Before the Feminine Mystique and the #Metoo Movement Part Three:

Michelle Renee Kidwell
3 min readFeb 23, 2024

Drive and Ambition Against All Odds

Gene Shalit, Walters, and Frank McGee on The Today Show, 1973 NBC Television • Public domain…

1962

Since Barbara had been hired by the Today show six months prior, Barbara had been angling to get on air, but she wasn’t willing to admit it even in her memoir written years later she would write. “It never occurred to me I would have a regular on air role myself.” And then she added: “I just wanted to do whatever I was asked to do so I wouldn’t be replaced by some other female writer. I just wanted to keep my job.” Despite these words, everyone she worked with said she was driven and motivated by her own ambition rather than by some happy accident.

Her odds were stacked against her when it came to going on air. The voice coach’s efforts to correct her lisp had not been successful; her speech wasn’t mellifluous. The way she presents herself was intense in contrast to the light touch of the most successful morning hosts, the kind of hosts viewers found enjoyable when listening to them over their first cup of coffee in the morning.

After congratulating her on her writing job, Don Hewit remarked: “You don’t have the right looks to be on-air.” He continued, “And you don’t pronounce your R’s right. Forget about ever being in front of the camera.”

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Michelle Renee Kidwell

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge in the light: Helen Keller http://www.facebook.com/fansofMichellerkidwell