11 April: The Duke of Collingwood


The singular Charles Collingwood. (Photo: CBS.)

The singular Charles Collingwood. (Photo: CBS.)

Even under the supervision of Edward R. Murrow, who’s often been considered one of the best dressed Americans in Europe (when not wearing flight suits covering bombing missions, of course), Charles Collingwood is considered so splendorously turned out that becomes easy to forget in future years that “The Duke” (his nickname) is also a solid reporter.

Perhaps part of the problem is that Collingwood’s reporting style—which some call “spontaneous elegance”—is as low-keyed as the man himself. He’s urbane and thoughtful, even if his unassuming style on the air and in his reporting eventually costs him a plum or two in the swelling postwar CBS firmament.

Elsewhere, of course, the Collingwood style proves a distinct advantage, following World War II with reporting from the United Nations, North Vietnam (the first network reporter allowed there), the Six-Day War, Teheran in the early days of the 1979 hostage crisis, and the assassination of Anwar Sadat.

A year before his death of cancer at 65, Collingwood makes a last, memorable appearance before his forced retirement: a gathering of surviving World War II correspondents who recall the coverage of that war and who offer varying views of the Reagan Administration’s exclusion of media coverage for the invasion of Grenada.


World News Today: Pinning Rommel (CBS, 1943)

Collingwood reports on the continuing Allied push against Rommell’s North African forces, now being pinned further away from the heart of the northern continent and into the northernmost corners, with a final battle for Tunisia iminent.

Also: All quiet on the Russian front, for the most part, while the front reports indicate a possible Nazi regrouping amid occasional artillery fire exchanges and German bombing against communications outposts; heavy raids upon Germany by Allied bombers out of England; a conference on French unity and a central provisional French authority, and concern over whether Charles de Gaulle will accept the plan; a deadline passage for President Roosevelt to veto a debt limit extension bill that would have included a rider limiting civilian salarie, with FDR planning to address the matter publicly; and, a report on “mechanical strengthenings” of Japanese forces against the actual or reputed capabilities of current Japanese military pilots.

Additional correspondents: John Daly, Lee White, George Fielding Eliot, William J. Dunn. 

Anchor: Douglas Edwards, in New York. Announcer: Warren Sweeney.


Further Channel Surfing . . .

Fibber McGee & Company: The Mailmen (comedy; NBC, 1939)
Forecast: Duffy’s Tavern (comedy; CBS, 1940)
My Friend Irma: Jane Meets Irma; or, Dinner Party for Jane’s Boss (Series Premiere; comedy; CBS, 1947)
The Fred Allen Show: One Long Pan with Basil Rathbone (comedy; NBC, 1948)
The Mysterious Traveler: Operation Tomorrow (mystery/thriller; Mutual, 1950)

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