Thursday, January 01, 2009

What You Are About To See Is Unrehearsed And Uncensored.

Fascinating link I ran across this morning. In the late 1950s Mike Wallace hosted a show, sponsored by Phillip Morris, called "The Mike Wallace Interview". No, I'm not old enough to actually remember it. I was only two years old, besides, I don't think we even owned a TV in 1957.
"Whether you agree or disagree with what you will hear, we feel that none will deny the right of these views to be broadcast."
Given complete freedom by both the network and his sponsor, Mr. Wallace interviewed America's most influential, infuriating, introspective, and even incompetent newsmakers of the time.

From Gloria Swanson to Commando Kelly. From Steve Allen to Orval Faubus. From Eddie Arcaro to Margaret Sanger. It's an impressive list. And some amazing, uncensored interviews.

Mike Wallace donated those interviews, and the films, to the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin where the old kinescopes, (16mm films taken of video monitors), were digitized and transcripted. Of Course Mr. Wallace maintained his copyright, or I would love to drop the interview of Dr. Henry Wriston into this page. On August 17, 1958 Dr. Wriston spoke on a variety of subjects, including the Middle East Crisis. Yes, Virginia, there has been a "Middle East Crisis" more or less continuously my entire lifetime. And for many years before that.
WALLACE: Well, we'll get to the foreign service, if we may, a little bit later in the program, but right now I'd like to stay in the Middle East, if I may. Talking about the Middle East, and I think you'll agree that it's a troubled spot .. now as well as back in the days of the Saracens..

WRISTON: And will be, for another fifty years.
There are many other interviews. Some light and fun, some very heavy and thoughtful. Many that will enlighten my younger readers and bring remembrances to those of my generation. I encourage you to go browse through the offerings at The Mike Wallace Interview Collection.

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