Legendary Reporter and Perk Valley Resident John Carlton Dies
Services for Carlton, who was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Heroism, will be held on Saturday in Schwenksville.
Legendary Philadelphia traffic reporter, and Perkiomen Valley resident and business owner, John Carlton died on Thursday at the age of 85.
Carlton is well known in the Philadelphia region as a performer, reporter and writer, and for his traffic reports on ARCO Go Patrol, and in the Perkiomen Valley as the owner of The Communications Farm in the Schwenksville section of Perkiomen Township with his wife, Genevive.
Carlton, an U.S. Army veteran, spent his career in the Philadelphia area working on television and radio, including “Movie Time USA” and “American Bandstand,” and eventually became a program director at WGAL-FM and 12 WPHL, according to The Communications Farm website.
He then spent 17 years as the helicopter-borne traffic reporter for the Go Patrol, “blazing the trail” for reporters to come by providing live road and traffic condition reports by a helicopter, according to Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia.
In 1968, Carlton transitioned from “reporter” to “hero” after rescuing elderly residents of the Normandie Retirement Home in Philadelphia from his chopper, which Philadelphia Fire officials called the “Miracle on 36th Street.”
After spotting the fire while air-borne, Carlton and his pilot, Dick Scholfield landed on the burning building’s roof and entered the building, helping residents to get to the street, spending roughly 35 minutes on the rescue mission.
“We went to the seventh, sixth and fifth floors, banged on doors and woke people up, got them on their way to the elevators and fire escapes and got them out of there,” Carlton told the Spring Valley Item.
After the residents were rescued, Carlton went back in the air, broadcasting warnings to stay away from the area. Carlton was awarded the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Heroism, the nation’s highest civilian award.
Later in his career, Carlton started the "Advertising Communications Times" as a national ad manager, and then The Communications Farm.
Services will be held on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Blessed Tersa of Calcutta Parish, 256 Swamp Pike in Schwenksville, according to the Broadcast Pioneers.