In 1955, Frank Conniff went to the Soviet Union to interview Nikita Khrushchev and other communist leaders. This led the following year to his winning the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting. At that same time he was a minor celebrity—frequently appearing on Who Said That?—a game show developed by Fred Friendly, who was later closely associated with Edward R Murrow. Later in his life, Conniff became TV’s Frank on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Wait! That’s can’t be right. The MST3K Frank Conniff was only born on the year that Frank Conniff won the Pulitzer. What’s going on, of course, is that TV’s Frank is actually Frank Conniff Jr. But given that his journalist father died when he was only 14 years old, he didn’t feel the need to distinguish. But it’s very confusing. What’s more, if you look at his Wikipedia page, there is no mention of his father except the usual warning, “For the Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, see Frank Conniff (journalist).” And on that page, the only mention of the younger Conniff is under “children” in the boxed information. (Actually, I just noticed that Frank Conniff the Younger has the same information in his box.)
It’s kind of weird because normally there would be some information like, “Frank Conniff was born on 30 August 1956 in New York City, the son of Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Frank Conniff…” The only reason I found out about Conniff’s famous father was that he sent out a tweet yesterday:
My dad won a Pulitzer, so I'm sad the prize was tarnished when Dowd won it for slut-shaming Lewinsky – http://t.co/VX5DxkQTWz
— Frank Conniff (@FrankConniff) May 8, 2014
In related Frank Conniff news, I finally got around to listening to the newest Podhouse 90 (almost a year old at this point), “South by South Satan.” His first episode was “The Wonderful Pundits of Oz,” which I quite enjoyed, even though I thought it could have been tighter. In most ways, “South by South Satan” is as good. But it is primarily a single joke: Satan is responsible for all the terrible anemic songs you hate. It also lampoons the sell-out mentality of modern America and doesn’t have very nice things to say about Christians either. It’s more snark than anything, so if you like that and really dislike Michael Buble, check it out!
I’m just glad I got the Frank Conniffs sorted out.