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The Hidden Revolution Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> The Hidden Revolution

The Hidden Revolution was sponsored by Nationwide Mutual Insurance of Ohio
The Hidden Revolution was sponsored by Nationwide Mutual Insurance of Ohio

Spot ad for 'The 20-Hour Week' which aired on December 17th 1958's broadcast of The Hidden Revolution
Spot ad for 'The 20-Hour Week' which aired on December 17th 1958's broadcast of The Hidden Revolution

March 16th 1959 Nationwide spot ad promoting the March 18th 1959 finale of the first season of The Hidden Revolution
March 16th 1959 Nationwide spot ad promoting the March 18th 1959 finale of the first season of The Hidden Revolution.


Spot ad from January 28th 1959 announcing a repeat broadcast of 'My Friend, My Enemy!'
Spot ad from January 28th 1959 announcing a repeat broadcast of 'My Friend, My Enemy!'


Spot ad from February 2nd 1960 announcing 'Economics in Wonderland'
Spot ad from February 2nd 1960 announcing 'Economics in Wonderland'

Background

1950s Television slowly--and inevitably--eclipsed the popularity of Radio throughout the Nation. It was as much the affordability of 1950s Television receivers as the renewed expansion of America's Middle Class that ushered in the advent of popular Television. Though Television was acquiring its share of critics, the die had been cast. Radio's supremacy and popularity was clearly on the wane. Radio's Golden Age reluctantly gave way to Television's Golden Age. But Radio wasn't quite ready to roll over--just yet. The mid- to late-1950s found Radio mounting some of the finest programming of its [then] 30-year history. The four major networks, still somewhat unsure of the enduring strength of Television's growing popularity, found themselves thinking further 'out of the box' in an effort to retain Radio listeners.

Given the vast resources of most of the Big Four networks' News Divisions, many of the more compelling 'new' Radio programming of the mid-50s, on were interview programs, topical documentaries, and public affairs programming produced by the networks' News Divisions.

Long running news, commentary, and discussion panel programs from the Golden Age of Radio inevitably found their way to Television. Iconic programs such as Meet the Press and Crossfire successfully managed to straddle both Radio and Television. But it was many of the equally popular documentary programs of the era that helped shore up Radio's market share. Programs such as NBC's Biography in Sound and CBS' Radio Workshop introduced contemporary sound-bites as well as recordings from each great network's recorded sound archives to bring many of the more iconic personalities, new technologies, and cultural, Arts, and political trends to a new generation of listeners.

A resurgence of programming in the public interest

Throughout the World War II years, informative Homefront programming saturated the Radio airwaves; home economics, budget advice, Victory Garden, resource conservation, educational, and instructional programming permeated the airwaves between 1941 and 1947. Throughout the 1950s, several important public affairs programs of the era found their way to both Radio and Television, either in simulcast or in staggered scheduling over Television, then Radio. These programs were often one-offs or short series'. NBC-Radio's Monitor programming was one of the more innovative responses to the encroachment of Television, airing all manner of weekend programming--comedy, variety, science fiction, human interest, and public affairs--for thirty-six to forty hours each weekend between June 1955 and 1961. Sunday morning's Meet The Press aired under weekend Monitor's programming schedule, while airing simultaneously over NBC Television.

Some of the more critically acclaimed 1950s programs in the public interest were as follows:

1950 The Quick and The Dead
1951 Hear It Now
1951 This I Believe
1952 The Endless Frontier
1952 The Forty Million
1952 This Is Civil Defense
1953 Living in An Atomic Age
1958 The Great Challenge
1958 The Hidden Revolution

CBS and the Edward R. Murrow years

CBS' preeminence in Radio News, whether earned or perceived, remained legendary throughout the 1940s and 1950s. By far the most legendary of CBS' numerous Radio commentators of the era was Edward R. Murrow and his 'boys.' Murrow and Murrow's Boys captured the imagination of America throughout the lead up to the U.S. involvement in World War II, as well as throughout America's prosecution of the War.

