The good old days are gone forever; and forever will we reflect on them with the flattering eye of hindsight. They are often identified as the “Leave it to Beaver” era, the age of innocence, or simply the Fabulous Fifties and the Swinging Sixties. As distorting as all of these references are, we conjure them up because of our basic need for constancy in an rapidly changing world. The familiar icons of TV and pop culture all hark back to a time when our craving for security made a certain familiar style of authority a reassuring source of comfort. Hollywood offered an escape from the fears of the atomic age, the red menace, racial conflict and restive youth.
As the 50s warped into the 60s, all that was familiar was becoming suspect, our porcelain palace began to crack and the same people who brought us Father Knows Best and I Love Lucy, also took on the role of informing us nightly of the horrors of this not so brave new world. The evening news was implicitly rated Parental Guidance – and the father figure who guided us through the violent world news was Walter Cronkite. His deep, steady voice, unfaltering composure, and apparent selfless wisdom kept us safe through it all – Soviet missiles, race wars, mass murders, serial assassinations, Vietnam. There was no escape but there was Walter Cronkite to make the unthinkable endurable.
My heroes – Walter Cronkite and his mentor, Edward R. Murrow