I never watched 60 Minutes with any regularity, but I was always a fan of correspondent Ed Bradley, who died today at age 65. I met him once, when 60 Minutes was filming a story on the Berkeley campus about campus pariah David Cash. Docta V and I happened upon a round table discussion between outraged students and Cash, taking place at the Campanile, and moderated by Big Ed.
I was interested, because it was 60 Minutes, and also because I had been exchanging anonymous emails with David Cash, pretending to have sympathy for his plight in order to trigger some hypothetical future prank against him. Hypothetical pranks took up a lot of my attention at age 19. An assistant was keeping passerby from walking through the shot, but didn't seem to mind our standing in the back. In the television broadcast, his mom claimed she could see the Docta's red fedora in the background.
After the interview had finished taping, we went up to say hi. David Cash bailed, probably afraid of further harassment. Mr. Bradley was very gracious, shaking our hands and autographing a promotional rubber ball the Docta had picked up at a job fair on the way over. We really wanted to have him write, "Was he...aroused?", a Bradley quote from his legendary interview with Clinton accuser Kathleen Willey. It would be a much better story if we had.
We decided not to push it, requesting instead that he write, "60 Minutes Rules!" Showing the intelligence and poise that epitomized his journalistic career, Ed Bradley improvised another tagline, "Keep on ticking!"
60 Minutes is the Cocoon of television newsmagazine shows. If Mike Wallace and Andy Rooney are any indication, Bradley should have had at least another decade left. Ed Bradley was a nice guy, and it's a shame he couldn't keep ticking a little longer.