Murrow's legend was as well-deserved as it was hard-earned. Murrow's reputation was equally secure throughout the British Empire and Europe as it was throughout North America. During the 1940s and 1950s--on Radio and Television--Murrow and his CBS News staff continued to produce some of the most compelling and hard-hitting news, features, and documentaries in CBS' history:

  • This Is London (short-wave)
  • An American In England (short-wave and broadcast radio)
  • Edward R. Murrow with the News (radio)
  • Hear it Now (radio)
  • CBS Views the Press (radio)
  • CBS Evening News (radio and television)
  • I Can Hear It Now (for Columbia Records)
  • See It Now (television)
  • This I Believe (radio, newspapers, and records)
  • Person to Person (television)
  • CBS Reports (television)
  • Years of Crisis (television)
  • Small World (television
  • Background (television)

Edward R Murrow presides over a 1955 complement of his 'Murrow's Boys.' (from left, Bill Downs, Daniel Shorr, Eric Sevareid, Richard C Hottelet, Murrow, Robert Pierpont, David Shoenbrun, Howard K. Smith, Alexander Kendrick)
Edward R Murrow presides over a 1955 complement of his 'Murrow's Boys.' (from left, Bill Downs, Daniel Shorr, Eric Sevareid, Richard C Hottelet, Murrow, Robert Pierpont, David Shoenbrun, Howard K. Smith, Alexander Kendrick)

Edward R. Murrow and his 'Murrow's Boys' remained an iconoclastic, straightforward, no-nonsense journalistic team in the finest tradition. The 'icons' in this instance were CBS Radio's existing policies--not the least of which was its long-standing proscription against 'recorded interviews and sound bites.' Murrow's repeated push-back against CBS' policy on the use of recordings in News resulted in some of the most effective and stirring reporting ever heard during the 1950s and beyond.

Murrow fought to keep his team's journalism 'pure' of any commerical, political, or corporate taint and pressures. This was no mean feat at CBS, especially during the years immediately following World War II. CBS' exponentially growing emphasis on its corporate image, bottom line, and stockholders began to create a growing rift between the ideals of its News Staff and CBS corporate interests. One by one, 'Murrow's Boys' were becoming systematically hobbled, edited, or silenced altogether whenever their investigative journalism ran afoul of CBS' growing commercial emphasis on the network's corporate identity or commercial 'brand.'

But as Murrow's popularity continued to arc, sponsors continued to stand in line for a chance to associate themselves--and their products--with Edward R. Murrow's reputation, fame, and popularity. For Murrow saw little to be gained by associating his 'name' or journalism with corporate or commercial interests--quite the contrary. CBS for its part, continued to tighten its editorial control over Murrow and his team throughout the 1950s. Murrow's continued clashes with those sponsors which he was forced to accept during the post-War period created a growing disaffection in Murrow. The friction was all the more pointed owing to virtually all of Murrow's productions routinely finding themselves among the top four highest Hooper-rated programs throughout the period.

CBS News and Nationwide Mutual Insurance debut The Hidden Revolution

And so it was that on the evening of October 22nd 1958, Edward R. Murrow premiered his The Hidden Revolution under the sponsorship of Nationwide Mutual Insurance of Ohio. From the October 22nd 1958 edition of the Progress-Index: 

'The Hidden Revolution'
Program Starts Tonight
 
     NEW YORK (AP)--At the frantic rate life is changing on this planet, do you often wonder how much control you personally have over your own future? 
     CBS radio believes that you do and tonight at 8 o'clock, EDT will present the first in an absorbing new series of special one hour monthly programs which probe American life as it is and will  or won't be.  It is called "The Hidden Revolution."
     Edward R. Murrow will be the narrator of the commercially sponsored programs produced by the public affairs department of CBS news.
     Discussing the series recently, Irving Gitlin, director of the public affairs department, pointed out that change--or "advance," as many call it--is occurring as rapidly in social, political and human affairs as in the more widely discussed realm of science.  All these fields will be examined in "The Hidden Revolution" series.
     "The fantasy boys had better wake up," Gitlin said.  "They're 100 years behind the times."
     What do you mean by "change"?
     Item:  Some political scientists believe that our systems of state government in this country are outmoded.  The ideal government of the future is regional government, in which the arbitrary boundaries of the states are dissolved and regions of mutual geographic or economic interest create their own new governmental systems.  The way already has been opened by such bodies as tri-state and bi-state authorities dealing with mutual problems.
     Item:  There is a "revolution" in urban living and population shifts that is making many local governments outmoded.  As a fascinating example, the area from Portland, Maine to Norfolk, Va., is now virtually one continuous city.
     Item:  A machine has been developed that changes its behavior on the basis of new information given it.  It now is possible for a machine to have original ideas--or, as someone said, to survive a prefrontal lobotomy.
     "The thesis of the first show," said Gitlin, "is that the individual must know what is happening and must try to decide his own role in the scheme of things."
     Gitlin says that radio can produce such an ambitious series of programs more effectively and less expensively than television.  For example, "by using a simple tape recorder rather than the complicated paraphernalia of television, one can more readily capture people's innermost thoughts."  The cost of a hard-hitting one hour radio documentary is about $1,000 as compared to $10,000 for a TV program of comparable scope.
 
