To him, it was just an assignment. He didn’t know he would be part of history.

NBC correspondent Sander Vanocur speaks about the 1960 presidential debates between Republican Richard Nixon and Democrat John Kennedy today as the Kansas City Public Library begins a series on the four Nixon-Kennedy debates seen as pivotal for both politics and television. Vanocur had been covering the Nxion campaign for NBC. He hopped a train for Chicago and studied all night to prepare.

Vanocur, now 82, thought both candidates did well in that first debate, but Vanocur hadn’t seen how TV enhanced Kennedy’s image and hurt Nixon’s. Vanocur says he never even watched the kinescope of the debate until last year.