship with Jason. By the time he moved to St. Louis, he made sure that at least once per month, he’d fly to Chicago to see Jason, or have Jason flown to St. Louis to see him.

Jason would also later be a long-distant half-brother to Mort’s daughter, Nicole, and other son, Mark.

Being the Father He’d Always Wanted

The cycle of abusive parenting stopped with Mort. When he and Leslie decided to build a family, he was determined to be a good father.

After Nicole’s birth in 1992 and Mark’s in 1993, he found himself suddenly trying to reconcile the inordinant amount of time he spent at work with his desire to be with his kids. So when he was let go from WJBK in 1997, it was actually a mixed blessing:

I loved being a father. I now had time to coach Marks baseball team which only further strengthened the bond I already had with my son. I would throw him batting practice 46 weeks per year. I watched him blossom into a great player and he eventually was able to realize his dream of playing Division One Baseball. Hes now a Major League agent.

Meanwhile, Nicole was proving to be a gifted runner. Although I was not able to coach her in her sport, I was able to travel to see her run at meets throughout the country and even the world. She was one of the best sprinters ever at University of Detroit Mercy and broke records on both the national and international levels when she competed.

And Jason? For Mort’s part, he says if he could do it again, he’d have found a way to be there for him more often.

Whatever the case, Jason is now an incredibly successful business man managing restaurants in Maryland. And Mort is finally able to see him with the regularity he longed for those many years ago.

Better late than never.

Get a Glimpse into the Complex Life of Mort Meisner

Whether you’re a friend of Mort’s, an acquaintance, or just hearing his name for the first time, Enough to Be Dangerous will pull you in, befriend you, and keep you interested.

So order your copy today by clicking here.

And subscribe to our blog for the latest on the book launch party and other exciting events!

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Taking a Walk Down Memory Lane

When Mort Meisner sat down to start writing his memoir Enough to Be Dangerous, he was flooded with mental snapshots of his life. After all, if you know Mort, you know he has a steel trap of a memory for days of yore.

In some cases, reliving the past was a pleasant walk down memory lane. At other times, digging up and remembering darker days was no walk in the park.

Mort knew that drudging up the past was bound to bring some different emotional highs and lows. What he didn’t expect was all of the people who’ve reached out to him in response to his new book.

Edgar Guest School

In the prologue of Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort recalls a horrible day in second grade when Black students were going to be bused to his school in Detroit and how the white parents and neighbors were responding with such vitriol:

My seven-year-old mind could not comprehend their fury over plans to bus Black students whose school had burned down. To me, it was great that they could come here and attend Edgar Guest Elementary School, named for a poet who celebrated optimism about everyday life.

My naïveté was more like Mr. Guests philosophy, because I was excited for new kids to join our school and become my friends. In fact, my imagination had spun idyllic visions of smiling children descending the steps of big yellow busses.

Somehow, though, I feared something bad was about to happen.

He was right. And he would soon witness his first truly negative experience with racism.

Yet, it wasn’t all bad there at Edgar Guest Elementary. Recently, upon hearing about the publication of Mort’s memoir, a woman named Nancy called Mort. She remembered him from kindergarten and recounted to him how he napped on his rug just beneath where she napped in 1958.

And another man named Eric called, remembering Mort from those elementary school days. He was shocked when Mort was able to immediately recall that Eric sat in the last row near the windows and second seat from the back of their second-grade classroom. (Yep. Steel trap.)

Other Interesting Encounters on Memory Lane

While having two elementary classmates remember him was pretty extraordinary, Mort continues to be surprised by others who are reaching out to him and are excited to read his memoir – having been a part of his life as well.

For example, he’s been in touch with several of his teammates from both the TV2 and Motown teams on which he played baseball. They remember fondly those days of zipping around the bases and hitting the balls out of the park.

Another woman named Donna recalled joining Mort at the Ho Ho Inn in the Cass Corridor for Chinese food after seeing a Sly and the Family Stone concert at Cobo Arena in the 1970s.

And then there’s Jeff.

According to Jeff, Mort owes him $25. Here’s where Mort’s steel trap of a memory fails him, because he’s just not sure. While he vaguely recalls meeting Jeff at a bar one night, he has no memory of Jeff loaning him any money. But then again, it was a bar. So who knows?