And from the November 10th 1959 edition of the Pasadena Independent:
 
     VICE PRESIDENT NIXON will participate in tonight's opening broadcast of "The Hidden Revolution" series, at 9:05 p.m., on KNX (1070).  He will discuss the image of America abroad, foreign misconceptions about he U.S., and steps to counteract anti-American attitudes.  Others on tonight's series will be C.D. Jackson, vice president, Time, Inc.; Dr. Clyde Kluckholm, professor of Anthropology at Harvard U.; Russell Lynes, managing editor of Harper's Magazine; and poet and playwright Archibald Macleish.  Edward R. Murrow will narrate.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Documentaries
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 58-10-22 01 Suburbs
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 58-10-22 to 60-04-05; CBS; Twelve, monthly programs of 30-minutes in duration; Various dates and times over two seasons.
Syndication: CBS Radio
Sponsors: Public Affairs Department of CBS News; Nationwide Mutual Insurance; Wilson Pontiac [San Antonio, TX]
Director(s): Arthur Raven, Don Kellerman, George Veekus [Producers for Unit One]
Virginia Lichtner, Phillip Gittleman, Bill Guide, Joel Haller [Associate Producers for Unit One]
Principal Contributors: William O. Douglas, Adolph A. Berle Jr., Max Lerner, Patrick M. Malin, Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prof. Goodwin B. Watson, Dr. James B. Conant, Dr. Robert M. Hutchins, Dr. Robert Johnson, Vice President Richard M. Nixon, C.D. Jackson, Dr. Clyde Kluckholm, Russel Lynes, Archibald Macleish, Allen Ginsberg Lawrence Lipton, Stewart Perkhoff, Kenneth Rexroth, Malcolm Cowley, Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.), Anna M. Kross
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Arthur Raven, Don Kellerman, George Veekus [Writers]
Music Direction:
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Edward R. Murrow, Howard K. Smith [Narrator]
Joel Heller, Robert Young [Field Reporters]
Peter Thomas, Gaylord Avery [Announcers]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
12
Episodes in Circulation: 8
Total Episodes in Collection: 3
Provenances:

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]







The Hidden Revolution Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
58-10-22
1
Suburbs
N
58-10-22 New York Times
8-9--The Hidden Revolution: First of six-part series concerned with exploring the problems caused by the acceleration of scientific and technological advances. Authorities in various fields will contribute their analyses.
Edward R. Murrow narrates--(WCBS).

58-10-22 Independent (Long Beach)
7:30 P.M. KNX--Hidden Revolution, Edw. R. Murrow: "
Suburbs."
58-11-19
2
Freedom's Last Stand
N
58-11-19 New York Times
8:30-9--The Hidden Revolution: "
Freedom's Last Stand," a documentary investigation of the right to be "different." Speakers include Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Adolf A. Berle Jr., Max Lerner, Patrick M. Malin, and others--(WCBS).
58-12-17
3
The 20-Hour Week
Y
58-12-17 Waterloo Daily Courier
The Hidden Revolution - TONIGHT'S PRESENTATION: "THE 20-HOUR WEEK"
A Report on Automation 7:30 to 8:00 P.M.
59-01-21
4
My Friend My Enemy
N
59-01-21 New York Times
8:30-9--The Hidden Revolution: Study and discussion of the race relations problems that occurred when Negro families began to move into a white community in Queens. Panel members include Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Prof. Goodwin B. Watson of Columbia University, and others. Edward R. Murrow is narrator--(WCBS).

