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Willard Scott
Willard Scott
The Older the Fiddle, the Better the Tune
ISBN: 0786868929
The Older the Fiddle, the Better the Tune
—from the publisher's website

A humorous and touching look at the joys of getting older, introduced by one of the Today show's beloved weathermen.

Willard Scott is famous for celebrating the wit and wisdom of age. In The Older the Fiddle, the Better the Tune, he asks a wide range of people, "What's the greatest thing about getting older?" From expressions of delight in senior citizen discounts to sage advice on life's challenges, the answers are always surprising, often moving, and sometimes very funny.

The Older the Fiddle, the Better the Tune
Program Air Date: July 13, 2003

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: Willard Scott and friends, author of "The Older the Fiddle, The Better the Tune," where`d you get that title?
WILLARD SCOTT (Author, "The Older the Fiddle, The Better the Tune"): I got to tell you, you know, Brian, these are celebrity books, I guess you`d call them. And I can say this with all honesty and sincerity. I think it`s one of the greatest books I`ve ever read because I had nothing to do with it. The title was given to me by a lady up in New York who watches me on the "Today" show and knows that I do salutes to older people, and she came up with that title. I`ve heard it for years. I heard it, "The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune," but they put "better," so -- it`s like Ronald McDonald, which I started, you know? Originally, it was Donald McDonald, but they changed that.

Everything in my career has been changed, altered or augmented -- except my hair!
LAMB: Now, what is a "celebrity book"?
SCOTT: Oh, you know, people in our racket, especially people like me, the Bill Cosbys of the world, and even some of the, you know, big -- I was going to say some of the news people. They get somebody to help them that knows -- that are writers to do the books. I believe Hillary Clinton`s new book, she had help with that, if I`m not mistaken. I don`t want to tell tales out of school that I don`t know what I`m talking about. But almost everybody that writes that kind of thing, they`re not writers.

So I`ve done six other books, and all of them, I work with the ideas and work with the editors that put it together, but I don`t know how to do any of that stuff. And they made wonderful -- made me look good. But I always made sure their name was on the front cover. Bill Crider -- we did two mystery books together. I`m probably telling you more than you want to hear, but -- anyway, that`s a celebrity book.

And I really enjoyed the theme behind this book because I`ve worked -- that was my idea, doing the centenarians on the "Today" show, saluting 100-year-old people. And that`s really where this idea came from.
LAMB: There are -- I counted 139 -- there may be one or two more -- of different examples of people talking about their retirement. How did you select -- I mean, you`ve got Gene McCarthy, George Bush, Bob Novak, Jack Valenti, Ed Koch, Paul Simon -- former senator -- Dick Thornburgh -- former attorney general. But a lot of these folks are not known.
SCOTT: Not as well known as maybe somebody like Soupy Sales or Art Linkletter or somebody like that. But these - I'll tell you, there again -- there is something legitimate about the book and something concrete, and that is the basic information in it has a basic theme, and that is, Don`t ever retire. Work, work, work. Try to always keep busy, and that helps keep the mind and the body intact. And the other is a positive attitude. I learned this, again, doing centenarians.

But how did we get -- we sent letters out to oodles of people, and we did it -- it`s a lot of celebrities because celebrities sell books. And there -- so all of that was influential when it came to producing this book. And then our research people found persons that weren`t necessarily celebrities who had interesting stories to tell after retirement, and their philosophies are in there.

A lot of the book is humor because humor sells. But there`s also some really very nice pieces in there.
LAMB: I`ve got one, the one that hit me the most. It was not a celebrity, and a little later on, I want to ask you to read it.
SCOTT: Sure.
LAMB: Which I`ll tell you in a moment. You have lived in and around the Washington, D.C., area for how many years?
SCOTT: Born and raised in Alexandria. Never left home. And so the -- 69 years. I was in the Navy for two years, and I was in Norfolk and I never left the state of Virginia. And I still live out in the boonies, about 60 miles west of Washington.
LAMB: You know, when you say politics, you don`t think of Willard Scott, but you`re in and around it. You know them all. Why didn`t you ever turn political? Or did you try it one time?
SCOTT: No, I`m too sensitive. My skin is too thin. I couldn`t take politics. And yet, like you said, the kids that I went to high school and grade school with and World War II, they were all politicians and sons and daughters of politicians. And my best friend in high school was a fellow named David Vaughan, and you may recall his father was Harry Vaughan, Truman`s military aide in the White House.

And I used to go -- I mean, here`s a kid from Alexandria. We`d get on the AB&W bus or we`d go in with his father, who drove a `46 Packard, and we`d drive right into the White House. Here`s a kid from Alexandria -- 12 years old, 13, and we`d go into the White House swimming pool and swim. And many`s the morning that old Harry Truman would come -- Hi, boys! How are you? And then I`d get invited to the Army-Navy game. And after we`d go swimming, we`d go over to Nedick`s, which was right over there on 15th Street, right next to the Key's Theater. We`d get our hot dogs.

I thought to myself, I can never get any better than this! Going to the White House and then having a hot dog at Nedick`s afterwards. A wonderful life!
LAMB: Have you known any other politicians well?
SCOTT: Well, a lot of them now, in the last 20 or 30 years since I`ve worked in the -- every first lady since Eleanor Roosevelt. I was 6 years old, met Eleanor Roosevelt in the White House. I went to Maury`s School in Alexandria, and we came over. It was, like, `41 or `42. And we sang Christmas carols for Eleanor Roosevelt. And outside of Jackie Kennedy -- I met her once at a horse show in Middleburg, but I never -- all the other first ladies I knew very well, and especially Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush. I played Santa Claus for the National Park Service, and I was going to say Rosalynn Carter -- Mrs. Carter -- I worked with her because he was in the White House when I played the Santa Claus bit.

So yes, I mean, and it goes -- I could go back and back and back, you know, to the people that I -- not just the big presidential people but congressmen and people that were in the cabinets of these, you know, various administrations.
LAMB: Excuse the political question, but did you ever feel you were used?
SCOTT: Never. No. Not in the sense -- I know what you`re talking about. No. I mean, I was used for whatever skills or talent -- when I played Ronald McDonald and Bozo the Clown -- I mean, I was chosen to go with Nancy Reagan to Children`s Hospital one time, and that was because of the character and the persona. But no, never. Never.

I had -- in fact, I`d like to write a book about -- I`ve got two books about Washington, D.C., and one is about, from my experience in high school, grade school and living here all my life, the incredible dedication of the people and the families of the politicians. All we ever hear about is when one, you know, goes astray. I would say somebody like a Wilbur Mills, who served his country well, then one little problem, you know? He didn`t jump in the Tidal Basin, but his friend did. You know, that sort of thing.

