The Mike Wallace Interview
"Whether you agree or disagree with what you will hear, we feel that none will deny the right of these views to be broadcast."
Mike Wallace rose to prominence in 1956 with the New York City television interview program, Night-Beat, which soon developed into the nationally televised prime-time program, The Mike Wallace Interview. Well prepared with extensive research, Wallace asked probing questions of guests framed in tight close-ups. The result was a series of compelling and revealing interviews with some of the most interesting and important people of the day.
The Mike Wallace Interview ran from 1957 to 1960, but the Ransom Center collection includes interviews from only 1957 and 1958. In the early 1960s, Mr. Wallace donated to the Ransom Center kinescopes of these programs and related materials, including his prepared questions, research material, and correspondence.
Copyright of all of the interviews is held by Mike Wallace, who generously agreed to allow the Ransom Center to present them here in their entirety. Any further use of this material requires the permission of both Mike Wallace and the Ransom Center.
There are 65 interviews in the Ransom Center's collection. Five are on audio tape, and the others are kinescopes, 16mm recordings of the television programs made by filming the picture from a video monitor. These 16mm films were transferred to video and, along with the audio tapes, were digitized. The interviews were then transcribed and were both embedded in the video files in the form of subtitles and included on the website as text files.
This project would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of many people, including Mike Wallace, Jay-Me Brown, Rachael Kun, Red Steiger, Bill Zizza, Andrew Kasny, Steve Kroeter, The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, Thomas F. Staley, Gordon Wilkerson, Quinn Stewart, Mary Sue Neilson, Daniel Zmud, Lee Tran, and many graduate students in the School of Information at The University of Texas at Austin.
Below is the full list of interviews held by the Ransom Center listed by date of broadcast.
"What you are about to see is unrehearsed and uncensored."
Eldon Edwards, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, talks to Wallace about the South's attitude toward the KKK, the Klan's membership, segregation, the NAACP, communism, and J. Edgar Hoover.
NOTE: This interview contains language that may be offensive to some people.
Dr. Ralph Lapp, a nuclear physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb and who gave up research to write and lecture against further nuclear testing, talks to Wallace about the Atomic Energy Commission, cancer, the social responsibility of scientists, the Manhattan project, Hiroshima, and religion.
Mary Margaret McBride
Mary Margaret McBride, the "First Lady of Radio," pioneered radio journalism with more than 30,000 interviews over more than 20 years. She talks to Wallace about career versus family, motherhood, religion, television, and bikini bathing suits.
Senator James Eastland
Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, who has been called "The Voice of the White South," talks to Wallace about segregation, slavery, the Soviet Union, voting rights laws, and the Ku Klux Klan.
NOTE: This interview contains language that may be offensive to some people.
Bob Feller, one of the great baseball pitchers of all time, talks to Wallace about ballplayers' salaries, the reserve clause, rich ball clubs, Pay TV, beer companies as sponsors, bean balls, gambling, and Joe DiMaggio versus Ted Williams.
Frank Lloyd Wright
9/1/1957 and 9/28/1957
This interview was recorded in two parts. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, talks to Wallace about religion, war, mercy killing, art, critics, his mile-high skyscraper, America's youth, sex, morality, politics, nature, and death.
Thanks to the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation for their cooperation in presenting this interview here. This interview is available on home video through the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation.
Orval Faubus, governor of Arkansas, talks to Wallace from the Governor's mansion in Little Rock during his standoff with the Federal Government over the integration of Little Rock Central High School. Faubus had called in the National Guard to bar the African-American students from the school and had met the day before this interview with President Eisenhower in an effort to resolve the conflict.
Malcolm Muggeridge, former editor of Punch Magazine and one of England's leading intellectuals, talks to Wallace about his article in The Saturday Evening Post in which he created an international furor by criticizing Queen Elizabeth.
Carmen Basilio, middle weight boxing champion of the world, had recently won his crown after a savage fight with Sugar Ray Robinson. Basilio talks to Wallace about Robinson, whether boxing should be outlawed due to its brutality, and organized crime's influence on boxing.
Kirk Douglas, a film star who had recently completed two films, Paths of Glory and The Vikings, talks to Wallace about acting, fame, the charge that Hollywood films misrepresent America abroad, Nazis, Communists, and European versus American women.
Elsa Maxwell, syndicated gossip columnist and professional party hostess, talks to Wallace about Elvis Presley, Nikita Kruschev, Jane Mansfield, alcohol, society, immorality, The Duchess of Windsor, Cleveland Amory, and Greta Garbo.
Eleanor Roosevelt, former first lady, talks to Wallace about Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Republicans, Democrats, the Soviet Union, Westbrook Pegler, her son's relationship with Dominican leader Rafael Trujillo, race, and garlic pills.
Edward Bennett Williams
Edward Bennett Williams, a high-profile defense lawyer whose clients have included gambling czar Frank Costello, union boss Jimmy Hoffa, and Senator Joseph McCarthy, talks to Wallace about the United States justice system, civil liberties, the FBI, and the United States Supreme Court.
