Updated on March 22, 2023
Today’s Google Doodle is of Walter Cronkite, in honor of what would’ve been his 100th birthday.
Cronkite was for Baby Boomers and older Gen Xers the top TV news anchor. As a highly trusted voice, Cronkite anchored the “CBS Evening News” between 1962 and 1981. Cronkite covered various major historical events, from the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King to the moon landing. Later years saw him do voice overs for documentaries, the occasional special, and even animation. Cronkite passed away in 2009.
As such, Cronkite’s been featured or parodied in various cartoons. Below’s a few examples of such in comics and animation.
“Superman” #233 (January 1971) sees Clark Kent transferred to the WGBS evening news, a position Clark holds up until the 1986 Byrne reboot. After his initial broadcast, Lois notes she “still prefers Walter Cronkite.”
“New Adventures of Superboy” #26-27 (February-March 1982) manages to revolve around time-travel, Kennedy, the space program, and Cronkite. The result’s one big bunch of 1960s references, thanks to DC’s floating timeline.
The plot: 14-year-old Clark in 1966 is assigned to write a paper about a Project Mercury space launch in 1962. Clark and his classmates are told to cover their assignment as if they were actually witnessing it in person. Clark decides to go one better for his paper, and actually go back in time as Superboy. Traveling back in time to 1962, Superboy arrives (as an intangible being) at Cape Canaveral, and notes he has “an even better view of the launch than Walter Cronkite!”
Eventually, Clark learns that he’ll turn into an invisible phantom when visiting an era when he’s still alive. Superboy also learns President Kennedy asked the younger Boy of Steel to secretly save the Mercury mission from Russian spies.
Later, Ma Kent later chews younger-Clark out for trying to write about the day’s events for a school paper. Younger-Clark used super-hypnosis to erase his memory of the day’s events, explaining why “our” Clark didn’t remember any of this. Clark returns to 1966, and writes the paper like a “normal” student (using magazines and books).
Cronkite was heavily associated with covering the various space launches for CBS, including the moon landing in 1969. The story shows younger-Clark watching Cronkite on TV covering the Mercury launch.
Apparently, the Kents owned a color TV in 1962. In real life, CBS broadcast the actual Mercury launches in black-and-white.
In 1962, NASA launched manned Mercury spacecrafts on February 20, May 24, and October 3. The February launch was by John Glenn, who became the first American to orbit the Earth.
Walter Cronkite appeared in several 1970s Marvel comics. “Captain America” #125 (May 1970) first featured Cronkite, as part of a story about Cap traveling to Vietnam. Like DC’s floating timelines, presumably this story happened quite differently in current Marvel continuity.
Cronkite also appeared in a subsequent Captain America story, as well as in “Daredevil” #70 (November 1970).
Pinky and the Brain
The episode “All You Need is Narf” is a Beatles parody set in 1967. The mice travel to India, where Pinky becomes famous as a guru. Several scenes show Pinky (at the New Delhi branch of ACME Labs) watching “Walter Concrete” anchor the evening news.
In real life, India had television at the time, but it was run by a state broadcaster.
The episode “Uneasy Rider” has Cronkite reduced to working at a fast food restaurant. The restaurant’s teenaged manager isn’t impressed by, or aware of, who he’s employing. Instead, he tells Cronkite to put on a hairnet.
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story
Cronkite did a voice for the 1993 animated film “We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story.” The film flopped at the box office (and has a 38% Rotten Tomatoes rating), but is available on DVD.
See my previous post about “Liberty’s Kids.” The PBS series saw Cronkite perform the voice of Ben Franklin. The series included interstitial segments where Franklin “delivers” colonial-era news.