Sanford Socolow

News Producer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his over three-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Sanford Socolow (1928-2015) talks about his work for the International News Service (INS) in the early 1950s, as a Far East Correspondent. He chronicles his first work at CBS in the mid-50s in the news division. He discusses writing for Ned Calmer for the morning news and for Walter Cronkite on Eyewitness. He speaks in great detail about the long association with Walter Cronkite that ensued, which culminated in his serving as the final executive producer of The Evening News with Walter Cronkite. He speaks about producing Cronkite's broadcast in the 1960s, and Cronkite's role as managing editor of the news, and discusses such news events as: the coverage of the Vietnam War, the upheaval at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and the historic moon landing. He also comments on other significant news figures at the network during this period including: Edward R. Murrow, Mike Wallace, Eric Sevareid, Don Hewitt, Ernie Leiser, Les Midgley, and Richard Salant.  He describes his transition into the executive suites as Vice President of CBS News and then head of the Washington Bureau in the 1970s. He discusses the contentious relationship between the Nixon Administration and the press. He notes the transition of Dan Rather to the evening news anchor's chair and his move to London to serve as the CBS News Bureau Chief. Lastly, he talks about leaving CBS News to serve as the Executive Producer of the "Christian Science Monitor's" nightly newscast on the Discovery Channel in the late 1980s, World Monitor. Dr. Ralph Engelman conducted the interview in New York, NY on August 27, 2008.

"...To be executive producer of the dominant news show with a circulation that would have made William Randolph Hearst twirl in his grave. The circulation of the Cronkite show when I left, is bigger than the three network news shows combined today."

Highlights
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's announcement that President Kennedy was dead
02:01
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's famous sign-off on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite  - "And that's the way it is"
02:15
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's coverage of the Moon Landing
01:37
Sanford Socolow on CBS coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago
08:15
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's report on Watergate resulting in the White House launching an assault on William Paley and Frank Stanton
10:19
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years and influences; on attending Stuyvesant High School and his interest in journalism; on studying to be an accountant
06:50
On becoming a stringer at The New York Times  and getting drafted into the Korean War
07:58
On his work for the International News Service (INS) in the early 1950s as a Far East Correspondent; on Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's honeymoon in Tokyo and spending a week with Monroe in Korea
05:49
On joining DuMont and then CBS in the mid-50s; on working in the news division and writing for Ned Calmer for the morning news; on the early use of videotape; on his heart attack in 1957; on working for Walter Cronkite on Eyewitness; on attending Columbia University (thanks to a fellowship from William S. Paley and the CBS Foundation)
31:48
On working with Walter Cronkite when he became news anchor of CBS Evening News
07:19

Chapter 2

On the decision to replace Douglas Edwards with Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News; on whether or not management interfered with news stories; on his responsibilities as a producer
16:42
On what Walter Cronkite brought to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite; on Cronkite's famous sign-off, "And that's the way it is" and why Cronkite was viewed as "the most trusted man in America" and the story behind Cronkite's on-air condemnation of the Vietnam War (which Cronkite delivered on a special primetime report, not on the CBS Evening News)
08:50
On his professional relationship with Walter Cronkite and some of the disagreements they had
10:31
On not becoming Executive Producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite when producer Ernie Lizer stepped down; on becoming a Vice President at CBS News
12:39
On the daily routines at CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite; on memorable interviews Cronkite conducted; on Walter Cronkite's announcement that President Kennedy was dead; on CBS' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement
10:47

Chapter 3

On CBS's coverage of the Vietnam War; on the friendship between Frank Stanton and Lyndon Johnson and whether it influenced CBS news coverage of Vietnam
19:19
On CBS coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago; on Walter Cronkite's coverage of the Moon Landing; on the competition between CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and The Huntley-Brinkley Report
18:03
On joining the Washington Bureau of CBS News; on management upheaval at CBS and Walter Cronkite's retirement
13:57
On changes he made during his time at the CBS Washington News Bureau under the Nixon administration; on Spiro T. Agnew's 1969 speech attacking news coverage
08:51

