Reporter Ike Pappas last to speak to Oswald, reported his death instantly to nation; "Trailer King" LaFontaine, Jerry Reed sign off.
Reporter Ike Pappas has passed away. Pappas isn’t well known today, but did the bulk of his work in better times, after Edward R. Murrow’s passing, but when CBS was still considered a top-flight news organization. In 1987, along with hundreds of others, Pappas was fired by new CBS head Laurence Tisch after more than twenty years of service.
His most famous moment was after the assassination of John F. Kennedy; as one of many reporters waiting in a Dallas Police department basement, he asked suspected assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, “You have anything to say in your defense?” and then watched as Oswald was gunned down by Jack Ruby. The startling report can still be heard on the below video:
As a “witness to history,” this report would remain Pappas’ main legacy, but he continued to pass along important news stories to the public. Fortunately, you can hear another major piece from his career, his 1967 documentary “The Songs of Vietnam War,” online. (The website is owned by former ARVN – American Forces Vietnam Network – reporter Bob Morecock, now a psychologist teaching at Houston Community College.)
Meanwhile, two other prominent voices were silenced – “Smokey and the Bandit” actor-singer Jerry Reed and Don LaFontaine, the king of movie trailers. It’s hard to imagine a movie trailer not using LaFontaine’s characteristic starter, “In a world…”
With another major news story involving Britney Spears breaking last night and this morning, I find myself going back to a blog post I made a few days ago, regarding the “greatest generation” and a dig by the Post at young Hollywood. Young people who become famous today are both better and worse off than those in the past; it’s definitely not an either/or situation. The entertainment business has been eating its young and discarding some of its elders for a long time.
This latest event, where Spears may be totally stripped of parental custody, while in a 72-hour mental health hold, made me think about the experiences of Wallace Reid, Jean Harlow, Judy Garland, Frances Farmer, and a much newer “retro” star… Kristy McNichol. Continue reading