A few words about Louis Rukeyser

Rukeys_20051011173019In this age of shout TV, it is almost impossible to imagine a gentleman like Louis Rukeyser even getting on the air, no less getting his own show. He took the time to interview guests at length, to delve deeply into different areas and investment styles. Everything he did appeared to be the result of deep thought and quiet contemplation. You suspected he worked on his opening monologue all week – and it showed.

Lou was clearly of a different era, and I suspect he reveled in that fact. Could you picture him yelling Boo-Yah? (Me neither).

We have become victims of our own ever decreasing attention spans. In the place of that quiet contemplation, we get more noise than signal, more heat than light. There’s increasing less in the way of actual insight on financial TV, as we have opted instead for info-porn and entertainment.

His quiet solicitude will be greatly missed.

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  1. Big Al commented on May 3

    But he started on the Public system, and only went commercial after he became known. Sorry he has gone.

  2. clunk commented on May 3

    Yes, Lou will be missed. As for Cramer..he is an embarassment to the human race.

  3. trader75 commented on May 3

    Paul Kedrosky commented a few months ago that focus is the new black. I completely agree.

  4. jcf commented on May 3

    Hear, hear. His show on PBS was always a pleasure, probably because it was such a pleasure for him, and he elevated the tone of his panelists and guests as well. Was always a great entry point for neophytes entering this perilous enterprise, yet he never condescended. Always enthusiastic, if wry and Socratic, he never led cheers or promoted an agenda. Definitely the Father of Financial TV, in later years he looked more and more like the Father of His Country.

  5. econjohn commented on May 3

    only went commercial after he became known

    actually, he was unceremoniously ushered out in hopes of capturing a younger audience and, ulitimately, i believe, the wsj’s show, no?

    i grew up watching him. i have to call my mom and commiserate…

  6. Robert Cote commented on May 3

    I used to always order his end of year show transcript, the one where they all wore tuxedos and evening gowns. Cramer in a tux? He already sweats just dressed up in a people suit.

  7. tyoung commented on May 3

    He was a permabull on the stockmarket. This is the guy who “fired” Gail Dudek from the show in early 2000 for being wrongly bearish. That was about 4 months before the peak. He never had the good grace to invite her back.

  8. Uncle Jack commented on May 3

    I saw a tribute on another blog that said it pretty well, and it was something to the effect of, [they called it wall street week for a reason, you should sit down in a living room setting with a class of wine and contemplate your investments, instead of what we have now, which is “wall street shouting at you all day.”]

    I miss the puns and the elves index.

  9. Media SITREP commented on May 3

    R.I.P. Louis Rukeyser, Public Media Giant

    Louis Rukeyser, who died on Tuesday, is one of my first PBS memories, after the Muppets, Sesame Streets Maria (Sonia Manzano) and Mister Rogers. I can remember watching him with my dad on Friday nights. Im not sure I learned anything about i…

  10. Alaskan Pete commented on May 3

    Unfortunately Barry, it’s not limitied to financial tv. The news media in general has become a sound-byte tabloid circle jerk. 24/7 on the latest missing white woman, runaway bride, or Michael Jackson follies and virtually no substantive stories. Even when they cover important stories, they do a “he said/she said” and leave it at that without examining the truthfulness/merits of each and disecting the spin. The lauded “fourth estate” has failed miserable…which is one reason Colbert skewered their ass along with Bush at the Correspondents Dinner.

    As for Big Lou, he will be missed. A genuine fixture and asset to our country, and the kind of programming PBS used to be great for. Between losing him and Bill Moyers retiring, it’s just a real shame.

  11. Johnny Hom commented on May 4

    Barry,

    I had the good fortune of watching Lou tape his annual New Year’s show live. One thing that impressed me was just how BIG his head was. I truly was larger than life.

    An interesting note: Lou did NOT take all week to prepare his opening monologue. In fact, he would drive all the way down from Conneticutt to Owings Mills, MD just hours before the show. He would arrive approximately one hour before the show, and then by hand, compose his monologue in his dressing room.

    I guess with 5 hours on I-95, he had plenty of time to think about what he was going to say.

    Yes, I will miss Lou.

  12. Going Private commented on May 4

    How Sharper than a Serpent’s Tooth

    I admit it. I used to watch Louis Rukeyser in Wall Street Week all the time when I was younger. When I started, I was far too young (11) to be watching Louis Rukeyser, or anything remotely related to

  13. happyhawaiian commented on May 4

    LR’s was a deadly dull show. Lots of patently unfunny jokes and less-than-clever puns. No disrespect intended, but give me Jim Cramer anytime.

  14. Mark commented on May 4

    I second tyoung. The man was early TOUT-TV. He was just the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood version of the genre to Cramer’s Ren & Stimpy. Firing Gail Dudek by sending her an email and then letting her friends who watched his weekend show give her the news was beyond classless.

  15. john commented on May 4

    Good grief – a gentleman can’t even die without the jackals circling the corpse hack hack hacking at his reputation.

    Give him his due – we all make mistakes – many of them far worse than “Firing Gail Dudek…”.