Chapter 4

On heading up CBS' coverage of Nixon's resignation and the Pike Report
18:32
On overseeing CBS' Washington Bureau in the 1970s during the Ford and Carter Administrations; on the contentious relationship between the Nixon Administration and the press; on finally becoming executive producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
09:53
On CBS coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis; on dealing with the Reagan administration; on the transition of Dan Rather to the evening news anchor's chair; on his move to London to serve as the CBS News Bureau Chief
07:40
On leaving CBS News to serve as the Executive Producer of the Christian Science Monitor's nightly newscast on the Discovery Channel in the late 1980s, World Monitor
01:33
On changes in network news over the years; on how cable news affected broadcast news; on the biggest problems facing the news media; on his proudest achievement; on how he'd like to be remembered and advice to an aspiring news producer
06:19
Shows

CBS Evening News with Dan Rather

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Sanford Socolow on the transition of Dan Rather to the evening news anchor's chair of CBS Evening News with Dan Rather
03:05

CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite

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Sanford Socolow on producing CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
07:19
Sanford Socolow on his role as producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
16:42
Sanford Socolow on what Walter Cronkite brought to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
01:13
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's famous sign-off on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite  - "And that's the way it is" 
02:16
Sanford Socolow on how Walter Cronkite became "the most trusted man in America" and the story behind Cronkite's on-air condemnation of the Vietnam War (which Cronkite delivered on a special primetime report, not on the CBS Evening News)
05:13
Sanford Socolow on not becoming Executive Producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite when producer Ernie Lizer stepped down (a decision approved by Walter Cronkite and likely decided by Fred Friendly); on becoming a Vice President at CBS News
12:39
Sanford Socolow on the daily routines at CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
03:35
Sanford Socolow on memorable interviews Cronkite conducted on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite  - with JFK
01:07
Sanford Socolow on the competition between CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and The Huntley-Brinkley Report
05:45
Sanford Socolow on finally becoming executive producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite; on how the culture of the show had changed during his absence
03:21
Sanford Socolow on technological changes that had occurred during his absence from CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
01:02
Sanford Socolow on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis
03:19

CBS Morning News

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Sanford Socolow on his first job at CBS - getting assigned to CBS Morning News
02:36

Douglas Edwards with the News

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Sanford Socolow on Douglas Edwards' news broadcasts (produced by Don Hewitt)
02:06
Sanford Socolow on the use of graphics and videotape on Douglas Edwards' news broadcasts 
02:51

Huntley-Brinkley Report, The

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Sanford Socolow on the competition between CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and The Huntley-Brinkley Report
05:45

Olympics

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Sanford Socolow on technological advances that aided CBS coverage of the Munich Olympics in 1972
04:02

Person to Person

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Sanford Socolow on Edward R. Murrow's celebrity interview show, Person to Person
00:30
Topics

Advice

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on advice to an aspiring news producer
01:07

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on CBS' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement
03:44

Gerald Ford

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Sanford Socolow on overseeing CBS' Washington Bureau in the 1970s during the Ford Administration
01:28

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on getting drafted into the Korean War and serving in the public information office and the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group
06:06
Sanford Socolow on how Walter Cronkite became "the most trusted man in America" and the story behind Cronkite's on-air condemnation of the Vietnam War (which Cronkite delivered on a special primetime report, not on the CBS Evening News)
05:13
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's announcement that President Kennedy was dead
02:01
Sanford Socolow on CBS' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement
03:44
Sanford Socolow on CBS's coverage of the Vietnam War
03:55
Sanford Socolow on the friendship between Frank Stanton and Lyndon Johnson and whether it influenced CBS news coverage of Vietnam
04:17
Sanford Socolow on CBS coverage of the Moon Landing
04:03

JFK Assassination and Funeral

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's announcement that President Kennedy was dead
02:01

Jimmy Carter

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis
03:19

Korean War

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on getting drafted into the Korean War and serving in the public information office and the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group
06:06

