Monday, February 11, 2008

Chet Huntley and David Brinkley or my Summer of 60

It’s hard to remember when I first fell in love with politics but if I had to pick a time it would have been the Sumer of 1960 during the Republican and Democratic conventions when I was in my early teens. The Republicans met in Chicago and nominated Richard Nixon and Henry Cabot Lodge. The Democrats met in Los Angles and nominated John Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. I watched both conventions all day for four days each on NBC since that was the only network we received in Coos Bay/ North Bend, Oregon back then. My dad did not believe in Cable TV so we didn’t get the other networks, CBS or the upstart ABC. I had a part time job watering a neighbor’s lawn while they were on vacation so I got up early to do that job before the convention started. The “gavel to gavel” coverage was hosted by Chet Huntley and David Brinkley who also had the nightly 15 minute news broadcast "The Huntley Brinkley Report" on NBC. Back then the TV networks covered the entire convention proceedings.
Huntly and Brinkley sat in in a booth high above the convention floor and they had a low key approach to the convention. David Brinkley with his dry humor always enjoyed the “hoopla” of a convention. (i.e. the funny hats and confetti etc).I had a black and white TV (They were all black and white then) in my room so I spent each day sitting on my bed watching the conventions. Lipton Tea sponsored part of NBC's coverage of the Conventions. George Fenneman, Groucho, Marx’s, sidekick on “You Bet Your Life” was the pitch man for Lipton Tea and did live commercials. So I got my mom to get some so that I could drink iced tea while I watched the conventions. That was my summer of 1960.