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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  August 23, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT

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captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> yes, we did! are i can't say they shouldn't be. >> put it on later. >> shut up. >> words like "passion" and "enthusiasm" are too weak to describe this human dynamo.
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wow, wow, wow. we can do that, yeah, that. >> our very own don hewitt, the creator of "60 minutes" who died this past week, age 86. >> great idea, i'll do it. >> i can turn to don hewitt -- >> tonight we look back at his life and his work. >> this is "60 minutes". kind of a magazine for television. >> you've got to establish a context in which we are telling the rest of the story. >> i once said to cbs in my next contract i want a gun, a whip and a chair. because it's like being in a cage with a tiger, and there are temperaments. not the least of which is mine. >> you're not in the business of reporting facts that everybody else has been reporting for six months. >> so come on in and watch this ringmaster who spent 35 years running what he regarded as the greatest show on earth.
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>> perfect, couldn't be better. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm leslie stahl. >> i'm scott pelley. >> i'm bob simon. >> i'm morley safer. just one story tonight-- the life of don hewitt, here on the broadcast he created, "60 minutes." - ( rock music playing ) - ♪ oh! what do you say to a spin around the color wheel? - to paint with primer already mixed in? - ♪ yeah yeah yeah... - test samples instead of can commitments? - ♪ whoo! - what do you say we dip into our wallets less... - ♪ are you feeling it? - ...and grab ahold of the latest tools out there... - ♪ oh! we can quit all that messing around with extra steps - and get busy turning our doing dials up a notch? - ♪ whoo! ♪ oh! more saving. more doing. - that's the power of the home depot. - ♪ yeah yeah yeah. more saving. more doing. ♪ yes, you're lovely... ♪ what do you think? hey, why don't we use our points
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ecoboost™ engine in the all-new ford taurus sho that has the thirst of a v6 with the thrust of a v8. we speak car. we speak innovation. introducing the all-new taurus sho from ford. drive one. >> safer: this has not been a happy summer for those of us who work here at cbs news. last month, walter cronkite died, and this past week, we lost don hewitt, the man who
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created "60 minutes" 41 years ago. don was 86. but in his head and in his heart, he was a kid. words like "passion" and "enthusiasm" are too weak to describe this human dynamo. he was my boss for most of the 45 years i worked here, and he was not an easy man to please. but when you did please him, you were on top of the world, and so was he. he was also a thorn in the side of his corporate bosses, though he liked to describe himself-- forgive me-- as "a pain in the ass." and he was madly in love with broadcast journalism. tonight, you will get to meet this man, this founder, producer and, above all, ringmaster of what he regarded as the greatest show on earth. >> don hewitt: i once said to cbs, "in my next contract, i want a gun, and a whip and a chair, because it's like being in a cage full of tigers." and there are temperaments, not the least of which is mine.
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>> safer: ringmaster, lion tamer, don became a show unto himself. since the very beginning of television news more than six decades ago, he lived by a deceptively simple motto: >> hewitt: it's four little words-- "tell me a story." and that's all we do, tell them a story. >> safer: years before "60 minutes," he was at edward r. murrow's side as television expanded its reach to broadcast live, from coast to coast. >> edward r. murrow: may we have the pacific coast, please. hello new york, this is the golden gate. >> safer: he produced the very first presidential tv debate, kennedy versus nixon, 1960. he was with walter cronkite the
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day john kennedy was shot. >> another picture taken just moments before the assassination attempt is here. >> safer: and with "60 minutes," he revolutionized broadcast news, dispatching what he called his team of tigers to the four corners of the globe to carry out that four-word mandate: tell me a story. >> hewitt: there is no place on earth that you haven't been. and there's nobody on earth that you haven't met. and that is the great value of what we do, i think. >> safer: he was, in fact, the boy wonder of cbs news, and remained the awe-struck kid well past retirement age. opinionated, outrageous, with a quick wit and a short fuse.
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>> hewitt: the only problem is that when you've been around as long as i have, you get to be kind of a pain in the ass. >> safer: and as his friends and colleagues will tell you, on balance, the pleasure of don's company was mostly worth the pain. >> ready, we've been ready for one year, three months and now four minutes. >> phil scheffler: well, i met him first in 1950... >> safer: phil scheffler worked at don's side for over half a century. >> scheffler: i mean, he put on a show in the control room, and it was just wonderful. it was hypnotic. >> when he says a bloodbath follows, we know it's a cut. just cut to that other thing. >> safer: do you remember your first meeting? >> jeff fager: yes, i do, i remember it well. he said, "listen kid, all you need to do is bring us good stories." >> safer: jeff fager succeeded don in 2004 as executive
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producer of this broadcast, and remembers all too well being the new kid on the block, 20 years ago, screening one of his first "60 minutes" stories for the ringmaster. it was a somewhat dry report on the polish economy. >> fager: the first thing he said was, "where do you want it, kid, right between the eyes?" he hated it. and what really was amazing is a couple of hours later, he called and he said, "i have some ideas for how we can make this story better." and he did. >> safer: he always did that. >> fager: he did. >> alan alda: he was like p.t. barnum in the sense that he would bring the circus truck to town every time he got to talk to you. >> safer: don called actor alan alda his best friend. alda says that, even after hours, don talked constantly about work. >> alda: because it excited him so much that he was... i think he was still a boy who was amazed at his success.
