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In his recent autobiography, Roger Mudd spoke about how Cronkite liked to take long sailing vacations in the summertime, and Mudd would fill in for him as anchor. The network would squirm at having Mudd announce each night that Cronkite was away on vacation, particularly as Uncle Walter's excursions began getting longer and longer. So Mudd, half-jokingly, offered as a solution the suggestion that Cronkite rename his boat "Assignment", so that each night Mudd could announce, "Walter Cronkite is on Assignment." :D

And as soothingly serious as Cronkite could be, he also had a wry sense of humor. Back in the 60s there was a two week strike by AFTRA, which meant that member Cronkite wasn't on the air. CBS filled on-air positions with non-union network executives, and the anchor chair was given to an unknown exec named Arnold Zenker, who became an overnight sensation (mostly as a novelty, but still, CBS was flooded with approving letters). Upon his return, Cronkite looked stoicly into the camera and announced, "This is Walter Cronkite, sitting in for Arnold Zenker." Gotta love that.

Jeff Mariotte

Any "serious journalist" who once hosted a morning show with a puppet pretty much has to have a sense of humor, and Cronkite definitely did. Thanks for the stories.


he used to call sooner games wayyyy back when...

and though i grew up in the late 70s and through the 80s, i always knew who walter was....

kiss to the sky, man, we'll miss ya

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