Podtalk: Chicago Icon Bruce DuMont on ‘Mike Wallace is Here’

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CHICAGO – This week, the new documentary “Mike Wallace is Here” will release in Chicago, so who better to get a perspective on the CBS News and “60 Minutes” interviewer and reporter than Bruce DuMont, a Chicago broadcasting icon who has covered the scene since the late 1960s.

The title of the doc “Mike Wallace is Here” refers to the phrase, when said to a person in a certain era of television journalism, meant that person was about to be subjected to Wallace’s bulldog style of investigative interrogation, or in the case of politicians and celelbrities, an incisively direct interview. Mike Wallace began as a jack-of-all-trades in 1940s radio and early television in the 1950s, mixing entertainment, ad pitchman and even acting. He began to be known as an interviewer on a New York City TV show “Night Beat” (1955) and ABC-TV’s “The Mike Wallace Interview” (1957).

The Title Subject of ‘Mike Wallace is Here’
Photo credit: Magnolia Pictures

After the accidental death of his eldest son in 1962, Wallace switched full time to news for CBS-TV a year later, and continued his evolution with notable interviews, reporting (for example, the Vietnam War) and documentary (the controversial exploration into 1960s gay culture, “The Homosexuals”). In 1968, he found his niche for the rest of his career when he began with “60 Minutes,” becoming known for his confrontational journalism. His life, including reporting irregularities and the struggle with depression, is chronicled in the documentary.

Bruce DuMont was a contemporary of Mike Wallace, and began in Chicago broadcasting in the late 1960s. Over the years they encountered each other, DuMont developed into a top reporter (“Beyond the Beltway”) and producer (PBS-TV’s “Chicago Tonight”). He is also the nephew of Allen B. DuMont, a key inventor of television technology and developer of the DuMont Network, an early TV programmer rival to CBS, NBC and ABC. In a nod to that background, Bruce DuMont founded and is President Emeritus of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago.

Chicago Broadcasting Icon Bruce DuMont
Photo credit: Museum of Broadcast Communications

In a podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, Bruce DuMont begins with a background anecdote about Mike Wallace, and a perspective as a contemporary and friend.

“Mike Wallace is Here” continues its nationwide release in Chicago on August 2nd. See local listings for theaters and show times. Directed by Avi Belkin. The Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications is located at 360 North State Street. For more information, click here.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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