Arlene Herson in the New York Times

The New York Times Article

The New York Times - 1986

When Arlene Herson of Rumson sat down to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, she decided she like “getting to know people.”

“The next thing I knew,” she said, “had my own TV show.”

Actually, several of her “previous lives” contributed to her interview show, “Getting to Know You With Arlene Herson,” on the Cable Television Network of New Jersey.

First, there was her public-relations career with William Safire, now a New York Times columnist and then with the public-relations firm of Tex McCrary Inc. (of Tex and Jinx early talk-show fame). When Mr. Safire opened his own firm in 1960, Mrs. Herson went with him, “It was just the two of us,” she recalled.”

Next, she became involved in several political campaigns including those of two United States Senators from New York, Kenneth Keating and Jacob Javits. After marriage and children, she and her family moved to New Jersey in 1971.

“I played tennis, went to lunches and got depressed for the first time in my life,” she said. “I said, My God, I’ve got to do something.” So, I went directly from one of those lunches to an employment agency.

This led to a job selling advertising and writing a column, “The Social Scene with Arlene,” for The Advisor, a weekly newspaper in Middletown. While covering one such scene, she met Mayor Joseph Frankel of Eatontown, who suggested she try her luck in cable television, then in its infancy. That sparked a new career.

Storer, the local cable-TV station in Eatontown, gave its approval for a talk show, Mrs. Herson was off and running. And running it is because, once again, she does a variety act: interviewing, writing, directing, producing and finding sponsors.

“The hardest part of the job is having all the responsibility for the show,” she explained. “The best part is meeting new people and learning about them.”

Those she has interviewed include Tony Bennett, Carol Channing, Red Buttons, Liberace and Hal Linden, among others who have appeared at the Garden State Arts Center in nearby Holmdel and at the hotel-casinos in Atlantic City, as well as Governor Kean and Senator Howard Baker, Jr. of Tennessee.