One in this series of seminars conducted by The Museum of Television & Radio. In this seminar, Museum president Robert M. Batscha speaks with television journalist Mike Wallace about his five decades of experience in the medium.

Batscha begins the evening with an introduction of Wallace and a brief history of his career, followed by a screening of highlights from Wallace's programs, including "Stage Struck," "Nothing but the Truth," "Night Beat," "The Mike Wallace Interview," "CBS News," and "Sixty Minutes." Wallace then joins Batscha on stage, and they discuss the following topics, among others: Wallace's beginnings as a radio announcer; his start in radio news for the air edition of the Chicago "Sun"; his Navy news broadcasts over the submarine's public-address system; his creation of the seven and eleven o'clock news programs for the DuMont Network; the start of "Night Beat" in 1956; his pride in becoming successful in New York City; the genesis of "Sixty Minutes"; his decision to turn down a job as press secretary for President Richard M. Nixon; his role in the decision to air one of Dr. Jack Kevorkian's assisted suicides; and his personal feelings about assisted suicide. Next, Wallace fields questions and responds to comments from the audience, leading to a discussion of the following topics, among others: the fear of being interviewed by Mike Wallace; his role as an "inquisitor"; his experience interviewing the Ayatollah Khomeini; his interview with Pearl Buck; Sid Caesar's parody of "Night Beat"; Wallace's impressions of Ayn Rand; the financial difficulties that caused the dismantling the CBS news team of the early 1960s; his assessment of contemporary reporters, including praise for Brian Williams; his reputation as a "self-hating Jew"; his belief that a reporter must remain fair, accurate, and thoughtful; his interviews with President Ronald Reagan; his desire to see more story updates on "Sixty Minutes"; his interview with Vladimir Horowitz; his interview with John Ehrlichman; his most embarrassing interview; his feelings about why Kosovo is considered a major story when similar stories get swept aside; the most despicable person he has ever interviewed; his desire to interview Pope John Paul II; his regret at having never interviewed Patricia Nixon; his early career ambitions; and his pledge to continue working at "Sixty Minutes" "until his toes turn up."


  • DATE: April 14, 1999 Wednesday 6:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:25:13
  • COLOR/B&W: Color and B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:59424
  • GENRE: Seminars


  • Robert M. Batscha … Host, Moderator
  • Mike Wallace … Guest
  • Pearl Buck
  • Sid Caesar
  • John Ehrlichman
  • Vladimir Horowitz
  • John Paul II, Pope (Karol Wojtyla)
  • Jack Kevorkian
  • Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
  • Nixon, Patricia (See also: Nixon, Pat)
  • Richard M. Nixon
  • Ronald Reagan
  • Brian Williams