There are so many wonderful people that have served this country, who are the most terrific family people and who love this country. And nobody writes much about them. I guess -- what, they wouldn`t sell newspapers or books?
LAMB: Well, who would you write about?
SCOTT: Well, number one, I`d write about the Vaughans, that I knew very, very well, Elizabeth Dole and her mother, who just turned 101, and Bob Dole, who is a prince among people. I mean, he just -- Dean Acheson was one that I knew, just as a kid, remember. I was only about 13, 15, somewhere in there, when he was -- but I got to work with him on a couple of occasions because I was an NBC page, and I worked in Washington when he`d come up and do shows. And I would see -- you know, you learn an awful lot when you just observe people before the light of the camera goes on or the microphone goes on. And Drew Pearson is somebody that most people have forgotten about, who was a powerhouse in this city for years. And I worked with him, and I was a page, and I would set his studio up. And it`s an interesting thing when you get to talk to these people as a 15, 16-year-old kid, you can -- anybody that`s nice or pleasant or warm or whatever you want to call it with a young kid is, you know, a pretty good person.
LAMB: You talk about this book, talking about never retiring, keep going, and all that stuff. What do you do now? What`s your -- what`s your relationship with NBC today?
SCOTT: Well, I work two days a week for Smuckers, you know, the birthday salutes for centenarians. I mean, that`s what -- you know this business. I never believed in a -- never gave it a thought. In 1983, I was doing the "Today" show weather, seven -- five days a week, and I got a card -- lots of mail. Always got lots of mail because I used to promote things. So I`d get -- I got more mail than the whole show put together because of the type of thing that I did, you know, promoting and fairs and I got a card one time from a fellow`s uncle -- or I mean, a fellow`s nephew, who was going to be 100. And he said, Would you mention his birthday on the "Today" show? Well, of course, nobody`d ever done that on the "Today" show, that kind of hokey -- certainly didn`t fit in with the slash news entertainment quality of the "Today" show. But I'd said, Paul Harvey does it on radio, and it`s cute. It was cute. And I did it because Paul Harvey had done it and it was cute, never guessing that here in 2003, it would have saved my job. That is my entire contribution to the broadcasting industry today, is to salute centenarians. And we get more mail for 100-year-olds than the White House does. We`re the No. 1 clearinghouse for centenarians.
LAMB: If I read it right, you`re 69.
SCOTT: Thank you.
LAMB: Did I read it right?
LAMB: I don`t look it, do I.
LAMB: No, you don`t. (LAUGHTER)
LAMB: One of the things -- I know this is not fun to talk about. One of the things I noticed is that in your introduction is signed off October, 2002. And I remember reading about your wife dying October -- the end of October, 2002.
SCOTT: Right.
LAMB: So had this been done?
SCOTT: October 28th. Yes, most of the book was finished by then. And you know, it takes them three or four months to, you know, get it printed and everything like that. So yes, that was added into the -- you know, to the little bio.
LAMB: Would you have changed anything in this book if you`d known your wife was going to...
SCOTT: No, no, no, because -- she had a -- she got a big kick out of reading some of the proofs of the people. And her mother lived to be 92 and her aunt lived to be 93 or 94. So you know, she was no stranger to people who lived to be a ripe old age. And her uncle, who was here in Washington, started, I think, when he was 12 years old in 1898, as a coal stoker for the fireplace in what was then something, Federal Savings and Loan, turned out to be perpetual. You remember in Washington, that was a powerhouse -- I don`t even know if there are any savings and loans anymore. I know there are now insurance salesmen. They`re all financial advisers!
LAMB: But...
SCOTT: Oh, that`s a line in that book. Thornton Updike, I think, says in that book, one of the great things about being over 65, nobody ever tries to sell him life insurance.


LAMB: Was she sick long?
SCOTT: Thank God -- she was sick for four-and-a-half years with breast cancer, and -- but she had pretty good help and treatments, and she would have maybe one half a day -- never lost her hair, like some people, and she would have one half a day when it was bad. And then she did pretty good. She never was the same again, as far as being able to get out and do things, like she wanted to. But then the last two or three weeks were rough, which is really kind of the -- the purpose of this book. You know, don`t you, that all of my proceeds that I make for this book goes to breast cancer research. You didn`t know? Well, I`ve said that because I really want to sell the book to get the money for breast cancer research. The publisher's -- part goes to him. But my part, every nickel will go to breast cancer research. And Mary`s sister is going to -- because there`s a million breast cancer research -- we`re going to try to figure out who`s doing the most work and the most active and who`s -- you know, would be the most beneficial benefactor of this money. So yes, because it`s a terrible scourge in this -- they haven`t done anything with it, really. I mean, they`ve gotten different treatments, but it`s still -- after 50, it`s an epidemic among women. And the older they get, 10-year increments, it gets worse and worse -- 5, 6, 7 out of 10 women will get breast cancer as they get older. And it`s -- nobody knows why. I mean, nobody knows why. So we`re hoping that maybe this`ll help, you know? Maybe just spitting in the ocean, but it`ll be a little bit or money that`ll go towards that.
LAMB: Any of these 139, you know, recommendations on retirement help you after the death of your wife?
SCOTT: The positive attitude -- I can`t think of anyone -- I`m trying to think of anyone, particular one in there that hit me any more than just the basic philosophy that I had obtained from all these people who were 100 and who`d lived -- their attitude is incredible.
LAMB: You believe them?
SCOTT: Oh! Absolutely. And I`m kind of living proof -- let`s face it, I`m only, what, 31 years away from wishing myself a happy -- I taped mine, by the way. I`ll put yours on tape for 50 bucks, if want -- I`ll leave you a copy!
LAMB: Tape them in advance?
SCOTT: Yes, tape them in advance. That`s dangerous business, I guess, when you`re doing this.
LAMB: The Gene McCarthy one in here, page 29 -- it`s a poem.
SCOTT: I thought that was beautiful.
LAMB: "Courage at 70." I think that`s his. It says -- he`s born in 1916. He`s 87 years old.
SCOTT: Right.
LAMB: Did you write him?
SCOTT: Yes, we all wrote thank-you notes. We wrote them all notes when we first solicited their stories, yes.
LAMB: Did you know him?
SCOTT: A little bit. I met him maybe two times. I remember when the -- one time I met him was at the Palm here in Washington, and there again, he was a very -- interesting guy, very soft-spoken, obviously a very dedicated man. I thought -- you know, politics -- that`s another thing about -- America produces the right people for the right time, and he was certainly the right person for the Democratic Party at that time, don`t you think? I mean, he had that nice way about him. He was very easy and very empathetic and sympathetic. And I think he offered America a great choice.
LAMB: Now, he did the poem. Was that their choice?
SCOTT: No, it was his choice.
LAMB: That`s what I mean, his choice. He wanted to do a poem.
SCOTT: Right. Yes. Anybody could do anything they wanted that represented something to do with growing old -- I don`t want to say "gracefully." That sounds like an old cliché -- but productively. And who was, I was thinking of somebody else a minute ago that I -- so many of the -- I`ll think of it in a minute. I got that senior moment when you said Eugene McCarthy.
LAMB: I`ve got it open to the page of George Herbert Walker Bush, the president`s father. He says, "I`m 78. I don`t feel a day over 77. Just kidding. I`m very happy and quite not `very` old. There are some truly great things about getting older. When grandkids cry, I can tune out or simply leave." Later on, he says, "I`ve forgot a lot of stuff now," or "I forget a lot of stuff. But so what? It`s kind of fun to always look for my glasses."

