June 23, 1993 Letter From John Minary -- Secretary To Wm. S. Paley -- Cbs-cia For Sale
You are offerding a historic letter from John S. Minary, who was the personal secretary to William S. Paley, owner of CBS from the late 1920s. Paley employed Lee Harvey Oswald's closest friend. Paley was married into the Hearst family and we find George de Mohrenschildt who was also employed by Paley tied to the Hearst family. See my letters from Hearst secretaries. William S. Paley biography
William S. Paley (September 28, 1901 – October 26, 1990) was the chief executive who built Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) from a small radio networkradio and television network operations in the United States. into one of the foremost
Paley's father, Samuel Paley, a Ukrainian Jewish
immigrant, ran a cigar company and, as the company became increasingly
successful, the new millionaire moved his family to Philadelphia in the
early 1920s. William Paley matriculated at Western Military Academy in Alton, IL then received his college degree from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in expectation that he would take an increasingly active role running the family cigar business.
The younger Paley's career took a fateful turn in 1927 when his
father, brother-in-law and some business partners bought a struggling
Philadelphia-based radio network of 16 stations called the Columbia Phonographic Broadcasting System.
Paley Senior's intention had been to use his acquisition as nothing
more than an advertising medium for promoting the family's cigar
business, which included the La Palina
brand. Within a year, under William's leadership, cigar sales had more
than doubled, and, in 1928, the Paley family secured majority ownership
of the network. Within a decade, Paley had expanded the network to 114
Paley quickly grasped the earnings potential of radio and recognized
that good programming was the key to selling advertising time and, in
turn, bringing in profitsnetwork and to affiliate owners. Before Paley, most businessmen viewed radio stations
as stand-alone outlets or, in other words, as the broadcast equivalent
of local newspapers. Individual stations originally bought programming
from the network and, thus, were considered the network's clients. to the
Paley changed broadcasting's business model not only by developing successful and lucrative broadcast programming but also by viewing the advertiserssponsors) as the most significant element of the broadcasting equation. Paley provided network programming
to affiliate stations at nominal cost, thereby ensuring the widest
possible distribution for both the programming and the advertising. The
advertisers then became the network's primary clients and, because of
the wider distribution brought by the growing network, Paley was able to
charge more for the ad time. Affiliates were required to carry
programming offered by the network for part of the broadcast day,
receiving a portion of the network's fees from advertising revenue. At
other times in the broadcast day, affiliates were free to offer local
programming and sell advertising time locally. (
Paley's recognition of how to harness the potential reach of broadcasting
was the key to his growing CBS from a tiny chain of stations into what
was eventually one of the world's dominant communication empires. During
his prime, Paley was described as having an uncanny sense for popular
and exploiting that insight to build the CBS network. As war clouds
darkened over Europe in the late 1930s, Paley recognized Americans'
desire for news coverage of the coming war and built the CBS news division into a dominant force just as he had previously built the network's entertainment division.
During World War II, Paley served in the psychological warfare branch in the Office of War Information, under General Dwight Eisenhower, and held the rank of colonel. It was while based in London, England, during the war when Paley came to know and befriend Edward R. Murrow, CBS's head of European news.
In 1946, Paley promoted Frank Stanton to president of CBS. CBS expanded into TV and rode the post-World War II boom to surpass NBC, which had dominated radio.
CBS has owned the Columbia Record Company and its associated CBS Laboratories since 1939. In 1948, Columbia Records introduced the 33-1/3-rpm long-playing vinyl disc to successfully compete with RCA Victor's 45-rpm vinyl disc. Also, CBS Laboratories and Peter Goldmark developed a method for color television. After lobbying by RCA President David Sarnoff and Paley in Washington, D.C., the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved the RCA color system as the standard, and CBS sold the patents to its system to foreign broadcasters as PAL SECAM. CBS was the last of the three broadcast networks to adopt color television, having to buy and license RCA equipment and technology.
PAL or Phase Alternating Line, an analogue TV-encoding system, is today
a television-broadcasting standard used in large parts of the world.
"Bill Paley erected two towers of power: one for entertainment and one for news," 60 Minutes creator Don Hewitt claimed in his autobiography, Tell Me a Story. "And he decreed that there would be no bridge between them.... In short, Paley was the guy who put Frank Sinatra and Edward R. Murrow on the radio and 60 Minutes on television."
The relationship between Paley and his news staff was not always smooth. His friendship with Ed Murrow, one of the leading lights in the CBS news division (and by then a vice president of CBS), suffered during the 1950s over the hard-hitting tone of the Murrow-hosted See It Now
series. The implication was that the network's sponsors were uneasy
about some of the controversial topics of the series, leading Paley to
worry about lost revenue to the network as well as unwelcome scrutiny
during the era of McCarthyism. In 1955, Alcoa withdrew its sponsorship of See It Now,
and eventually the program's weekly broadcast on Tuesdays was stopped,
though it continued as a series of special segments until 1958.
