John Reagan McCrary Jr.
October 13, 1910
Calvert, Texas, US
|Died||July 29, 2003 (aged 92)|
Phillips Exeter Academy
|Occupation||journalist, P.R. specialist, inventor of the talk show genre for television and radio|
(m. 1934; div. 1939)
John Reagan "Tex" McCrary Jr. (October 13, 1910 – July 29, 2003) was an American journalist and public relations specialist who popularized the talk show genre for television and radio along with his wife, Jinx Falkenburg, with whom he hosted the first radio talk show, Meet Tex and Jinx, as well as the radio show Hi Jinx and the television talk shows At Home and The Swift Home Service Club.
Life and career
Born in Calvert, Texas, McCrary graduated from the Phillips Exeter Academy in 1928 and from Yale University in 1932, where he served as chairman of campus humor magazine The Yale Record. He was a member of both Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity and Skull and Bones, where his club nickname was "Sancho Panza".:125
In 1934, McCrary married Brisbane's daughter Sarah. During their honeymoon in the Bahamas, McCrary designed the format of the Daily Mirror tabloid, which he was to edit until he joined the US Army Air Corps (later the US Air Force) in a PR capacity. He flew many bomber sorties with the 8th Air Force and was involved in the invasion of Sicily, and later the execution of Mussolini.
McCrary was then tasked with putting together a team of airborne war correspondents to cover the Twentieth Air Force. The press corps toured Europe in the weeks after V-E Day in a custom B-17 fitted with high-powered shortwave radio equipment. They started with Paris and moved on to examine first-hand the destruction from the Allied bombing campaigns on Hamburg and Dresden. That September, they were among the first Americans to enter Hiroshima after the atomic bombing. McCrary advised journalists not to cover the bombing, because he felt that the American people could not face the reality of the effects of the bombing, but John Hersey still covered the story in The New Yorker. Over the following few months the group toured Asia, making stops in China, French Indochina, Thailand, Burma, the Malay States and Java.
A staunch Republican, McCrary played a major role in convincing Dwight Eisenhower to run for the U.S. presidency in 1952. According to Richard Kluger's The Paper, McCrary was responsible for John Hay Whitney's purchase of the former The New York Herald Tribune.
McCrary also had connections to real estate magnate William Zeckendorf Sr., and provided promotional assistance to Freedomland U.S.A., a popular theme park located on several hundred acres of Zeckendorf property in The Bronx. McCrary and his wife are featured in the book Freedomland U.S.A.: The Definitive History (Theme Park Press, 2019).
McCrary died in New York City.
- Dagnes, Alison; Sachleben, Mark (2013-12-05). Scandal!: An Interdisciplinary Approach to the Consequences, Outcomes, and Significance of Political Scandals. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. p. 119. ISBN 9781623562229.
- Goldstein, Judith S. (2006-09-01). Inventing Great Neck: Jewish Identity and the American Dream. Rutgers University Press. p. 120. ISBN 9780813541235.
- Phillips Exeter Academy Alumni Records
- Kelly, Charles J. (2009). Tex McCrary: Wars-Women-Politics, An Adventurous Life across the American Century. Lanham, Maryland: Hamilton Books. p. 6.
- Robbins, Alexandra (2002). Secrets of the Tomb: Skull and Bones, the Ivy League, and the Hidden Paths of Power. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-72091-7.
- Severo, Richard (July 30, 2003). "Tex McCrary Dies at 92; Public Relations Man Who Helped Create Talk-Show Format". New York Times. Retrieved April 9, 2011.
- Kelly, Charles J. (2009). Tex McCrary: Wars, Women, Politics: An Adventurous Life Across the American Century. University Press of America. p. 82. ISBN 0761844562.
- Bowman, Martin (2015-08-31). RAF Fighter Pilots in WWII. Pen and Sword. p. 237. ISBN 9781473865723.
- Overseas Press Club of America (1948). Phillips, Joseph B.; Thompson, Craig; Hensell, Hester E.; Chaplin, W. W.; Doerflinger, William M. (eds.). As We See Russia. New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, Inc. p. 304.
- Kluger, Richard. The Paper: the life and death of the New York Herald Tribune. Richard Kluger with the assistance of Phyllis Kluger. New York, NY: Knopf, 1986. p.801; ISBN 0-394-50877-7
- Charles J. Kelly, Tex McCrary: Wars, Women, Politics: An Adventurous Life Across the Twentieth Century (Hamilton Books 2009, ISBN 978-0-7618-4455-6)