ANDREW HEYWARD: My colleague, Ed Bradley,
has been a co-editor of 60 MINUTES since 1981. He probably got to know
Charles best in the '70s, when Ed was the principal correspondent for
CBS REPORTS and also an occasional contributor to SUNDAY MORNING. Ed?
ED BRADLEY: More than 30 years ago, I was teaching school in
Philadelphia during the day and working at a small radio station at
night I'd had no training as a journalist and used to listen to WCAU
radio, which was the CBS station in Phillyit was my classroom
of the air. I listened to Collingwood and Kendrick and to Charles Kuralt,
and I'd often wonder, "Where do I find the person who can teach
me to write like that?" One of the favorite sayings of the television
news business is that one picture is worth a thousand words, but not
if Kuralt wrote those words.
I was in awe of Charles Kuralt. To me, more than anyone else at CBS
News, he was the best. He was what I aspired to be. A few years ago,
we worked together on an education special. We worked to tape the opening
of the broadcast together on the set in the studio. It took me three
takes to get it right. Plain and simple, standing next to Charles Kuralt,
I was nervous. I was still in awe of this man and his talent.
But it was more than just his talent. It was more about the kind of
person that he was. That's what came across on the air.
I would like to share with you this morning part of a letter I wrote
to Charles when I learned that he was going to retire.
"Dear Charles: I want to wish you well on this next leg of your
voyage and I wanted to tell you how special you've been. Last week in
the Washington Post, Bob Schieffer called you a 'class act.' You represented
the best of CBS Newsthose qualities and traditions that made me
proud to join this organization 25 years ago.
"So much has changed since then, within and around us, but you
have been a constant and, for that, I thank you. Thank you also for
your understanding of people, particularly minorities and those not
in the mainstream. I always felt that you would be comfortable eating
dinner at a table with more than one black person. Unfortunately, in
today's world, that's saying a lot. I guess part of that comes from
your time in North Carolina, but I think it has more to do with the
way you were raised there, the life that you've led, the man that you
are."Finally, thank you for showing us all how to make a graceful
exit from this television stage, and know that you will be missed.
"P.S.: The Knicks are playing on the 11th. Let me know if you can
make the game."
An intellectually stimulating collection of insightful
and occasionally poignant commentaries, Charles Kuralt's People is
very highly recommended reading for students of the human condition in
and legions of Charles Kuralt fans in particular. — Midwest Book
for more info.
Hard cover, 386 pages, $25.95 plus $3.95 Priority
Mail shipping. (NC residents must add 6 percent sales tax.)
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About Kenilworth Media
Publishers of the first edition of "Remembering Charles Kuralt,"
now carried by The Globe Pequot Press, Kenilworth Media is a small,
Asheville, North Carolina-based publishing firm committed to advancing
the life works of Charles Kuralt.