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Democrat Photo by Dan Hust

"TODAY SHOW" FILM SHOOT: From the left, Eldred High School Art Teacher Herb Trimpe, NBC Producer Greg Chisholm, and cameraman Dow Haynor go over a shot during Tuesday’s filming at Eldred of a segment on second careers, to be aired March 18 (tentatively) on NBC’s “The Today Show.” Audio technician Jeremy Drowne (out of sight) is holding the boom mike, which can be seen above the men.

'Today Show' Films Eldred Teacher

By Dan Hust
ELDRED — March 10, 2000 -- An NBC producer was perusing the pages of the New York Times a few months ago when he came across an article written by Kerhonkson resident Herb Trimpe.
It detailed Trimpe’s career as an illustrator for Marvel Comics, drawing such well-known characters as “The Incredible Hulk” and the “Fantastic Four.” Trimpe wrote of his departure from Marvel due to downsizing and of his subsequent failure at finding interesting, enjoyable work.
One day, Trimpe found his new niche – as an art teacher at Eldred Junior/Senior High School, right here in Sullivan County. Using Eldred as his example, Trimpe wrote of the success one can find in a second career.
His interest piqued, the NBC producer called up another producer, Greg Chisholm, who trekked to Eldred Tuesday with camera crew in tow to film Trimpe at his workplace.
When complete, Chisholm said the up-to-five-minute piece will air on “The Today Show” – in this case, “WeekendToday” with Soledad O’Brien and David Bloom, probably between 7 and 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 18.
“I think it’s wonderful,” exclaimed Superintendent Candace Mazur. “Trimpe is an excellent teacher. And he’s put us on the map!”
“Herb, whether he knows it or not, is a born teacher,” added High School Principal Ivan Katz, who was interviewed for the piece. “His class is laced with humor and excitement.”
Several spots in the school, including on Katz’s door, contained the Times article, which featured a comic book drawing of Trimpe’s successful transition from illustrator to art teacher.
And yet, Trimpe will be the first to admit he’s only been a professional teacher since he came to Eldred last September. In fact, he wasn’t terribly thrilled when “The Today Show” came calling.
“I frankly don’t need the publicity,” he said. “I find it very distracting. I’m trying to be an art teacher.”
Trimpe wasn’t unappreciative of the crew’s efforts, but he felt the spotlight was misdirected.
“It’s a little embarrassing,” he added. “Only time will tell whether I’m good at what I do. There’s areas where I’m totally shaky.”
Trimpe felt his fellow art teacher, 27-year Eldred veteran Bruce Bidwell, should really be getting the credit.
But Bidwell, like Katz and Mazur (and even Trimpe himself), said the exposure – no matter who it’s about – will be good for the school.
“I think it’s tremendous,” Bidwell remarked. “I don’t resent it at all. We’ve been trying to build up this department for years.”
And besides, Bidwell likes Trimpe, who he says is extremely modest.
“Herb is a terrific guy. He’s terrific with the kids, [because] he’s easy to talk to.”
Fourteen-year-old 7th grader Patrick Sullivan agreed.
“He lets us have free voices. He even let us do a play,” Sullivan said. “I’m really proud of having him as an art teacher.”
And “Today Show” or not, Trimpe got the ultimate compliment Tuesday from 16-year-old 10th grader Robert Galanakis:
“I think he’s a cool guy!”

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