Friday, July 17, 2009

Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite

"So, Walt, what words do you have trouble pronouncing?"

Worst meets best in this landmark episode of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, "Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite," which I pulled off the DVD shelf upon learning of the death of the venerable CBS newsman today at age 92. Unbelievably, the man so many Americans thought of as "Uncle Walter" served just 19 years in the anchor chair, and lived long enough to see his successor, Dan Rather, eventually replaced.

In "Ted Baxter," which aired during MARY TYLER MOORE's fourth season, vain WJM anchorman Baxter (Ted Knight) buys himself a Teddy Award, given to Minneapolis-St. Paul television productions, after six straight years of losing. His gambit, which includes praying on the air in an attempt to make himself appear more likable, works, and he now believes the network is going to come calling to make him a co-anchor with Cronkite.

Wouldn't ya know that Cronkite just happens to be in town to give a lecture and stops off at WJM to see his old war buddy Lou Grant (Edward Asner)? Cronkite has only one scene in the episode, which is worth seeing just for his introduction. It's a perfect indication of how popular he was that, when he enters the stage through the newsroom door, not only does he receive a round of applause from the studio audience, but also a few cheers.

Cronkite was reportedly a reluctant celebrity, and it must have been considered quite a coup for MARY TYLER MOORE to land him as a guest star (I believe this was his one and only sitcom appearance).

Walter Cronkite covered Watergate, Man on the moon, the JFK assassination. He was the most popular newsman in the world. More importantly, he was the most trusted newsman. We miss our favorite uncle tonight. But we have been missing him for a long time, since he left the CBS anchor desk in 1981, and broadcast journalism changed--for the worst--forever.


HorizonScanner said...

With General Giap's memoir, we know that the communists were counting on the RadLib media to lose the Vietnam war for America.

Cronkite misreported the Tet Offensive.

Look at what his successors are doing with Honduras.

buy cialis said...

Walter Cronkite is simply the most awesome person I've ever seen on TV, he was a true journalist seriously.