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"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Friday, August 14, 2009

MEETING LES PAUL @ '68 DEMO COVENTION IN CHICAGO

by Leo E. Laurence

While working for ABC-KGO News in San Francisco in '68, I was at the famous Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

The bigger story was outside the convention hall, where the major clash between the anti-war hippies and the massive police/military forces mobilized by Mayor Daley turned the city streets "into a war zone," according to a CBS foreign correspondent. He was riding a special press bus that took the media around town, passing through police lines.

While wlking through one large city park where literally thousands of anti-war youths were enjoying the sun and camping out (and literally surrounded by the National Guard), I came upon about 30 young people squatting on the grass under the shade of a very large, old tree.

They were listening to a male guitar player and a female singer with very long, flowing blond hair.

They would sing a number, then chat with the youths sitting on the grass around them. It was a beautifully pleasant scene.

The performers were good, really good; and has the kids spellbound.

I wasn't much into the music of the day, so I had to ask one of the youths who the performers were.

"Les Paul and Mary Ford," I was told.

Really!

WOW!

I was surprised that they were performing to a small group under a tree, and not in a theatre somewhere.

"They just showed up, squatted on the grass and began performing," I was told.

But, that was part of the magic of the '68 Democratic National Convention.

When I arrived in Chicago from San Francisco, I was a conversative Republican as were most in our ABC-KGO newroom. ABC was a very conservative company.

When I returned to San Francisco, the Chicago convention had radicalized me and I began much more militant . . . and, a Democrat.

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