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on the friendship between Frank Stanton and Lyndon Johnson and whether it influenced CBS news coverage of Vietnam
04:17

Moon Landing

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on CBS coverage of the Moon Landing
04:03

Richard M. Nixon

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on changes he made during his time at the CBS Washington News Bureau under the Nixon administration - identifying who was asking questions of the President
02:33
Sanford Socolow on his time at the CBS Washington News Bureau under the Nixon administration; on his direct line to Nixon's Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, and to NBC and ABC
06:18
Sanford Socolow on CBS' coverage of Nixon's resignation and the Pike Report
06:48

Technological Innovation

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on the use of graphics and videotape on Douglas Edwards' news broadcasts 
02:51
Sanford Socolow on technological changes that had occurred during his absence from CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and that aided CBS coverage of the Munich Olympics in 1972
05:04

Television Industry

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on changes he made during his time at the CBS Washington News Bureau under the Nixon administration - identifying who was asking questions of the President
02:33
Sanford Socolow on changes in network news over the years
07:05
Sanford Socolow on how cable news affected broadcast news
01:08
Sanford Socolow on the biggest problems facing the news media
01:20
Sanford Socolow on advice to an aspiring news producer
01:07

Television and the Presidency

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on the friendship between Frank Stanton and Lyndon Johnson and whether it influenced CBS news coverage of Vietnam
04:17
Sanford Socolow on changes he made during his time at the CBS Washington News Bureau under the Nixon administration - identifying who was asking questions of the President
02:33
Sanford Socolow on his time at the CBS Washington News Bureau under the Nixon administration; on his direct line to Nixon's Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, and to NBC and ABC
06:18
Sanford Socolow on CBS' coverage of Nixon's resignation and the Pike Report
06:48
Sanford Socolow on overseeing CBS' Washington Bureau in the 1970s during the Ford Administration
01:28
Sanford Socolow on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite coverage of the Iran Hostage Crisis
03:19

Vietnam War

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on how Walter Cronkite became "the most trusted man in America" and the story behind Cronkite's on-air condemnation of the Vietnam War (which Cronkite delivered on a special primetime report, not on the CBS Evening News)
05:13
Sanford Socolow on CBS's coverage of the Vietnam War
03:55
Sanford Socolow on the friendship between Frank Stanton and Lyndon Johnson and whether it influenced CBS news coverage of Vietnam
04:17

War

View Topic
Sanford Socolow on getting drafted into the Korean War and serving in the public information office and the First Radio Broadcasting and Leaflet group
06:06
Sanford Socolow on how Walter Cronkite became "the most trusted man in America" and the story behind Cronkite's on-air condemnation of the Vietnam War (which Cronkite delivered on a special primetime report, not on the CBS Evening News)
05:13
Sanford Socolow on CBS's coverage of the Vietnam War
03:55
Sanford Socolow on the friendship between Frank Stanton and Lyndon Johnson and whether it influenced CBS news coverage of Vietnam
04:17
Professions

Journalists & News Producers

View Profession
Sanford Socolow on differences between writing for print journalism and broadcasting
01:09
Sanford Socolow on his role and Don Hewitt's role as producers of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
02:59
Sanford Socolow on not becoming Executive Producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite  when producer Ernie Lizer stepped down
02:19

News Producer

View Profession
Sanford Socolow on his role and Don Hewitt's role as producers of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
02:59
Sanford Socolow on not becoming Executive Producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite when producer Ernie Lizer stepped down
02:19
Sanford Socolow on advice to an aspiring news producer
01:07
Genres

News and Documentary

View Genre
Sanford Socolow on the state of CBS News in the 1950s
01:02
Sanford Socolow on working for DuMont and CBS News 
39:50
Sanford Socolow on his role as producer of and stories covered on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
59:29
Sanford Socolow on his time at the CBS Washington News Bureau
22:48
Sanford Socolow on CBS News coverage of memorable events of the 1960s and 1970s
37:22
Sanford Socolow on changes in network news over the years
07:05
People

