Starting Wednesday, The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric will update four folksy pieces first reported by Charles Kuralt, the good-natured deep-voiced wanderer who for more than a decade in the 1960s and 70s traveled to off-the-beaten path towns to report stories about oddballs, hidden artisans, lovable dreamers, beautiful places and just plain folk for a segment of the program called "On the Road."
Correspondent Steve Hartman's "Assignment America" goes in some of the same directions, but Kuralt and his van piled on 600 reports, for which Kuralt was awarded the Peabody Award twice.
On Wednesday, Hartman goes to Darwin, Minn. to revisit the man who claims to have collected the largest ball of twine in the world. The following Wednesday, Hartman catches up with the grandson-in-law of an artisan in Big Fork, Minn. who Kuralt visited in 1982 to watch him build birch bark canoes. The grandson continues the practice.
On Nov. 19, Hartman reports on the Youngstown, Ohio man claimed to be the nation's top-selling shoe salesman, Kuralt first interviewed in 1983.
The last segment, airing Nov. 26, will recall the 1985 story of the day Kuralt spent with the fastest New York bike messenger, then 24. Today, he owns his own messenger service.
As a CBS press release notes, a generation of viewers have never seen a Charles Kuralt piece, but to many viewers they were sentimental favorites that pleasantly swerved away from the news of the day to present the non-news, usually from small town America, or little stories from big cities.
Kuralt went on to anchor CBS Sunday Morning from 1979-1995. He died two years after his retirement, from cancer.