59-01-21 Oakland Tribune
8 p.m. KCBS--HIDDEN REVOLUTION: "
My Friend My Enemy," with guest Gen. Carlos P. Romulo, Philippine Ambassador to the U.S.

59-01-21 Mason City Globe-Gazette
KGLO (CBS)
Hidden
Revolution
8:30 p.m.
Edward R. Murrow and distinguished guests discuss dramatic new definitions of the word "neighbor" on "My Friend, My Enemy."
59-01-28
4
My Friend My Enemy
N
59-01-28 New York Times
8:30-9--The Hidden Revolution:
Repeat of last week's study and discussion of the race relations problems that occurred when Negro families moved into a white community in Queens--(WCBS).
59-02-18
5
The Empty Schoolhouse
N
59-02-28 New York Times
8:30-9--The Hidden Revolution: "
The Empty Schoolhouse," fifth in documentary series on social problems. Examination of our secondary school system with Dr. James B. Conant, Dr. Robert M. Hutchins and Dr. Robert Johnson. Edward R. Murrow narrates--(WCBS).
59-03-18
6
The Day Called X
N
59-03-18 New York Times
8:15-9--The Hidden Revolution: "
The Day Called X," an examination of our moral and military preparedness, with comments by authorities in the fields. Sixth in series narrated by Edward R. Murrow--(WCBS).





59-11-10
1
To See Ourselves
N
59-11-10 New York Times
9:05-10--The Hidden Revolution: "
To See Ourselves," documentary on the American image at mid-century here and abroad. With Vice President Nixon and others. Edward R. Murrow narrates--(WCBS).
59-12-15
2
The Face of Retirement
N
59-12-15 New York Times
9:30-10--The Hidden Revolution: Documentary on "
The Face of Retirement." Edward R. Murrow narrates--(WCBS).
60-01-05
3
Twentieth Century Nomads

Y
60-01-05 New York Times
9:30-10--The Hidden Revolution: "
Twentieth Century Nomads." documentary on the effects of population shifts. Howard K. Smith narrates--(WCBS).
60-02-02
4
Economics In Wonderland
N
60-02-02 New York Times
9:30-10--The Hidden Revolution: "
Economics in Wonderland," an examination of the problems arising out of this country's foreign trade policies. With American and European industrialists and others. Howard K. Smith narrates--(WCBS).
60-03-08
5
Education Limited
N
60-03-08 New York Times
9:30-10--The Hidden Revolution: "
Education Limited," study of how to help underprivileged students attain educational and vocational goals--(WCBS).

60-03-08 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m. — Hidden Revolution
(WKOW): New York's Mayor Robert F. Wagner, Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R-N:Y.), Anna M. Kross discuss better education for students of culturally-economically deprived backgrounds.
60-04-05
6
The Cool Rebellion
Y
60-04-05 New York Times
9:30-10--The Hidden Revolution: "
The Cool Rebellion," a portrait and evaluation of the 'beat generation"--(WCBS).

60-04-05 Lowell Sun
THE HIDDEN REVOLUTION: Howard K. Smith narrates "
The Cool Rebellion." examination of the "beat" philosophy with authors Allen Ginsberg Lawrence Lipton; poets Stewart Perkhoff, Kenneth Rexroth, literary critic Malcolm Cowley; WEEI, (590) 8:30






The Hidden Revolution Radio Program Biographies




Edward R. Murrow [Egbert Roscoe Murrow]
Radio and Television Reporter, Director and Producer; Author
(1908-1965)

Birthplace: Greensboro, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Education: State College of Washington

