The other day while reading a biography of Walter Cronkite I came across a passage about Charles Kuralt. It began to swell inside me that I really wished he was still around and still making his "On the Road" pieces for CBS News. As much as I enjoyed him hosting the CBS Sunday Morning show, it was those road stories that had the most profound impact of enjoyment. They probably haven't aired for almost 30 years, but were on for a quarter-of-a-century, popping up on The Evening News with Walter Cronkite from time to time, and it was always a joy when, near the end of the show, Cronkite would introduce a change-of-pace with his, "And now, let's go on the road with Charles Kuralt."
(The Cronkite biography noted how initially the legendary anchorman didn't like the idea of "On the Road" when it was first told to him, bothered that such non-hard news stories would take up valuable minutes from the limited airtime he had every day. Eventually, Cronkite not only came to love the pieces, but he and Kuralt -- with whom he previously only had a passing relationship -- became best friends, even talking about buying a radio station together. It didn't pan out, though Kuralt did himself buy WELY in Ely, Minnesota. I've actually been to Ely, it being the jumping off point for canoe trips into the Lake Superior Boundary Waters area.)
I tracked down a very long collection of Kuralt's original "On the Road" stories and have decided to post them here. It's not even close to everything he did, but it's a strong mix. If you too loved the stories, I have no doubt you'll love seeing them again, as well, and catching some you had missed. If you've never seen any of these and don't know much of Kuralt's work, you're in for a treat.
Instead of starting in with an "On the Road" story, though, I've decide to begin with a terrific 11-minute look at his life, which the CBS Sunday Morning show, hosted then by Charles Osgood, broadcast in July, 1997, to honor Kuralt on the occasion of his passing. And you'll get a wonderful overview of the "On the Road" stories mixed in, to remind you what you're in for...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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