Edward R. Murrow, a native of the Polecat Creek community in Guilford County, died 50 years ago today. As the New York Times observed in his obituary, Murrow’s “independence and incisive reporting brought heightened journalistic stature to radio and television.”
Today he seems to be remembered most often by critics of his successors in the news media. In 2005 the Washington Post’s Mark Leibovich did the ultimate takedown on “Edward R. Murrow must be rolling over in his grave.”
If you still can’t resist the pull of this hoary rhetorical device, at least don’t refer to the subject as “Edward R. Morrow.”
“Back in his home state of North Carolina to speak on foreign policy, TV Newsman Edward R. Murrow was button holed in Charlotte by a reporter: When and why had Murrow changed his name from Egbert to Edward?
“Caught squarely, ex-Logger Murrow grinned and replied: ‘I did that when I was 13 or 14 years old and firing a donkey engine in timber territory. I thought Egbert was hardly the name for the job.’ ”
— From Time magazine, January 30, 1956
According to historylink.org, the donkey engine, a single-cylinder steam engine invented in 1881, revolutionized the logging industry by pulling loads that had previously required ox teams.
” ‘Eyewitness to History’ (CBS), which takes up the top news story of each week and analyzes it in respectable detail, is a good example of the sort of first-rate service television can perform. … As impressive as the show itself is its young analyst-narrator, Charles Kuralt, 25, who wrote a human interest column for the Charlotte, N.C. News before CBS hired him. A deep-voiced Carolina Cronkite with more than a little Murrow in his bones, he has one of those low-ratchet, radioactive voices that sound like a roulette wheel stopping….
” ‘The Andy Griffith Show’ (CBS) sets up the fellow who had ‘No Time for Sergeants’ as a sort of one-man Southern town: he is the cop, justice of the peace, jailer, newspaper editor, coroner, sheriff, mechanic and mailman. As a drawling, broad-shouldered, curly-haired, grits-filled, engagingly handsome example of the U.S.’s vast natural resource of undeveloped intelligence, talented Comedian Griffith is often good for laughs, all of them canned.”
— From Time magazine, October 10, 1960
As the show developed, Griffith soon shed all his jobs except sheriff.
— Other than the first appearance of the Miscellany link dump, what are the 10 “most significant events in North Carolina history”?
— What, you thought Wilbur and Orville flew to Kitty Hawk?
— John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Nina Simone, Max Roach and Billy Taylor born here, Dizzy Gillespie educated here, Billy Strayhorn inspired here — but all had to leave to shine.
– At last, a school named for McNair — might Murrow be next?