Historical records matching John Cameron Swayze
About John Cameron Swayze
John Cameron Swayze Born April 4, 1906 Wichita, Kansas, U.S.
Died August 15, 1995 (aged 89) Sarasota, Florida, U.S.
Occupation News presenter/reporter Game show panelist Years active 1940–1985
John Cameron Swayze (April 4, 1906 – August 15, 1995) was a popular news commentator and game show panelist in the United States during the 1950s.
He was born in Wichita, Kansas, the son of a wholesale drug salesman. He attended schools in Atchison, Kansas. Swayze first sought to work as an actor, but his activity in Broadway theater during 1929 ended when acting roles became scarce following Wall Street's stock market crash. Career
Swayze returned to the Midwest and worked for the Kansas City Journal Post as a reporter.
From there Swayze graduated to radio doing news updates for Kansas City's KMBC in 1940 and, reportedly, an experimental early television newscast. In Kansas City, Swayze broadcast news items prepared by United Press Kansas City bureau overnight editor Walter Cronkite. Four years later, Swayze went farther west, to Los Angeles and Hollywood, where NBC hired him for its western news division before moving him to its New York news operation in 1947.
During 1948, Swayze provided voice-over work for the 'Camel Newsreel Theatre', an early television news program that broadcast Movietone News newsreels.
At the same time Swayze proposed and obtained a radio quiz program, Who Said That?. The radio version lasted only a year, but Swayze was an occasional panelist in the television version of the program, which was broadcast on NBC from 1948 to 1955. In the series, celebrities try to determine the speaker of quotations taken from recent news reports.
NBC, meanwhile, made Swayze the host of its national political convention coverage in 1948—the first commercial coverage ever by television (NBC Television did broadcast the Republican National Convention from Philadelphia during 1940 on a non-commercial, semi-experimental basis). Anchor
Swayze was chosen in 1949 to host NBC's first television newscast, the fifteen-minute Camel News Caravan. He read items from the news wires and periodically interviewed newsmakers but he is remembered best for his two catch-phrases: "Let's go hop scotching the world for headlines" and his somewhat cartoonish sign-off: "That's the story, folks—glad we could get together. And now, this is John Cameron Swayze saying, good night." In early 1955, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, maker of Camel cigarettes, reduced its sponsorship to three days a week. Chrysler's Plymouth division sponsored the other days and on those days, the program was labeled the Plymouth News Caravan. In time Swayze's almost manic style seemed frivolous compared to his CBS rival Douglas Edwards with the News who Swayze once out-rated but whose anchor sounded sober and no-nonsense. During 1956 Swayze was dismissed in favor of a new anchor team Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. The Huntley-Brinkley Report soon became the nation's top-rated television newscast; Edwards was replaced during 1962 by Walter Cronkite.
By that time Swayze—despite a brief anchoring of an evening newscast for the American Broadcasting Company—was more familiar for a series of commercials he did for Timex. Again he showed a penchant for catch-phrases, especially: "It takes a licking and keeps on ticking." Swayze performed in Timex commercials that were mock newscasts before delivering the catch-phrase at the end of the commercials. Swayze did the Timex commercials for over two decades.
He appeared in a Volvo advertisement being driven in an early 1970s two-door model on a muddy racetrack by a professional rally driver.
Swayze also appeared in commercials for Studebaker promoting the automobile company's 1963 model line. He also appeared in a 1984 commercial for radio station WHTZ in New York City, which was broadcast in other markets promoting different radio stations. Popular culture
He was satirized easily enough himself, perhaps most memorably by comics Bill Buchanan and Dickie Goodman, whose first "break-in" novelty record (a mock newscast spliced with current rock and roll music), "The Flying Saucer," satirized him as reporter John Cameron Cameron (played by Goodman). Swayze is mentioned in a lyric of Allan Sherman's novelty song "My Grandfather's Watch", a parody of Henry Clay Work's "My Grandfather's Clock". In 1980 Ray Stevens recorded a novelty song titled "The Watch Song" where, in the song, two guys meet up in a bar and fight over an adulterous woman. Ray's character ends up having his wrist watch broken which, hilariously, sends him over the edge. He beats up his opponent so severely that the man dies. Ray's character speaks out loud to John Cameron Swayze various times throughout the song.
John Cameron Swayze made periodic cameo performances in movies beginning with 1957's A Face in the Crowd. He also hosted and narrated from 1955-57 the long-running television drama series, The Armstrong Circle Theatre (1950–1963) after leaving NBC News, as well as a daytime television game show for ABC, Chance for Romance.
He is mentioned in one of the scenes of Walt Disney World's attraction, Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.
Swayze was fairly frequently mentioned on the television series The Golden Girls—for example in season one, Episode 9 broadcast on Nov. 16, 1985, Blanche and the Younger Man. Blanche finished telling the story when she was almost Mrs. Andy Griffith and Sophia reminds Dorothy when Blanche told a similar story but about John Cameron Swayze. His Timex commercials are mentioned in the episode "The Stan Who Came to Dinner", which broadcast January 10, 1987, where Sophia (Estelle Getty) tells of a recurring dream where John Cameron Swayze straps a Timex to her chin and tosses her across an icy pond.
In episode 805 of Mystery Science Theater 3000, when the watch of a character in the movie The Thing That Couldn't Die is found in a traderat's nest, Tom Servo exclaims: "John Cameron Traderat."
Swayze is also mentioned in Damian "Junior Gong" Marley's Pimper's Paradise when Marley uses a simile to describe how the main character in the song behaves. Honors
Swayze is the first person shown in the montage of former anchorpersons that currently begins the NBC Nightly News. Personal life
John Cameron Swayze was the son of Jesse Ernest Swayze and Christine Cameron, aka Camerona (cited by some sources). He married Beulah Mae Estes in 1935. He was survived by his widow and two children: John Cameron Swayze, Jr., of Bedford, New York, who anchored weekend news on WCBS Newsradio 880 in New York until October 2010 (under the name Cameron Swayze) and Suzanne Swayze Patrick of Alexandria, Virginia; 6 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. He died in Sarasota, Florida, on August 15, 1995.
John Cameron Swayze and the actor Patrick Swayze were 6th cousins once removed. Both John and Patrick's father are descendants by 7 generations of Judge Samuel Swayze (March 20, 1688/1689-May 11, 1759) and his wife Penelope Horton (1689/1690-1746). Judge Swayze was the son of Joseph Swasey and his wife Mary Betts. Mary Betts was the daughter of Captain Richard Betts and his wife Joanna Chamberlayne. Other noteworthy relations descending from the Betts or Swayze lineages are actors William Holden and Tom Hulce, and Evgenia Citkowitz, wife of actor Julian Sands.