Do you forget stuff?
SCOTT: Like I just forgot who -- what I was trying to say a minute ago.
LAMB: Is it often you do that?
SCOTT: Oh, enough so that -- I had a friend of mine who -- God have mercy. My mother had Alzheimer`s. And this friend of mine had Alzheimer`s, and we were coming back from a restaurant one afternoon. We`d gone to lunch. And it took two of us to finish a sentence and about 10 miles. But I -- you know, it was so much fun, in a way, because he laughed about it. He was still good enough in those days so that he could -- he knew he had his problems, but he could laugh about it. Yes. Yes.
LAMB: The rest of the...
SCOTT: But I don`t forget that much. I mean, I`m still -- thank God, you know? If I leave my glasses outside the hot tub or something in the middle of the night, and next afternoon I look for my glasses, I remember right where they were. And you know, that`s the kind of thing that I`m really proud of.
LAMB: More of what George Herbert Walker Bush says. He says, "And then there is the oldest son. Imagine -- father of a president!" He`d earlier said being the father of a governor, being...
SCOTT: Right.
LAMB: Jeb Bush. "The only problem with being old is that my pride runneth over and I shed tears too easily when proudly I watch our 43rd president serve his country with pride, dignity and determination."

Have you noticed in your own life that you shed tears more as you get older?
SCOTT: Absolutely. I mean, I don`t know -- somebody once said, you know, you -- I think the older you get, you do cry a lot. You get more -- somebody swats a fly, and I get sentimental and, you know, start to weep. Yes, I do that -- my father did that. I remember him as he got older, and he would just -- it was funny, almost like it would come on, and then he`d turn it right off, you know? But it did. Yes, I think you do. You have those moments, yes. That`s good. I like that. I like that -- one of those -- that`s one of the things I like about getting older.
LAMB: Bob Novak is 72, and he says, "I don`t know whether it is a joy or misfortune of old age, but I don`t have to worry so much anymore about getting into trouble. I hardly drink, don`t smoke, don`t gamble and am kept under tight control by my wife of 40 years. On balance, I think that`s an advantage."

What impact has it had on you that your wife`s gone?
SCOTT: Oh, as far as -- well, I was thinking of -- you know, I was thinking of Howard Cosell and his wife, Emmy. She was devoted to him and he to her. Lot of people know that in the business, but I`m not sure a lot of the general public knows. Howard Cosell and that bravado and all of that, you know, toughness and all of that kind of caustic -- he got his tremendous support and the wind under his wings from her. And when she passed away, he never did anything again. And I`m not going to say that I`m in that particular situation, but I really do know what happened. He and I became sort of friends up in New York. I`d see him maybe once or twice a month, and we`d have dinner. But you know, you really -- you don`t -- it`s too crass to say you never miss the water until the well runs dry because I was well aware of how much Mary had meant to me. But when you live together and are partners for 43 years, there`s a tremendous dependency there. I mean, you take things for granted. You really do. Or you don`t -- you`re not aware of them until they`re gone. There`s no other way to say it than that. And I do notice that, and I notice my lack of confidence has definitely diminished, things that I always -- she was a support for me, and she loved this business and she loved me in it. And as I say, we had more fun together. And we had our times when we first got married. She was a White House girl, native -- both of us, my God. We`re -- you know, very rare to have two, you know, Washingtonian people, you know, and certainly in this day and age, when everybody`s from someplace else. And we never left town, either one of us. And all of her family was here and my family was here.

But we fought in the beginning. Boy, oh, boy, did we ever fight! I mean, we -- almost, like, two weeks after we got married, I remember sitting on the steps over in Arlington, and we`re both just sort of staring at the leaves. And I said, What have we done? Gee, I don`t know. What have we done? I don`t believe this. It was like we made a terrible mistake.

And the nice thing was us -- when we fought, we both wanted it to work, and when I would get outrageous and she knew I was getting crazy and serious, she would back off. And when I saw her really get wild and I thought, My God, she`s going to leave, I`d back off. So we wanted it to work. We both wanted it to work. And that -- I think that`s -- I can`t remember the last fight we had, to be honest with you. It`s been 20 years, you know, or so. But in the beginning, you do. I don`t know, what is it, your genes, your hormones, your -- what is it that makes you fight? Are you so insecure or want your own way and want to beat -- I don`t know what it is. I don`t really -- I never cared, towards the end. I got a -- you got it, Mary. I said someplace about her, forgotten where I said it now, but I said even when she got violent and nasty and treated me rough, I still loved her, you know?
LAMB: Did she ever get violent and nasty and treated you rough?
SCOTT: Oh, did she ever! She threw a thermos bottle at me one time. I remember -- she was -- forgive me. I don`t want to make the Irish mad, but she had that Irish temper that you heard about in movies and books, you know, and -- oh, my God! Oh, could she -- I mean, when she went off like a banshee -- and then one -- I`ve forgotten what it was, some stupid -- but I made her mad. She took a thermos bottle and it went through the screen, tore the screen up. I mean, wasn`t just -- oh, yes! That`s the worst thing she ever did that I can -- she never hit me. I never, never laid a hand on a woman in my life. Never spanked my two daughters. I got a tremendous respect for women, so I don`t -- we didn`t get into a donnybrook.
LAMB: Where are your daughters? How old are they?
SCOTT: Sally is 38, and she`s down in Georgia, Savannah. And Mary lives in Lexington, Virginia, and she`s - if I tell these girls' ages, they`ll get mad at me -- 42.
LAMB: And...
SCOTT: I can`t believe that!
LAMB: ... back to Bob Novak. He says, "As a journalist, I am in a line of work where I can keep working indefinitely."
SCOTT: That`s right.
LAMB: Why should people want to work indefinitely?
SCOTT: Oh, I think it keeps you healthy mentally and spiritually and physically. And I -- this is a kind of crass thing to say, too, but I swear, getting a paycheck -- it`s a reward. I mean, maybe if you were a kid and you just got a mud pie, but to -- every week or two weeks to be able to go to the bank and cash something with your name on it and they give you money for it, it`s a sense of worth or value.