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>> safer: the boy grew up in new rochelle, new york, 45 minutes from broadway. >> hewitt: i'm one of these kids who was kind of a creature of the movies. >> safer: 15 cents would buy him a saturday afternoon of cartoons, newsreels and melodramas. the movies got under his skin and stayed there. he once said to me that, when he goes to a western movie, he comes out walking bowlegged. ( laughter ) >> alda: he told us many times how, when he was in the war, he had seen so many war movies that when he was finally standing on the ship and the enemy planes were coming at him, he thought, "where's the music?" ( laughter ) ♪ >> safer: that's pure don. >> alda: yeah. >> safer: the movies gave him his role models, rascals who had the moxie to beat the system during the great depression. >> hewitt: i never knew whether
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i wanted to be julian marsh, the broadway producer on "42nd street," or hildy johnson, the reporter in "front page." >> safer: hildy johnson came from the newspaper world, just as don's father did-- a whiskey- soaked jungle of snappy talk and scooping the competition. and impresario julian marsh in "42nd street" was surrounded by bright lights and broadway babes, don's kind of world. >> fager: we always thought if don hewitt went into broadway, he would have been just as big and just as successful. i mean, he had that way, he had that showmanship. >> safer: in 1948, cbs put on its first tv newscast. don was 25, with some wartime reporting experience under his belt. somebody suggested he check out the cbs news studio, upstairs at grand central station.
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>> hewitt: and i walked in. i couldn't believe it. you know, there are lights and cameras and makeup people, and it looked like a hollywood set. and i fell in love. >> safer: and the best thing was, no longer did he have to choose between being ace reporter hildy johnson or broadway starmaker julian marsh. >> hewitt: i thought, "oh, my god, in television, you can be both of them." and i got hired. >> safer: soon, he was producing douglas edwards's newscast, the forerunner of "the cbs evening news." no satellites, no computers, nothing much except huge, bulky cameras and don's manic enthusiasm. >> hewitt: it wasn't very good, but it was respectable. i always thought it was kind of the infancy of television, like we were making those shows out of play-doh. >> safer: don has described those early days as playing with play-doh, kind of making it up as you go along. >> scheffler: no question about that. there were no signposts, no rules. >> safer: no rules.
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>> scheffler: nobody had any experience in this before, and so he really was the inventor of the kind of television news that we do now. >> safer: in the summer of 1956, the ocean liner "andrea doria" collided with a ship off nantucket. don, doug edwards and a cameraman flew off to have a look. the other networks had already come and gone, beating them to the first pictures of the crippled ship, dead in the water. >> hewitt: i said, "well, what the hell, we're here. let's go anyway." we're flying over the "andrea doria", it turns over, and like a big, dead elephant, it sank right beneath us. >> douglas edwards: and down goes the "andrea doria"-- the time, 10:09 eastern daylight time. >> hewitt: dumb luck. by being late, we got the story. >> safer: he would do just about anything to get the story and shaft the competition. when soviet premier nikita khrushchev visited a farm in
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coon rapids, iowa in 1959, don put one over on nbc. >> alda: he stole their truck, their video truck, and drove it into the middle of a corn field, where no one could find it. now, that's not mr. nice guy, you know. he did return it, eventually. >> safer: but he clashed often with cbs news president fred friendly, who found him too brash, too unpredictable. in 1965, friendly figured out a way to get don off the evening news. don thought it was a promotion. >> scheffler: his wife told me later that he came home and said... told her the story about how friendly had come to see him and said, "you know, don, this evening news is not big enough for you. we're going to find really great projects for you to do." and his wife said to him, "idiot. you just got fired." >> hewitt: it was devastating at the time. you know, i was... i had my legs cut off.
