Ralph Story, 86 (* updated)

Ralph Story was a big deal on local television in the 1960s and 70s. He was the features reporter for "The Big News" on Channel 2 when the hour-long news show was a pioneering phenomenon. His "Human Predicament" segments were so popular the station spun off "Ralph Story's Los Angeles," precursor to Huell Howser's shows and every "Eye on L.A." and "Two on the Town" style show to fill the 7 and 7:30 pm slots since. The UCLA Film and Television Archive, which has tapes of the show, calls it "the highest-rated and most fondly remembered local series in Los Angeles television history." Story began at KNX radio in the late 1940s. He preceded Regis Philbin as a morning show host on Channel 7 between stints at Channel 2, then called KNXT. In the 1950s he also hosted the hugely popular TV quiz show "The $64,000 Challenge." Story retired to the Santa Ynez Valley and died of emphysema. Channel 2's website has early video of Story.

* Wednesday add: in the LAT obit, former Big News reporter Warren Olney says Story's "attitude of amused detachment could transmit devastating critiques and probing analyses without being harsh or mean-spirited, much less boring. He made serious journalism a pleasure to watch." Credit is also given to his four-hour daily show on KNX called "Storyline" that cleared the way for all-news radio in Los Angeles.

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