Friday, May 19, 2006

Sunset Boulevard

Next week, there will be no update. I'm going to be out of town at Cinevent in Columbus. In honor of Cinevent, I've posted a Lux Radio Theatre set in Hollywood, and about movies (kinda.) It stars both real life silent queen Gloria Swanson and William Holden reprising their roles from the Billy Wilder film. Unfortunately, Cecil B. DeMille had already disassociated from the show and therefore does not reprise his role. But it is still a wonderful adaptation of this great film.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson approved a joint resolution of Congress declaring: "the second Sunday in May shall hereafter be designated and known as Mother's Day." This resolution was introduced into Congress by J. Thomas Heflin of Alabama. And Mother’s Day has been an American Institution ever since. Unofficially, it had been a holiday since before 1890.

Jack Benny -380508-Mother's Day

Phil Harris 490508 Mother's Day Present.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

All The News that's Fit To Hear

"Oh The Humanity"

Lakehurst, New Jersey. May 6, 1937. After some light rain, the weather began to clear, and the colossus of the air lanes, the Hindenburg, approached the mooring mast for its' delayed landing. As the silver leviathan dropped her mooring cables and jettisoned ballast, there was a sudden flash in the aft section of the airship. And Herb Morrison of WLS, Chicago, was there to tell us about it. And modern broadcast journalism was accidentally born.

Morrison wasn't there by accident. It was supposed to be a transcribed recording of the landing, which marked the first anniversary of the Hindenburg's transatlantic service. But Morrison's reporting of the disaster as it happened, transformed the way we receive the news. It was inevitable that disaster reporting would begin sooner or later. This happened to be the first. From here on in, "as it happens" coverage would bring major events into peoples living rooms.

"This is London"

In 1939 Germany invaded Poland and World War II officially began. CBS had been beefing up its' London Bureau since 1937, as it was becoming obvious that England would be sucked into the maelstrom. Edward R. Murrow and his "boys"(who included William Schirer and Eric Severaid), set a high standard for war coverage that placed CBS at the top of the journalistic mountain. A place it enjoyed for decades thereafter.

London was just the first of many jewels in the journalistic crown that Murrow wore. A crown which also included: "See It Now"("Hear It Now" on radio), "This I Believe"(recently revived on NPR), "Person To Person", and head of the United States Information Agency (by appointment from President Kennedy). He also took on Senator Joseph McCarthey, and helped to bring an end to the red witch hunts of the late '40's and early '50's (see "Good Night, and Good Luck").

"A Date Which Will Live in Infamy"

In December 1941, when the United States joined the fray, radio was there for Roosevelt's "Date which will live in infamy" address to Congress on December 8. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first President to effectively use radio as a tool. He used his "Fireside Chats" to sell his New Deal programs which helped pull the Nation out of The Great Depression.
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