Leonard Ross, a 12-year-old California school boy who won a total of $164,000 on the game shows The Big Surprise and The Sixty-Four Thousand Dollar Challenge, talks to Wallace about the effects of quiz shows on children, school, politics, eggheads, spanking, mothers, and Santa Claus.
Alexander de Seversky
Alexander de Seversky, Russian-born World War I flying ace who served as a consultant to the U.S. government and helped revolutionize aerial warfare in World War II, talks to Wallace about the United States military, the Soviet military, and the possibility of nuclear war.
Nobel Prize Winners
In this special telecast from the American Nobel Anniversary Committee Dinner and Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, Dr. Linus Pauling, Pearl S. Buck, Clarence Pickett, and Sir John Boyd Orr talk about peace in a world threatened by war.
Fulton Lewis, Jr.
Fulton Lewis, Jr., conservative newspaper and radio commentator, talks to Wallace about the right wing in America, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, General Douglas MacArthur, Francisco Franco, Adlai Stevenson, Joseph McCarthy, Eisenhower Republicans, and Democratic Liberals.
Novelist, playwright, and noted Hollywood screenwriter Ben Hecht talks to Wallace about working in Hollywood, selling out, growing old, religion, and politics.
Rudy Vallee, the American singer, bandleader, and actor, first of the great "crooners," and arguably the first mass media pop star, talks to Wallace about his career, his opinions about his fans, Hollywood, his friends, and his reputation for stinginess.
Major Donald E. Keyhoe
Former Marine Air Corps Major Donald Keyhoe, director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena, conducted an investigation of the existence of Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs). Keyhoe talks to Wallace about the United States military, reports of UFO sightings, the various theories explaining UFOs, government cover-ups, and the possibility of interplanetary war.
Oscar Hammerstein II
One of the most successful and controversial figures in show business and Broadway lyricist for such classics as Oklahoma!, The King and I, and South Pacific, Oscar Hammerstein II talks to Wallace about sentimentality, racism, religion, and politics.
Lillian Roth, the singer whose brutally frank autobiography I'll Cry Tomorrow was made into an Academy Award-winning film with Susan Hayward, talks to Wallace about her battle with alcoholism, religion, psychoanalysis, Alcoholics Anonymous, and her new book, Beyond My Worth.
As Israel celebrates its tenth anniversary, Abba Eban, Israel's ambassador to the United States, talks to Wallace about Arab nations, the Arab refugee problem, Egypt's President Nasser, Jews in America, and the charge that Israel threatens world peace with a policy of territorial expansion.
Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr, vice president of Union Theological Seminary in New York, on leave to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, and one of the most important and challenging religious thinkers in the world, talks to Wallace about the separation between church and state, Catholicism, Protestantism, anti-Semitism, communism, and nuclear war.
William O. Douglas
William Douglas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, talks with Wallace about freedom of expression and the freedom to exchange ideas. In Douglas's book, The Right of the People, he wrote, "In recent years, as we have denounced the loss of liberties abroad we have witnessed its decline here in America."
Adlai Stevenson, former governor of Illinois and twice the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States, talks to Wallace about American politics, the difficulty in persuading good people to become involved in politics, diversity, elections, and the need for the average citizen to be involved in government.
Sylvester "Pat" Weaver, former president of the National Broadcasting Company, creator of such television programs as Wide Wide World, Today, and Tonight, talks to Wallace about television, management, advertising, and the social function of television.
Monsignor Francis Lally, editor of one of the most influential Catholic newspapers in America, the Boston Pilot, talks to Wallace about a lack of understanding between Catholics and non-Catholics, the separation between church and state, dissent, diversity, and religion.
Harry Ashmore, executive editor of the Arkansas Gazette in Little Rock and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his forceful editorials denouncing the racist mobs during the desegregation conflict in Little Rock's high school, talks to Wallace about the integrity of journalists, the influence of advertisers and the government on the press, techniques of interviewing, and the desegregation of Little Rock High School.
Dr. Henry Kissinger, Associate Director of the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, talks to Wallace about the United States' foreign and military policies, limited nuclear war, the Soviet Union, Algeria, the Middle East, and Republicans, including Richard Nixon.
Dr. Robert Hutchins, former dean of the Yale Law School, former president of the University of Chicago, and president of the Fund for the Republic, talks to Wallace about freedom, illusion as an enemy of freedom, government, civil rights, and education.
James McBride Dabbs
James McBride Dabbs, South Carolinian, plantation owner, elder in the Presbyterian Church, president of the Southern Regional Council, and author of The Southern Heritage, talks to Wallace about the psychological burden of the Southerner, segregation, school integration, and the consequences of the Civil War.
Mortimer Adler, president of the Institute for Philosophical Research, former professor of the philosophy of law at the University of Chicago, and author of The Idea of Freedom, talks to Wallace about conceptions of freedom, capitalism, socialism, and the American worker.
Arthur Larson, who resigned from the Eisenhower administration after having served as Undersecretary of Labor, Head of the United States Information Agency, and Special Assistant to the president, talks to Wallace about Eisenhower, the administration's social philosophy, politics, and the American way of life.