Previous | Next
420421422423424425426427428429430431432433434435436437438439440441442443444445446447448449450451452453454455456457458459460461462463464465466 of 755
big story. Now, I think probably, with what [Howard K.] Stern has been doing on radio and
things of that kind, that maybe it wouldn't be as much of a problem.
The Smothers Brothers were pulled, weren't they? What happened to that show? Were
they pulled by CBS?
Lost audience. The circulation went down, the public got tired of it and that was
that. They had a clever show. Did you ever see it?
I did, yes. I remember when it went off the air, and I always wondered why.
Like “Studio One,” like “Playhouse 90,” like “Jack Benny,” there comes a time when
it's a worn-out program format. Now, people say, “Look at how great Jackie Gleason was.”
Sure. He was terrific. But Jackie Gleason's curve was going down, it wasn't going up.
Walter Cronkite sat in exactly the chair you're sitting in, in my old office -- not at CBS, but
after I had retired -- he came over to see me about whether he should throw in the towel and
give up. His great debate was whether his curve was going to begin to go down. He didn't
want to go off the air when he was going down. Ed Sullivan the same way. A lot of them
overstay their time, think they can do one more season and get back up again, and that's
when the competition clobbers them, because the public senses the fact that this is sliding,
they turn to the opposition, and the downward slide is accelerated. The neat trick is to get
out before the sheriff gets there, you know.
What did you advise Walter Cronkite, by the way?
© 2006 Columbia University
Libraries | Oral History
Research Office | Rights and
Permissions | Help