  16. Mark commented on May 4

    john-

    Egads, of course you are correct. That was ungracious of me, the very thing I accused him of being.

  17. alan commented on May 4

    I third Tyoung and second Mark. Rukeyser was a brilliant, entertaining, and humorous man who knew the financial arena like a book. There never was a day that he was NOT a bull on the stock and bond markets and a fierce hater of gold as an investment. What he did to Gail Dudek was unconscionable.

  18. B commented on May 4

    YOu guys let me know where you live so I can watch the obituaries. When you die, I’ll be sure to show up and piss on your grave. Or maybe I’ll show up for the funeral and piss on your casket. Or show up to the viewing and piss on you. Better yet, why wait? How about a golden shower right now?

  19. john m commented on May 4

    Oh, for heaven’s sake. The guy is on TV for 35 years and all you guys can do is harp on the Gail Dudek thing? He ran a 99 44/100% classy show, made a mistake here and there, and–unlike younger people–lived and televised through the ghastliness of the ’70s market. That’s when I started watching him. The onscreen gracefulness and the ‘bad puns’ (which were actually a breath of fun fresh air in the humorless financial reporting of the time) and the nicely stodgy stage set all worked together to create something almost post-modern. This man winked at himself, the establishment, the guests…maybe his native intelligence, wit and light ironic touch became too subtle and gracious for a generation weaned on the crude, volume-driven fare that assaults us hourly. Myself, I can barely tolerate CNBC in the pre-Haines hours now, it’s so loud, hypey and sometimes downright nasty. ‘Cheese’ may be a good description. And Cramer? Well, he made gazillions in the greatest bull market in history, using methods and behavior that fit the crassness of our times–which he continues doing now that he’s a TV star. God bless him, but give me Rukeyser any day. Please.

  20. alan commented on May 4

    To “B”:

    Your confession a couple of days ago is very self revealing : “I still pee on the carpet. Can you reccommend help for me?” Barry suggested that you try “smacking yourself with a rolled up newspaper”. I say, let your psychiatrist do the smacking since doing it to yourself is a form of self-mutilation.

  21. wayne commented on May 4

    My formative years in the market were spent watching Lou’s show. The pace and depth of the questioning seem almost quaint now. His questions were more probing then anyone on Financial TV now. In fact, now that Insana is gone, CNBC has COMPLETELY gone off in the ADD infotainment direction. It is worse than worseless.

    My sincere thanks to Lou for helping form my budding interest in the market as a young college student

  22. B commented on May 4

    Can’t you tell my fetish is peeing? I have had my psychiatrist smack me with a roll of newspaper every so often. I usually have a prerequisite of her wearing black garters and a nice push up bra. Oh, and a sexy black mask.

  23. JJF commented on May 4

    A classy guy, he’ll be missed. We need a Classic TV channel where we can watch all the old broadcasters, the Cronkites, the Murrows, the Paars. It might not be newsworthy but neither is 99% of the stuff we see today anyway. It would, however, be a refreshing and constant reminder that TV can be done with intelligence and class, and we can be a better culture for it. Rukeyser would be right at home there.

  24. David Silb commented on May 4

    A man who truly put a face on the value of civil discussion and quiet contemplation. A class act.

    I think I caught Wall Street Week in Review not too long ago and Luis was still at the helm. Sadly I did not watch.

    But I did feel good about him still being on the air.

    I wished I had watched the show.

    It was nice to think someone Luis Rukeyser was still in this world with all the nonsense going on of late and markets acting funny.

    It would be nice to have a panel discussion of some depth and thought like he had done in the past.

  25. D W O commented on Jun 15

    I remember the show in which Louis Rukeyser dropped “Mama Bear” Gail Dudek from the tribe of Elves. Louis took pains to explain that she wasn’t dropped because she was a bear. She was dropped because the elves are expected to predict what will happen to the market three months forward, and Gail Dudek had the very worst record among the elves for the past several months.
    I usually caught Wall $treet Week on the radio, and I thought it more pleasant to listen to than to watch.

  26. Leonard A. Lucenti commented on Oct 1

    Some people hardly make an impression as they traverse among us.

    Louis Rukeyser was head and shoulders above all.

    No matter the condition of the stock market, watching his long running show always was interesting while entertaining.

    I have numerous tapes, labeled Dow 2000 way up to Dow 10,000…and you can see Lou’s age progression along with the change in styles.

    And I have his July 2001 newsletter, with his image and the (previous) Manhattan skyline in the background.

    So much has changed, and yet his words still ring true…never stop investing in quality stocks for the long term.

    I now ponder whether the flack he took with PBS may have irritated him enough to make him sick.

    Ironically, the replacement show soon was dropped.

    I sure do miss Lou and his great panel of guests…many of which are still on shows, but some have been defeated in peculiar ways.

    And some have been on record (I have the tapes) for some terrible stock calls.

    That’s the mysterious business of Wall Street, and nobody could smooth over it as well as Louis Rukeyser did.

    What a talented fellow Mr. Rukeyser was!

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