In the 20th century, television set the world on fire- literally. And it was all thanks to the invention of satellite broadcasting. But originally, television was meant to be a communication tool only. It was not meant to be a source of entertainment- at least not from the beginning. Early television programs were mostly documentary type shows that showcased news, sports and other related information.
Television has also played an important role in breaking down taboos and making people more open-minded. For this reason, it is no wonder that television broadcasters such as Dickie Davis have made such an impact on society.
Davis’ career began in the 1940s when he worked as a newscaster for WSFA in Montgomery, Alabama. During his time with the station, Davis covered stories such as James Earl Ray’s trial for the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. He also covered the assassination of President Kennedy live on air and brought it to the attention of the entire nation. As a result of his work, Davis quickly became known as ‘The Voice of Humanity.’ Throughout his career, Davis worked alongside esteemed journalists like Bill Walton and Lowell Thomas to bring important stories to the public realm.
Davis was also known for his work as a political commentator during Richard Nixon’s tenure as president. In some cases this put Davis at odds with Nixon himself, but he remained steadfast in his criticism of both presidents regardless of party affiliation. He also worked alongside other newscasters like Walter Cronkite to expose the lies about Vietnam propagated by the Johnson administration. This ultimately led to Nixon’s withdrawal from Vietnam and paved the way for victory in 1968. Davis continued to work as a newscaster & commentator until his death in 2003 at age 88.
Hindenburg disasters are rare but unforgettable events- even 80 years later. The ill-fated airship burst into flames over New Jersey in May of 1937, killing at least 39 passengers and crew members and leaving hundreds injured on board. Many of these passengers were prominent figures attending the Graf Zeppelin’s tour of America. Even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt was on board when it crashed, suffering only minor injuries along with her secretary and son. Davis had covered both previous disasters involving Zeppelins, so he was well prepared for these events when he reported them live on Television Newsreel (TNT). Davis was even one of three reporters who witnessed the aftermath of this disaster; he captured footage of distraught families searching through remains of their loved ones.
Davis had other memorable on-air moments as well as off-air ones!). Some notable examples include covering both the Hindenburg disaster and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inauguration 82 days later. He also covered Jackie Robinson’s first game with the Brooklyn Dodgers and traveled with Robinson to observe segregated restaurants while covering Robinson’s baseball career in 1947. All told, Davis covered some 392 major league games during his 44-year broadcasting career. He also made 26 appearances on ABC’s This Is Hollywood television show in 1965 and 1966, where he showcased memorable moments from movie productions behind-the-scenes.
Throughout his career, Davis became well known for covering major events that shaped history through his work as a newscaster and commentator. Both Davis’ life and work are an inspiration to those who stand up for what is right- regardless of consequences. Both his life and work are an example for future generations about how to persevere through turbulent times and make positive changes in society.
Leave a Reply