This Day in Death

4.7.12: Mike Wallace – DEAD!

Filed under: Dead —James @ 6:41 am April 10, 2012

Wallace, seen here in 1965 interviewing a microphone. Viewers assumed he was insane, but three intense hours later that microphone confessed to the murder of Kitty Genovese.

 

Legendary 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace passed away on Saturday at the age of 93. He was eaten by a snow leopard. No, that was just a joke. You see, it’s extremely unlikely that a man of Wallace’s age and background would be in such close proximity to an animal as dangerous as a snow leopard. There simply would be no logical reason for it. And even on the off chance that he was around one, the encounter would no doubt be strictly supervised by trained professionals, dramatically decreasing the likelihood of injury during an already doubtful scenario. Therefore, the surprise registered as a result of the juxtaposition of your perception of him with the idea that he was, in fact, eaten by a snow leopard is humorous. Okay, I’ve warmed them up for you, New York Times. Take it away!

A reporter with the presence of a performer, Mr. Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years, living for when “you forget the lights, the cameras, everything else, and you’re really talking to each other,” he said in an interview with The New York Times videotaped in July 2006 and released on his death as part of the online feature “Last Word.”

Mr. Wallace created enough such moments to become a paragon of television journalism in the heyday of network news. As he grilled his subjects, he said, he walked “a fine line between sadism and intellectual curiosity.”

Hang on, he… he meant that “sadistic grilling” thing as a metaphor, right? Because otherwise we all missed a Seven-level confession there. We should get someone to ask some questions about that. Hey! How about Mike Wallace?! Oh wait. Nevermind.

Mr. Wallace invented his hard-boiled persona on a program called “Night Beat.” Television was black and white, and so was the discourse, when the show went on in 1956, weeknights at 11, on the New York affiliate of the short-lived DuMont television network.

“We had lighting that was warts-and-all close-ups,” he remembered. The camera closed in tighter and tighter on the guests. The smoke from Mr. Wallace’s cigarette swirled between him and his quarry. Sweat beaded on his subject’s brows.

“I was asking tough questions,” he said. “And I had found my bliss.” He had become Mike Wallace.

And now with Wallace gone it doesn’t look like anyone’s going to be stepping up to ask the tough questions about the real issues that affect this country, like why the hell Netflix sent me Friday After Next before sending me Next Friday. I stopped watching as soon as I realized the mistake, but by then it was halfway over and the damage was already done.

 

Source: The New York Times

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