Due To Circumstances Beyond Our Control by Fred W. Friendly
By Fred W. Friendly
Fred pleasant tells the tale of the beginnings of tv journalism with Edward R. Murrow at CBS information.
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Radulovich himself seemed even more alive in the intimacy of the small tube than on the big movie screen of the projection room. Murrow read his closing exactly as he had written it: We have told the Air Force that we will provide facilities for any comments, criticism or correction it may wish to make in regard to the case of Milo Radulovich. The case must go through two more Air Force boards routine and channels before it reaches Secretary Talbott, who will make the final decision. We are unable to judge the charges against the father or the lieutenant's sister because neither we nor you nor the lieutenant nor the lawyers know precisely what was contained in that manila envelope.
The sponsor, an oil company, dictated a blacklist of its own which NBC accepted. " Perhaps the classic example of this kind of dreaded spontaneity occurred at Christmas of 1952 when on a CBS broadcast, This Is Show Business, George S. ''' Though this was a wish shared by others, the advertising agency decided to banish Kaufman from the show even before the program was over. The case of Jean Muir, the actress, barred from playing the mother of Henry Aldrich on an NBC situation comedy because of a "Red Channels" blacklisting which disturbed the sponsor, was to have its echo as late as 1966when ABC deleted a reference to this incident during an interview with Miss Muir.
Also involved were four or five incompatible unions, which had contact only by remote control. Often the final "mix" was not completed until an hour before a broadcast. The Radulovich broadcast was conceived, produced and edited in less than a week in this pressure-cooker atmosphere. Under such tension the stopwatch kept one from wavering, and in the last forty hours the clock always seemed to move at double time. By Sunday evening we had cut the film down to forty-five minutes. Murrow came in to look at the editing and was im- Something of a Hero: Milo Radulovich 13 pressed, but he was preoccupied with his task, for he felt that the entire half-hour would be wasted if there wasn't a strong conclusion.