Military Service: Cadet Colonel, ROTC [WSC]; War Correspondent

Radiography:
1937 Saturday Night Swing Club
1937 Columbia Workshop
1938 World News Roundup
1939 European War Crisis
1939 News Of the European Situation
1939 Edward R. Murrow
1939 CBS News
1939 News Of Europe
1939 European News Roundup
1939 Today In Europe
1939 This Week In Europe
1939 The War This Week
1940 The World This Week
1940 News Of the World
1940 The World Today
1940 The World Tonight
1940 The News From Europe
1940 London After Dark
1941 World News Tonight
1941 How CBS Covers the War
1941 Winston Churchill
1941 President Roosevelt Returns From the Atlantic Charter Conference
1941 Anniversary of World War II
1941 Royal Air Force Band
1941 Dinner For Edward R. Murrow
1941 CBS News
1941 Twelve Crowded Months
1942 What Are We Fighting For
1942 An American In England
1943 Casablanca Meeting Report
1943 NBC Symphony Orchestra
1944 America Salutes the President's Birthday
1944 Pre-War Television
1944 How CBS Will Cover the Invasion
1944 Round-UP of Invasion News
1944 Invasion Bulletins
1944 D-Day Official Inasion Circuit
1944 CBS D-Day Coverage
1944 NBC D-Day Coverage
1944 Mutual D-Day Coverage
1944 Round-Up
1944 D-Day Plus Three
1944 How CBS Covered the Invasion
1944 Bill Downs Reporting From Europe
1944 BBC Radio Newsreel
1945 Treasury Salute
1945 Edward R. Murrow and the News
1945 Junction of Russian and American Forces
1945 V-E Day Coverage
1945 Morgan Beatty
1945 Potsdam Conference Report
1945 World News Round-Up
1945 Japanese Surrender Coverage
1945 Freedom Forum
1946 A Reporter Remembers
1946 Stars In the Afternoon
1947 Highlights Of the Royal Weddding
1947 Wedding Of Princess Elizabeth
1948 Edward R. Murrow News
1948 Between the Dark and the Dayllight
1948 New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
1948 Report On the Murder Of George Polk
1948 You and Television
1948 Election Night Preview
1949 Gisele Of Canada
1949 Inauguration Of President Truman
1949 Voice Of the Army
1949 Sunday With Murrow
1949 Club Fifteen
1950 The New Frontier
1950 London Forum
1950 The Case Of the Flying Saucer
1950 A Report To the Nation
1950 Hear It Now
1951 Stars On Parade
1951 This I Believe
1952 This Is Polio
1951 United Jewish Appeal
1952 I Remember Kaltenborn
1952 California Civil Defense
1953 The Green Border
1954 CBS News Retrospective:  Resources For Freedom
1954 The Amos 'n' Andy Show
1954 The Man Who Wasn't Always Wrong
1955 Years Of Crisis
1955 The Terrible Rain
1956 This Is Civil Defense
1956 The Best Of Benny
1957 The Galindez-Murphy Case:  A Chronicle Of Terror
1957 CBS Radio Workshop
1957 Fifth Anniversary Salute Of "Operation Skywatch"
1957 Studio One
1957 BBC Salute To CBS
1957 The Big News of 1957
1958 We Take You Back
1958 Who Killed Michael Farmer
1958 P.O.W...A Study In Survival
1959 The Business Of Sex
1959 The Lost Class of '59
1959 The Hidden Revolution
1959 Montgomery Speaks His Mind
1959 The Educated Woman
1961 Meet the Press
1964 Farewell To Studio Nine
Ronald Colman circa 1917
Edward R. Murrow at 20








The sixth edition of 'See It Now' from 1951

From the April 28, 1965 edition of The Wisconsin State Journal:

Edward R. Murrow, Famed World War II Newscaster, Dies of Cancer at 57

     PAWLING, N. Y. (UPI)—Edward R. Murrow, 57, one of the nation's most famous radio-television commentators who took a quarter million dollar annual pay cut to serve his country as head of the U.S. Information Agency, died Tuesday of cancer.
     Three weeks ago, knowing his case was hopeless, he asked his doctors to let him leave the New York City hospital where he was under treatment so he could spend his last days in the Hudson river valley home he loved.  Doctors granted his wish,
     Murrow became a familiar name with an even more familiar voice as he risked his life dozens of times to bring millions of Americans the sounds of terror, death, and destruction during the rise of Nazi tyranny in World
War II.
     He put his microphone on the sidewalks of London to get the sounds of people walking—not running—to bomb shelters during the blitz.  He chartered an airplane and then rode a streetcar into Vienna one-half hour ahead of the Wehrmacht to get the sounds of their goose-step beating down the streets.  He described the dead bodies at Buchenwald.
     He was an international ambulance chaser—the man on the scene of floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and war in Asia and the Middle East as well as Europe.
Murrow was born in Greensboro, N. C., on a tenant farm.  His father was a man "who never actually said there was anything dishonest with making a living by talking."

