Vault: Father Best, WEWS reporter/priest, with Pope in New York and Rome in 1965

CLEVELAND - Pope Paul visited New York in a whirlwind one-day trip October 4, 1965.

In a 14-hour visit, he met President Johnson, addressed the United Nations, stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, held a mass at Yankee Stadium and went to the New York’s World Fair.

WEWS sent cameraman Walt Glendenning and local priest Father Eugene Best to cover the pontiff’s historic visit.

According to press clippings from Cleveland State University's Cleveland Press Collection archives, Father Eugene Best directed the radio-TV department of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese from 1961 to 1970. He taught courses at St. Mary's Seminary and Ursuline College.

His coverage in 1965 included traveling aboard the TWA plane the Pope used. Best and Glendenning were among media members accompanying the Pope as he returned to Rome.

It was not unusual for local TV stations to do national or international stories in the early days of TV news.

Networks covered big stories but local news departments got more bang for their buck. Network newcasts could offer a story of a minute or two. ABC, for example, only offered a 15-minute nightly newscast anchored by a 26-year-old Peter Jennings.

Best does a play-by-play of the Pope greeting the media on the plane. He also does a stand up explaining Pope Paul VI gave a blessing to the viewers of Cleveland but his holiness was too close to the camera so it didn’t work out.

Best and Glendenning filed stories from Rome for a few days before returning to Cleveland.

The video in our player is a quick compilation Father Best and the station used for an entry in the Gabriel Award.

The Gabriel Awards recognize positive film or television productions and are sponsored by the Catholic Academy of Communication Professionals. The awards, coincidentally, began in 1965, the year of Father Best's coverage.

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