Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bill Kurtis responds to my blog readers

In the comments section of today's earlier post, a number of people brought up Bill Kurtis, who in addition to being a superb newscaster, has also done some very funny acting turns.  Bill himself has responded.  Here's what he said:

Interesting. I'm 73, 30 years with CBS, 20 years producing series for A & E, CNBC, etc. And now picking up 'straight' roles. I remember William Friedken, the director telling someone, "Don't Act. Relax and concentrate." So, straight it is. Humorous lines coming out of a deadpan, suited, old white man's face, has the kind of incongruous, unexpected surprise that is humorous. At least to me. In my early years, I was hoping that t.v.news would grow into a NYTimes quality product. But it went the other way. Today, John Stewart is the most trusted man in America. Go figure. And have fun. Bill Kurtis

Thanks so much, Bill.  You never know who reads my blog.  

19 comments:

Ray Barrington said...

Ah, the Leslie Nielsen school of comedy. And Bill does have a sense of humor, as anyone who heard him fill in on NPR's "Wait Wait Don't Tell Me" last year for Carl Kassell know. Anybody who can introduce himself as "Legendary Anchorman Bill Kurtis" with a straight face knows plenty about comic acting.

Eileen Heisler said...

Eileen Heisler

Eileen Heisler said...

Whoops, accidentally just left my name. What I meant to say was that growing up in Chicago, I have always loved Bill Kurtis and every time I hear his voice it sounds like home.

Scooter Schechtman said...

I remember Kurtis from channel 2 news in Chicago. Good newsman, but not a "comic actor" on the level of Walter Jacobson. His "Homeless Man" bit is a comedy classic.

mmryan314 said...

Thank you Bill Kurtis. There is nothing funnier than a real life sarcastic or otherwise deadpan expression- even in real life situations. My favorite type of humor. You`ve got it down.

EileenK said...

Bill Kurtis, who has now taken over full time for Carl Kasell on Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me, delivers the funny news in deadpan, legendary-anchorman style. He needs to work on how to read a limerick, but the kid shows promise.

Blair Ivey said...

I only knew Bill Kurtis as the host of 'The New Explorers'. No clue about him other than that. The things you learn.

Anonymous said...

Just as klassy as I would expect.

benson said...

Since I started all this...

Thank you, Mr. Kurtis. You, Fahey Flynn, Floyd Kalber, John Drury and several others were the anchormen of my youth.

Coincidentally, media critic Rob Feder shared this yesterday afternoon. (Though I can't help think of "Anchorman".)

http://youtu.be/juzP8qfayp8

And...I am once again blown away by the power and reach of social media.
I guess it's also a testament to the popularity and quality of Ken's blog.

Bob Summers said...

Bill,

I would love to see it if it exists on tape, or just hear you say it in a movie. I'm talking about your line from the Topeka tornado:

"For God's sake, take cover!"

Brandon P. said...

Growing up in the Chicago area in the '70s and '80s, Bill Kurtis was THE MAN... still is. Whenever I hear his voice, I stop what I'm doing and listen. On top of that, he is a true gentleman and a class act. So glad to see he chimed in here!

Daily Show Watcher said...

Pet peeve: the name isn't John Stewart. It's Jon Stuart.122

Andrew said...

Bill, man, I'm learning to love you on "Wait, Wait...," but Carl Kassell left some awfully big shoes to fill there.

Jeff M. said...

I worked on A&E's "American Justice" for a few years, and we happily strove to write lines that would sound good when Bill said them (and I can assure you, nobody had to call him "Mr. Kurtis.") Those VO sessions were always a pleasure. I quickly learned that the best approach was the simplest, most stripped-down language, using the fewest possible words. I haven't worked in TV for years, but that lesson has served me well ever since: if I can't imagine Bill Kurtis saying it, I'm probably doing something wrong.

Jeff M. said...

I will also add that the video of "for God's sake, take cover" would be wonderful to see.

Tom Tully said...

When I was in law school at DePaul in Chicago, I invented a speakers program. Bill was my first speaker. He had also been an attorney and was doing the local news with Walter Jacobsen. He showed up at the law school and was great to work with. He gave me a very specific time limit and at the end of of the Q. and A. I ended it exactly on time and with a flair. He was impressed enough to tell me "you're really good at this. You may want to consider something beyond the law." I never forgot that and have always been glad I met him and listened well.

Tom Tully

Pamela Atherton said...

Actually, Daily Show Watcher... it's Jon Stewart. But any way you spell it, he's funny!

AAllen said...

Bill Kurtis reads your blog, and you've always wanted to be in a panel show. Maybe he can pull some strings and you could be on Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me.

Scott said...

My dad argued with me about "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" when I told him it was a radio quiz show I listen to every week. Dad insisted I must be listening to one of those stations that runs radio shows from the 1940s and just didn't realize it. "Nobody," he persisted, "does quiz shows on the radio, anymore. Nobody's done radio shows like that in years." He had to hear it before he believed me.