Spiro T. Agnew

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Sanford Socolow on Spiro T. Agnew's 1969 speech attacking news coverage
01:27

David Brinkley

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Sanford Socolow on the competition between CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and The Huntley-Brinkley Report
05:45

Ned Calmer

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Sanford Socolow on getting assigned to write for Ned Calmer on CBS Morning News
01:42

John Chancellor

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Sanford Socolow on John Chancellor getting accosted at the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Chicago
00:42

Charles Collingwood

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Sanford Socolow on Charles Collingwood's early coverage of the Vietnam War
01:14

Walter Cronkite

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Sanford Socolow on he and Walter Cronkite both having a background in the wire service; on his first encounter with Cronkite
01:08
Sanford Socolow going to Israel with Walter Cronkite to conduct interviews for the televised Adolf Eichmann trial
02:01
Sanford Socolow on the Russians putting the first man in space and Walter Cronkite anchoring coverage of where the U.S. stood in the space race
01:14
Sanford Socolow on producing CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite; on the show becoming 30 minutes instead of 15
04:31
Sanford Socolow on Eric Sevareid and Harry Reasoner's contributions to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
02:48
Sanford Socolow on the decision to replace Douglas Edwards with Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News
02:04
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite interviewing Frank Sinatra and asking about Sinatra's alleged mafia ties and Sinatra pulling Don Hewitt into another room
01:20
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's report on Watergate resulting in the White House launching an assault on William Paley and Frank Stanton
10:19
Sanford Socolow on what Walter Cronkite brought to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
01:13
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's famous sign-off on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite  - "And that's the way it is" 
02:15
Sanford Socolow on how Walter Cronkite became "the most trusted man in America" and the story behind Cronkite's on-air condemnation of the Vietnam War (which Cronkite delivered on a special primetime report, not on the CBS Evening News)
05:13
Sanford Socolow on his professional relationship with Walter Cronkite and some of the disagreements they had (involving Dan Rather's location during Kennedy's assassination)
05:24
Sanford Socolow on he and Walter Cronkite sharing a wire service background and both being hard news guys; on a disagreement they had over the film "The China Syndrome"
02:53
Sanford Socolow on socializing with Walter Cronkite and the demands on Cronkite's time
02:14
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's announcement that President Kennedy was dead
02:01
Sanford Socolow on CBS' coverage of the Civil Rights Movement and Walter Cronkite never reporting on the scene during the Movement
03:44
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's coverage of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and Cronkite interviewing Mayor Daley
04:35
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's coverage of the Moon Landing
01:37
Sanford Socolow on the competition between CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and The Huntley-Brinkley Report
05:45
Sanford Socolow on the circumstances around Walter Cronkite's retirement
10:27

Joe DiMaggio

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's honeymoon in Tokyo and spending a week with Monroe in Korea
02:04

Douglas Edwards

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on Douglas Edwards' news broadcasts (produced by Don Hewitt)
02:06
Sanford Socolow on the decision to replace Douglas Edwards with Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News
02:04

Fred Friendly

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on not becoming Executive Producer of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite when producer Ernie Lizer stepped down (a decision approved by Walter Cronkite and likely decided by Fred Friendly)
12:39

Don Hewitt

View Interview Page
Sanford Socolow on Douglas Edwards' news broadcasts (produced by Don Hewitt)
02:06
Sanford Socolow on Don Hewitt's opinions on Eric Sevareid and Harry Reasoner's contributions to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
02:48
Sanford Socolow on the decision to replace Douglas Edwards with Walter Cronkite, and Cronkite getting the title Managing Editor on the CBS Evening News because he didn't trust Don Hewitt
00:38
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite interviewing Frank Sinatra and asking about Sinatra's alleged mafia ties and Sinatra pulling Don Hewitt into another room
01:20
Sanford Socolow on his role and Don Hewitt's role as producers of CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
02:59
Sanford Socolow on working with Don Hewitt on CBS' coverage of the Vietnam War
03:55

Chet Huntley

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on the competition between CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite and The Huntley-Brinkley Report
05:45

