Legendary AM talk-show host Mary Mason — who entertained, informed, chastised and infuriated Philadelphians for decades — has fallen on very hard times through no fault of her own. Here's Bobbi Booker's excellent account:
I don't use "legendary" lightly — and it doesn't mean I agreed with her most of the time. At the Daily News, we had legendary Chuck Stone doing what Mary did, but through the print vehicle.
When I needed a wake-up jolt in the morning, I would tune to Mornings With Mary on WHAT and listen to her give everyone what-for.
I have a few stories about personal encounters with Mary that I won't share. I will share that she was often galling and sometimes let her mouth outrun her brain, but she never deviated from the purpose of fighting for the African-American community. She was their consoler and sometimes their accuser; their mama and their preacher. She was a loudmouth and a soft heart, a total original.
I was on her show once or twice, but I'll share only one fact: When her show moved to WCAU I was in the studio once during the crossover between her show and Frank Rizzo's. That's when I saw them warmly embrace, as old friends — the rabble-rouser and Mr. Law and Order. Make of it what you will.
Bobbi Booker's story says Mary saved her money, but the money is gone. The story lays out the facts, but can't point a direct finger at anyone, because they might be sued. The same thing restrains me. You can draw your own conclusion by reading the story.
Mary's voice now is still by Alzheimer's, a condition I dread more than any other.
The story makes mention of people that Mary helped and the boards she served on. They owe her and ought to come to her in her hour of need.
You can send checks to the Mary Mason Care Project, 744 South St., Philadelphia, Pa. 19147.
My check is in the mail, not because I agreed with Mary, but because she was a strong voice for her beliefs and because she was a legendary and colorful Philadelphian who deserves better than this.