Kobler on Corn
Page 10 of our 1961 Columbia-Penn game program is a treasure trove because of the article's subject and its author.
The author is Arthur Kobler '62, who in 1961 was the student sports director of WKCR radio. He would go on to establish a tremendous career in broadcasting, but not in sports broadcasting.
First, he was an intelligence officer in the U.S. Air Force, where he began learning to become fluent in Chinese and Vietnamese.
Then he had a distinguished career as a diplomat in the Foreign Service for nearly 25 years. He held a number of key posts in the State Department and U.S. missions in Asia. He was an advisor in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam war; Economic Officer in Saigon during the final evacuation of the American Embassy; Economic Counselor in Beijing; Deputy Consul General in Hong Kong; and Deputy Chief of Mission in Singapore.
He left government service in 1992 and went on to become President of AT&T China. He is now an independent consultant based in Hong Kong.
Kobler's article that November day in 1961 was about long-time Baker Field P.A. announcer Bud Corn, Jr. '34, who was about to work his final game behind the mic. Corn was a beloved personality at Baker, coining terms like "It's 3rd down and a millimeter," ("millimeter" was an exotic word back then), and providing some comic commentary when there were some inexplicable stoppages in play.
He only missed one home game in his career, that was in 1957 when he was detained by the Venezuelan government while doing an exposition in Caracas, (shades of Hugo?).
Corn was leaving the P.A. job to focus more on his full-time business as exposition architect, a job that was becoming in demand as New York prepared for the 1964 World's Fair.
As a student, Corn worked on the Varsity Show with the great Herman Wouk, and opened his business at first on West 130th Street, not far from where the current Columbia sports information and marketing offices stand today.
But whatever happened to Mr. Corn in the years after 1961 are unknown at least to me. While we have the extensive details about Kobler's career, it's hard to find out more about Corn.
As far as I know, no one has come close to working the P.A. at Columbia football games for as long as Bud Corn did. And in honor of that, I'd like to propose that a plaque in honor of Corn be placed on the mic stand at Wien Stadium currently used by P.A. announcer Marty Collins. I'd be happy to donate the first $50 for that plaque, by the way.