In 1959, James T. Aubrey, Jr., became the president of CBS. Under Aubrey, the network became the most popular on television with shows like The Beverly Hillbillies and Gilligan's Island. However, Paley's personal favorite was Gunsmoke; in fact, he was such a fan of Gunsmoke that, upon its threatened cancellation in 1967, he demanded that it be reinstated, a dictum that led to the abrupt demise of Gilligan's Island, which had already been renewed for a fourth season.
During the 1963–1964 television season, 14 of the top 15 shows on
prime-time and the top 12 shows of daytime television were on CBS.
Aubrey, however, fought constantly with Fred W. Friendly
of CBS News, and Paley did not like Aubrey's taste in low-brow
programming. Aubrey and Paley bickered to the point that Aubrey
approached Frank Stanton to propose a take-over of CBS. The takeover
never materialized and, when CBS's ratings began to slip, Paley fired
Aubrey in 1965.
In 1972, Paley ordered the shortening of a second installment of a two-part CBS Evening News series on the Watergate, based on a complaint by Charles Colson, an aide to President Richard M. Nixon.
And later, Paley briefly ordered the suspension of instant and often
negatively critical analyses by CBS news commentators, which followed
the Presidential addresses.
Over the years, Paley sold portions of his family stockholding in
CBS. At the time of his death, he owned less than nine percent of the outstanding stock. In 1995, five years after Paley's death, CBS was bought by Westinghouse Electric Corporation and, in 1999, by Viacom, which itself was once a subsidiary of CBS. Today, CBS is owned by the CBS Corporation, after being spun off from Viacom in 2006. National Amusements is the majority owner of the CBS Corporation and the "new" Viacom.
In the 1940s, William Paley and Dr. Leon Levy formed Jaclyn Stable, which owned and raced a string of thoroughbred race horses. Paley formed a modern art collection with as many as 40 major works, and he enjoyed photographing Picasso in Cap d'Antibes. Like Picasso, Paley drove an exotic French Facel Vega Facel II, the fastest four-seater car in the world in the early 1960s.
In 1964, CBS purchased the New York Yankees from Del Webb.
Subsequently, the storied baseball team fell into mediocrity, not
making the postseason for the next ten years. In 1973, Paley sold the
team at its low ebb for $8.7 million to Cleveland shipbuilder George Steinbrenner and a group of investors. Under the Steinbrenner regime, the Yankees grew in value to what, in April 2006, Forbes Magazine estimated was $1.26 billion, or about $280 million in 1973 dollars.
Marriage to Dorothy Hart Hearst
Paley met Dorothy Hart Hearst (1908–1998) while she was married to John Randolph Hearst, the third son of William Randolph Hearst. Paley fell in love with her, and, after her Las Vegas divorce from Hearst, she and Paley married on May 12, 1932, in Kingman, Arizona.
Dorothy called on her extensive social connections acquired during
her previous marriage to introduce Paley to several top members of
President Franklin Roosevelt's
government. She also exerted a considerable influence over Paley's
political views. She later said: "I can't believe he would have voted Democrat without me."
Dorothy began to become estranged from Paley during the early 1940s
because of his constant womanizing. They divorced on July 24, 1947, in Reno, Nevada,
and she retained custody of their two adopted children, Jeffrey Paley
and Hilary Paley. In 1953, Dorothy married stockbroker Walter Hirshon;
they divorced in 1961.
Marriage to Barbara Cushing Mortimer
Paley married divorcée, socialite and fashion icon Barbara "Babe" Cushing Mortimer (1915–1978) on July 28, 1947. She was the daughter of renowned neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing.
Paley and his second wife, in spite of their successes and social
standing, were barred from being members of country clubs on Long Island because he was Jewish. As an alternative, the Paleys built a summer home, "Kiluna North," on Squam Lake in New Hampshire and spent the summers there for many years, routinely entertaining their many friends, including Lucille Ball, Grace Kelly and David O. Selznick. The house was later donated to Dartmouth College and converted to use as a conference center. The couple had two children, William and Kate.
As noted, Paley was a notorious ladies' man who was adored by women
his whole life. Indeed, his first marriage to Dorothy ended when a
newspaper published the suicide note written to Paley by a former girlfriend. As a result of another relationship, he provided a stipend to a former lover, actress Louise Brooks,
for the rest of her life. In his later years, he enjoyed keeping
company with a coterie of devoted lady friends. Paley was included in a
list of the ten most eligible bachelors compiled by Cosmopolitan magazine in 1985; the irony of the octogenarian Paley being on the list was an inspiration for Late Night with David Letterman's nightly Top Ten lists.
Paley died of kidney failure on October 26, 1990. He was 89.
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June 23, 1993 Letter From John Minary -- Secretary To Wm. S. Paley -- Cbs-cia: $20