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>> safer: he remained at cbs, but sought solace out on his beloved beach. next to television, he worshiped the sun and his kids. he produced a few earnest documentaries, but hungered after something with a little more punch. >> scheffler: he got bored easily is the problem. >> safer: and out of that boredom came don's greatest idea, this broadcast. in a sense, it should have been called "15 minutes". don couldn't sit still for anything longer than that. >> scheffler: it's really a reflection, i think, of his attention span; his attention span was 15 minutes. and so he said, "we'll do a program with... that has three 15-minute stories on it." >> safer: it began in the fall of 1968, without, at first, phil scheffler. >> scheffler: i turned him down. i said, "you know, don, i don't think your show's going to be serious enough."
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and i said, "besides, you know, it's not going to last very long." >> safer: that was more than 40 years ago. scheffler eventually came on board, as did any number of oddballs. >> fager: don managed to attract the best people in the business. and he kept this ensemble full of crazy egos all working towards the same end. >> safer: crazy egos? what are you talking about? >> fager: more like tigers in a cage, and every once in a while, they'd jump out of their cages and don would have to figure out a way to coax them back in. >> safer: with don cracking the whip, it was not a place for the fainthearted. >> fager: i saw him fire the same producer three times in the halls. >> safer: he fired mike at least 50 times. >> fager: well, mike probably deserved it. >> safer: alan alda wondered if all that high drama achieved any purpose. >> alda: was it successful in getting you to think on another
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level? >> safer: oh, absolutely. >> alda: yeah? you would get insight into the work? >> safer: i think it made the pieces, the stories, in the final analysis, much leaner and much more direct. >> alda: and would he turn out to be right? >> safer: mainly, he was right. ( laughter ) >> safer: but there were some rough moments in an otherwise brilliant career. in 1995, the then cbs management suppressed a "60 minutes" expose of the tobacco industry. >> said the delivery device for nicotine. >> safer: the story eventually was broadcast, after it was reported in "the wall street journal." though the tobacco story haunted him for years, don continued masterminding the broadcast for another decade. >> fager: his job was his life. and that's what made it so hard for him to give it up. in fact, he said quite publicly, "i want to die at my desk." >> safer: don left the broadcast, reluctantly, in 2004, at age 81.
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and slowly made peace with the idea of having more time for the grandchildren, and of watching "60 minutes," not in the screening room, but in his own living room. what do you think his legacy is? >> scheffler: his legacy is "60 minutes". there's no question. i mean, this was... this was his shining, his crowning success. >> fager: it's a great legacy, this broadcast, and it hasn't strayed much from what he envisioned in the first place more than 40 years ago. >> alda: he gave the country nourishment, but in the form of... to a great extent, in the form of entertainment. it wasn't like eating your broccoli. what he gave us was a good, old- fashioned hot dog, but somehow it nourished us like broccoli. that's a... there is some kind of genius in that. he was able to fuse those two things.
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>> safer: when we come back, the creative chaos of working for don. >> good evening. cash for clunkers customers are jamming auto dealers this weekend as they race to beat tomorrow night's deadline. social security recipients will see no cost of living raises for the next two years. and the new brad pitt/quentin tarantino movie won the weekend box office. i'm russ mitchell. cbs news. men's room. not a more serious condition like prostate cancer. he has been going over and ove avoid driving or hazardous tasks for 12 hours after your first dose or increase in dose, as a sudden drop in blood pressure may occur,
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>> kroft: don hewitt was a television impresario who changed the way viewers saw the news, but the viewers rarely saw him, until a decade ago. he pulled back the curtain at "60 minutes" and allowed the public television series "american masters" to come in for a behind-the-scene look.
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what their cameras captured was the don hewitt we all knew-- a volcano of ideas and frenetic energy, who at age 75, was still a master at the height of his powers. >> don? >> hewitt: yeah? >> we're in here. >> hewitt: got it. >> kroft: when you saw him in the hallways or in the edit rooms or offices, you knew immediately that don hewitt was the real star of "60 minutes". it was his baby, his creation, and he ran it to his own specifications. >> hewitt: stop. okay, let me hear it. okay, go ahead. >> that community was up in arms. >> kroft: his vision resulted in one of the most successful shows in television history, on the air longer than "gunsmoke" or lucy or "roseanne" or "seinfeld". >> hewitt: who's story is the cruise story? we want to take a look at it. >> kroft: in the cutthroat world of network television, of programming and ratings and focus groups, "60 minutes" ran on the gut instincts of don hewitt. >> not a fingerprint, not a hair, not a fiber, no dna. >> hewitt: this week.