I liked his little piece in there because, you know, he`s kind of a gruff guy. You know him? Obviously, you do. And he can be a little gruff. I thought he was very sensitive in that piece that he wrote. And Helen Gurley Brown wrote a piece in there, too, that I like very, very much. And she and her husband discussed it when they got the little letter that we sent. And I thought she -- there`s some very nice, deep pieces in there.

And you know what I was starting to say that I lost my train of thought because that senior moment hit? It`s the positive attitude that everybody in this book displays. There is no two ways about it. And you got to remember, number one -- let`s not be Pollyanna-ish about this -- good health, good health, good health, first, second and third. You can do an awful lot of living if you have good health. And the other thing is a sense of humor, and the other thing is a little money. I mean, you know, we can walk out there and say, Isn`t it wonderful? They`ve got a great sense of humor and they`ve got their health. But if they`re, you know, broke -- that`s another reason to work, I think, you know, just to -- anyway...
LAMB: Dick Thornburgh, who was the attorney general...
SCOTT: Right.
LAMB: ... and also before that, the governor of the state of Pennsylvania, has a rather long one. He starts off by saying, among other things, "In an ironic way, my capacity for true enjoyment seems to have deepened with age." Then he talks about his "four fine sons, two superb daughters-in-law and now six grandchildren."

But then at the end, he -- and I`ll read this paragraph -- just want to ask you how often you run into something like this. He says, "One of our sons has a disability. He has mental retardation. In many ways, he has contributed the most to my comprehension to the good that can evolve from nearly every situation. He possesses a kind of quiet dignity that, despite his limitations, serves as an inspiration to all who know him, and his own values are very much in order. Recently, when visiting us, he and I went to the Washington zoo. We saw all the animals and laughed together at the antics of many of them. At the end of our excursion, I asked him what he had liked best about our experience, expecting a reply that took into account the unique characteristics of one or more of the animals we had seen. Instead, he responded quietly, quite simply, `Being with you.`"
SCOTT: That`s pretty potent, isn`t it? I mean, that`s powerful stuff. And I think -- I was going to -- I was thinking as you read that, somebody said this to me one time. I`d never heard the expression before, but nobody ever learns from their successes, you learn from your failures. And that`s certainly not an example of a failure, but I would put in there, too, you don`t learn anywhere near as much from the things in life that are smooth and easy-going as you do from the things that are setbacks, or like he said, you know, retardation.

I remember with one of the greatest experiences of my life was meeting my radio partner, Eddie Walker, who was sharper than all of us. And they used to say the only handicap Eddie Walker ever had, that he had to work with me for, like, 20 or 30 years, whatever "The Joy Boys," our radio show, was on here in town all those years.

But Eddie was born blind. And I remember how much I learned from working with him. And I owe a lot of my career -- because, you know, we`re pretty ego-centered in this industry, and you`ve met a few egos, I`m sure, in your day. And you know what? I learned working with Eddie, everywhere we ever went, because he had his handicap, everybody took care of him first. We`d walk into a cocktail party or somebody`s house for dinner or anyplace in a crowd, where were doing an appearance, and everybody -- Oh, Eddie! Eddie! Let me take your coat. Eddie, let me get you a drink. Eddie, let me fix you some food. And they would take him off my arm, and away he would go. And I`m -- old Willard`s just standing there, big face hanging out.

And I learned a tremendous lesson from that. I learned humility, and I learned how to play second fiddle -- which is close to the title of the book! Maybe that`ll be the sequel! And it was a wonderful experience because it taught me how to cope in this industry, where a lot of times you`re second fiddle and a lot of times, you have to play second banana. But doing it well and knowing how to react to it without getting your ego bent is a very, very important thing, I think.
LAMB: What`s the best thing about being a celebrity and the worst thing about it?
SCOTT: Well, I think the best thing is your capacity to do things, I mean, and your ability -- you really can be of good service and help organizations and -- like, with Mary, my wife, she used to love it, I mean, because we could help raise money for people at funds, and -- she loved Mount Vernon, you know, down here on the Potomac River. And she had a couple of pet charities up at home. And she`d trot me out if they needed something done, you know, and -- it is a wonderful -- there`s a good -- that`s a very good thing about celebrity.

I haven`t found too many down sides. I think if you`re busy and you go into a store and too many people want to talk to you, that gets on your nerves. But you got to remember, if they didn`t want to talk to you, you know, you`d be in big trouble. And so sometimes, if I`m in a snit or if I find myself in a bad mood, I don`t go to the store. I don`t put myself out into a public place where -- you know, I`ve never been cross with anybody. One time, my father`d just come out of the -- was in the hospital, had a six-hour operation on his aorta, for God`s sake. And I`m talking to the doctor, and it was a life-threatening situation. And some lady interrupted us and came up and started beating her gums, and I did turn on her. I remember. I wasn`t horrible, but I let her know that she was interrupting a conversation that -- and then she said something as she walked away -- Well, I certainly thought you were different from that! And it hurt my feelings, but what the hell. I mean...
LAMB: What were your parents like?
SCOTT: Well, they -- my father was a fun-loving guy. He was always a good, open man. I mean, he was a life insurance salesman -- you know, didn`t sell Fuller Brushes or -- those days, life insurance salesmen did sell door to door. And I used to go with him as a kid over in Alexandria. I`ll never forget. I remember specifically one house -- because you know, they`d go in, those old agents, they sold what they called "burial insurance" in those days. They were $1,000 policies that were only designed to bury the guy. And they were 25 cents a week. And he`d go by and pick up the quarter. And I was in Alexandria, sitting in his `46 or whatever it was Plymouth, looking at the -- a sign on this old house down there on St. Asaph Street, was $1,500 for this -- and I thought to myself, Who would ever want to live in that dump? You know, it looked like a shack. Well, those houses, of course -- if I`d had any sense -- I had a newspaper route four years later, I could have bought that house. And I think it sold for, like, a half million dollars or something in the -- back in the `70s. God knows what it sells for now.
LAMB: So what`d your mother do?
SCOTT: She was a housewife, pure, 100 percent. And both of them were farm-raised. My mother and father both came to town about 1925. And Mother worked for the phone company, C&P Phone Company up on 14th and New York Avenue, where she used to go get a root beer every Sunday from a guy up there named Marriott, who opened up a little root beer stand, who later on wrote a book called "Sticky Nickels." Did you ever read that book? It`s all about the nickels for the root beer.
LAMB: You`re talking about J. Willard Marriott?
SCOTT: J. Willard, yes.
LAMB: He was actually there selling it?
SCOTT: John Willard. He and his wife ran the place. Yes. Oh, yes. John Willard. That`s my grandson`s name, not after him but after me and...
LAMB: Your mother used to buy...
SCOTT: Oh, she`d buy the root beer, A&W root beer. Yes, A&W root beer. And then he opened up a couple other little places called Hot Shops, and the rest, as they say, is history. But I was just mention -- she came to town, worked for the phone company. And they`d both come from western North Carolina, beautiful - Ashe County. Have you been down -- it`s, you know, Blue Ridge Parkway, right near the -- and they had an old farm, been in the family since 1755. And my father was a tobacco-chewing, cussing old North Carolina playboy -- plowboy. Might have probably been a playboy -- wasn't much of a playboy that I knew about, but he was an old plowboy. And he liked her when they were 12.

