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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Voice

I finally got around to watching the "60 Minutes" 50th anniversary special.  Wow!  My only complaint is just one hour didn't do it justice.  You really need two, or three to tell the story.

I've always been amazed that the most successful news broadcast in American television history has the simple mission statement of "Tell me a story."

My favorite part of the anniversary broadcast was hearing Mike Wallace again.  Most people associate Wallace with his ambush interviews and his take no prisoners style.  I'll always remember "the voice."  The man could write a line.  He could also deliver it.  I dare to say it was one of the best broadcast voices in the history of the medium.

From what I understand, Wallace's battles with "60 Minutes" creator and executive producer Don Hewitt were legendary.  They argued over everything.  Regardless of who won, they always produced compelling television.

This is my blog and, as always, it's all about me.

There were frequent debates with a now former manager here.  There were several times he wouldn't like a line I wrote.  I'd counter that it didn't look good on paper (or on the computer screen), but it would all make sense when I delivered it.  My voice and inflection would sell the line.  More often than not, I got my way.  I really respected his opinion, and I especially respected that he listened to reason.  If you could justify it, you got away with it.

I'm not in the Mike Wallace league, but good narration can improve an average script.  I'm lucky that, most of the time, I write for myself.  I hear my voice in my head as I tap out a script on the keyboard.  Good producers and writers know their anchors.  You have to have their voice in mind when you write.  If you write a line they're not comfortable with, it won't be delivered properly.

Mike Wallace died in 2012.  There are still some great writers, reporters and producers out there-- some great voices, too.  Mike Wallace, who helped get "60 Minutes" off the ground, was in a class of his own.