Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Web Secret 408: The Mike Wallace Interview

For all its flaws, the Internet is the gift that keeps on giving.

One such gift is a treasure trove of programs from the fifties called "The Mike Wallace Interview" - available on Mike Wallace is a journalist best known for his work on 60 Minutes. However, before that work, he had an eponymous weekly one hour show where he was able to speak in an in depth fashion to the intellectuals, scientists and artists of his day.

In a 1957 episode from the series, Mike interviews then 88 year old Frank Lloyd Wright.

Prepare to be blown away because:
  • Other than mentioning the sponsor (Philip Morris cigarettes which Mike puffs on throughout) of the program at the beginning of the episode - there are no commercial interruptions.
  • Wright is palpably brilliant
  • The gravitas, seriousness and scope of the interview questions and answers is no longer seen on TV or quite frankly in most media - within the first 5 minutes Mike asks Wright's view on organized Christianity, the American Legion and mercy killings.
  • Wright expresses opinions that are way left wing of Bernie Sanders.
  • Both talk up to the audience - they do not pander to the Kardashian element of 21st century America
Lucky for us, we can watch other gems from the series, including interviews with:
  • Objectivist philosopher and author Ayn Rand
  • Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling - interviewed before Twilight Zone was aired for the first time (he had laready won 3 Emmys.)
  • Planned Parenthood founder and birth control activist Margaret Sanger
We live in cowardly times, when both journalists and the subjects of their interviews rarely have the courage of their convictions.

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