Larry Mantle |

Childhood goofing off got us our jobs




Monday morning on AirTalk, we spent our first hour focused on the unfolding uprising in Egypt.  Our guests made clear that they thought it would be very difficult for Hosni Mubarak to hold the presidency, given the size of the demonstrations.  They all also played down concerns that an open democracy would lead to a theocratic state.  We’ll continue to follow the story each day, including the call by protest leaders for Tuesday’s crowd to exceed a million.

Our final segment Monday morning was devoted to the legacy of Charles Schulz’ Peanuts.  Along with Schulz’ widow, Jean, and the author of The Peanuts Collection, Nat Gertler, I was joined by Drabble cartoonist Kevin Fagan.

It was a particular pleasure to talk with Kevin, since we lived next door to each other in the same apartment building in Inglewood.  On move-in day in 1966 I spotted Kevin drawing on a pad in the building’s courtyard.  He was shy, but open.  His drawing gave us something to talk about right away.

From there, Kevin and I started spending more time together after school and on weekends.  We shared interests in skateboarding, shooting hoops, baseball, comic books and recording interviews and comedy bits on our portable mini reel-to-reel tape recorders.  Our friends lived in our immediate neighborhood and attended the same school, Centinela Elementary, which was just a block away.

Over these years since Kevin established himself as a nationally syndicated cartoonist at age 22, and I started hosting AirTalk at age 26, I’ve often thought about how amazing it is that what he and I were goofing around with as kids would later provide our livelihoods.  Over lunch after the show, we reminisced about those days, caught up on our families, and shared how thankful we are to do what we’ve loved since childhood.