     He was making more than $300,000 a year with Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) when he left in 1961 to run and revamp the USIA, for a salary of $21,000.
     Friends said the globe-trotting newsman was a "human dynamo running on nervous energy."  He slept only four or five hours a night for years, they said, and puffed continuously on three packs of cigarets a day.
     In October, 1963, Murrow had one lung removed because of cancer.
     He recovered sufficiently to return to his USIA post, but it rapidly became too much for him and he resigned the following January to complete his recuperation.
     Last November, he went back to the hospital.  Doctors said he had to undergo surgery.  The hospital refused to explain the exact nature of the operation, but reported he was making a "nice recovery."  However, he did not leave the hospital until his ambulance trip home to die three weeks ago.
     For nearly 25 years, Murrow was the most valuable property of CBS.  He was made a vice-chairman when he returned from Europe, but he disliked administrative work--"especially firing people"--and resigned that post.  He served on the network board of directors.
     With the advent of television, he became virtually a member of the family circle in millions of American living rooms with his "Person to Person" weekly show and his monthly "See It Now."
     His handsome, bushy-browed face had a natural worried look that was appealing to women.  And his tweedy, man-of-action appearance was popular with men.
     His intellectuality had a common touch.  His social conscience generally showed.
     One of his most sensational productions was the 1954 telecast that attacked Sen. Joseph B. McCarthy by using the senator's own quotes.  The show violated CBS' non-partisan policy.
     The network received more than 50,000 letters about the show.  They were four to one in favor of Murrow.  The network stood by him.



Howard Kingsbury Smith
Journalist, War Correspondent, Radio Reporter, Television anchorman, Political Commentator, and Film actor
(1914-2002)

Birthplace:
Ferriday, Mississippi, U.S.A..

Education: Tulane University; Heidelberg University; Merton College, Oxford University

Military Service:
War Correspondent with Edward R. Murrow's 'Murrow's Boys'

Radiography:
1943 World News Today
1945 The World Today
1945 News Roundup
1945 The Allies Cross the Rhine
1945 Howard K. Smith
1945 Roundup Of Declaration Of War Against Japan By Russia
1945 Americans At Thanksgiving
1946 Freedom Forum (BBC)
1946 A Report On Hunger
1946 CBS Morning News Roundup
1947 Prelude To Moscow
1947 The Wedding Of Princess Elizabth
1948 Report On the Murder Of George Polk
1948 As Europe Sees the Marshall Plan
1950 Mid-Century Broadcast
1950 Howard K. Smith News
1951 London Forum (BBC)
1953 The Stalin Story
1955 Years Of Crisis
1955 A Christmas Sing With Bing
1957 The Big News of 1957
1958 The Ruble War
1958 The Big News of 1958
1960 The Hidden Revolution
1960 The Death Penalty and Caryl Chessman
1960 The Great Debate
Howard K. Smith circa 1940
Howard K. Smith circa 1940



From February 15th, 2002--United Press International's obituary for Howard K. Smith:

Howard K. Smith, a pioneering television news commentator, anchor and reporter who started his career as a wire-service reporter and moved into radio during World War II, has died at the age of 87.

Smith died at his home in Bethesda, Md., Friday night.

Following a journalism career that spanned more than five decades, Smith spent the last years of his life preparing projects for public television, lecturing at colleges and to business groups and writing. His autobiography Events Leading Up to My Death, The Life of a Twentieth-Century Reporter, was published in 1996.

He married Benedicte (Bennie) Traberg, a Danish journalist, in March 1942 and had two children, Jack Prescott Smith, and Catherine Hamilton Smith. The couple lived at High Acres, an estate on the Potomac River in Bethesda, Md., near Washington.

Smith went to work for United Press in London in 1939, with war looming over Europe.

Stationed in Berlin with United Press and later CBS radio at the start of World War II, Smith was the last American reporter to leave Berlin on Dec. 6, 1941, only hours before the United States declared war on Germany. His final days and his narrow escape was retold in a best-selling book he wrote in only a few weeks, Last Train from Berlin, published in 1942, said to be one of the best commentaries written on the period.

Smith remained in Europe as a radio reporter and war correspondent with the 9th Army in France, Holland and Germany throughout the war and covered the Nuremberg war crimes trials. Following the war, he became CBS's chief European correspondent, taking over for Edward R. Murrow in 1946.

