This was one of my favorite pieces for “CBS This Morning” not because of the piece itself, but because I got the opportunity to work with the incomparable Bob Simon. I was tasked with reworking a story Simon first tackled for the 1998 Winter Games on Louis Zamperini, the U.S. Olympian who survived a brutal Japanese prisoner-of-war camp during World War II. “48 Hours” molded that piece into it’s own special in 1999. I adapted the latter incorporating clips from the 2014 movie version of Zamperini’s story, “Unbroken.” The idea to reformat the work for our broadcast came from “48 Hours” Executive Producer Susan Zirinsky, a legend in her own right.
Simon’s producer, Draggan Mihailovich, had the foresight to save the original tapes. He gave me the clean package with split audio and a hard copy of the script. I rewrote the piece in a day in order to get it to Simon before the Christmas holiday. Editor Michael Kudlacik then painstakingly dissected the material, reformatting it for this package, which aired on “CBS This Morning” a decade and a half after most of the material had been shot.