Today’s story is from Pat McMahon.
I’m sure you know the story of “Beauty and the Beast.” But what you probably don’t know is… I’m their son.
No, I don’t mean the couple in the children’s story. But, it would have been perfectly appropriate to call my parents Beauty and the Beast because that’s the way they talked about themselves.
You see, before my father and mother met and went into the entertainment business, my dad was a prizefighter — a professional boxer with over 90 fights. Back in those days, they didn’t check personal information very carefully, so he was able to get into the fight game when he was 14 years old.
He had a pretty impressive record too, but it was at the expense of his face — layers of scar tissue that built up on his brow, a nose broken so many times it spread in multiple directions. How he ever heard anything through the tiny pinholes of his “Cauliflower” ears is a wonder.
And then there was my mom, The Beauty. She was the essence of the song “Tiny Dancer.” Mom was a petite ballerina, a tap dancer, a skilled acrobat.
She attracted everyone, but she loved The Beast. And did he ever love her!
They never minded showing it either, mostly by just being real. They were always openly honest with one another about their feelings.
For my father, that meant a surprising level of tenderness and sensitivity, about so many things, which has allowed me to keep and cherish this portrait of him.
Here was a man whose appearance translated, to many, as a rough-hewn, tough as nails street guy… Someone to be wary of, perhaps to avoid… Someone, for whom sentimentality was probably a weakness.
But my real life memory is, and always will be, of a role model. Orphaned at 10, who regularly wept in appreciation of all things beautiful, from ballet, to animal stories, to my mother. My mother, the Beauty, who loved nothing more than softly kissing that broken nose on the magnificent face of The Beast.
So what can we learn from Pat’s dad?
“Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”
Pat McMahon is a legend in Arizona broadcasting. His day includes an hour live on AZTV7/Cable 13 each morning and Director of Public Affairs for News 92.3 KTAR; commentaries during “Arizona’s Morning News”; the weekly “McMahon Group” and “The God Show.”
Pat’s 30 years on the long-running, groundbreaking children’s show “Wallace and Ladmo” are just part of Pat’s remarkable resume, which includes acting, producing, writing and recording. Pat’s professional and personal contributions have been richly rewarded with 7 Emmy awards, major national and international radio awards, numerous civic, educational and humanitarian awards. Pat was awarded the Arizona Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award. His bronze likeness hangs alongside Hugh Downs and Leslie Nielsen in the rotunda of the Herberger Theater in downtown Phoenix, Arizona.
Pat McMahon is star on radio & TV — and with all who know this wonderful man. He is a world class person and long-time friend. Pat, thank you for sharing this heartwarming story.