I have just sat, spellbound, watching the 60 Minutes tribute to Mike Wallace. I am beaming from ear-to-ear, and I hope Mike Wallace is too. He has been involved in some incredible stuff.
Yes, it’s true, I miss the ‘low hanging fruit’ portion of his career, when he went in, cameras rolling, to confront some two bit crook, never Mike’s intellectual equal.
It was classic TV – though easy for Mike. He doesn’t do that anymore.
Let me back up. 60 Minutes is a show I’ve been watching forever. I remember when the stopwatch still had its manufacturer’s name on the face (it was a Tag Heuer), when the show aired on Thursday’s, and then when it was done live on Sunday evenings (and began with news headlines).
I used to love the letters segment at the end of the show, but never (quite) understood… their interesting use (of) punctuation when they edited.
I remember Shana and Jack and Nicholas and all the other Point-Counterpoint commentators. Andy Rooney hasn’t been there forever. It just seems he has.
So, yes, I saw Mike Wallace interviewing Horowitz and Streisand and busting the gas station guys who preyed on people in RVs – all first run.
Mike Wallace could have easily been a hack. He could have stuck with the one-no-one, single point lighting, interview shows he did in the 50s. He didn’t. Hell, he could have left 60 Minutes decades ago. It is difficult to think he might need the money.
Instead, he stayed and worked hard and always did work that he could be proud of. I know he is difficult to work with. I suspect he enjoys that reputation. It is the passion that comes with pride.
As Mike Wallace was finishing his career at 60 Minutes, I was celebrating my 22nd anniversary at the TV station. My career hasn’t been as Earth shattering.
There have been many times when I’ve thought how ill equipped I’d be to do a job like Wallace’s. I think I could confront the evil, but not the weak or those who’ve already suffered greatly. That’s part of what he does.
This is not to say my 22 years have been without merit. There are lots of things I’ve done which have had a positive impact – storms where people were protected or causes which were advanced through my efforts. I’m just no Mike Wallace.