But then they moved away. My grandfather and my mother and all that bunch moved up into Maryland, up near Baltimore. And he was a dairy farmer, which influenced my life incredibly. I managed to live on that farm -- everything about the farm life that I love I learned from him. You know, the old spring house, where -- they only had one light in the whole house, no bathroom. Everything was -- outhouse.

But anyway, I don`t want to -- I`m digressing here. But they were -- she -- you know, my mother could bake, one of those people, you know, never looked at a recipe book in her life. And her mother -- she was a -- you know, that was her thing. And she was good at it. She was -- we had fun as a family.
LAMB: Well, how did you get into the radio business?
SCOTT: Gosh, I met the grandson of the -- I met the great-grandson of the lady that put me in show business. Her name was -- Derek Adams was the kid`s name. We were like 10 years old. We were in Alexandria, and I was cutting the grass for Mrs. Adams. And she had two tickets to see a radio show in Washington at WMAL, called "The Washington Gas Line," was sponsored by a Washington gas company.

And I remember coming over to the studios at 14th and New York Avenue and watching this show, and thinking what a thrill it was -- would be to work in this business.

That was one experience I had. And that was actually later than the one, because I am using that senior moment, I remember. The first thing -- and you`ll appreciate this -- the first time I had ever been in a radio station in my life, I went to the Earle Theater in Washington here, which is now The Warner, WTOP, which was then owned half by CBS and half by "The Washington Post," where Arthur Godfrey got his start and quite a few others.

But the movie let out early, it was `43, 1943. And I was just waiting for my mother. I walked upstairs or took the elevator to the fifth floor, where WTOP radio was there. The receptionist took me through. She says, now, if you are very quiet, I`ll let you sit here and listen. There is a man going to read the news.

And Eric Sevareid was that man. And he had just gotten back from Burma, where he had been, you know, lost in the jungle for three months. But I thought to myself then, what a wonderful business this is. But the first radio show I ever saw was "The Wonder Flame of the Air," that was the name of it, on WMAL.
LAMB: Where was the first radio program that you ever announced on?
SCOTT: WPIK in Alexandria, the George Mason hotel. And during high school we formed a radio club, and I was the announcer.

And that`s my greatest job. Nobody even cares about that anymore. You`ll appreciate. I was a staff announcer at NBC for 30 years. That was the greatest job in broadcasting. Because you had everything. And you did parades, you did sports, you did weather. As a staff announcer, you did it all.

But doing that high school show, I was the staff announcer for that particular show. That`s all I do was open and close, you know, "Lady make believe in her players." You always cup your ear. You know, we would do that.

And then I won an audition. Sidwell Friends had a sponsorship of some kind of a radio club in Washington. A fellow named Katzenbach was the speech or English professor. And he chose me out of 11 -- we only had 11 high schools in Washington. And then I was the host of a high school hit parade on WCFM radio. Marquis Childs owned it. Remember Marquis Childs?
LAMB: From "St. Louis Post-Dispatch."
LAMB: He owned the station?
SCOTT: He and somebody else owned it, right here on Connecticut Avenue. It`s about where -- I`m boring you to death with this now, but anyway...
LAMB: Didn`t he used to write speeches for Stevenson...
SCOTT: Sure did, oh, yes. That`s the first election, I think, I ever voted in my life, and I voted for him. Not Marquis, but Adlai. That`s an interesting guy. I have never met him. But I would like to have. I always thought he is a shame -- it`s a shame that he -- he was a prophet. And I remember him saying even as a kid, I remember one of his speeches, of course this is sort of like Lincoln`s famous speech about nobody will ever conquer us from without; if anybody conquers us, it will be from within, talking about America.

And I remember Stevenson, this was in 1952 or `3. And Adlai Stevenson was talking about the biggest threat to America is terrorism. And he had more in mind coming from the south, that, you know, some of the governments were unstable in central and South America. But how about that for a 1954 or `55 prophecy?
LAMB: So when did you have your first show that you called your own?
SCOTT: Oh, I was -- the high school hit parade show that I did at WCFM was my first show. Then we did a show when Frank Blair was a local announcer. People remember him as the newsreader of the "Today Show." I`m sure a lot of people remember him, good-looking man. And he was our announcer for WOL here in Washington for the high school. This is another show, "High School Hit Parade." And then "The High School Reporter" was on WCFM.

Then at the same time, my fascinating career was multifaceted. I had a job as an NBC page at WRC in Washington. And that was the greatest thing I had going, because it was during that period that I showed up for auditions for summer relief announcer ever year, never won. And the third year the guy -- one guy that got the job`s wife didn`t like living here, and they left three weeks before the vacation period was over.

What are they going to do? They`re not going to hire somebody for three weeks. Guess who was standing there with my Clearasil, and they hired me, and I was for three weeks the staff announcer. And as it turned out, Frank Blair, who was on the staff at NBC in Washington, left to go to New York to do a show called "The Today Show." And he left an opening on the staff for the first time in something like 20 years. And so I got that job. And here I am.
LAMB: Was your voice the same then as it is now?
SCOTT: It was always fairly decent, because I -- remember -- ever since Eric Sevareid, he had a wonderful voice. I used to emulate him. Even as a kid I tried to lower my voice, so even though I had no formal training, I had the, you know, pretending to be a radio announcer and read the newspaper in the basement. Did you ever have a pretend radio station when you were a kid, or did you do that?
LAMB: Yes. Sure.
SCOTT: Well, I had that, too. And I used to read. No, it wasn`t as finished as it is now. Sort of speak, but it worked out. I mean, you do it a lot on the air, by that time, and I worked on the air. I was a disc jockey and I got all of that staff.

