Inspired by the 2007 Jack Nicholson-Morgan Freeman flick "The Bucket List," Crim — who turns 77 July 31 — set out to fly 7,400 miles to mark his 74th birthday (he's been flying since he was 16). But he ultimately overshot his mark by 400 miles. His itinerary took him to 32 cities and towns in 31 days including Oshkosh, Wis., site of the country's largest annual gathering of civilian pilots, and Eugene, Ore., where he visited his son.
One of his favorite stops was suburban Las Vegas, where he reunited with the legendary Vince Leonard, his old anchor-desk partner. Their meeting included an impromptu "newscast" from Leonard's living room.
But when pressed, Crim, who worked at KYW from 1972-'77 (he also manned the anchor desk with Jessica Savitch on what was considered Channel 3's news "Dream Team"), cited his visit to New Orleans as the real high point. "I'm a big Dixieland jazz aficionado," he admitted. "I got my fix there."
Crim not only produced Saturday's one-hour documentary, but he also directed and shot it on a small, handheld Sony high-def camera. Generally, the trip was drama-free, although there "were some weather challenges. I had to go around some storms." He was totally self-contained, bringing with him a tent, folding bicycle and camping gear.
According to Crim, his aerial sojourn was more than a lark. As a survivor of both colon and prostate cancer, he saw the trip as a statement from which others could take inspiration.
"The thing I set out to prove," he said, "was that you don't let these bumps in the road — like health issues — keep you from pursuing your dreams. We need to really evaluate what our dreams are and figure out if we can do it. And then do it."
He also hopes the program will remind people that despite these polarized times, whatever it is that separates us pales by comparison to those things that unite us.
"There are all these lines — Republican-Democrat, Muslim-Christian that really are not real," he insisted. "I've seen a beautiful America as I lived out my personal dream, but I return with a bigger dream — a dream of Americans erasing the lines that divide us."