There are countless others who continue to make contact with Mort each day. And it’s made his courageous choice to put himself out there and make himself so vulnerable all the more rewarding.

Were You a Part of Mort’s Past?

If so, he encourages you to contact him. There’s plenty of room on memory lane to walk together.

But even if you’re just hearing about Mort for the first time, believe us when we say he’s got a great story to tell in Enough to Be Dangerous.

The book will be available from Two Sisters Writing and Publishing on October 1st. So if you want to buy a copy, simply click here.

And be sure to subscribe to our blog to keep up with all of the excitement around its release!

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Everyone Deserves a Second Chance

If you lived in the Detroit area in the 1980s, you may remember the WJBK FOX2 branding campaign with the “It Takes Two” jingle.

The song was originally made famous by Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston. Mort Meisner hired Kim Weston and Marvin Gaye’s brother Frankie Gaye to perform the WJBK version. In doing so, he helped to revive Kim Westin’s career and give Frankie some exposure as well.

Mort has always been drawn to opportunities to answer the door when someone knocked on it for a second chance. As such, he not only succeeded in reviving some careers, but was able to apply it to his own life as well.

John Noel

John Noel

John Noel

Given his upbringing, the odds were stacked strongly against reporter John Noel. Growing up in New York, he was an addict by the time he was a teenager. He quit school and made a habit of holding people up at gunpoint. Then he decided to clean up. From Enough to Be Dangerous:

From that point forward until the day he died, he never touched an ounce of alcohol or took a single drug. He also became proficient in the martial arts. Philosophically, John and I were aligned.

When I left KSDK to come to Detroit in 1988, I was in desperate need of others who bought into my philosophy. By that time, John had made himself into a singles hitter. So I brought him on. It wasnt long before hed become a doubles hitter, and then after ten years, a triples hitter.

No stranger to a tumultuous upbringing, Mort had seen something in John that others missed. Years later when Mort was asked to leave WJBK and became an agent, John didn’t want to stay there without him. He was going to go back to New York and asked if Mort would rep him there. When Mort got him a job in New York, he didn’t ask for a contract from him. He was that special to Mort.

WLS-Chicago Reporter

When at WLS in Chicago, Mort worked with a reporter who always aimed to please the rough and tumble management team there. He had a good voice and he could write. Mort struggled with his lack of motivation, though, and couldn’t tolerate anybody just phoning it in. The fact was, Mort didn’t like him, and he didn’t like Mort. Even so, Mort was about giving second chances.

There was a heat wave in Chicago one summer and people were dying. Mort called the reporter into his office and told him he wanted him to cover the story about what people were doing to stay cool. He challenged him to come up with a strong angle – give the viewers something different. The reporter said he’d do the broadcast from the lagoon in Lincoln Park. Pretty hackneyed location, but Mort gave him the benefit of the doubt:

So the night of the broadcast, the camera panned to him.

He said, When I got to work this morning, my boss man told me to do a story on what people are doing to beat the heat.” The boss, of course, was me.

He ran through some of the things people were doing. Pretty run-of-the-mill stuff. But then at the end of the story, he looked directly in the camera and said, Mort, heres what Im going to do. This ones for you.”

Stripping down to just his boxers, he jumped into the pond.

Everyone assumed Mort would be mad. But when the reporter entered the building, Mort stood up and applauded him. The reporter’s attempt to make Mort angry had actually forced him to do a great story.

Twenty years later, the reporter called him to tell him how he had hated Mort then, and that he still didn’t like him. But he did admit to Mort that that particular story had changed him and his career for the better.

Second Chance at Love and Family

It took some time for Mort to be lucky in love.

Although he had a son he adored with his second wife, their lives were riddled with drug use and when she moved away, he rarely got to see him. He would do his best to visit Jason, but it was never enough.

Then he met Leslie and they were married in 1984. He whisked her away to a romantic wedding in Italy and they’ve been married ever since. Children did not come as easily, though.

After several attempts, they decided to adopt a child – their daughter Nicole. And as is so often the case, Leslie became pregnant with their son Mark soon after. Mort finally had the chance to be the father he wanted to be. And he loved it. Upon being let go at WJBK, he embraced the silver lining:

I now had time to coach Marks baseball team, which only further strengthened the bond I already had with my son. I would throw him batting practice 46 weeks per year. I watched him blossom into a great player and he eventually was able to realize his dream of playing Division One Baseball. Hes a Major League Baseball agent.