And then when I got the NBC staff job, well that -- if I never got anything in my life again, that was it. I mean, that was the most -- any kid, you know, in our generation, or mine, I`ll say, you`re a young fellow, but in my generation to have a staff announcer`s job at NBC, O&O radio station, you couldn`t ask for more.

Later in life in Florida, I became friends with a guy named Durward Kirby. And I used to sit at his feet. I am 55 years older, God knows what I was, and I would sit there, we`d eat Velveeta and wonder bread sandwiches. And Durward would sit there on his couch and tell me about doing dance band remotes with Pax, his wife, and they`d go from hotel to hotel. "And you know, Will, when the music played, Pax and I would dance." When I say, dance band remote, I`m sure 80-90 percent of your people don`t even know what I`m talking about.
LAMB: Well, for just for a moment, Frank Blair, for those who don`t remember him, for how many years was he the news reader on "The Today Show?"
SCOTT: Oh, yes, 20, 25 years.
LAMB: And Durward Kirby`s job was in this business.
SCOTT: And the greatest thing he did was Garry Moore, you know. We always said...
LAMB: Who was Garry Moore?
SCOTT: See, oh, my God, isn`t that awful? That's right, I got to remember. Garry Moore -- he met Garry Moore at WMAQ in Chicago. Garry Moore was an aspiring writer, and then Garry Moore did probably the most popular, next to Godfrey -- Arthur Godfrey, remember him? Arthur Godfrey, in the early days of television, 1950 to 1955, had five of the top 10 shows in the daytime television.
LAMB: Did you ever know him?
SCOTT: Yes. I got to know him. I got to know -- and I liked him. He had his -- if you -- he could be rough. But I was a kid, for God`s sakes. In fact, the Upperville Horse Show, in my town, 150 years old this year, and I met him for the first time with Goldie, his wonder horse, at the Upperville Horse Show, along with Colonel Sanders. How do you like me for name dropping?
LAMB: Now back to this book for a moment.
LAMB: Even though you say it`s a celebrity book...
LAMB: How much time did you actually spend on it?
SCOTT: I`ve spent more time reading the proofs than I did producing. Because, see, all of the book material was given to us by the people who wrote the letters. And, you know, their stories are in there.
LAMB: And you had an editor?
SCOTT: Oh, yes. And then the people at the -- yes, the editor and then the people at the book company, Hyperion, they put the book together. So forgive me, but I`m not a writer. Most people know that. Some of the other books I`ve made my contribution. But this one was put together with paste and, you know.
LAMB: Because this is about retirement and all, when you first got in the business, how long did they let people stay in the business then? Compared to today? I mean, you`re 69 and still on "The Today Show."
SCOTT: Yes, well, see, that was another thing about going back to being a staff announcer. I`ve always been a security nut. Even when I was a kid, I didn`t like temporary hits, I like things to last, you know for -- and being a staff announcer, those guys worked 30 and 40 years as staff announcers, from the 1930s up to the 1950s. And they retired like human beings. You know, they retired at 64, 65 as a staff announcer. What`s his name with -- "Saturday Night Live," Don Pardo, he may be the last living oldest staff announcer in the world. I know people can relate to Don Pardo.
LAMB: Is he still going?
SCOTT: He does "Saturday Night Live" every Saturday night.
LAMB: How old is he?
SCOTT: Don`s 75 or 76. And his vocal chords are still flapping in the breeze, and he is making money and pays his dues.
LAMB: I want you to read, if you would, please, it`s a long one, but it`s the one for me in the whole book -- it`s page 98.
SCOTT: I have to look here.
LAMB: Yes, actually, it`s a little bit long, but it`s by Gerard Damerval. He was born June 24, 1931. He`s a retired agronomist engineer who has four children, eight grandchildren and a wife of 45 years. And it starts on page 98. You have it?
SCOTT: Yes, I got it right here. I remember this very well, right after the Bill Cosby piece.
LAMB: Why don`t you, if you don`t mind just read it? And our audience is used to us taking time, and...
SCOTT: Sure, if you don`t mind, I don`t mind.
LAMB: Yes, go right there.
SCOTT: "I am always surprised when someone or something makes me realize that I`m now over 70 years old. I feel so much like the young boy that I once was. In fact, I still am that boy today.

How can I say this? However, when there are so many things I used to love doing, which are now entirely out of my reach -- running in the wet sand, for instance, diving head first into the waves and feeling the turmoil of the brine all over my body, or climbing a forest trail at great strides from spruce to spruce.

However, can I claim to be or feel the same as I was? Well, all things considered, it seems to be a bit of a mystery. And this doesn`t come as a total surprise, though. With the years I have discovered that our lives are full of mystery. There are those that we encounter at each of our first steps.

And why does the pretty flame from the match bite my fingers when I touch it? Why does the moon become so thin after having been so fat? Why is my room populated with so many monsters that frighten me so much just after mother switches the light off? Why does the car spring to life once father gets behind the wheel?

Well, years go by and these little mysteries disappear. Along with them, other things appear. And I marvel at them. I would like to share a few of them with you right now.

Of course, there is the mystery of the infinity of space, at once empty and filled with billions and billions of stars. And there is also the infinity, infinitely small, even more mysterious, which we are made of -- what we are made of.

More so, the mystery of life -- this life, where we meet pain and ugliness, happiness and beauty, always together, completing each other even as they oppose each other.

And all the questions that we can ask ourselves about these topics receive responses that in turn lead to new questions.

However, it is only now, with all those years behind me, that I`ve become more and more conscious that there is something far more inexplicable than all of this, and also far more important. To me, it is the greatest of all mysteries. I`m talking about the mystery of love.

Whether love inspires us or not can make every moment of our lives loaded with unforeseen worth. What appeared like a catastrophe can with love become a source of happy times. And our fear for the future can turn into confidence in ourselves and in those who surround us.

I would like to share a little story about this. It starts like many of those fairy tales where good witches turn ugly toads into beautiful young princes, much to the princesses` satisfaction.

Well, once upon a time, there was a little girl, barely 7 years old, who told her parents that when she grew up she would become a doctor. Her parents smiled and thought nothing more of it. But the little girl continued thinking about it all through the years that took her from elementary school to high school, and from childhood to adulthood, when all major decisions are taken.

Having become a beautiful young woman, she started arduous medical studies, and one day she finally reached her goal. The one day that the little 7-year-old girl had decided to set for herself.

