Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite (1916—2009)

From the New York Times obituary, here:

“As anchorman and reporter, Mr. Cronkite described wars, natural disasters, nuclear explosions, social upheavals and space flights, from Alan Shepard’s historic 15-minute ride to lunar landings. On July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon, Mr. Cronkite exclaimed, “Oh, boy!””

At the risk of seeming as if I am (revealing that I am) seeing everything this week through the lens of Apollo, here was a man who would have enjoyed the 40th anniversary of the mission. Cronkite’s interest in the space program was not a ginned-up show-business enthusiasm, but the real thing. He had the bug. It would have felt fitting if he had made it through the week, and I’m sorry he didn’t. A bit of his CBS coverage of the landing is here:


1. Actually, Cronkite said “Oh, boy!” when the Eagle landed. The Brian Floca News Blog regrets the error. So does the New York Times.

2. Looks as though CBS has had this YouTube footage pulled. You can still get a little bit of Cronkite and the landing here, but CBS has packaged it to within an inch of its life and made it into something like an informercial, with guest appearances by current anchors, etc. Short of a visit to a place like the Paley Center for Media in New York or Los Angeles, I don’t know if there’s a way to get the flavor of the original footage, which seems to me a shame.

1 comment:

Maggie said...

Yes, he gave us Apollo with the greatest of enthusiasm, but he also gave us the Kennedy's.