“Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” — Charles Kuralt
“The everyday kindness of the back roads more than makes up for the acts of greed in the headlines.” — Charles Kuralt
“It does no harm just once in a while to acknowledge that the whole country isn’t in flames, that there are people in the country besides politicians, entertainers, and criminals.” — Charles Kuralt
“We always take credit for the good and attribute the bad to fortune.” — Charles Kuralt
Charles Bishop Kuralt was born on this day in Wilmington, North Carolina, USA, in 1934. It is the 79th anniversary of his birth.
He was the oldest of three children born to Wallace and Ina Kuralt. His early childhood was “on his maternal grandparents’ tobacco farm in Onslow County.” [UNC.edu] Charlie Kuralt was one of those kids who always seemed to be telling a story. He sold his first — a yarn about how a dog got loose on a baseball field — when he was just a pup himself. When he was 11 his father got a job as Director of Public Welfare in Mecklenburg County and the family moved to Charlotte. He attended Alexander Graham Junior High and Central High School. where he wrote for the school paper and broadcast local sports. He graduated from Central in 1951 and entered the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall. He was a History major and edited the school newspaper and worked for WUNC (UNC’s radio station).
After graduating from UNC he worked for The Charlotte News. He won the Ernie Plye Memorial Award for the work he did on his “People” column for that newspaper.
In May 1957, Kuralt accepted an offer from CBS to join the New York radio staff as a writer for Douglas Edwards with the news. In 1958, he sought and received a job on the CBS Television News assignment desk. A year later he was named CBS News’ Chief Latin American Correspondent, based in Rio de Janeiro. In 1963, he was appointed CBS News’ Chief West Coast Correspondent and held that post until 1964, when he transferred to the CBS News headquarters in New York City. [Ibid]
His work at CBS news took him literally all over the world. from Africa to the Arctic to Europe to Asia. But it was in 1967 that Kuralt became a household name when he started the “One the Road” series as part of the “CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”
The series carried Kuralt more than a half million miles on repeated visits to all 50 states. The series brought viewers sights of an America they did not see every day, of molasses farmers and sharecroppers to brickmakers and 104-year-old distance runners.
In addition to carrying him across America, the series also resulted in such prestigious broadcasting honors as Peabody Awards and Emmys. The material he gained from his travels provided the background for a number of books, including “Dateline America,” based on a radio show of the same name,”On the Road with Charles Kuralt” and his autobiographical “A Life on The Road.” [Ibid]
In 1980 he left the Road for his swivel chair on CBS’ “Sunday Morning.” He anchored that show until his retirement in 1994.
Kuralt died from complications of Lupis on the Fourth of July, 1997.