Meanwhile, Nicole was proving to be a gifted runner. Although I was not able to coach her in her sport, I was able to travel to see her run at meets throughout the country and even the world. She was one of the best sprinters ever at University of Detroit Mercy and broke records on both the national and international levels when she competed.

Mort has even had a second chance with his oldest son Jason, a successful restauranteur whom he visits regularly and with whom he has a strong relationship.

And with his two grandsons, Tony and Bruce, those second chances just keep on coming…

Get Your Copy Today

Enough to Be Dangerous isn’t just an action-packed memoir about working in the music and news industries. There are plenty of heart-warming stories too.

This dynamic memoir is due out October 1st from Two Sisters Writing and Publishing, but you can pre-order your autographed copy today right here.

And remember to subscribe to our blog for updates on the launch party and other book-related events. See you soon!

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Some of the Big Stories – Part One

At the publication of this post, the Democratic National Convention is in full swing. Without going into detail, it’s making all of us aware of just how much things need to change.

Yet, as the old adage says, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Mort Meisner is no stranger to this concept.

Back in 1980, he happened to be working in Detroit where he covered the Republican National Convention. Things needed to change then too.

And while the current Democratic National Convention is certainly a different scene, it does make one wonder what folks are up to on this green and blue sphere?

After decades in the news industry, Mort can tell you it’s a lot.

Just a Few of the Darker Stories

Mort is the first to admit that broadcasting is largely focused on stories that will generate ratings. And in his career, as in many others’, a lot of those stories involved rapes, murders, breaking and entering, and armed robberies.

Still, Mort always felt he was doing more than just boosting ratings. As someone who is quick to make friends out of random strangers, he quickly  recognized you can’t put a price on having friends in the right places. And that gave him a specific edge.

Operation Greylord

Mort Meisner Field Producing

Mort field producing for CBS in Chicago, President Ronald Reagan’s visit, September 2nd, 1981. That’s CBS reporter Frank Currier with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth over Mort’s left shoulder.

For example, one of the biggest stories out of the courts in the history of Chicago in the early 1980s was Operation Greylord that involved a full-blown investigation of corruption in the judiciary of Cook County in the Chicago jurisdiction. Mort had a friend who was a source in the U.S. Attorney’s office who gave him inside information. From his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous:

I went to my boss Bill Applegate at WLS in Chicago and shared what my friend had given me.

He gave me a dead serious look. In terms of accuracy, are you willing to place your career on the line?”

I had the utmost confidence in my friend, so without missing a beat I said, Absolutely.”

Once he was satisfied that my source was good, we broke the story. It was huge in Chicago, and had both local and national repercussions.

In the end, over 92 federal officials were investigated, indicted, thrown off the bench and even went to prison – along with some attorneys.

Air Canada Flight 1983

Another amazing story happened when Mort was at ABC in Chicago and the Air Canada flight had to make an emergency landing in Cincinnati. During the flight, a fire started behind the lavatory and spread between the outer skin and the inner panels.

The plane began filling with toxic smoke. The fire also burned through electrical cables that disabled most of the instrumentation in the cockpit:

Ninety seconds after the plane landed, the doors were opened. The heat of the fire in combination with the fresh oxygen from the open exit doors created dangerous flashover conditions. The planes interior was immediately engulfed in flames – killing 23 passengers who had not yet evacuated.

I had a source with the FAA based in Atlanta named Jack Barker. He was able to provide me these grim but crucial facts. But the network newscasts were reporting there were few or no injuries. Even in my own building, ABC nationally was reporting that.

In other words, because of Mort’s connection, they were reporting the facts and not fake news. This underscores the importance of having impeccable sources. Especially now when a lot of bad information is getting rolled out as fact.

Prostitution Ring

You hear the term prostitution ring and you likely think of young women in the wrong place at the wrong time. And in Enough to Be Dangerous, Mort talks about the way the industry would ignore stories about prostitution. We’ll tackle that in another blog.

This particular story is about a gay male prostitution ring in St. Louis upon which Mort was partially responsible for putting the kibosh.

At the time, I was good friends with two cops who told me they were having big problems in one of the parks. So we put wires on them and sent them into the park. I dont recall if we cleared this with the police department or if we were working with our own unique brand of vigilantism. Either way, we did it.

