Good Night and Good Luck Mike Wallace

As cliched as it might sound, an era ended Sunday night with the swan song of Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. I missed about the first four or five minutes of the retrospective of the guy who created what some say was the most feared phrase in America ” Hello, I’m Mike Wallace”. As arguably the most feared reporter in America he was the last person you wanted to show up on your door step with camera in tow. I will never understand how he never got shot. He did get pushed around at the 1968 Democratic National Convention but I don’t think he actually got punched. His willingness to barge in with a camera inspired countless imitators who now get into your face with a camera locally because the flag flying from your car or house is tattered, to chasing you down to chastise you for daring to speed through a school zone or make a turn where you weren’t supposed to. They do this because someone saw Mike Wallace go in with cameras rolling. I think part of the attraction and the high number of viewers tuning in to 60 Minutes each week was to see if this was the week that someone would clean Mike Wallace’s clock. Oh, I think he was put in cuffs at least once but that was just a couple of years ago but some police types in NYC when Wallace needed a fix of meatloaf. The person who was driving Wallace had double parked and someone with a badge and a handy-talkie got a little carried away.
It found it interesting that Mike admitted his attempt at suicide. But you would expect someone like him to be honest at this point in his life. He always expected straight talk from those he interviewed. He apologized to Babs Streisand saying he was hard on her during an interview.
I really respect Mike Wallace for the career he created. He re-invented himself on a regular basis. He worked in radio as an announcer in a serial. He was an entertainer, (we got to hear him sing a bit) he worked general news and he then came 60 Minutes. But as much as I respect him, I feel kind of sorry for him as well. He mentioned to Morley Safer that he (Morley) had hobbies such as painting and writing and golf. Wallace said he had nothing but his work. But perhaps that’s why he was recognized for his career. How many other 88 year olds can get that recognition. Heck, how many men live to be 88. I do fear that Mike Wallace, who found so much energy to focus on his work, will be lost without 60-Minutes. I fear that he will encounter what I call the “Bear Bryant” Syndrome. The Bear didn’t last too long after he left the ‘Bama football program. I hope Mike Wallace will find time to stop and smell the roses and reflect on the admiration that many have for him and the standards that he helped set. And I hope he has many many more years ahead of him and I hope they are happy ones.
And to use the phrase that he used Sunday night to sign off, a phrase used by another giant before him.
“Good Night and Good Luck Mike Wallace. “

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2 Comments on “Good Night and Good Luck Mike Wallace”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Well said Joe—Well said. Hope you don’t mind a link of what you wrote forwarded on to CBS. Maybe the words another reporter/anchor used would fit too…”and that’s the way it is, have a good night.”
    Mike Wallace leaving the air really closes a long and reliable line of reporters who used the video media to inform and enlighten responsibly, but never to just entertain.
    ……..JD

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I have to add one other thing, but it concerns the printed media…the name Marc Perrusquia here in Memphis also strikes fear in most of the politicians and public figures. This guy is a crook and shady persons’ worse nightmare. I have seen him work and he is very, very close to Mike Wallace’s style of interview. If he calls to set up an interview, most people start calling lawyers etc.
    …..JD


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