Good Morning America weatehrman Tony Perkins stood on a stage in Bryant Park. "We've got fans from all over the U.S.," he told his viewing audience, "including Gulfport, Mississippi."
Gulfport. Home of Brooklyn Pizza, the Courtyard Cafe, and the Friday lunch special.
The secret recipe for that lunch came from Darlene Cruthirds. But Darlene wasn't in the kitchen. She was on TV, standing next to Mr. Perkins. "Nice to meet you Tony," she said to him on GMA. He responded by saying, "Nice to meet you, too."
Just before her staff put Friday's lunch in the oven, Mrs. Cruthirds and Perkins made Mark Cruthirds an early morning national celebrity.
Perkins told his audience, "Mark doesn't know that Darlene wrote to me some time ago to tell me that you're a big weather geek." Back at the Courtyard Cafe, Nick Heiden chuckled when he heard that comment. "I guess geek is a good word for it," he laughed.
On stage in New York, Perkins went back to work. "Here's what we're going to do," he told Cruthirds. "You don't know this, but during my next weather cast, you're going to handle that one for me." His restaurant manager was surprised to hear that. "We didn't have any idea that he was actually going to do the weather," the Courtyard Cafe manager said.
On TV, Perkins asked, "Have you ever done the weather before?" Cruthirds calmly said, "No I haven't."
Just like that, Cruthirds got his 16 seconds of Good Morning America fame.
Perkins smiled and said, "Mark, take it away."
A map of the United States filled TV screens. Cruthirds started to talk. "Areas of heavy rain and severe weather will develop in the plains states, and to the east of the Rockies," he read from Perkins' notes. "The southeast U.S. will see scattered storms, most of them not severe. In the northeast, look for fair conditions. The west coast will see pleasant weather."
Perkins sounded surprised when he said, "That was very good."
Tammy Barvie appreciated her boss' performance. "As a weather forecaster, I don't know. I think Tony Perkins might be in trouble," she said.
"I don't know about all that," deliveryman Dylan Clark said.
Clark watched the weathercast on tape. So did Richard Orr, another Cruthirds employee. "I don't think he will ever make it as a weatherman. He was a little nervous up there," Orr noted. "But he did a good job. We are all proud of him."
Mark Cruthirds -- the Gulfport pizza man who became a TV star on Good Morning America.