A modern milestone in news coverage” – The Herald Tribune

October 1962. The Cold War was at its zenith. Nikita Khrushchev visited the United Nations in NY. David Susskind announced that the Soviet Premier would appear on his show ‘Open End’ for what became an historic interview.

Negative reaction from both press and public followed. No Soviet leader had been interviewed by an American, much less live on television. Susskind’s office was deluged with telephone calls, telegrams, and hate mail from people who called him a ‘dirty red’ and far worse. The New York Times called the announcement of the interview “disgusting”.

The interview, which has not been seen in full since its original air date, went forward and the timing was impeccable. It took place just after the infamous U-2 spy plane incident when tensions between the Soviet Union and the U.S. were at their height.

What resulted was a contentious, but open discussion comparing Soviet communism with American capitalism.

David Susskind and Nikita Khrushchev (1962)

1962 / 215 minutes / Black and White / English and Russian with translator present / A production of David Susskind’s Open End


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Also available is the 1963 David Susskind Interview with Dr. Martin Luther King