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>> is it in? >> it's in. >> kroft: don and the broadcast were one. it was the culmination of his life's work. the broadcast's shape, its vocabulary, its syntax and its flare were all don's. he managed to turn news into prime time entertainment, with a collection of distinct voices and a range of stories every sunday night. a three-course meal with something for everyone. >> hewitt: i have all these stories, and each week or month, i will decide which three or four i'll put in the magazine. i said, that's a pretty good way to run this. >> howard stringer: the people who watched football, and the people who were at home and having sunday dinner with their families was the ideal audience for a news show. >> kroft: sir howard stringer is chairman and c.e.o. of the sony corporation, but he spent some 30 years at cbs news, some of them as president of the news division and don hewitt's corporate boss. >> stringer: he brilliantly designed that show to give something for every member of that family. he... he could tease them and amuse them, occasionally, but
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he'd bring them back to a story that mattered and counted and made them feel interested and interesting at the same time. >> kroft: the secret of don hewitt's success was no secret at all. he'd tell the same thing to his colleagues at work, and to his competitors at other networks, and to young journalists at conferences. >> don. >> hewitt: yes. >> what do you think the most important thing a young journalist like me could learn from an old school journalist? >> hewitt: that what we do on "60 minutes" is what everybody should be doing. and it's four words that every child in the world knows-- "tell me a story." and learn how to tell them a story, and you'll be a success. >> kroft: don liked to say that "60 minutes" doesn't cover issues; it does stories about people who are swept up in them. it's a technique, he said, as old as time. >> hewitt: even the people who wrote the bible were smart enough to know, tell them a story. the issue was evil in the world. the story was noah. now, the bible knew that. and for some reason or other, i
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latched onto it. >> kroft: hewitt devised a job for himself where he only did the things he wanted to do. >> scheffler: open the door. >> hewitt: i'm going to be locked in here for a half-hour; i just have to get this done. >> kroft: he totally divorced himself from everything he didn't want to do. >> okay, you're calling with a story idea? >> kroft: the boring and mundane he delegated to others. his job was to watch television news stories and make them better. >> bob simon: there's nothing in the world people fear more than suicide bombers. >> hewitt: "suicide bomber"-- it's always better as a singular. >> kroft: there was no assignment desk-- no memos, no meetings, no audience research. >> hewitt: hey, bevy. >> kroft: an atmosphere best described as controlled chaos, with don as the roving referee. the show was loosely organized around the correspondents, who each had their own team of producers and were responsible for coming up with their own stories. that's fine, i think it works fine. the only thing i'd do is put a little more pause in there. >> how long is it? >> uh, two minutes too long.
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>> kroft: the competition among the shops could be fierce, and rivalries were encouraged. >> ed bradley: are you finished? >> mike wallace: yes. >> bradley: how many takes did it take you? >> wallace: yes, and i haven't smoked a cigar in there, either. the ultimate competition was getting your stories on the air. >> we're going to lead with the kennedys? >> hewitt: yeah, if... i don't know again... >> i don't know if that's... >> hewitt: ...whether to lead with the kennedys. i know... i'd keep for the second half hour when we got a bigger... >> scheffler: i'd lead with the kennedys. >> hewitt: the numbers jump at 7:30 and you don't know if there's a tied-up game. >> scheffler: yeah, but it makes a better show to start with the kennedy's. it's a good story. >> hewitt: i don't know. i don't know. i'm not sure... >> kroft: and he tried to balance the correspondent's egos. >> we should put safer on and we should put kroft on. >> kroft: he crafted the network promos. >> hewitt: hey, ed. ed. promo. "you mean they sent him to death row and they knew he didn't do it? that the cops and prosecutors who put him there may now find themselves behind bars." "60 minutes, sunday." >> bradley: perfect. perfect. >> hewitt: "that the cops and prosecutors who put him there
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may find themselves behind bars. >> stringer: he always, as a... as a showman, could market and promote them better than almost anybody i've ever known in the news business. he could make you want to see that show tonight with a couple of pithy phrases. >> hewitt: see that, go back. >> kroft: the tease-- the 45- second block at the beginning of the broadcast that condensed the night's stories- that was don's particular domain. >> hewitt: wait a minute, wait a minute. give me the line- "they demanded justice." keep going. no, no. wait a second. "that someone." perfect. couldn't be better. >> kroft: don rarely looked at a script until a script had been edited and turned into television, so he could actually watch it. >> hewitt: go back to the end of the interview. forget that. put what we just did on the top of it and let's just keep going. >> kroft: he had an uncanny ability to look at something for the first time and know exactly how to fix it. >> hewitt: stop. i think there's better stuff up earlier. >> kroft: he saved some of his best performances for the formal
