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Introduction

The name of the journalist who helped create the legend of “Lawrence of Arabia,” Lowell Thomas, is not well known today, but for much of the twentieth century Thomas was one of the preeminent journalists in the world — perhaps the best known of America’s journalists. His career spanned six decades. Thomas started in print, experimented early on with multimedia forms, established himself as a star on radio and also worked with great success on television. Indeed, he helped invent broadcast journalism. Thomas distinguished himself as a reporter, newscaster, war correspondent, lecturer, filmmaker, author, explorer, producer and media entrepreneur.

Some referred to Lowell Thomas as “fortune’s son,” for he so often seemed to be in the right place, working in the right medium. But he owed his success to much more than good luck. Few could match Thomas’ drive, dedication, creativity, showmanship, willingness to experiment with technology, journalistic instincts or love for a good story.

Lowell Thomas, Afghanistan, 1923.
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“Lowell Thomas was the prototype for those who came after him, a cause rather than a consequence of a new form of journalism.”

—Professor F.D. Crawford

“Lowell Thomas was an American original — a crusading journalist, broadcaster, show man, entrepreneur and world class adventurer. For many in my generation he was an early hero with his swashbuckling ways and inexhaustible energy as he raced around the world, sending back radio reports and films of epic events. I can still hear in my memory’s ear the familiar phrase, ‘So long until tomorrow!’ It was a promise kept to his millions of listeners.”

—Tom Brokaw

Thomas arrived in Egypt a month after the British marched into Jerusalem.
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Thomas readies for filming the pyramids from the air. The original black and white photos were painted by hand to add color.
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