He returned to the United States in 1957 to become Washington correspondent for CBS, but resigned and moved to ABC in 1961 after a dispute over editorial policy concerning a civil rights documentary.

While in Washington, Smith knew every president from Eisenhower to Johnson.

At ABC, Smith in 1969 became television evening news co-anchor with Frank Reynolds.

Although Smith was the first broadcast journalist to have an exclusive interview with President Richard Nixon, he was also the first to call for Nixon's resignation or impeachment, declaring that Nixon needed to handle the matter "on his own time."

In 1960, Smith was the first broadcaster to moderate a presidential debate between candidates John F. Kennedy and Nixon. He repeated the effort for the League of Women Voters in the 1980 debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Born in Ferriday, La.,, on May 12, 1914, to night watchman Howard K. and Minnie Cates Smith, Smith's early years were spent in Depression poverty. He was an excellent student and an outstanding high school athlete.

He was encouraged by his teachers to try for a scholarship to Tulane University offered by the city of New Orleans to the city's best student. When he won, Smith entered college knowing he wanted to be a writer, and soon discovered that journalists were the only writers who got paid regularly. Smith enrolled in journalism and studied German in college, then was chosen for a tuition-free summer to study at Heidelberg University after his graduation in 1936.

Working his way to Germany as a deckhand on a freighter, Smith used his German language training to tour Germany and much of Europe and then returned to the United States to take reporting job with the New Orleans Item-Tribune. There, Smith worked his way from rewrite into writing analytical pieces on the changes he had seen taking place in Nazi Germany.

Friends and teachers urged Smith to apply for a Rhodes scholarship, and Smith was astonished when he was selected and found himself at Merton College of Oxford University in May 1937.

Following his studies, Smith decided to remain in Europe and took a reporting job in London with United Press (now United Press International) which in 1940 sent him to Berlin as its junior reporter earning $25 per week. When CBS offered him five times his UP salary to fill a radio assignment a year later, Smith leaped at the opportunity although he had never considered becoming a broadcast journalist.

"I was alarmed at suddenly having top responsibility in a warring capital for a great network," Smith wrote in 1996. "When we knew one another better, I asked Paul White (head of CBS News in New York) how he came to have faith in an unknown. He said, 'I knew you were well brought up, from a top school.' I said, 'Oxford?' He said, 'No. United Press.'"

By December 1941, events began to take place quickly that Smith would later recount in his hastily written but well-received commentary Last Train from Berlin.

Smith had attracted the wrath of high Nazi officials by refusing to read radio scripts the Berlin government had prepared for accredited foreign reporters. When Smith refused, his accreditation was recalled and he was denied use of facilities in which to work.

With no exit visa, Smith was at the mercy of the Berlin government which could arrest him at any moment. When his network learned that the Nazi government had withdrawn Smith's accreditation and not the network's, the network informed the German Foreign Office it was recalling Smith and requested the Foreign Office to accredit a stringer, who never arrived, who would replace Smith. Smith wrote "Satisfied that it would have a hostage against my misbehavior, it had an official notify me that I would receive an exit visa when he got around to it. It would stipulate, I was told, that I must be out of the country within 48 hours after receiving it.

"But five days later, I was called to the Foreign Office, and the liberating document was stamped in my passport," Smith wrote in Events Leading Up to My Death. "I immediately reserved a berth on the night train to Basel, Switzerland ... That was Dec. 6. I was so pleased ... at the favorable turn my life had taken that I considered partying on for a day longer and leaving Berlin on the second night of my 48 hours, which would be Dec. 7, 1941. I shudder to think how events might have transpired, had I done so."

Smith, who had moved out of the ABC co-anchor spot to concentrate on commentary in 1975, left ABC in 1979 at age 65, saying that as the network restructured the news broadcasts in an attempt to improve ratings his job "had no real function anymore."

He also was critical of the network's four-anchor format that included Reynolds, Peter Jennings, Barbara Walters and Max Robinson, which he termed a "Punch and Judy Show."

Smith was a much-honored newsman and recipient of a dozen honorary degrees. He won a Peabody award in 1960, an Emmy in 1961 and was winner three times of the Overseas Press Club's award for reporting.

He won high honors for his documentary "The Population Explosion," and in 1971 the University of Missouri gave him its Journalism Medal and later the Lowell Thomas citation.





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