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screenings attended by the producers, correspondents, editors, and his senior staff. it could go very smoothly or, as was the case with this mike wallace story about an american woman imprisoned in ecuador, things could get raucous. and don loved a good fight. >> gullibly, she leapt at the chance. she didn't know that she was about to be duped into smuggling drugs back into the united states for him. >> hewitt: fellows, look-- you can't say what you say to me. you've got to say... >> wallace: wait a minute. wait a minute. wait a minute. we try... before you start the criticism, frankly, i think it's a ( bleep ) damn... >> hewitt: you're their defense attorney, you're not a reporter. >> wallace: what? >> hewitt: you're their defense attorney. you've got to say, "last month, we found three americans..." >> wallace: wait a minute. >> hewitt: "... imprisoned in ecuador..." >> wallace: ... defense attorney. >> hewitt: "... who, if you believe their story..." >> wallace: what the hell does that mean? >> hewitt: "... shouldn't be." >> wallace: what? >> hewitt: you can't say "they shouldn't be". >> wallace: what? they shouldn't be... >> hewitt: you're saying... >> wallace: they shouldn't be what? >> hewitt: ... flatly, they shouldn't be in jail. that you found three americans who shouldn't be in jail. "last month, we found three americans..." >> wallace: you're talking about the opening? >> hewitt: listen. >> wallace: i'm talking about
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the piece. >> hewitt: i'm talking about it all the way through. >> kroft: don's only real fear was being bored; his only real enemy, the remote control. he instinctively knew what an audience wanted and how to hold their attention. and he saw himself as their surrogate. >> hewitt: you can only be a television producer if you become a television viewer. you've got to sit in a screening room and say, "if i were home, tonight, watching this, would i stay with this or would i..." it's the, "hey, mildred," syndrome. it's the guy who says to his wife, "hey, mildred, do you know what these guys are talking about?" "no, let's go watch the basketball game." >> stringer: somebody with a slightly limited attention span isn't going to want to be bored for a second. in a perfect world, don doesn't want to be bored for a second. >> hewitt: just go cyber gear. "cyber gear." it kind of dawned on me, once, that i may be the only person i ever knew who has turned an attention deficit disorder into an asset. >> kroft: but he was also a superb journalist, widely considered to be among the top editors of his era, print or
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broadcast. >> barbara walters: there are lots of producers in this business. there has not been, and i don't think there ever will be, anyone quite like don hewitt. one is enough. >> kroft: barbara walters was a hewitt friend and competitor for decades. >> walters: you know, there are a lot of news snobs in this business, especially in the past. "i'm in hard news." don was not a news snob. don was an editor and a producer, but he also had the common touch. he could relate to the people. >> kroft: you think he was concerned about the ratings? >> walters: i think that don may have been one of the most competitive people i know. >> kroft: and it's true. the first thing he did every monday morning was to call the research department for the overnight ratings. >> hewitt: okay. >> bradley: how'd we do last night? >> hewitt: i'm afraid to find out. hi, hon, it's don hewitt. you got the fast track nationals from last night? we dropped under 11.5. i'm being... yeah, most people would pray for 11.5. oh, ( bleep ) yeah.
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10.8. that's pretty bad. what was the share, 20? >> kroft: don said he worried that he had ruined television news because he had made it profitable... >> hewitt: now, how did disney do? >> kroft: ... and that profit, not quality, would become the driving force for network executives. >> hewitt: all right, it looks like we'll have another good season. >> kroft: don had nominal bosses at both the news division and the television network, but the best of them allowed him to operate independently in his own fiefdom. cbs president and c.e.o. leslie moonves held him in awe. >> les moonves: he was unrelenting. he was unbelievably smart, incisive. he knew the medium as well as anybody i've ever met. >> kroft: moonves calls hewitt's contribution to broadcasting and to cbs "monumental." >> moonves: throughout the history of cbs, we've had a lot of great things that happened in our... at our network, from sports to entertainment to news. there is no show that meant more to that network then and today than "60 minutes".
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>> kroft: hewitt took great pride in the team he'd assembled-- the correspondents, the producers, the editors. he seemed to feed off the energy of his staffers, some of whom were young enough to be his grandchildren. >> hewitt: everybody that works for me is smarter than i am. they're better read, they're better educated. ♪ brum, brum, brum, brum, brum i really am in awe of all those kids. they don't pander, either to the audience or to me. none of them are afraid to argue with me, which i love. i don't want to... anybody to work for me who wouldn't argue with me. and somehow, with their brains and my fingertips, it works. >> kroft: everyone on the show knew there was no one smarter than don hewitt. he'll be remembered as the boss and head cheerleader, who ran "60 minutes" with a nearly insane enthusiasm... >> hewitt: merri, nope. i can't follow her in the ladies room. >> kroft: ... sprinting down hallways and into offices trying out his latest brainstorm...
