MANSFIELD - "And the award goes to..." As Mansfield resident Arnie Harchik waited in the audience at the 36th Annual Boston-New England Emmy Awards, his expectations were low. Who could blame him?
As the senior editor of popular PBS children's shows "Zoom" and "Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman" for more than a decade combined, Harchik has been nominated for six national Emmy awards.
But he'd never won - once losing to a show about Britney Spears and "V.I.P.," a series starring a crime-fighting Pamela Anderson. Yes, that show existed.
"When 'Zoom' was nominated for an Emmy in its last season, I was so confident in the show's team that I had my hands on the arm rests, ready to stand up," Harchik said as he sat in his home office on Williams Street. "But, it wasn't in the cards."
That assurance followed him to "Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman," which was nominated for two national awards, also to no avail.
So, when Harchik's latest project, a documentary about the prohibition era in Connecticut, was nominated for a regional Emmy, his wife had to talk him into attending the ceremony.
"I felt defeated, as if the universe was working against me," Harchik said.
His luck would turn around when the production team of CPTV's "Prohibition: Connecticut Goes Dry" won a regional Emmy at the ceremony two weeks ago at the Copley Marriot in Boston.
Harchik said he was "shocked, thrilled and honored," to have received the award.
The win marked a milestone for Harchik, 50, who studied telecommunications at Syracuse University's prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication.
He said there wasn't much demand for staff editing jobs when he graduated in 1984, and he initially struggled to find work. He found a job as a production assistant on corporate training video shoots, feeding the camera with rolls of tape.
"I remember during one shoot, I fell asleep and the tape jammed up. I woke up panicked, and I realized in that moment that shooting wasn't what I wanted to do," said the father of two.
In 1999, the PBS station in Boston began production on a reissue of the '70s show "Zoom," which taught the kids about science, art and pop culture inspired by viewer submissions.
The series went off the air in 2005, and Harchik recalled it fondly, while speaking in the famous "Ubbi Dubbi," language.
"Ubi luboved ubit," he said.
That is, "I loved it," to mere English-speakers.
From there, Harchik stayed with WGBH, but moved on to "Fetch!," a childrens' game show featuring a wise-cracking animated dog named Ruff. Because of the way the cast interacted with Ruff, the premise was challenging for Harchik in the editing room.
"The voice of Ruff is added after most of the episode is shot, so I had to create my own system of editing the shots where the interaction between the cast and the animated character is seamless," he said.
Harchik prefers Avid software to help him achieve this result, and was even president of the Boston Avid Users Group for many years.
Now, Harchik works as a freelance editor, slicing together footage for "Frontline," The History Channel and, most recently, "Neighborhood Kitchens" on PBS.
When asked how it feels to be an award-winning editor, Harchik said, "It's such an honor that it hasn't sunk in yet."