Daniel Schorr died today.
He was 93.
I knew he had been around forever, but since he still gave relevant essays on N.P.R. and delivered them with such intelligence that the coherency belied his advanced years, I could have sworn he was twenty years younger.
The dude was hand-picked by Edward R. Murrow, got thrown out of Russia for not adhering to their strict sense of editorial review, was threatened with jail time for not revealing his sources, and was one of the key members of the press during Watergate.
In fact, when news divisions got a hold of the Nixon Administration’s “Enemies List,” he began to read it aloud on the air and paused ever so slightly when he got to name #17.
The name was his own and the reason for his ranking was because he was considered “A real media enemy.”
But the best Daniel Schorr story-the one that enables him to reach such a pathetic blog like this one-is the time when he joined Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention on stage.
Zappa was trying to get young people to vote, and who better than to relay that message than Daniel Schorr. Nothing screams hip quite like an old Jewish dude with an encyclopedic memory.
The true test of Schorr’s hipness was after he gave his little speech when Zappa teased him with a question.
“Would you like to sing something?”
Schorr through Zappa a curve by singing a few bars of “It Ain’t Neccesarily So” from the Gershwin musical Porgy & Bess.
Frank and the band tried their best to try and find the correct chord progression to the song while Schorr himself tried to find the right key.
You can hear a bit of that event at the ten-minute mark, but do yourself a favor and check out the complete NPR story below.