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>> hewitt: you mean they sent him to death row and they knew he didn't do it? >> kroft: ... or insisting on everyone watching his newest favorite piece. >> hewitt: you starting to edit? >> not quite yet. >> hewitt: okay. >> but... >> hewitt: but you're looking for transcripts... i hear it's... >> yeah. >> hewitt: ... going to be great. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> kroft: "hey, come here, you got to see this. isn't this terrific? isn't this the best? >> hewitt: come on, we've got a piece to look at. >> kroft: that was don hewitt. when people say, hey mike, why ford, why now? i say brace yourself. that gas guzzler in your driveway, just might be, a clunker. but don't panic, it could be a good thing. your ford and lincoln mercury dealers are cash for clunkers specialists. they'll recycle your ride, and get you a big fat juicy rebate from uncle sam. you can get all the details, charts, graphs, etc, at why ford, why now? why not? visit your ford or lincoln mercury dealer.
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>> stahl: whenever don hewitt spoke in front of audiences, he'd get the inevitable question-- what was your favorite story on "60 minutes"?
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well, he had many of them after 36 years, and he liked to relive the most memorable moments, the larger-than-life personalities and the classic confrontations. >> wallace: here are the six of us sitting around here, and it's all your fault. >> stahl: we all sat in a circle when don retired in 2004, and reminisced about his favorite "60 minutes" pieces. >> hewitt: mike, you've had a lot of great moments in television. i don't think there is one that will ever even approach your walking into the lion's den of the ayatollah khomeini right after he took 50 americans hostage and facing him with the fact that... >> wallace: that he was a lunatic. imam, president sadat of egypt, a devoutly religious man, he calls you, imam-- forgive me, his words not mine-- "a lunatic." >> hewitt: the thing i remember most is your getting young ron reagan to tell you that if it weren't for his mother...
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>> ron reagan: i don't think he'd be where he is. i don't think he would have gotten to where he got to. >> stahl: would he be president? >> reagan: i doubt it. i doubt it. i think, if left to his own devices, he might of, you know, ended up hosting "unsolved mysteries" on tv or something. >> stahl: really? >> hewitt: that's the secret of this broadcast-- it's the people. >> stahl: yeah. >> hewitt: it is the ability to find people who can tell their own story better than you can. and your job is to bring it out of them. keep going, keep going. >> stahl: don's talent was more instinctual than intellectual, as he once admitted to barbara walters. >> walters: what do you think your talent has been all these years? >> hewitt: boy, if i knew, i'd package it. i haven't the slightest idea. i don't think much comes from up here. i'm not very well read. i flunked out of college. i think it all comes from here. and i... and i can't explain that, either. i remember the day i wandered into his office and i said, "muhammad ali, the most virile man on earth, is a shell.
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he can't even talk anymore. that's got to be a story." he says to me, "how am i going to interview him if he can't talk?" i said, "stupid, if he could talk, there wouldn't be a story. the story is that he can't talk." >> bradley: yeah. and he didn't say much. >> safer: faked you out, though. >> bradley: i mean, they set... >> safer: he nailed you. >> bradley: they set me up. >> stahl: over lunch, ali's wife lonnie told ed that muhammad was having flashbacks in his sleep, and she was frightened because he would throw punches. >> lonnie ali: i have to get out of the bed because i know it's going to start. >> bradley: really? so when he starts... >> watch his next move. >> bradley: so he's not putting on when he's doing it? >> ali: no. >> bradley: oh. >> ali: this actually happens. that's the hard part. you have to sort of... >> muhammad ali: ( snores ) ( laughter ) >> stahl: don liked the profiles of sports legends and movie stars. but the big stamp he put on "60 minutes" was his pushing us to take on controversial subjects. >> wallace: you killed him? >> i did, but it could be
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manslaughter, not murder. >> stahl: and don wanted us to be fearless. >> kroft: people are sitting out there, voters, and they're saying, "look, it's really pretty simple. if he has never had an extramarital affair, why doesn't he just say so?" >> bill clinton: you know what i think they're saying? i think they're saying, "here's a guy who's leveling with us." >> stahl: do you feel you look foolish... >> not at all. >> stahl: ... over weapons of mass destruction? >> not at all. >> stahl: there were no weapons of mass destruction. >> we haven't found them. >> stahl: come on. >> the weapons are... don't say "come on." >> stahl: how long are you going to say that? >> because... i'll say it as long... until we find them. >> hewitt: we're not beholden to anyone. >> stahl: and if anyone ever suggested that "60 minutes" was elitist, don became a feisty lion, defending his offspring. >> you see, there's an exclusionary sense that the network news only deals with the intelligentsia. >> hewitt: hey, i consider myself as much a regular american and a blue collar american as you do. >> well, i am glad you do. >> hewitt: i do. >> but those people's concerns aren't dealt with as much as they could be. any validity to that?
