The Huntley-Brinkley Report was one of NBC television's primary news programs. In this clip, Texas humorist and Austin broadcast personality, Cactus Pryor satirically sends up the show in a style that would later become the hallmark of fake news programs. Through the use of trick editing, silly correspondents, and mimed technical difficulties, this short piece skewers its target and the news as a whole. Note, censor bars added by the archive to allow viewing by a mixed audience.
Richard S. "Cactus" Pryor was a comedic television and broadcast personality from Austin, Texas. Cactus, an Austin native, was born in 1923, straight into the entertainment business. His father owned the Cactus Theater on Congress Avenue (hence the nickname), and starting at just 3 years old, Cactus made stage appearances before the shows began. Cactus attended the University of Texas and served in the US Army Air Corp. When he returned to Austin from his service in 1944, Cactus joined the broadcasting team at Lady Bird Johnson's KLBJ radio station, where he worked until 2008. He joined the world of broadcast television at KTBC in 1951 where he was program manager and hosted a variety of television programs, including a football program with Darrell K Royal and many celebrity interviews. Cactus appeared in two films with his friend John Wayne, Hellfighters and The Green Berets. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, he became a sought-after speaker and event host, famous for his roasts of entertainers and politicians, most of whom he counted as close friends. Cactus was also known for his disguises. He would appear at functions in character, often pulling a fast one on the crowd as he charmed them first in disguise, then again as he revealed himself and used his earlier conversations to entertain the crowd. As an active member of the Headliners Club of Austin, Pryor starred in many humorous television news satires alongside Texas politicians, some of which can be seen in his film collection, as well as the Gordon Wilkison Collection and the Wallace and Euna Pryor Collection. He was nationally-known, but kept Austin his home, helping put the city on the map in the 60s and 70s. Cactus Pryor announced to his KLBJ listeners in 2007 that he had Alzheimer's disease, and Austin's "original funnyman" died in 2011.
Known to many as the "Voice of the Longhorns," Wally Pryor served as the announcer for UT sports from 1953 until 2002. While his voice was certainly recognizable he also played an active role as a producer – for KTBC, amongst others – and regularly served as an emcee for various events. Wally regularly worked as a producer for his older brother Richard "Cactus" Pryor. The films in the Wally Pryor collection represent a range of films from home movies, to various pieces he produced, films featuring himself, and several films featuring Cactus Pryor.
Walter Leland Cronkite, Jr. was an American broadcast journalist, best known as anchorman for the CBS Evening News for 19 years. Cronkite was born on November 4, 1916 in St. Joseph, Missouri, but spent much of his youth in Houston. He worked on the newspaper at San Jacinto High School, then on the Daily Texan at the University of Texas, which he attended for two years before leaving to take a job as a radio announcer in Oklahoma City. In 1939 he joined the United Press and became a war correspondent with the outbreak of World War II. Edward R. Murrow asked him to join his team in 1943, but Cronkite elected to stay on with the United Press.
Following the war, Murrow finally convinced Cronkite to join CBS. He first gained prominence at CBS with his coverage of the 1952 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. He took over Edward R. Murrow’s position as the senior correspondent at CBS in 1961, and he began anchoring the CBS Evening News in 1962. In 1963, the program was extended to a half-hour and renamed the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite,” as it remained until his retirement in 1981.
Throughout his career he signed off of programs with a trademark phrase. In the 1950s, he closed programs by asking, “What sort of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times. And you were there.” For decades at the helm of the CBS Evening News, he simply concluded, “And that’s the way it is.”
Walter Cronkite is remembered as an impartial, trustworthy presence in primetime news. He covered some of the most significant American events of the 20th century, including the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr., the moon landing, and the Vietnam War. Cronkite is perhaps best remembered as the man that told America about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. He broke the news on CBS, the first network to report the event, so most Americans first heard the grave news about their president from him.
Cronkite married Betsy Maxwell in 1940, and they remained married until her death in 2005. They had three children: Nancy, Kathy, and Walter the 3rd. Cronkite continued to be a prominent voice in journalism even after his retirement. He died on July 17, 2009. His papers are held at the University of Texas, and the Moody College of Communication named the Walter Cronkite Plaza in his honor.