NPR's Liane Hansen Remembers Daniel Schorr

For many of us who work weekends on NPR, the clacking of Daniel Schorr's IBM Selectric typewriter meant that all was right with the world. Host Liane Hansen recalls her long association at NPR with Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr, who died Friday at the age of 93.

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is the sound of two hands typing.

(Soundbite of a typewriter)

HANSEN: For many of us who work weekends on NPR, the clacking of Daniel Schorr's IBM Selectric typewriter meant that all was right with the world.

Before I went to my own office on Saturday mornings, I would visit our late colleague as he was typing, preparing his "Week in Review" with Scott Simon. We would exchange flirtatious kisses on the cheek, and I would urge him to knock em dead.

During the celebration of my 20th anniversary on this show, Dan met our puzzlemaster, Will Shortz, for the first time. Dan liked to solve the New York Times crossword puzzle and had a story for Will.

DAN SCHORR: Several years ago, in the New York Times crossword puzzle - daily crossword puzzle, I was the answer.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SCHORR: I know many ways to think of reaching some heights in your lifetime. And I've had a few things here and there - some good, some bad. But of all the things that ever happened to me, to be enshrined in the New York Times crossword puzzle, that did it. I thank you.

(Soundbite of applause)

HANSEN: What you dont know is there's another part to that story because the clue was newsman Dan, and it was supposed to be Dan Schorr. And when Dan Schorr did the crossword puzzle, he initially put in Rather...

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: ...cause it has the same number of letters.

That says everything about Dan Schorr. He never took anything he achieved in his life for granted.

In 2008 on this program, Dan wrote about the shaky economy and the lessons that could be learned from the Great Depression of the '30s. After all, he had lived through it. And it offered me the chance to ask Dan, who wanted to be a music critic, about a song.

SCHORR: There's one song over this three-quarters of a century that I can still remember from memory.

HANSEN: Really?

SCHORR: Yeah.

HANSEN: Which one?

SCHORR: (Singing) Once I built a railroad, and made it run, made it race against time. Once I built a railroad, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime? Once I built a tower to the sun, brick and mortar and lime. Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime? Once in khaki suits, gee, we looked swell, filled with that Yankee Doodly Yum. Half a million boots went slugging through hell. And I was the kid with a drum. Say, don't you remember? They called me Al. It was Al all the time. Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal. Brother, can you spare a dime?

HANSEN: The inimitable Daniel Schorr, who passed away peacefully this past Friday, at the age of 93. Rest in peace, Mr. Schorr.

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