I feel a kinship with Dan Rather. He might even be kin: we were both born in Texas. He was the national network news voice when there was one half hour of news a day. I felt some pity for Walter Cronkite because he turned the reins over to Dan what, a month before Hinckley shot Reagan?
At first, Dan was almost like comic relief compared to the dial tone of stability that was Walter Cronkite. I read his biography, and he seemed really rational. Then he gradually became a drama magnet. If Dan Rather had been a movie star instead, there would be a crawl under Dr. Drew right now: "DAN RATHER? IS HE BI-POLAR?"
He mouthed off to Nixon, he walked off the air because they pre-empted the news for a tennis match, he got in a pissing match on the air with President Bush the First, and for a month or so he ended the news with "Courage!"
Picture this happening to Charlie Sheen / Mel Gibson / Lindsey Lohan: He got beat up by some guy yelling "Kenneth, what is the frequency?"
Something made me think about that the other day. (Saint Louisians of a certain age: I drove past the airfield and saw a small plane. Small plane, Bob Richards, Dan Rather.)
Did you know they caught the "Kenneth What is the Frequency" culprit? Per Wikipedia:
In 1997, a TV critic writing in the New York Daily News solved the mystery, and published a photo of the alleged assailant, William Tager. Rather confirmed the story: "There's no doubt in my mind that this is the person." "William Tager's identity as the man who attacked Mr. Rather was established in the course of an investigation by my office", said New York District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. Tager also admitted assaulting Rather. Tager is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence for killing NBC stagehand Campbell Montgomery outside The Today Show studio in 1994.
One benefit of age: all the mysteries are solved if you pay attention. Deep Throat, What's the Frequency Kenneth, Amelia Earhart. Very satisfying.