WHO IS TOM POWELL?
Brenda and Eddie are in Rome, standing outside the Vatican. Two men come out on the veranda. One is wearing a robe, a tall hat and is blessing everyone. The other fellow is a rotund, gray haired man wearing glasses, suspenders and waving to everyone.
Eddie to Brenda: Who is that?
Brenda: I don’t know who the guy is with the beanie, but the other guy is Tom Powell.
An old joke – but probably not far from the truth.
BUT REALLY, WHO IS TOM POWELL?
Thomas Joseph Powell was born in Bellevue, a middle-class Irish section of Scranton, Pa. His father was a coal miner, his mother a housewife.
He was a normal child. His best friend growing up claims that Tom was “kind of dorky.”
Tom wanted to be a baseball player.
Tom wanted to be a sports writer.
Tom wanted to meet Ted Williams.
Tom wanted to coach the Harlem Globetrotters.
More than 70 years later, Tom has done all that, but what he really has excelled at is being TOM POWELL, Mr. Amusement Business, a true legend in his own time.
Well, really a legend in his spare time, because of all the journalists who have written a story, it’s hard to believe that any could be more prolific than TP, as he has been called since his first column ran at AB in 1979.
To many, TP is the face of AB. His column, “TP on AB” dropped names of just about everyone working in the live entertainment industry during the 20-some years it ran. Tom has written more articles on the carnival, arena, park and fair industries than anyone else in the world.
His memory of the details, his ability to recall a person’s name after meeting them once, and his caring conversations with everyone from the top music stars and politicians to the carnival sideshow men are legendary.
It seems just about everyone knows Tom Powell. If you don’t, here’s an opportunity to get to know the guy simply known as TP.