Bits of the Walter Cronkite Memorial Service


At the star-studded Walter Cronkite tribute at Lincoln Center today, Tom Brokaw leaned on the comedy, recalling a call he received from Cronkite. Didn’t recognize the voice at first. “Who is this? It’s Walter Cronkite, for God’s sake! How soon they forget!”

His stories about Cronkite’s wife Betsy made us wish we’d known her. At the premiere of You’ve Got Mail, for example, Cronkite praised the film to Nora Ephron; Mrs. Cronkite said, “Not me. I wanted more violence. More blood and guts, shoot ’em up.” Us too!

Brokaw recalled Cronkite’s appreciation for “New York after dark, a city to be used at all times.” Recalled hearing that Cronkite had breakfast at the Copa at all hours. “How dashing is that?” he thought. A friend who “knew how Walter was with a buck,” suggested the Copa was buying.

Brokaw also told a Jewish dialect joke at his own expense. At an Israeli settlement, a man asked about Brokaw, “Is he as important as Walter Cronkite?” Brokaw had to admit: No.

We guess that’s Michael Feinstein playing piano and singing “That’s The Way It Is.” (“And a nation shared your journey/Oh boy, we traveled far”).

Katie Couric on now, talking about a “date” with Cronkite. Doesn’t pay off the way we’d hoped. Apparently Cronkite knew what American Idol was, though. And Cronkite’s kids were delighted, she said, that everyone at Disneyland thought Cronkite was Walt Disney.