DAVID BIANCULLI

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1961: Dave Garroway's Last Day on 'Today'
June 16, 2012  | By Christy Slewinski
 
This day in 1961 marked the final appearance of Dave Garroway on the Todayshow, one of television's most enduring programs.

A World War II vet and seasoned radio reporter, Garroway became one of television's first TV personalities as host of an experimental variety show, Garroway at Large, broadcast from Chicago.

In 1952, Garroway began hosting the newly-created morning show, Today, the brainchild of NBC president and television pioneer Sylvester "Pat" Weaver.

Nicknamed "The Communicator" for his ability to clearly explain complicated stories, Garroway possessed an easy-going manner that resonated with viewers. His willingness to work with his chimpanzee co-host, j. Fred Muggs, couldn't have hurt, either.

During his tenure on Today, Garroway also hosted various radio and TV programs, including the Sunday afternoon show, Wide Wide World.

Unbeknownst to viewers, Garroway battled depression, and toward the end of his Today career, Garroway's condition reportedly worsened. Shortly after his second wife died, Garroway announced his intention to leave Today as soon as his contract ran out, if not sooner. He said goodbye a few weeks later, four months before the end of his contract.

The following clip features Garroway on the set of the Today show. In it, he explains television technology to those unfamiliar with the new technology:

 
 
 
 
 
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