Jan. 13, 2012 at 1:17 PM ET
A who’s who of TODAY talent past and present turned out Friday to celebrate the show's 60 years, but they weren’t the only special guests. Out on the plaza, an enthusiastic crowd braved blustery winter weather to mark the big occasion, and among them were some visitors with unique stories to share.
No TODAY occasion would be complete without the show’s No. 1 superfan Linny, who is familiar to viewers for the thumbs-up he offers the camera every morning as it pans the plaza crowd. Linny has barely missed a morning on the plaza in more than 20 years, he told us. “The five years Meredith was on were the fastest,” he said, so he was particularly happy to see her back in Studio 1A.
Who else was Linny glad to see? “It’s always exciting to see Katie,” the England-born fan said, referring to former anchor Katie Couric. “And I was quite surprised to see Bryant [Gumbel].”
Another special visitor: Tim Gavin, who told TODAY.com that he was on the plaza the very first day it opened to fans, 16 years ago. Back then, watching a Knicks-Rockets game the night before the plaza's debut, he had seen promos inviting TODAY viewers to the plaza. So he drove to midtown at 2:30 a.m., parked nearby, and paid “a security guy” to wake him up when it was time to get to the show.
It was worth the trouble, he told TODAY.com; he wound up doing a comedy bit on-air with guest Bill Cosby, who was pretending to be a flower vendor on the streets of Manhattan. There were only a handful of visitors to the plaza that first day, he told us, but “I could see what this has become; I could see it.”
Maurya Bergan was born the same day TODAY was: Jan. 14, 1952. She told us she deliberately came into the world that morning at 3:58 a.m., several hours before the show’s debut, “so I could see it.” She came to the plaza with her daughter and her sisters to celebrate TODAY’s birthday along with her own.
Another birthday girl on the plaza this morning: Loretta Evans, born on TODAY’s 10th anniversary. “It took me 50 years” to get to the plaza, she told TODAY.com, “but now it’s off my bucket list.” And as a birthday bonus, she got a kiss from Ann!
“She’s so sweet,” Loretta’s friend Jackie Wiesehan said of Ann. “But Matt is so skinny. Get him a burger!”
TODAY.com senior editor Rick Schindler saw Willard Scott on the plaza the day he dressed up as Carmen Miranda (Willard, not Rick).