HughE Dillon: A Preview Party for Boardwalk Empire

Plus what's happening at Comcast Center this weekend, and tributes to Edie Huggins

On Wednesday night I attended the preview party for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire at Rittenhouse Square bar Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. I ran into Laurie Huggins, daughter of the late reporter Edie Huggins, and she told me about two exciting new collections in her mom’s memory at Temple and Drexel (see details below). For more photos from the Boardwalk Empire party, plus what’s being served at the Comcast Center this weekend, and a look at one of the tastiest dishes I ate this week, see today’s slideshow.

Edie Huggins was a beloved television reporter on NBC10 (WCAU) for nearly 42 years. Born August 14, 1935, Edie began her career in television at WCAU-TV (owned by CBS at the time) in January of 1966. Edie was one of the founding members of the National Association of Black Journalists. Her honors include inductions into the AFTRA and Broadcast Pioneers halls of fame, and being chosen as one of the Outstanding African-American Philadelphians of the 20th Century by the Urban League of Philadelphia. She was honored by the Philadelphia Chapter of American Women in Radio & Television as Communicator of the Year in 1993. In 2006, Philadelphia City Council declared March 30th “Edie Huggins Day.”

Edie was devoted to many charity causes and even created one of my favorite segments, “Huggins’s Hero.” In the Friday report, she profiled the heroic life of an ordinary person doing an extraordinary deed. On July 29, 2008 Edie passed away and was survived by son Hastings and daughter Laurie. “Mom was a collector, and an extensive traveler and patron of the arts,” Laurie told me when I first met her at the Philadelphia Dancing With the Stars last spring. “And we are going to do something very special with some of her treasured pieces by donating them to two local colleges. On Wednesday night I ran into Laurie again at the preview party for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire at the Franklin Mortgage and Investment Company in Rittenhouse Square. I asked Laurie about the collections and the status of them.

Laurie has created two collections and donated them to local universities. The Edie Huggins Collection at the Urban Archives at Temple University contains almost every news segment Edie did. Five hundred tapes in six different formats are currently being digitized. The Edie Huggins Collection at Drexel’s Historic Costume Collection has Edie’s prom dress, her wedding dress and her nurse’s uniform (from circa-1960 when she was an RN in NYC). Drexel will be opening a new gallery 2011-2012 that’s open to the public.

Kendra Watch: Kendra Wilkinson and baby Hank Jr. were seen filming a segment of her reality show in front of Liberty Place on Wednesday.

Congrats to my buddy Katie Cavuto Boyle who is in round two of the national AETNA “Healthy Food Fight” and will be competing to make it to the final round (in L.A.) this Saturday from 6-8 p.m. at this weekend’s Kennett Square Mushroom Festival. The celebrity judge is chef Sunny Anderson. Sunny’s show, Cooking for Real, airs new episodes Saturdays at noon on the Food Network. 

On Monday while everyone is at the Constitution Center watching Tony Blair receive his Liberty Medal Honor from President Clinton, I’ll be at the Franklin Institute listening to seven-time Emmy Award winner and seven-time cable ACE Award-winner Roy Firestone as he interviews Philadelphia-born singer/songwriter/musician/producer Todd Rundgren. You can too for only $20. Event starts at 8 p.m.