Now she was practicing the profession that she had chosen, independent and full of the joys of life. Her father rejoiced in her present happiness and in the prospect of her happiness to come. He could already see her at the side of the man she would love, and with whom she would blossom.

The beautiful young woman did indeed fall in love. But the one who would become everything to her was a poor cripple. All that was left of him was -- what poliomyelitis had left alive when she had -- when he had been a young child." Excuse me.

"A poor misshapen body, whose every movement was painful to see. So hard that it appeared to make her very unhappy. He could read and write, but had not studied further. His family had not known how or been able to, given the means to lead an active, unimpaired by his physical handicap, that would enable him to somehow support himself.

His mother was dead, his father was already aged and would soon no longer be of help. How could anyone think that he could ever take his place as a husband by the side of this beautiful young woman, make her happy and bring her the moral and material support that the circumstances of life make necessary between spouses at one time or another?

Well, the wedding did take place, though. And the beautiful young woman, radiating with joy in her immaculate wedding dress, was led by her father to the altar, where this poor thing was waiting, wavering in his tuxedo.

The father gave his daughter`s hand to him, and in doing so lived the sorriest moment of his life. He despaired when he thought of the future that awaited his dearly beloved daughter. How could he think that this union would produce daily bliss, the sharing of deep joys, the comfort of being side by side, to face the difficult or tragic moments that life holds in store?

He was convinced that this wedding could only lead to failure, which he suffered in advance to see his daughter go through.

The newlyweds left for another city, where the bride had a position in a hospital. The father thought of his daughter and feared for her and the future that he could foretell.

What? He was wrong. Love is powerful when it`s true. As it happens in all fairy tales, this true love changed this cripple into a husband and soon a father, who was perfectly capable of making his wife very happy. They organized their daily activities in the joy of being together. And the husband, despite his physical limitations, took his rightful place in them. And the father, now a grandfather, while playing with his grandchildren, meditated on the mystery of love.

You don`t believe in fairy tales and mysteries? You can safely believe in this one, because I`m that father and that woman is my daughter."
LAMB: What do you think?
SCOTT: I think that`s pretty powerful stuff. That`s one of the more serious. I get all -- see me? I get all choked up when I read stuff like that. But it is beautiful. And, you know, it`s -- I think it`s -- it speaks parables. I mean, it just -- I think that`s the way we are.

Somebody said years ago, and I had never heard this expression again until a couple of months back. Somebody said, you know how to make God laugh? Have you heard that one? Tell him your plans. Isn`t that terrific? And that is basically what this is -- you know, God does work in mysterious ways. And I mean, a story like that just proves it. How many times have we encountered a situation, maybe not quite as severe as that, but a similar situation, where, you know, somebody`s saying, you`re not going to amount to anything, you`re no account or something like that, and then you turn around and produce something so beautiful.
LAMB: Well, first of all, I want to make sure the audience knows who it was. I mentioned earlier, his name is Gerard Damerval. I`m not sure I`m pronouncing it right.
SCOTT: I don`t know him, but I think that`s the right pronunciation.
LAMB: D-a-m-e-r-v-a-l, born June 24, 1931. Did you ever -- when you read some of these, want to pick up the phone and call these people and talk to them?
SCOTT: Absolutely. As I say, that story in particular. I remember very, very well. It is a beautiful story.
LAMB: Another one is former Senator Paul Simon. He`s...
SCOTT: Great sense of humor and a wonderful guy.
LAMB: Born in 1928. He says one is that you can profit by your mistakes and learn how to be effective and not just spin your wheels, as you advocate some cause. He said he`s working now full time at Southern Illinois University. "I have the luxury of doing what I want and not necessarily what is politically advantageous." What about that statement? How often do you hear that from a politician? Let me read it again, "I have the luxury of doing what I want and not necessarily what is politically advantageous."
SCOTT: You know who comes to mind right away? Is Jimmy Carter. I mean, there is a guy that`s done very same thing, really. I mean, in politics all his life, and he loves doing what he`s doing right now. I don`t think there is any -- I can`t -- I was trying to think the other day of any president that I`m aware of -- and I`m a history nut. I minored in history in college, because I always loved history.
LAMB: Where did you go?
SCOTT: American University. I majored in philosophy and religion, which nobody would ever believe with me. But I minored in history. Being around here, you know, you`re a history nut.
LAMB: How much of that philosophy and religion and history have you used?
SCOTT: Oh, tremendous. Philosophy and religion part.
LAMB: Where? How?
SCOTT: Oh, in everything I do. My whole life. And everybody I`m associated with.
LAMB: Do you have a favorite philosopher?
SCOTT: Not really, to be -- Jesus Christ is my, you know, mentor. So I can say honestly he was -- I think I`d go along with him about as close as anybody. And I just think when you -- as you go through every different phase of your life and every different relationship, and relationships change, I think it`s a tremendous asset to be able to call on that strength.

Power is a tremendous -- you know, you`re going to turn this into a religious show, but I`ll tell you something, the power of prayer is beyond anything. I know --- I`ll tell you, we`re not supposed to talk about too much, but I recently got into AA. And I wasn`t -- I didn`t fall down into the gutter, but I had my problems, and I was -- this is something that I`ve been wanting to say in an interview and I`m glad we can do it here, because maybe I can actually reach somebody on something on this particular subject.

But I think -- I drank pretty good. Mary used to always keep me in line, my wife. And I`d drink three or four drinks every night. I mean, I was up to about 12 ounces of scotch seven nights a week. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

And then after she died, there was nobody to keep me straight. And this happens with an awful lot of people that lose their spouse. I know. They`re probably watching right now. And you tend to start drinking even more.

And I remember, I guess it was like two months after she died, I went to first the AA meeting, because I wanted to seriously solve the problem, and I`m one of those who uses the meat ax approach. You know, you can`t do it by yourself. I mean, God have mercy, you can try, but you need that support. I was just going to say, the attitude that AA can give you, the support, faith is the secret of the AA philosophy.
LAMB: And you had never been to AA before?
SCOTT: Never been to AA before.
LAMB: How many years of your life did you drink that much?
SCOTT: Well, when I was a kid, I didn`t drink at all. I was the only one at college that didn`t drink. I was the designated driver, and they didn`t even know what a designated driver was back in 1951 or `52.

But my father was a bad drinker. And he wouldn`t drink during the week, but a weekend drinker he was, and boy, I mean, he would get up from Friday night until Sunday night, he was pretty rough. He would drink and never lost a job, never got in trouble, but he could be very unpleasant. And booze in our house didn`t mean anything really that positive for the, you know, a lot of the country club social drinkers, two or three drinks.