One of the cops – a heavyset guy named Jim – went into the bathroom and got someone to solicit sex from him. A man approached him and said he was looking to get sucked and fucked.”

Jim pulled out his handcuffs and said, Well, you got one of them. You just got fucked.”

Powerful stuff. And once again, it came down to Mort having friends in the right places.

Stay Tuned for More…

While reading Enough to Be Dangerous, you’ll be taken with all of the different layers and complexities of the broadcast industry as well as with Mort’s life.

The book will be available October 1st from Two Sisters Writing and Publishing, but you can preorder your autographed copy today.

And in our next blog post, we’ll look at some of the stories that mattered to Mort on a very different level. So be sure to subscribe!

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Choosing What Goes into a Memoir

WJBK, FOX in Detroit sponsored local legendary team. That’s Mort top row, 6th from the left with oldest and dear friend Larry Foote to his left. Daughter, Nicole also in top row and son, Mark in bottom row.

Mort Meisner has had a full life.

So when it came time to write his memoir, determining what would make the cut was a feat. To say the least.

Right now, the baseball season is in full swing. (Whatever “full swing” means in this era of the coronavirus.) And it has recently left Mort nostalgic for this beloved sport.

Yet, in his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, there isn’t much about his favorite American pastime. How come?

Did Baseball Strike out?

Not exactly.

Baseball was actually a huge part of Mort’s life. He played the game himself and was, in his words, “pretty darn good at it.” He still recalls his first Tigers game in 1960 when the Tigers played the Yankees. It was a bright sunny day with an impossibly blue sky that contrasted the emerald green of the field. The smell of hot dogs and sound of the ball cracking against the bat was intoxicating.

Over ten years later in 1971, 1972, and 1973, he was a vendor at Tiger Stadium. He had to wear a wig to cover up his long hair, but it was worth it for the money he earned and, more importantly, the women he met.

He kept lucky peach pits he’d hold during Tigers games and rallies. That might sound a little odd, but true sports fans are susceptible to unusual superstitions. And as fans go, Mort was the real deal.

Being so passionate about broadcasting, he obviously remembers the first time he heard Ernie Harwell and how from the first day he met him, Ernie always remembered Mort’s name.

And it is Mort’s passion for broadcasting that took precedence to baseball in his memoir.

It Was a Difficult Decision

As we mentioned above, Mort has had a rather large and illustrious life. So it would have been impossible to include every story in his vast menagerie of tales without overwhelming readers.

Thus, when pulling together information for Enough to Be Dangerous, it was necessary to stick with the essentials – which broke down to his life in broadcasting, as a rock and roll promoter, as a talent agent, and his family.

Baseball is not completely MIA, though. In fact, it is in the chapters that speak of his family – both of origin and the family he created – that baseball and softball make cameo appearances.

Bonding with His Son

For example, he discusses a period of time after he was let go from a job and suddenly had time on his hands.

As the kids continued to grow, I loved being a father. I now had time to coach Marks baseball team, which only further strengthened the bond I already had with my son. I would throw him batting practice 46 weeks per year.

I watched him blossom into a great player and he eventually was able to realize his dream of playing Division One Baseball. Hes now a Major League Baseball agent.

So while exiting stage left from broadcasting was difficult, it was certainly a mixed blessing in that it enabled him to foster the same love of the sport in his son.

Saying Goodbye

On a more melancholy occasion, there was a night when Mort went to visit his mother in the nursing home where she spent her final days. By then she had disconnected from the world and when Mort went in to say hello, she merely turned over in her bed and turned her back to him.

The next morning, I was playing softball when I received the call that she was gone. Oddly, I felt the need to I return to the field to finish the game.

It was a dark and overcast day. But when I ran out to left field, the sun briefly came out. It still sends goosebumps down my spine when I think about it.

So even though baseball is largely absent from the memoir, it was certainly woven into the fabric of his life. And right now, while he’s missing those hot afternoons and balmy evenings at Comerica Park, he’s happy coaching his grandson Tony’s Little League team.

And he’s looking forward to the days when he can take his grandsons “out to the ballgame.”

They’ll be here soon enough.

So What’s in the Memoir?

You’ll just have to read it to find out.

Fortunately, you can pre-order your autographed copy of Enough to Be Dangerous by clicking here – due out on October 1st from Two Sisters Writing and Publishing.

We promise you it’s a home run of a read.

And subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on all the events around the launch of the book.

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Enough to Be Dangerous – When a Guidance Counselor Truly Guides

Harry Weberman, Mort’s Oak Park High School Guidance Counselor, 1970-1971.

Most of us know the adage, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” And chances are, a great many of us have experienced this.

Sometimes the teacher is an actual teacher – the English teacher who introduced you to an amazing author or the science teacher who shared your passion for chemistry.

Maybe it’s a coach who encouraged you to dig deep and give it your all. It could be a friend, a family member, a child, a pet. Perhaps a stranger on the street. The teacher can take on many forms.

For Mort Meisner, it was his guidance counselor, Mr. Weberman.

The Misguidance Counselor

By the time Mort landed in high school, he wasn’t entirely sure what he wanted to do once he graduated.

He’d had more than a handful of experiences by then that had sparked a passion for broadcasting. But he’d had an even bigger handful of experiences that left him feeling deflated and stupid –  one of which was delivered by a man who was supposed to be his guidance counselor.

In his memoir, Enough to Be Dangerous, he recalls the day he was called down to the alleged counselor’s office:

 Youre a nice boy, but I just dont see you amounting to much,” [the counselor] said, glancing down at a pile of papers. I could only assume that at the top of that pile was a sheet that displayed my grades.

He lifted up that sheet to partially conceal his face. I recommend you go into the military or into a good trade like plumbing, or you could become an electrician,” he said, looking at me from over the edge of the paper. This suggestion was beyond laughable—if it werent so sad—because of my inability to work with my hands.   Hell, I had struggled to pass shop class and art.

I didnt know what to say. Yeah, I knew my grades werent stellar. But did that really mean I had no future? All I could do was nod, then get up and leave. Utterly humiliated.

Of course, Mort was no stranger to being told he wasn’t worth much. His father regularly dealt him verbal blows such as, “If you had two brains you wouldn’t be a halfwit,” or, “I do more accidentally than you do on purpose.” And his mother had told him countless times when he was younger that he was not her little boy and she wished she’d never had him.

Yet, in a surprising turn of events, his parents did not take to the counselor’s words kindly. In fact, they had quite the opposite reaction. In a rare demonstration of protective parenting, they charged into the school and demanded that Mort be given a new guidance counselor.

And when Mort’s 350 lb. father made demands, people didn’t take them lightly. Not if they knew what was good for them.

Enter Mr. Weberman

Mort’s parents had finally made a significantly positive impact on his life because the next day, he was assigned a new counselor.

His name was Harry Weberman, and he would be one of the few highlights of my high school tenure. He acknowledged that I didnt have the best grades. But he nevertheless encouraged me to apply to Wayne State or the University of Detroit, then pursue whatever interested me.

That interaction with Mr. Weberman made me realize that I really had believed I was stupid. But I also realized that my grades didnt truly reflect my intelligence. Truth was, the only subjects that really interested me were English and speech. I simply wasnt interested in other topics, and therefore didnt try very hard. But language and speaking made me tick.

This fact, along with Mr. Webermans words, gave me hope.

Mr. Weberman was truly an amazing man. He challenged me to follow my dream of becoming a journalist—which I did.

Whatever it was that enabled Mort to hear Mr. Weberman’s words with clarity and, even more importantly, without the echoing reverberation of the rage-filled sleights and slurs from his parents over the years, no one knows.

Least of all Mort.

He just knows that to this day, he is eternally grateful for that day in Mr. Weberman’s office and how it would change every day that followed.

For years after that, every time he saw Mr. Weberman, Mort reminded him what he meant to him. The year before he died was the last time he’d see him. He thanked him one final time and his last words to him were, “Mr. Weberman, you are everything that is right with education.”

The teacher came. And the student was indeed ready.

Read More About Mort’s Fascinating Life

For anyone who knows Mort as the confident and successful person that he’s become, it’s tough to imagine he had such a rough start.

But his fight, his spirit, and his resilience are undeniable – in every aspect of his life from his abusive childhood, to his days in the rock and roll scene, right up to his years in TV news broadcasting and now as an agent.

Read about them in Enough to Be Dangerous – due out on October 1st from Two Sisters Writing and Publishing – by pre-ordering your autographed copy today.

And in the mean time, subscribe to our blog to stay up to date on all the buzz around the book, the launch party, and other exciting events.

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