Lyndon B. Johnson

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on the friendship between Frank Stanton and Lyndon Johnson and whether it influenced CBS news coverage of Vietnam
04:17

John F. Kennedy

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on memorable interviews Cronkite conducted on CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite  - with JFK
01:07
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's announcement that President Kennedy was dead
02:01

Charles Kuralt

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on possible successors for Walter Cronkite's anchor desk at CBS - Roger Mudd and Charles Kuralt
02:49

Sig Mickelson

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Sanford Socolow on Edward R. Murrow's news operation at CBS being separate from CBS News
01:33

Marilyn Monroe

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Sanford Socolow on Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio's honeymoon in Tokyo and spending a week with Monroe in Korea
02:04

Roger Mudd

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Sanford Socolow on possible successors for Walter Cronkite's anchor desk at CBS - Roger Mudd and Charles Kuralt
03:19
Sanford Socolow on Roger Mudd's style being similar to Walter Cronkite's
01:48

Edward R. Murrow

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on being thrilled to joined Edward R. Murrow's news operation at CBS
01:33
Sanford Socolow on whether or not he signed a loyalty oath at CBS (championed by Edward R. Murrow)
01:57

William S. Paley

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on attending Columbia University (thanks to a fellowship from William S. Paley and the CBS Foundation)
02:32
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's report on Watergate resulting in the White House launching an assault on William Paley and Frank Stanton
10:19

Dan Rather

View Interview Page
Sanford Socolow on his professional relationship with Walter Cronkite and some of the disagreements they had (involving Dan Rather's location during Kennedy's assassination)
05:24
Sanford Socolow on Dan Rather's fight at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago
01:23
Sanford Socolow on Dan Rather becoming Walter Cronkite's successor at the anchor desk at CBS
03:33
Sanford Socolow on Dan Rather's response to Nixon's resignation
02:19
Sanford Socolow on the transition of Dan Rather to the evening news anchor's chair of CBS Evening News with Dan Rather
03:05

Harry Reasoner

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on Eric Sevareid and Harry Reasoner's contributions to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
02:48

Morley Safer

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Sanford Socolow on meeting Morley Safer and putting together the famous "Burning of Cam Ne" piece
02:41

Richard S. Salant

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on Richard S. Salant's opinions on Eric Sevareid and Harry Reasoner's contributions to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
01:38
Sanford Socolow on Richard S. Salant's decision to replace Douglas Edwards with Walter Cronkite on the CBS Evening News
01:00
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's report on Watergate resulting in the White House launching an assault on William Paley and Frank Stanton, and Dick Salant's response to the report
10:19
Sanford Socolow on Dick Salant's response to the Pike Report being published in the Village Voice
07:56

Daniel Schorr

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Sanford Socolow on heading CBS' coverage of Nixon's resignation and Daniel Schorr's criticism of the coverage
04:29
Sanford Socolow on his and Daniel Schorr's response to the Pike Report being published in the Village Voice
11:19

Eric Sevareid

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on Eric Sevareid and Harry Reasoner's contributions to CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
02:48
Sanford Socolow on editing Eric Sevareid's scripts; on Sevareid's retirement
10:56

Frank Sinatra

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite interviewing Frank Sinatra and asking about Sinatra's alleged mafia ties and Sinatra pulling Don Hewitt into another room
01:20

Frank Stanton

View Interview Page
Sanford Socolow on Walter Cronkite's report on Watergate resulting in the White House launching an assault on William Paley and Frank Stanton
10:19

Gloria Steinem

View Person Page
Sanford Socolow on Gloria Steinem's opinions of the Moon Landing
02:26

Mike Wallace

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Sanford Socolow on getting hired by Ted Yates to work at DuMont with Mike Wallace
01:56

Alice Weel

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Sanford Socolow on Douglas Edwards' news broadcasts (produced by Don Hewitt) and written by Alice Weel
02:06

Ted Yates

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Sanford Socolow on getting hired by Ted Yates to work at DuMont with Mike Wallace
01:56

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