Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Good Night, and Good Luck!

Hollywood on the Potomac

Chris Berry and George Clooney

If you think that means “sweet dreams,” you’re wrong. “Good Night, And Good Luck” is both the signature sign-off used by CBS broadcaster Edward R. Murrow on his nightly newscast in the 1950’s and the title of a new movie directed by George Clooney.

It chronicles the scaremonger tactics used by Senator Joseph McCarthy to expose so-called communists in the U.S. during The Cold War, thus gaining notoriety for himself and using fear tactics subsequently known as “McCarthyism.”

While the McCarthy was terrorizing Americans, including many Hollywood heavyweights, an outraged Murrow defiantly took the senator’s agenda to task on the air waves— much to the chagrin of the network executives whom he eventually won over.

Clooney, who plays Murrow’s executive producer, Fred Friendly, arrived in Washington to speak at a reception co-hosted by the Radio- Television News Directors Association and Warner Independent Pictures on September 20th at the newly renovated Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown. Clad in signature black, throngs of attractive young guests got closerthanthis delaying the Q&A, but hey… It was George Clooney.

Also seen: David Strathairn, who plays Murrow; Grant Heslov, cowriter, producer and the actor who plays Don Hewitt, the CBS producer who later became the founding executive producer of “60 Minutes” chatting it up with The Washington Post’s Ben Bradlee and writer/author Sally Quinn; as well as FOX News’ Chris Wallace and wife Lorraine; and former Postie Myra MacPherson, who has just submitted her manuscript on muckraker I.F. Izzy Stone with her husband and former Florida Senator Jack Gordon.

The panel discussion was moderated by Marvin Kalb, the last correspondent hired by Edward R. Murrow at CBS. Clooney, whose father was a long-time TV anchor in Cincinnati, said he has been interested in journalism since he was a child, and that Edward R. Murrow was one of his broadcast heroes. Overheard: Asked if he would go into politics as did his father, Clooney laughingly and knowingly responded that he had way too much messy personal history, making that a rather firm no. The movie is a must see. And, if you ever hear a broadcaster sign off with, “Good night, And good luck,” beware!

Rita Wilson, Tom Hanks,& Jim Lovel

That may have been the case when first spoken by Apollo XIII Commander Jim Lovell in April of 1970, and again by Tom Hanks as Commander Lovell in Ron Howard’s “Apollo 13” in June of 1995, but it certainly not the case when the National Air and Space Museum lifted off the world premiere of Hanks’ new space odyssey “Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3-D” on September 21.

Hanks, looking fit and trim, was accompanied by his actress wife Rita Wilson on the red carpet where “moon walking” took on new meaning. Among the celebrity guests roaming the halls were Apollo 13 Commander Jim Lovell, Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 15 astronaut Dr. David Scott. Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham and TV’s Bill Nye, “The Science Guy.”

Buzz Aldrin, who maintains a visible presence in Washington and is often seen at the home of Cristina and John McLaughlin during White House Correspondents’ Association weekend was in from California with his wife Lois as was Nancy Conrad, widow of astronaut Pete Conrad, the third man to walk on the Moon, and often referred to as “Rocketman.” Accompanied by Tina and Spike Karalekas, the energetic Aldrin was walking on air at the VIP reception. The 40-minute film creates real lunar missions in 3-D with celebrity voiceovers of the astronauts’ actual words in a way that has never been experienced before. “Kids still want to be astronauts,” Cunningham said while commenting on today’s riskaverse society.

No problem here Houston!

If you’re Mickey Rooney you don’t need to be tall or care what your real name is.

The pint-sized actor who began his path to stardom at 17 months of age and dated some of Hollywood’s most beautiful women including Ava Gardner, is alive and well. The overenergized and spirited octogenarian was delighted to attend this year’s Gunny’s Ball honoring former Senator Bob Dole at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel on September 10th.

Still amusing, still charming, it was clear why Jan Chamberlin his wife of many years kept a tight clutch on her man. After eight marriages, one of which lasted only 100 days, she’s been hanging on since 1978, so it’s safe to assume he finally got it right. The otherwise patriotic evening took a downturn when the emcee made a reference to Senator John Kerry’s military record. Even in a heavily Republican crowd, boos were instantaneous and loud.

CNN’s Edie Emery, ABC's Chris Berry, former Afghan Ambassador Ishaq Shahryar and wife Hafizah enjoyed a revival of patriotic music from “The Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli” accompanied by fanfare and flags.


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