Harold Matzner: An Oral History

If you’ve ever wondered about Harold’s childhood, what his home life is like (hint: dog-filled), or how amazingly busy his schedule is, this article Palm Springs Life Magazine will give you a window into being Harold Matzner as told by writer David Lansing, many of Harold’s friends and colleagues, and Harold himself. 

Here’s an excerpt from the article, “Harold Matzner: An Oral History.”

If you live in Greater Palm Springs and mention of the name Harold Matzner doesn’t cause you to sit up a little straighter in your seat, then clearly you’re not paying attention.

Owner of Spencer’s Restaurant in Palm Springs and CEO of a New York/New Jersey–based branding, advertising, and marketing company, Matzner, who turned 80 in July, has contributed more than $60 million to valley charities in his more than 30 years living in the desert. He’s chairman of the Palm Springs International Film Festival, vice chairman of the Palm Springs Art Museum, and an active board member for the McCallum Theatre, the Barbara Sinatra Center for Abused Children, and the Eisenhower Medical Center. There are probably countless other charities and causes to which he contributes funds, energy, connections, or just plain goodwill.

Harold Matzner was never an orphan, but as a kid he could certainly lay claim to living a hard-knocks life. Born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1937 in a family that struggled financially, young Harold tried to help his parents out by taking whatever work he could, from delivering daily newspapers to selling dog food door-to-door. His early goal in life was to be a sports writer, and after high school he apprenticed at the old New York World Telegram before realizing his dyslexia would preclude him from becoming the next Damon Runyon. “I just didn’t want to be mediocre in my career,” he says. A natural-born salesman, he got a job in advertising, eventually coming up with the concept of free weekly advertising newspapers. The business model became CBA Industries Inc., which today distributes 8 million ShopRite Supermarket advertising circulars weekly and billions more for various advertisers throughout the year.

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