Legendary Lensman  | American Journalism Review
 AJR  The Beat
From AJR,   June 2002

Legendary Lensman   

Isadore Bleckman looks back on 36 years as a cameraman for CBS News.

By Lonnie Shekhtman

CBS News cameraman Isadore Bleckman packs up his equipment and retires after 36 years with the network. "It's the best job in America that I've just left," says Bleckman, 67. "There has been none better." He spent 12 years "On the Road" with Charles Kuralt and 24 years with "Sunday Morning." Bleckman filmed Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald--"being in the right place with the camera is everything"--and was the only CBS cameraman to travel to China with President Richard Nixon, where he "got to hang out with Theodore White, Barbara Walters, incredible people. Here I am, just a camera schlepper." Says "Sunday Morning" anchor Charles Osgood, "You're really lucky if you get Izzy to work on your piece, because he can get the most that's possible to get out of a camera." Heavyweights like Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather have requested Bleckman for their stories. Now Bleckman is ready to do "some serious sailing" with his wife on their 40-foot boat and finish a 30-year project, restoring his 1951 Bentley. In explaining what makes Bleckman so special, Osgood quotes pianist Rudolf Serkin: " 'You don't play the piano with your fingers, you play with your heart,' and the same [is true] for the camera."



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