Bobby Mauldin had only $21 in his pocket when he ran away from home at the age of 16. But running away with the little that he had didn’t stop him from achieving his goal of going to college.
Mauldin, now 77, left to escape abuse, but he managed to make ends meet when he worked odd jobs and put himself through school.
Despite his hardship, Mauldin dreamed of going to college to become a television reporter. He worked hard, saved his money and got into North Texas State College in 1949.
But living on his own and going to college wasn’t easy, Mauldin said, adding that he lived in a flophouse and sometimes even sold his textbooks to earn enough money to eat.
Mauldin, a La Crescenta resident, graduated college and went into radio and television broadcasting.
He worked in radio for five years and transferred to the broadcast medium for an additional five years.
Mauldin’s 10-year stint in the media ended after he got in a car accident. After he recovered, he took time to travel and eventually started his own businesses.
Glendale News-Press news assistant Ani Amirkhanian sat down with Mauldin and asked him a few questions.
What did it take for you to go to college?
I managed to get a job at a grocery store and I got a job with my uncle, where I worked in his icehouse. I took an extra semester to finish high school. But I took journalism, English literature and composition in high school until I graduated.
Describe your first job for television.
My first job in TV was for WPTZ Channel 5 in Platzburg, upstate New York. I was doing strictly news, local news. This was in 1963. We had the wires, UPI and AP. When the wires started to ding, we knew we had something. We got a ding and it was at the time that Kennedy had been shot. I announced it in my news broadcast. For the next four days, the networks took over and we prepared for our newscasts. There were only two of us. I was the assistant news director.
What did you do in radio?
I was both disc jockey and I did news. I did a five-minute newscast before the hour and after the hour.
Did you prefer working in radio or television?
Television. Everybody got to see me. There were guys who got in radio and TV so people would notice them. They had low self-esteem. But I had something to say. In television, everyone wants to see what is happening. Every story could inform people what is happening. I liked that because I came from an ignorant, uneducated family.
What are some of the stories you worked on that stand out the most?
In 1966, I interviewed [Ronald] Reagan when I was in the Central Coast. He was campaigning for governor in California. I was working for KCY Television Channel 12. It was a small television station where we interviewed anybody. And here he was, a big movie star running for governor. In 1964, in Iowa, I interviewed Stewart Udallsecretary of the interior. He was campaigning for President [Lyndon B.] Johnson, for his re-election. Johnson was already president. I was very aggressive with the news director to get these stories because I knew the issues.
Why did you not continue with your career after recovering from the accident?
Thanks to a drunk who hit me from behind, I spent two years in a VA hospital getting physical therapy. I wanted to go back to television, but I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t pass the physical.