November 6, 2015 |
In 1973, fans of beloved newsman Walter Cronkite were shocked and appalled when his broadcast of the CBS Evening News was disrupted by a long-haired youth who ran onto the set with a yellow sign that read, "Gays Protest CBS Prejudice. " Mark Segal had arrived. Son of a cabdriver who grew up in near poverty in South Philadelphia, the then-23-year-old activist made history with his stunt, or "zap," as his guerrilla team, the Gay Raiders, called their political actions. Minutes later, Cronkite delivered CBS's very first report on a gay protest when he recounted the incident to viewers with his characteristic grace and reserve.
September 23, 2015
IN HIS MEMOIR, without him saying it - maybe not even realizing it - gay icon Mark Segal is transformed from a long-haired, "left-wing pinko fag" social outcast into a bald, suit-wearing, political-power insider. A national LGBT leader, the South Philly-born Segal was at the 1969 Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village, the Bunker Hill of gaydom. The supporting cast in And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality includes Pennsylvania Gov. Milton Shapp, an early supporter; Walter Cronkite, a zap victim; Ed Rendell; Tom Corbett; Patti LaBelle; Vince Fumo; John Street; Elton John; Cecil B. Moore; Morton Downey Jr.; Andy Warhol; even Frank Rizzo.
February 13, 2015
I'VE BEEN disappointed by many people in my lifetime as, I'm sure, have you. Unless we have hopes that exceed our expectations, life is a colorless and barren experience. At best, it's a mediocre slog. But when you trust someone to act honorably and then they turn around and betray you with dishonesty, it hurts. Depending upon your investment in that person and his or her place in your world, the hurt could be as fleeting as a paper cut or as painful and enduring as an amputation. By that measure, what Brian Williams did is a small bruise, one that will fade in a week or two. I had few expectations of the man who fed me the nightly news, someone who had a pleasant enough delivery, a nice face and some real journalistic chops.
December 19, 2013 |
IF YOU GO TO the Newseum in Washington, D.C., to check out the wing exclusively devoted to Walter Cronkite, you won't find it, because there isn't one. But there is an exhibit featuring artifacts from the "career" of anchorman Ron Burgundy, who, unlike this exhibit, does not actually exist. Anywhere but in the hearts of moviegoers, who've made Will Ferrell's TV news simpleton one of the more enduring and beloved comedy creations of the new millennium. Quick example of his cultural reach: In the upcoming movie "Lone Survivor," the fact-based account of a doomed Navy SEAL mission in Afghanistan, there's a scene of two men pinned down by Taliban fire.
November 22, 2013 |
WHEN I think of television and the assassination of the first president who made the medium his own, the first image is never of the handsome head snapping back, the pretty woman in the pink suit clambering onto the trunk of the moving car. It's not even of CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite. It's of a scrawny man in a crowded hallway, his face twisting as he's shot and killed on live TV as I sit, watching, at my father's feet. "Did you see that?" my father shouts, rising out of his chair as Lee Harvey Oswald sinks from sight.
November 18, 2013 |
Nuns wept and dads teared up. In the buttoned-down early 1960s, most children had never witnessed that level of open despair in grown-ups before. But the assassination of President John F. Kennedy 50 years ago this Friday provoked undisguised grief among Americans who believed the world had just caved in. And their now-grown children have not forgotten. Asked to share their memories of Nov. 22, 1963, nearly 1,000 Inquirer readers - many of them baby boomers - responded with detailed missives: the airless silence in the classroom after the principal's unsteady intercom announcement; the sobbing women on the otherwise quiet 53 trolley in West Mount Airy; the unsettling recognition of Dad's 1957 Plymouth station wagon back in the driveway way too early on that crisp, sunny afternoon.
June 14, 2013 |
YOU CAN make the argument that any year between 1963 and 1969 was pivotal in our nation's history. For instance, '63 saw the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.-led march on Washington and, of course, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The Beatles arrived (and "American Bandstand" left Philly for Hollywood) in 1964, '65 marked the beginning of years of race riots and '69 included Woodstock and the Apollo 11 moon landing. But for sheer breadth and scope of epochal events - not to mention horror - 1968 has no rival.
February 22, 2012
WANT to hear the "Walter Cronkite of Iraq?" Bahjat Abdulwahed will speak at an event, "Muslims in America: Building Bridges in a Climate of Fear," from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at the Friends Center, 1501 Cherry St., in Center City. The event will feature a screening of Hawo's Dinner Party, a 30-minute video adapted from the documentary Welcome to Shelbyville, which tells the story of a small Tennessee town as it grappled with Somali refugees. The video will be followed by a discussion from local Muslims, including Abdulwahed.
June 5, 2011
With a new anchor taking over the "CBS Evening News" Monday, let's take a trip down network-anchor-and-personality lane. 1. Who is the new CBS anchor? a. Bob Schieffer. b. Meredith Vieira. c. Scott Pelley. d. Lesley Stahl. 2. Whom is the new anchor replacing? a. Meredith Vieira. b. Barbara Walters. c. Oprah Winfrey. d. Katie Couric. 3. Who was the longest-serving CBS anchor? a. Walter Cronkite.
June 5, 2011
1. c. Scott Pelley. 2. d. Katie Couric. 3. b. Dan Rather, from March 9, 1981, to March 9, 2005. 4. a. Walter Cronkite. 5. c. 1962. 6. b. Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. 7. d. Andy Rooney. 8. c. Douglas Edwards. 9. a. Connie Chung, with Dan Rather, from 1993-95. 10. b. 60 Minutes.