By now you know that Tom Brokaw left the NBC anchor chair last week to well-deserved accolades from all, but I want to say one more thing about him, because to me, he was more than just a fine reporter and fierce competitor. He has been a close friend for a long time, back since whence we covered Gerry Ford's White House together.
Tom and I had a lot of fun over the years playing jokes on each other, and I really got him a good one once when rumors were going around that he would be replaced as host of the "Today" show by Alan Alda, the star of "M*A*S*H," the popular TV series. Well, I wrote him a phony fan letter in which I turned the rumor around and said I understand he was replacing Alan Alda on "M*A*S*H," and I added that I had always felt he'd be better -- he would be better on a comedy show than a newscast. I signed a false name, of course.
To my astonishment, he took the letter for real and read it on the "Today" show, as he assured his viewers he was not going anywhere. It was a wonderful moment, at least for me. Later, when he realized he'd been had, he gave as good as he got. He told his viewers he'd been the victim of a hoax, perpetrated by a guy at CBS. He added, `I'd tell you his name, but you wouldn't recognize it.'
Well, you've had a great run, Tom, and we wish you the best as you step away from daily journalism, but don't get too relaxed, because come to think of it, I never really got you back for that one, and one of these days -- well, just you wait, Tom Brokaw. Just you wait.
By Bob Schieffer