I wished I could have two drinks. I`d love to. But I`m a -- what`s the word -- compulsive. I`m compulsive. My mouth, you can tell I`m compulsive talker, I`m a compulsive eater, and I was a compulsive drinker.

But the help of AA, the fellowship of the meeting, which is just absolutely essential, and beautiful, I mean it`s the most pure form of democracy I`ve ever met in my entire life. And then the secret of prayer and faith that`s connected with AA. It is probably the greatest manmade organization, maybe in the history of the world.
LAMB: And why aren`t you supposed to talk about it?
SCOTT: Oh, I think they -- I know there is a part of the -- I think what they`re saying really is they don`t want people to go to the media or have too much contact -- well, the media is newspapers too, you know, and maybe -- talk about it and maybe try to promote it too much. It`s because the whole secret is for you to find them, not them to find you, you know? A person that has a problem with alcohol should find AA. Their job is not necessarily to find you, because sometimes it`s essential that you find them to make it work.
LAMB: Have you stopped drinking entirely?
SCOTT: Absolutely.
LAMB: Not a drop?
SCOTT: You cannot -- I mean, there are people who say, oh, well, you know, once you go through this or go see doctor so and so, I wish they had a pill. You know, a two-drink pill. You pop the pill, a little water and you knock off maybe four ounces of scotch. And make it -- I go to cocktail parties and I would see people get a glass of white wine, and the thing was maybe like that -- eight hours later at the party. I can`t imagine. I say I brush my teeth with the Chablis when I drink, and use a little -- it`s just -- it`s an incredible thing. It`s been very good for my life. I`ve lost a little weight, believe it or not. You wouldn`t know it to look at me. But more than that, the good it`s done my psyche. The good.
LAMB: How hard is it to be a celebrity in the midst of people that aren`t celebrities and have the problem?
SCOTT: I don`t -- I think they look -- there`s always that. You know? There is always that little factor. I remember one time, you know, I played Bozo the Clown. This is critical to the story. But somebody one day at a meeting looked over and said, aren`t you Willard Scott? And yelled it out; you know, and I said yes, I am. I said, I used to be Bozo the Clown. They laughed. I said, formerly known as Boozo. And of course, they thought that was funny.
LAMB: Did you have a reputation of somebody that drank too much?
SCOTT: No. And of course, anybody that drank too much is going to say I never drank that much. But I drank -- after college, I started drinking, you know, cocktail drinks. Never -- I never went into a bar in my life. I hated bars. I would go to restaurants and eat. But I would always have three or four pops before dinner. People are probably saying, well, I drink that much myself. Well, as long as, you know, you can be content with that and know that it`s not a problem.

But the thing that put me over the top was thinking about Mary`s wish for me to stop drinking. And noticing that after she was gone to sort of keep an eye on me and hit me over the head with the baseball bat or the empty bottle, I was drinking more. Because you do. You sit there. You`re by yourself. When your mate dies, in the beginning, especially, you don`t want to go anywhere. You want to stay home. And when you stay home, and if you like to drink and enjoy it, you got to -- I think it has the potential -- I know a lot of people that have had the problem. And there is a potential for a problem there.
LAMB: One of the chapters - one of little -- there are 139 different people that write for this thing -- is of somebody that met their childhood sweetheart. Somebody they both got married and both their spouses are gone, and they came back and met each other years later and got married at 81 and 75 or something like that.
SCOTT: I think that`s fantastic.
LAMB: Would you do that?
SCOTT: Very common. I don`t know. I -- somebody asked me the question the other day. Mary used to kid back when she was healthy and well, she said if I ever died -- of course the woman is not supposed to die first, you know. I mean, women can handle it so much -- there is nothing more pathetic than an old man who`s lost his mate. You know? Women, they -- you go to restaurants and things, you always see a woman talking to another woman. A lot of times you see an old guy sitting there by himself. And they handle it.

Women are infinitely more superior. I`ve always thought that. I`m not just being politically correct here. I love women. Always. I like female cats, dogs better. I mean, I get along with them, that group.
LAMB: Let me not leave the -- for a moment to ask, because you mentioned the audience, that they would help somebody, if somebody says I got the same problem that Willard had, where do they find AA?
SCOTT: Oh, it`s in the phone book under AA, Alcoholics Anonymous. There is no -- and almost any church you call. I`ve never found a phone book yet...
LAMB: What kind of a commitment do you have to make?
SCOTT: To AA? You show up. It`s all you, between you and God. You don`t owe these brothers and sisters anything. Has nothing to do with that. There is no organization. There is no -- nothing. You just find them and go.

And I go to other cities now, which I find fascinating. I mean, you walk in. You find out -- you just call and go to New York and you find out something on 72nd Street. It`s usually in a church, believe it or not. Why not? And you just go to a 7:00 meeting at night. You walk in -- always start on time, always end on time. And you always get something out of it. And everybody has their piece to say, who wants to. And it`s just -- I`m glad I mentioned this and you inspired me to do that, because I haven`t -- we haven`t had that kind of time on other interviews to really bring this out.

But I don`t think I have ever had more peace and more confidence and just plain love in my life than I receive from this, Alcoholics Anonymous. It`s just fantastic.
LAMB: One other thing that you may not -- I don`t know, but it must be that you don`t -- it`s a secret if you go there. In other words, people don`t go around saying I saw Willard at AA, I assume.
SCOTT: It`s supposed to be anonymous, yes. But how -- you just said a minute ago, if you`re a celebrity, come on. You know? People are going to know. But so what? I mean, that`s...
LAMB: But have you ever been to a meeting, looked around and said, oh my goodness, there is somebody else that I know?
SCOTT: Yes. You devil. I`ve never seen you there.
LAMB: But you`re not supposed to admit that you go, which is interesting.
SCOTT: I think there`s no reason -- I don`t think that`s true. I may be giving them a bad rap here on that. It`s not that. It`s just that because it is so personal and so -- it`s an organization that depends, rather on publicity, somebody with a big mouth like me getting -- I just want to tell you, because I want to help you. That`s very critical in the movement is to help other people. That`s one of the great callings of an AA member is to try to help other AA members. Not many of them have the opportunity to do it like I do, with the media.
LAMB: This book is called "The Older the Fiddle, the Better Tune." Willard Scott and his friends. All profits for the book, according to Mr. Scott, go to the Cancer Foundation.
SCOTT: All of them. Breast cancer research. All that I make. The publisher I don`t think is that charitable. I think the publisher is going to get his cut. But every nickel that I -- royalty that I would make will go to breast cancer research.
LAMB: Thank you very much for joining us.
SCOTT: Thank you.

Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 2003. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.