When I first came to Sacramento, I search for a job at two photo stores. The largest called McCurry's Cameras, and the other was a small photo store lovingly called The F-Stop. The former would not give me the time of day and the latter not only became my first employment in the area, but I ultimately became its owner a few months later. That's right; I bought the place at the ripe age of 20. I was young, had no cash, but had quick learning skills and a burning desire to stick it to the oversize unfriendly McCurry's chain. They had 5 to 6 stores, and we were just a little shop nestled in a small shopping center. Even though we were just a spec to them, when we roared we made everyone stand up a listened. My store was the first to hold model photography workshops, the first to introduce Polaroid's instant chrome film system, and we were known for having the friendliest staff that did not embarrass you when you needed film loaded into your camera. During the Christmas season, we offered professional Santa photo service for those who did not want to deal with the malls. Retail is hard work and after three years I made some valuable business contacts. While owning and operating a retail store is not for everyone. I respect those who choose to be in it. Maybe that's why I know how to make great commercials when it comes to retail. When most producers shy away from showing the front of the establishment (calling it old hat), I always show the storefront. A lot of money goes into the facade of a business and how else are customers going to recognize it when they drove past. My other joy was having the experience of working with a great staff. Thank you, Tom, Chari, Tim & Santa.
Mentor and Friend
My fondest memories were working with this amazing man and mentor, many many years ago. His name was Jim Meagher, the owner of Meagher Electronics, a recording studio/electronic repair shop in Monterey, California. He also specialized in public address systems and sound installations. I was lucky to be an intern at his establishment. I was 15 and worked late at night tinkering with old TVs and tape machines. He taught me the basics of electronics and great tips like what to do if you grab the hot soldering iron with your bare your hands, which happens more than you think. It was a simple trick of licking the area of contact on your skin as fast as you can, before the heat works its way deeper into the skin.
Jim was a sound engineer at the Monterey Pop Festival in ‘67 where Jimi Hendrix showcased to the world his talent. He would also tell stories of how Janis Joplin first recorded at his studio, which was always a treat to hear. We got to do many sound events at local celebrations, including great concerts featuring Cal Jader and other jazz performers.
Even though Jim was in the age of tube amplifiers and 1/4” reel-to-reel tape machines, he practiced recording methods still used today. He had a constant focus in achieving optimum results in all the work he did. He adapted and was always in sync with the changing technology around him, as he would always say "the basics are still the basics."
For others who knew him, they would shake their heads in agitation as Jim was a non-stop talker. You could easily be stuck with him for hours before you had a chance to stop him. I had to endure many of his long conversations, but I found that he was a wealth of knowledge and was always willing to explain things whenever you asked. He was a kind man, an excellent teacher and a friend. I miss him.
Note: The photo is of us setting up our instant audio booth at the Pacific Grove Singing Christmas Tree event (1979). We rented a small U-haul truck and parked it behind the stage while setting up until the late hours of the evening. This was normal for us.
Wikipedia source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meagher_Electronics
Christensen Media operates a video production company in Sacramento, CA. The staff enjoy working in unique creative environments and are never at a loss of ideas and fun stories.