What do Charles Osgood, Rube Goldberg and Snoop Dogg have in common?
Answer: CBS Sunday Morning, a glistening jewel of a TV show that’s worth getting up early to watch.
In a world of increasingly micro-form storytelling, Sunday Morning is a luxurious throwback. It runs 90 minutes, with many stories running 10 minutes or longer.
My wife Judy and I have been watching Sunday Morning for several months now. I wish we’d discovered it long ago. It’s a zesty, delightful mix of feature stories presented by superb journalistic storytellers.
Osgood is the anchor. He has a witty, erudite style that sets the tone for the show. He’s an accomplished musician (the banjo and piano are his specialties) and writer, a fellow who wears a bow tie and seems avuncular without being stodgy.
Last Sunday, the menu was typically diverse. A piece profiled Snoop Dogg and his evolution from hard-core street rapper to mellowed-out anti-gun advocate. Another segment looked at the zany creations of Rube Goldberg and how his work in inspiring a new generation of inventors.
There was a story about the late Danny Kaye, a pioneering U.N. emissary and hyper-versatile actor who also happened to be among the best chefs in Los Angeles. A story on the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir explored how digital music delivery has put the financial crush on so many artists, and what Weir plans to do about it.
Each show ends with a glimpse of nature. This is TV prepared with great care and meant to be savored.
The show was started in 1979 with original host Charles Kuralt, aiming to be the TV version of a newspaper Sunday magazine. It has endured, and apparently, is flourishing: Last November, a special food-themed program drew over 6.25 million viewers, the biggest draw in nearly 20 years.
As a journalist, I find the program absolutely first-rate, from the story selection to the interviewing, writing and videography.
As a viewers, Judy and I always find something fresh, something provocative, something worth a chuckle.
Last Sunday, along with Snoop and Rube and Danny Kaye and Bob Weir, the show celebrated its own 35th birthday.
As a finale, Osgood offered a bit of poetry. Here are the final lines:
Mountain streams thawing to welcome each Spring,
We leave you with nature and birds on the wing.
When the sun shines,
When the week's new,
There's a feeling glad,
For us looking back at these 35 years,
The feeling is not half-bad.
In this area, Sunday Morning is on at 6 a.m. on CBS13.