Friday, July 17, 2009 Michael_Jackson_Talk_RadioMichael_Jackson_Talk_Radio

Michael_Jackson_Talk_Radiocapitaly the time you read this, the announcement of Walter Cronkite's death will have been front page of every newspaper and the subject of many news stories around the globe. My friendship with this broadcast journalist, icon and legend is something I cherish. Over a period of some 40 years I must have had conversation with this modest man on several dozen occasions. Without any preparation he would accept my calls and be ready to sound off on almost any topic.  He always sounded so convincing and authoritative. He was so highly regarded internationally that his name appeared in the dictionary of one of the Scandinavian tongues. (News anchorman - Cronkiter).

Walter Cronkite and Michael Jackson

He knew the power of the microphone and camera and as outspoken as he was, he was always considered fair and balanced. And when Cronkite spoke out against Richard Nixon, you knew that his words would make an impact. When he spoke out against the war in Vietnam, you knew that he was correct. I never asked him for whom he was voting, but one sort of knew.

Personal note. I had let an assistant of mine know how much I respected him and how much I wanted to know him better and she said that she had worked with him in the past, and that, if I liked, she would get him to come to our small house in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles. She asked whether we'd be home the next evening and I said "yes", never expecting that she'd follow-through. 8.00 pm the following evening there was a knock at the door and there was Walter Cronkite. A memorable evening. Our children were very young at the time and they had no idea who he was.

Walter Alana Betsy

What a mind, what a storehouse of memories, what experiences he must have had that, hopefully, will be fully documented.

His wife Betsy was his match when it came to a sense of humor, and that I can attest to, having spent a week with them in the West of France as we (along with several others) were the guests of the late Malcolm Forbes. Forbes, the exceedingly wealthy businessman, invited us to France, where he had an enormous and classic mansion, just a few miles from the Normandy beaches. Forbes, Cronkite and Jackson were avid hot-air balloonists. I'd taken my family on ballooning vacations on several occasions with the internationally renowned balloon pilot, Buddy Bombard, but that hardly prepared us for the meeting of some 40 of the world's finest pilots who gathered for adventure at the Forbes estate.

Forbes estate Balloons

Magic? Oh yes, mornings would commence to the skirl of bagpipes. Evenings would be dinner in the dungeon and the sound of the Paris Symphony orchestra performing on the back lawn. Why not, the Mitterrand's were there! There were other celebrities, but the man most sought after was Walter.

Walter and Chip

Our first morning we took off in a marvelous, enormous, Tiffany-egg shaped balloon. We were sharing it with the Sec of Defense, Cap Weinberger, and the Cronkites. My wife, Alana, watched Walter gazing out over the spectacular countryside towards the D-Day beaches. She asked him (and he looked at that moment as if he could have been on Mt. Rushmore, what he was thinking. Without missing a beat, and still gazing head, he said "I'm sick of being everyone's uncle, I just want to be a sex-symbol". To which my wife replied ..."You are, Walter".

There is so much more I could write, but I'm looking forward to reading the coverage in newspapers and magazines, written by the professionals.

We spent five or six days at the Forbes chateau/museum and on our third morning Malcolm offered us Harley Davidsons to drive to the Normandy beaches. We opted for a more sedate vehicle.

There will never be his like ... never again. To know him was a privilege.

And that's the way it was,

email Michael
MichaelMichael Jackson



Audio Journals Biography correspondence MJ's Journals Press and Media Kurt Wyman Hall of Fame MJ's Schedule Voice Actor Site Map Voice Actor

Michael Jackson Talk Radio
Official site of 2003 Radio Hall of Fame inductee,
7 time Emmy Award winning, 6 time Golden Mike Award winning, Talk Radio Host.


nd the up coming 2008 election.

Copyright © Michael Jackson 2008 all rights reserved.

Site Design, Hosting and Animation
Illuminary Arts

The Best Sites on the Net

Made on a Mac