Faded Sandpaper

Charlie Barnes

In summer of 1979, while registering for classes necessary for the completion of a master’s degree in English, Charlie found that the Theatre Department at UNM was offering a class in tap dancing. With visions of Fred Astaire gliding through her brain, she signed up for the tap class. It was a very small class, only five students at the outset, she got to know her instructor, a hoofer from Great Britain with some BBC experience, quite well. As it turned out, he was trying to start some classes in Television Production that would be in the Theatre Arts department rather than the Journalism department, and needed bodies to fill the seats for fall semester. He agreed not to interfere with Charlie’s graduate work if hers could be one of the bodies needed. She acquiesced to his proposal, and brought along a few friends during the first semester of the endeavor.

The classes were enjoyed by all. At the end of the fall semester, the hoofer had procured five unpaid internships for the spring semester: three at the PBS station managed by UNM and two at KGGM TV, the CBS affiliate in Albuquerque. At first, Charlie declined any internship based on the work she had to do in her graduate program, but when one of the people who had accepted a KGGM internship dropped out of the program, and with a renewed promise not to interfere with her graduate work, Charlie took the KGGM internship so that it would not be lost to the hoofer forever. During the term of the internship, Charlie was hired as a master control operator at KGGM, and the rest, as they say,,is history.

Charlie has two enduring reasons to remember the hoofer: shin splints and a long-lived love of all things television.

© Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences 2020

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