The American Federation of Radio and Television Artists last night ordered a "roast" at the Sheraton Hotel for their executive secretary of 40 years, Evelyn Freyman.
It came out well done. That is to say, she was sufficiently "burned" with songs, poems and speeches by more than a dozen of the 500 or so members of the Washington-Baltimore local that turned up.
"After the Show," as the dinner was named, was held because the executive board of the local shocked many members when it narrowly voted in May to oust Freyman, who founded the organization, which represents radio and TV announcers, newcasters and recording artists across the nation. Freyman, called "tough" and "a true fighter" by some at the dinner, was praised for her ability to win rich contracts for members.
At a cocktail party before the dinner, ABC's Sam Donaldson said, "I make a little over union scale, and I owe it all to Evelyn."
And on the dais, Donaldson bid Freyman adieu by saying: "Carter can't do it, Reagan can't do it, but I tremble and live in fear of Evelyn Freyman."
NBC's Willard Scott pointed out just how much Freyman means to him. "This is the first time this year that I will have appeared in public before a group like this that I haven't been paid."
Bob McBride, a WRC-TV anchor, said only: "She's a whale of a lady."
Some of the other names she was called throughout the evening: "lox and cream cheese," "tremendous," "aggressive," "our lady of the airwaves" and "the top."
"You cannot feel mediocre about Evelyn Freyman," said Eric Floyd, an employe of WGMS radio.
At the preroast party, Maury Povich, a WTTG-TV anchor, was asked to describe Freyman in one word. "Impossible," Povich answered.
Did that mean he couldn't think of an appropriate word?
"No," said Povich. "I mean she's wonderfully impossible, if I may use two words."
Andy M. Ockershausen of WMAL radio started his tribute by saying: "Evelyn, it doesn't seem like it's been 40 years. It seems like it's been 87."
Other guests at the dinner, including Gordon Peterson (WDVM-TV), Madame Wellington (of fake jewelery fame), Frank Harden and Jackson Weaver (WMAL radio), and George Herman (CBS) all took turns poking fun at Freyman's sex life, cosmetics, negotiating style and vocabulary.
It was finally Freyman's turn to get even. But she was sincere and somber.
"You have reaffirmed for me," said Freyman, "the difference between a job and a career I love . . . I say thank you. You have given me the strength and courage to fight a fair battle."