Otakar Černý

* 1943  †︎ 2021

  • “Then I got to know one wonderful person, the director Pospíšil, who engaged me as an assistant director for the ice hockey world championship in Prague in 1972, and that was an amazing experience. Nowadays it’s normal to see all sorts of information in the graphic overlay, names and the like, but until 1972 the way it worked was these things were written in chalk, on hard paper, and that was held up in front of the camera. So it wasn’t like it is now. Back then one Mr Světlík came from Slovakia, the Slovaks had bought - they called it a Chiron, that was the first character generator. He brought it four days before the start and said: ‘Gentlemen, I’ll leave it with you here, you won’t learn how to use in a few days like this, but just in case...’ I studied it for four days, and after four days I had learnt it and we used it for the first time. I was a pioneer of the technology in broadcasting, and that got me pretty good credit with the television [provider].”

  • “They dug up somewhere that I wasn’t in the CPC [Communist Party of Czechoslovakia], and back then - this is something of an interesting real-life anecdote - I approached my MP, that was Milouš Jakeš [later CPC general secretary at the time of the Velvet Revolution - transl.]. Milouš Jakeš was the MP for Kladno. I phoned him up from a phone booth and told him: ‘Comrade representative, I’m your voter, I’m in a difficult situation and I’d need to talk with you about what to do.’ He sent me to his office, saying: ‘Comrade, not now, come in half an hour.’ So I came there in half an hour, I see like it was today, he had this office with a table twelve metres long to fit all the bigwigs there, back then they had the CC CPC [Central Committee - transl.], his arm was in a plaster... I came in, I’m telling him what happened to me, that my dad had been a Communist since 1928 or whenever... That got him fired up - that I’m a traitor. ‘So you betrayed your dad.’ I said: ‘No I didn’t, Dad also quit the CPC in sixty-eight...’ He told me: ‘Look, that Davidová who didn’t take you on, she’s right, but she’s acting like a bull in a china shop, I’ll look it up.’ Two days later he phoned me and said: ‘Okay, you can continue working [at the TV] as a freelancer.’”

  • “I left to work at a newspaper for two years, that was a pain in the neck, newspaper work. Television is in a permanent state of crisis, from dawn till dusk, you’re always solving some issue there. At the newspaper, I woke up in the morning, I’m quite good at writing, so I had a commentary ready in half an hour, in my head, we didn’t have mobiles, computers back then... Then I rode to work, I wrote it down there, I had it done in fifteen minutes, then I didn’t have any work to do for the rest of the day... It was awful, it was a pain in the neck. Luckily, I got an offer, that’s another stroke of luck, to work as press agent for the Ministry of Health. In contrast, those were two and a half years of wonderful life because I had a superb boss, Professor Fišer, from Brno, and he was a classy gentleman...”

  • Full recordings
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    ZŠ Táborská, 28.05.2015

    duration: 01:15:12
    media recorded in project The Stories of Our Neigbours
Full recordings are available only for logged users.

I used to prepare questions, but I would only ever get to the first one.

otakar-cerny-bw.jpg (historic)
Otakar Černý

Otakar Černý was born on 10 September 1943 in Kladno. He attended a secondary vocational school of mining, specialising in ironworking, metal rolling and shaping. He later graduated from physics and mathematics at the Faculty of Education in Prague; he taught physics at a vocational school in Kladno for twenty years. But he always wanted to be a sports editor, and so in 1969 he began doing freelance work for Czechoslovak Television. The job included a broad scope of sports events: Davis Cups, world championships in football and hockey, Spartakiads... After 1989 he moved on to the field of political news reporting, he presented the discussion programs called Debata (Debate) and Co tyden dal (Events of the Week). He later worked as the press agent for the Ministry of Health, only to again return to Czech Television, this time as the editor-in-chief of the sports section. In the year 2008-2013, he presented the sports discussion program called Na Slovicko (Just a Chat). He wrote an autobiography titled Třikrát a dost (Thrice is Enough), he is married and has two children. He retired in 2013, died on 15th February 2021.