Archive for the ‘"60 Minutes"’ Category

Four Times 60 Minutes with Andy Rooney

Friday, November 3rd, 2006


Andy Rooney was interviewed by the Archive of American Television for four hours on his career.

Mr. Rooney has just put out a new book of essays collected in ten themed sections, entitled, “Out of My Mind.” The 87-year-old Rooney, according to Booklist, responded to inquiries about when he will retire, “Never. I am never happier than when I am working.”

Interview description:

In his Archive of American Television interview, Mr. Rooney spoke about his 50-year career as a writer and producer for television. Rooney detailed his roots as a journalist writing for The Stars and Stripes during World War II. He talked about his entrance into radio and television as a staff writer for Arthur Godfrey and later on television’s The Morning Show with Will Rogers, Jr. and The Seven Lively Arts. He described his shift to the non-fiction form working on such CBS series as The Twentieth Century and Calendar. It was on the later series that Rooney first worked with newsman Harry Reasoner. He spoke in detail about the many CBS documentary specials the two collaborated on (Rooney as writer, Reasoner as narrator) including: An Essay on Doors (1964), A Bird’s Eye View of America (1964), and The Strange Case of the English Language (1968). Rooney talked about several other documentaries in which he contributed as a producer, writer, or a combination of the two including: Sinatra (1965, re-shown on CBS in 1998) and Black History: Lost, Stolen, or Strayed (1968, Emmy winner). He talked about his long association with 60 Minutes, which began in 1968 when he wrote and appeared in (in silhouette) the recurring segment “Digressions,” a tongue-in-check 30-second “debate” on current events. He talked about his temporary break with CBS when the network refused to air an anti-Vietnam War piece An Essay on War, and the subsequent airing of it on PBS’s The Great American Dream Machine. Rooney described several documentaries he made for ABC and CBS in the 1970s including: A Small Town in Iowa, Mr. Rooney Goes to Washington, and Mr. Rooney Goes to Dinner. Rooney spoke of his work writing and appearing in “A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney,” the literate and often cantankerous essays on everyday life that appear as an end-of-the program tag to 60 Minutes, a spot he has occupied since 1978. The interview was conducted by Don Carleton on June 22, 1999.

In tape 7 of Rooney’s four-hour Archive of American Television interview, he discusses his association with the legendary newsmagazine 60 Minutes.

Click here to watch Andy Rooney’s entire Archive of American Television interview.

See Them Now — Interviews with Colleagues who worked on Edward R. Murrow’s Exposé of Senator Joseph McCarthy

Monday, August 21st, 2006

In recognition of the feature film Good Night, and Good Luck’s release on HD DVD today, we’re highlighting interviews related to Edward R. Murrow’s stand against Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-communist witch-hunt.

Murrow provided the first expose of the hysteria surrounding McCarthyism with his 1954 See It Now broadcast “A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy,” which weakened McCarthy’s credibility by offering film clips of his own misstatements and half-truths. McCarthy recieved equal time on See It Now, only damaging himself further. In a related press conference at the time, Murrow said: “Who has helped the Communist cause and who has served his country better, Senator McCarthy or I? I would like to be remembered by the answer to that question.”

Reporter/Producer Joseph Wershba worked on the See It Now piece which exposed Senator Joseph McCarthy. Wershba was played by Robert Downey, Jr. in George Clooney’s film Good Night, and Good Luck.

This is Part 3 of Joseph Wershba’s Archive of American Television Interview. Click here to access all interview segments. (Remember, if you’d like to watch the interview in the order in which it was conducted, select the parts in order (1,2,3…). In his 12-part interview Wershba talks about working with Fred Friendly and Edward R. Murrow on See it Now, producing for CBS Reports, and segment producing 60 Minutes for over 20 years.

As Wershba recounts in the segment:

“The right of reply was the key thing in the McCarthy broadcast. I know [Murrow] anguished over what right do I have to use this tremendous engine, engine of communication to go against one man. That bothered the hell out of him. What right did he have to do that? And he kept looking for a way. “Isn’t there another way that we can do this broadcast?” I think he solved it in his own mind. I never heard him say it directly but I think he solved it by recognizing that Senator McCarthy had enough weaponry at his command that he didn’t have to worry about Edward R. Murrow taking him on.”

See It Now film editor Mili Lerner Bonsignori was also interviewed by the Archive of American Television. Access her interview segments here.

As Lerner Bonsignori recounts in her interview:

“Murrow was the greatest exponent of the Bill of Rights I have ever met. Everything we did, had to do with the rights of the individual under our constitution. And every show we ever did, if you examine it carefully, you will find within it, the Bill of Rights. And that was his function. And we were able to do it because we were independent…. We had no executives coming in to that cutting room to in any way see what we were doing. We never screened for them, not once. They wanted to see the show, even [CBS Chairman William S.] Paley, he saw it on the air.”

Interview Description:

Lerner Bonsignori describes her transition from an editor in feature films to her extensive career in television. She talks about her work as an editor on the CBS documentary series See It Now, Small World, and CBS Reports; and her opinions on and relationship with the co-producers of these series, Edward R. Murrow (who also served as host) and Fred W. Friendly. She describes in detail such benchmark See It Now shows as “The Case Against Milo Radulovich AO589839,” “A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy,” and “A Conversation with Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer” and the CBS Reports program “Hunger in America.” She discusses her later freelance work, such as that with Charles Kuralt and the two documentaries for which she won Emmy Awards, …But What About the Children? and CBS Reports: The Defense of the United States: A Call to Arms. She also identifies the changes that have affected the field of editing through the years, such as the advent of videotape. The 3-hour interview was conducted by Michael Rosen on December 11, 1998.