National Centenarian Awareness Project

Founded in 1989 by Lynn Peters Adler, J.D. - Centenarian Expert and Older Adults Advocate


Our Centenarian Blog: Live to 100 and Beyond

About NCAP

Lynn Peters Adler

Contact Lynn


Sign up a Centenarian

NCAP Centenarian
Recognition Program


Future Centenarian

Barbara Walters
ABC Special
"Live to be 150"  Behind the scene



Media Archive

Calendar Archive

Video Excerpt
"Centenarians Tell
It Like It Is"

Excerpts from
Lynn's Book:
The Bonus Years

NCAP Scrapbook

NCAP Book/Video

WWI Tributes

WWII Tribute
Honor Flight

In Memoriam

Future Projects


Behind the Scene: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6        

Click to order a copy of the show from ABC

Behind the Scene ...
"Live to be 150...
Can You Do It?"
an ABC
Barbara Walters Special

Our story continues ...
the day of the interviews

       And then it was time to be off to the shoot and to meet Barbara Walters. All of the participants were huge fans of her “for years,” Lillian said eagerly.

       The series of limousines made their way through the heavy traffic to the West Side.  “I was starting to get nervous,” Lynn recalled. “The big day was finally here, after months of preparation.  How would it go…??” Both Lillian and Elsa said it felt almost like a wedding, the excitement and anticipation were so great. They were led by the ABC associate producer, who had joined them at the Yale Club, into the building, up the elevator and into the huge loft, the site of the shoot. There they were joined by Dorothy Young, who had traveled in by car that day from her home in New Jersey, along with her friend Mary Mead and her boyfriend, Stan — yes, you read that right — they have been an “item” for ten years!  Stan is a younger man, in his mid nineties. Lynn wasn’t sure he would be included on camera, but what the heck he could at least join in the fun!
Tension was mounting, once they reached the cavernous white loft. “I must say, all that equipment was a bit daunting, at first,” Dr. Hartzell noted, and then he and his son were off to investigate what was going on “behind the scenes.”  Meanwhile, the ladies had discovered the large mirror and makeup table tucked away in a corner and were fixing their powder and lipstick. Lynn was applying lip gloss to all. Rosie and Dorothy, the experienced performers in the group, sat chatting, taking it all in stride. Lynn’s husband, Jim, was on his cell phone to his office.

        And then, a big surprise!  Ms. Walters entered the room! This was an unexpected pleasure and courtesy – and everyone was overjoyed.  (Lynn had been informed that Ms. Walters would meet with the group following the interview, but not before, as was her custom. But here she was!)  She was so gracious and friendly, making everyone feel at ease. Lillian asked about her daughter, and everyone, even Rosie, had questions and comments that showed the depth of their knowledge of her work and career over many decades. 

Barbara Walters arrived before the video
taping began to meet the centenarians.

        It was obvious that they were all genuine fans. Ms. Walters took her time, chatting informally, and then posed for a professional photo with each of the group individually and with their companions. This was a real treat and an unexpected pleasure.
        Lynn introduced herself as a fellow Sarah Lawrence College alum – a coincidence, to be sure – and Jim (Lynn's husband) reminded Ms. Walters of the days when she was at Sarah Lawrence and would come up to New Haven to attend Yale Law School parties. They reminisced about old friends they had in common, another happy coincidence.
        And then it was TIME – we advanced to the interview set single file, with Ms. Walters leading the way. The producer and crew were “top notch,” as Dr. Hartzell put it.  Everyone’s comfort was assured and Ms. Walters began to interview them individually and as a group. “It was more than I could have asked for,” Lynn recalls.
“I was SO very proud of these special people – it had been an ambitious undertaking for everyone and it was all paying off.  “I felt like a stage mother. 
      "This was a culmination of 23 years of trust and confidence in the remarkable ability and resilience of active centenarians, who, I believe, are role models for the future of aging. From the very beginning of involvement there have been skeptics and naysayers. I have repeatedly proved them wrong, but it’s been an uphill battle at times,”
Lynn recalled. “Today’s experience – the outstanding performance of the 'Fab Five,' as I called them— together with Ms. Walters' graciousness and confidence, poise and expertise, combined to make history – both in terms of media productions and also within the field of aging.  Together they showed what is possible if people not only live long, but age well. It is what Baby Boomers should strive for, for our future. Personally, when I grow up, I want to be like Elsa!” Lynn remarked, after their interview – which lasted about 45 minutes - was over. 
       Then it was Lynn’s time to be interviewed and the centenarians went back into the main part of the loft. Lynn and Ms. Walters sat in straight chairs facing each other. After about 30 minutes, when the cameras stopped rolling, Ms. Walters said sternly: “I certainly hope you are taking them somewhere to celebrate.”  Lynn smiled and replied: “Yes, we’re going to Tavern on the Green and then for carriage rides in Central Park.”  With that Ms. Walters smiled broadly, threw her hands in the air, and called out to her staff: “Dinner’s on me!!”  WOW.  I guess we did well.  This was more than we could have ever expected from someone as famous as Ms. Walters – to take such a personal interest in the centenarians. We were all very impressed and happy.
       Then it was decided that the film crew would come with us for more footage!  So off we all went, down the hall to the elevator, down another corridor onto the street and into the waiting limos – for an even longer cavalcade uptown to Central Park. The time had passed quickly, but the afternoon had run on longer than scheduled. We had planned to go back to the Club for a short rest before the much-anticipated celebration dinner, but that was out, because we needed to get to the location to catch the early evening light, which was beautiful. The carriage rides were rescheduled for before dinner, and the centenarians were real troupers. They alighted from the limos and were assisted up the steep step into the summoned white carriages.

        The family members piled into another, following the one holding the camera crew!  Lynn was told to stay behind for an intro shot, walking casually through Central Park – and then sitting on a park bench, enjoying the sunset, while the cameras came in for a tight shot. It was a wonderful, personal moment, to be savored; to be back in New York, and to be doing something she loved. Meanwhile, the centenarians were having a very long ride though the Park, and Lynn began to be concerned about making their dinner reservation. The restaurant was packed, with several events being held inside and out.  But the efficient, friendly and very considerate ABC associate producer had taken care of changing the reservation time, and adding an adjacent table for the small crew that had accompanied the centenarians for the shoot.

More Behind the scene >>>
Dinner at Tavern on the Green

top  |  back  |  next

© 1998-2018 National Centenarian Awareness Project & Lynn Peters Adler, J.D.
No material, in whole or in part, may be reprinted or reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of Lynn Peters Adler and the National Centenarian Awareness Project.