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>> hewitt: no validity. i... i do this broadcast for cops and firemen and hard hats. >> stahl: and he knew that those cops and firemen and hard hats loved it when he had us going after the bad guys. >> wallace: jimmy, who was the first person you killed? >> jimmy fratiano: mmm, frankie nicoli. >> wallace: where'd you kill him? >> fratiano: in my house. >> wallace: how'd you kill him? >> fratiano: we strangled him. >> hewitt: i always remember being in philadelphia, and a guy got up and he said, "why does someone who's quite obviously a crook decide to go on '60 minutes'?" and morley said, "a crook doesn't believe he's made it as a crook until he's been on '60 minutes'." ( laughter ) >> wallace: come on out. you don't want to talk to me? >> stahl: but if they refused to talk to "60 minutes", don would send us out with a hidden camera. >> wallace: we had hidden cameras with us, too.& and here was the view from inside. >> hewitt: there was... the great one was steve when you caught the guy with the... >> kroft: ... odometers in the car.
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>> hewitt: ... odometers. >> kroft: this is not exactly legal, right? >> it's not exactly legal, no. ( laughter ) >> kroft: you know what's back there? >> what, back there? no. >> kroft: there's a tv camera back there. >> really? >> kroft: yeah. >> oh, i don't... >> kroft: we've been taping this whole thing. >> well, all right. >> kroft: the good news is, we're not cops. >> well, i didn't think so. >> kroft: the bad news is, we're "60 minutes". >> stahl: hi, we're from "60 minutes". we also used the "ambush interview". and don came under criticism for it. >> what does that add to a piece? what is it doing there, aside, in my view at least, imply that the guy has something to hide? >> hewitt: well, it's more than implying that he has something to hide; it's showing he's got something to hide. but it is the only way you get to see the man about whom we are doing the story. >> wallace: i mean, everybody is scuttling like cockroaches around here.
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>> stahl: but don came to think we were overdoing these kinds of stories, that they were becoming a parody of tv news. after that, he rarely gave us permission to use techniques like a hidden camera. it's easy to forget how much of a revolutionary don hewitt was. when he thought up the idea of "60 minutes" in 1968, he changed the very definition of television news. >> hewitt: up to that point, television news was always very, very serious, very ponderous, very important. and the light stuff was jackie gleason, lucille ball, mary tyler moore, and news never wanted to delve into the lighter side of life. and i think if you put them both in the same mix, you got a winner, and it turned out to be right. i remember, ed, your getting lena horne to tell you some secrets about her sex life.
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>> lena horne: ♪ i'm a rich, ready, ripe, juicy plum again... >> bradley: ♪ i'm a rich, juicy, ripe plum again... >> horne: yeah, but you can't help your sexual nature, you know. that's what that line means. >> wallace: i really didn't like you back 30 years ago. >> stahl: even when we went to the "lighter side" in terms of subject matter, don still wanted us to bore in and ask the real shockers. >> bradley: someone told us that you spent most of the '70s stoned. >> who s... who was that? who said that? >> bradley: an... an ex-wife. >> an ex-wife? >> kroft: do you think you're immature? >> oh, yeah. >> kroft: in what ways? >> name one. go ahead, name one. >> kroft: sexually? >> seinfeld: yeah. >> kroft: why? >> seinfeld: i don't know. embarrassed. >> kroft: what do you mean? >> seinfeld: i am not going to
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talk about being sexually immature on "60 minutes". >> hewitt: somebody once said to me, would you do britney spears on "60 minutes"?& i said of course, i would do britney spears on "60 minutes," if she had something to say. >> stahl: don felt that a "60 minutes" profile was a mark of achievement, that it meant someone had a body of work, of accomplishments worthy of our attention. >> walters: you say that you are having a terrible time coming to terms with the 21st century. >> hewitt: yes. >> walters: what's the trouble? >> hewitt: it's not familiar to me. you know, i... i'm still living katharine hepburn and spencer tracy. i live in another world. >> walters: yet you produce a news magazine that has to be up to date. >> hewitt: well, maybe having a foot in the past helps you deal with the present better. on my wall in my office, i got pictures with reagan, kennedy, johnson. >> stahl: one thing that kept him fresh was that, from time to time, he would come with us on the road, and take over. >> kroft: bill and hillary.
