Person to Person with Bill Veeck

Renowned CBS Newsman Edward R. Murrow interviews Bill Veeck and his wife Mary Frances on May 22, 1959 for the series "Person to Person." The Veecks join by video feed from their apartment in Chicago, and indulge Murrow and the audience with their quick wit and by taking a stroll through their home.

00:00Copy video clip URL Color bars and tone.

00:37Copy video clip URL Edward R. Murrow is seated in a chair, with lit cigarette in hand. He introduces himself and the program “Person to Person,” explaining that this episode features an interview with the new President of the Chicago White Sox, Bill Veeck, and his wife Mary Frances, who will be joining the program from their apartment in Chicago.

01:05Copy video clip URL Bob Wright sits in a chair at a side table in the corner, lights up a cigarette, and begins his testimony for Kent cigarettes in this in-studio message from the sponsor. He turns it back over to Murrow.

02:00Copy video clip URL Back to Murrow, who introduces Veeck as one of the most exciting personalities in baseball.

03:05Copy video clip URL Veeck and Mary Frances join by video feed from their apartment on South Lake Shore Drive. They discuss the troubles of the Yankees.

04:05Copy video clip URL Murrow asks Mary Frances how she figures in to Bill’s work, and she says that he is very flattering to her in asking for her help in developing promotions and ideas. She also comments on her work with Veeck’s new television program and jokes about the difficulty of women in working as sports commentators.

05:00Copy video clip URL Murrow asks her about Veeck’s behavior outside the ballpark and she calls him very laid back. She talks also about their unconventional schedule that doesn’t follow a typical routine.

06:00Copy video clip URL Murrow comments that all of her work “must be good for the waistline” which prompts her to get up and move the conversation into the other room, where she stands in front of an exercise board used for doing sit ups and tells how she has it but doesn’t get to use it much.

06:40Copy video clip URL Murrow asks Veeck how he manages to stay in shape, as well. Veeck goes over to a storage chest in the bedroom, pulling out a tennis racket and tells the story of how he built a tennis court in Arizona once to try beating Hank Greenberg, who he claims he still has not beaten.

07:40Copy video clip URL Murrow asks Veeck how many neckties he owns and he replies, “None except for the day after Christmas.” He opens his bedroom closet and shows his wardrobe, which consists of 50-60 white shirts and a couple of sport coats. Veeck talks about his philosophy about ties, and why he chooses not to wear one.

09:00Copy video clip URL They discuss Veeck’s propensity to deliver speeches. Veeck claims that he makes about 300 speeches a year, and that he enjoys it very much. He also notes that women usually ask the best questions and that they know quite a great deal more about baseball than people give them credit for.

10:55Copy video clip URL Mary Frances comments on how they’ve had 8 different homes in 9 years of marriage.

11:25Copy video clip URL Bill and Murrow talk about Veeck’s baseball promotions and “stunts.” Veeck says that he believes in an “outrageous idea” that going to the ball park should be fun. He says that the “best stunt is a winning baseball team,” and notes that there’s not much personality in baseball any more. He agrees with Murrow that he’s not a conformist when it comes to baseball. Veeck continues to say that this is one of the problems with our society, that we “try to make everyone fit into a mold.”

13:10Copy video clip URL Veeck comments on public education and military service, saying that these often contribute to this conformity.

13:45Copy video clip URL Murrow asks Mary Frances if Bill has made her a “non-conformist.” She replies that she already had that tendency in her, which is one of the reasons why Veeck married her.

13:55Copy video clip URL Murrow thanks the Veecks and introduces another commercial break for Kent cigarettes.

14:10Copy video clip URL End of tape.

 

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