Steve Kroft: To me, that's a classic Mike Wallace interrogation.
[Mike Wallace: Father knows best.]
Steve Kroft: He said very little, except react. And you could tell a lot from the reaction.
[Mike Wallace: And if you get in the way of father, father will take care of you.]
That kind of audacity is something that Mike perfected long before "60 Minutes."
[Mike Wallace, on set of "Night Beat": Really.]
It began 50 years ago, with a local New York interview show called "Night Beat."
[Mike Wallace: Good evening. I'm Mike Wallace, the show is "Night Beat."]
Mike Wallace: Up to "Night Beat," I was utterly anonymous. "Night Beat" was the one.
[Mike Wallace, montage: What do you know about that? Who in the United States is qualified? What kind of people are your friends?]
"Night Beat" -- and the spinoffs Mike did for ABC -- revolutionized TV talk. Here he is with another Mike: Labor Leader Mike Quill.
[Mike Wallace: What about statements you made in your own paper...]
Mike Wallace: We were doing the kinda show that had never been done before. Nasty questions, abrasive questions, confrontational questions.
[Mike Quill: And you have no right to sit in judgment of me.
Mike Wallace: I'm not sitting in judgment, I'm simply asking a question.
Mike Quill: I'm ready anytime you want to repeat the stupid question.]
The similarities with "60 Minutes" are striking. Mobster Mickey Cohen with Mike in 1957.
[Mike Wallace: You've killed at least one man, or how many more?
Mickey Cohen: Well -
Mike Wallace: How many more, Mickey?
Mickey Cohen: I have killed no men that, in the first place, didn't deserve killing.]
Mobster Jimmy Fratianno on "60 Minutes" In 1981.
[Mike Wallace: Jimmy, who was the first person you killed?
Jimmy Fratianno: Frankie Niccoli.
Mike Wallace: Where'd you kill him?
Jimmy Fratianno: In my house.
Mike Wallace: How'd you kill him?
Jimmy Fratianno: We strangled him. But I think it would bother me if I killed an innocent person.