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>> hewitt: right. >> stahl: were you there for the interview? >> hewitt: oh, yeah, was i there. i think, at some point, you're going to have be as candid as you know how, and then from there on you say, "i said it on '60 minutes'. if you want to know what i think or said on the subject, go get the tape and run it again. i've said it all." >> kroft: we were going to do an hour at the most, but then 40 minutes into it... >> hillary clinton: jesus mary and joseph, whoa. >> kroft: the lights fell down. it was like an artillery round going off. >> are you all right? >> hillary clinton: whoa, i'm all right. >> kroft: and then, i suddenly realized that the lights had fallen off the wall and almost killed them. >> hillary clinton: boy, that was scary. >> hewitt: wow. >> stahl: but don wanted to get on with the interview >> hewitt: and that was the best thing that you said, right at that point, that was the high point of the whole thing. >> hillary clinton: phew. >> stahl: do you remember don decides he's going to come with me to interview boris yeltsin. >> hewitt: yeah. >> stahl: we get there, he's in his tennis clothes. "nyet," he says.
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"nyet. no interview. no interview," like that. i said, "okay, i'm out of here. i'm walking away." >> hewitt: that's right. she's going to leave. i said, "go up to the tennis courts, for christ sakes." >> stahl: don's assuring me i'm going to get some questions off. can you sit for one? no? >> no. >> stahl: no? >> no. he doesn't want to sit. >> hewitt: could we just have maybe ten, 15 minutes of just lesley just sitting, talking to him in a conversation? >> we are going to take a shower now. >> boris yeltsin: ( speaking russian ) >> hewitt: and we can do later maybe? >> we can't talk during the shower. >> hewitt: no, no. what about after? >> stahl: every time between games, boris huffs and puffs and comes over to... >> hewitt: comes over to you. >> yeltsin ( translated ): my wife and i we just had two chairs. we didn't even have a table, so we had to do everything on the floor. >> stahl: on the floor, really? >> yeltsin ( translated ): we had to make love on the floor. that's why we got girls. >> hewitt: what a day. when we revealed something about a person, he'd praise us with
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his highest compliment: "wow," he'd say. "i didn't know that." it's sensational. i have never had the slightest interest in an issue. i only want to get stories of people dealing with issues whose lives are affected by issues. and we narrowed them down to bite-sized, where you could understand it and digest it. >> stahl: "60 minutes" was don hewitt's life... >> hewitt: if i were going to trade jobs with anybody in the world, i'd trade them with mike, and i wouldn't trade jobs with mike. i got a better job than mike; i'm mike's boss. >> stahl: he never burned out, never ran out of energy for the telling of stories. he simply loved what he did. >> hewitt: you know, you look back on all these things, and you can't believe you lived through all this.
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pkgsxsqesmñ>> welcome to the sbt update presented by lipitor. i'm bill mcatee. ryan moore notched his first pga tour victory in three holes of sudden death. and roger federer won if cincinnati taking care of novak djokovic in straight sets. federer will soon start his quest for a sixth straight u.s. open title. coverage on cbs starts saturday september 4th. for more sports news and scores log on to increased my chance of a heart attack. i should've done something. now, i trust my heart to lipitor. when diet and exercise are not enough, adding lipitor may help. unlike some other cholesterol lowering medications, lipitor is fda approved to reduce the risk... of heart attack, stroke, and certain kinds of heart surgeries... in patients with several common risk factors... or heart disease. lipitor has been extensively studied...
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>> rooney: it seems likely that, before this broadcast, you may
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not have known much about don hewitt, one of the most important people there has ever been in television. i met don in london in 1943, when i was a reporter for the army newspaper, "the stars and stripes". don came to our office in the "london times" building often, because he was doing public relations for the merchant marine at the time. it isn't an exaggeration to say that don invented television news the way we all know it today. he was the producer and director of "douglas edwards with the news", beginning in 1948, and later became producer of "the cbs evening news with walter cronkite". it wouldn't mean much to you, i suppose, but don was one of my oldest friends. he was surely the best friend i've ever had that i disagreed with most often. don's death is really sad for me. it isn't what you tuned to "60 minutes" to hear, i know, but it would be wrong for me not to tell you because, more than
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anyone else, don hewitt was responsible for the content and style of this broadcast, "60 minutes". if you're watching, you must care. over the years, don came up with much of what we're used to seeing on all of television news now. he developed the way the three networks do their news, and he made this broadcast, "60 minutes", what it is. you wouldn't be seeing me now if it were not for don. we can do this show without him, but television will never be the same without the great don hewitt. >> safer: i'm morley safer. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes". >> that. yeah, that. >> try. this let's have her today an her then. >> that's what i'm trying to tell you. >> put it on later, it's just a
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piece of audio. >> this is the story that i see every night in the news, i want to know that, don, but that's -- >> mike. >> we fight over things like this all the time, but never anything more than this. he's all right, kid. >> if i said i wasn't proud of that, i'd be kidding you, i'd be lying to you. i am proud. these days, when you have to spend, shopping online can help save. doing it with bank of america can help save a lot more. up to 20% cash back from over 300 online retailers with our add it up program.
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