The Twentieth Century (later renamed the Twenty-First Century) was a documentary television series presented by CBS News from 1957 to 1970. In this 1966 episode, entitled “Man of the Month: Dr. Michael E. DeBakey,” CBS Evening News host Walter Cronkite profiles the Houston cardiovascular surgeon. The program joins DeBakey at Methodist Hospital as he performs various operations and makes his daily rounds, paying particular attention to the surgical techniques and equipment that DeBakey and his colleagues pioneered the use of. Cronkite also sits down with DeBakey to discuss his work. Please note, the film includes footage of patients undergoing surgery.
The digital preservation of this collection was made possible by a grant to the Texas Archive of the Moving Image and the Houston Public Library from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. Many more films from the KHOU-TV Collection are available on the Houston Public Library Houston Area Digital Archives website.
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 at Austin, 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 assassination 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 III. 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.