USA TODAY AWARD

Aural History Productions


The Radio Archive ~ Recent Programs

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February 2, 2016
Segment 1 | BackStory: Court of Public Opinion ~ Trial Watching in America (2016)
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In this episode of BackStory, the American History Guys "explore our fascination with courtroom drama. What makes for a compelling case and why have some landmark proceedings received little attention? We'll consider why so many Americans followed the trial of a young clerk accused of murdering a New York City prostitute in 1836, and why we're still talking about Sacco and Vanzetti nearly a century after they were sentenced to death. From public hanging in Puritan Massachusetts, to the murder trial of Black Panther leader Huey Newton in the late 1960's, the Guys will reveal the deep-seated issues beneath American trial-watching." For more information on this segment, go to: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/court-of-public-opinion/.

Segment 2 | From the Archives: From the Archives: Orson Welles as Clarence Darrow in Compulsion (1959)
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In this selection fom the 1959 film Compulsion, Orson Welles delivers a stirring plea for the lives of his two young clients, accused if kidnapping and murder, The film, based on the fictionalized account written in 1956 by Meyer Levin, focuses on two wealthy Chicago teenagers, Judd Steiner and Artie Straus, who kidnap and murder a young boy. The final summation by their attorney, played by Welles, is taken directly from the transcript of the real trial. For more information about the film and the trial it was based on, see: http://www.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F00EEDC1138EF3BBC4A53DFB2668382649EDE and http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/leoploeb/leopold.htm.

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January 26, 2016
Segment 1 | Richard Norton Smith on Nelson Rockefeller (Researching NY Conference ~ 11-20-2014)
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Presidential and political historian Richard Norton Smith presented the keynote lecture for the 2014 Researching New York conferenc, focusing on his new biography of the former New York State governor and U. S. vice president Nelson Rockefeller, On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller (2014). Fourteen years in the writing, the book has been widely hailed as"the definitive biography of the New York governor and U.S. vice president who championed the arts and education, transformed Albany’s architectural landscape, and defined the moderate Republican brand." Smith's other books include the 1982 biography, Thomas E. Dewey and His Times;The Colonel (2003), about Chicago Tribune publisher Robert McCormick; The Harvard Century: The Making of a University to a Nation (1998); Patriarch: George Washington and the New American Nation (1993); and An Uncommon Man: The Triumph of Herbert Hoover (1984).

Segment 2 | From the Archives: Nelson Rockefeller's First State of the State Address (1-7-1959)
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Here is an excerpt from Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s first State of the State address, delivered on 1-7-1959. It comest to us from the New York State Archives -- more specifically from "Series 13700-83, Audio and video tapes, 1951-1986, New York (State) Governor." The full recording is available from the Archives (contact ARCHREF@mail.nysed.gov or (518) 474-8955 for more information. This selection is available on line at: http://www.archives.nysed.gov/research/audio/rockefeller-state-of-the-state. In his address, Rockefeller " talks about New York's need for leadership that can achieve advances such as the Erie Canal, the Thruway, the St. Lawrence Seaway, etc., and about addressing emerging issues before they become problems, to better shape tomorrow."

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January 19, 2016
Segment 1 | BackStory: Color Lines ~ Racial Passing in America (2016).
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"On this episode of BackStory, the Guys will consider how and why Americans throughout the centuries have crossed the lines of racial identity, and find out what the history of passing has to say about race, identity, and privilege in America. We'll look at stories of African-Americans who passed as white to escape slavery or Jim Crow and find out how the "one-drop rule" enabled one blonde-haired, blue-eyed American to live a double life without ever arousing suspicion. We'll also explore the story of an African-American musician who pioneered a genre of exotic music with a bejeweled turban and an invented biography, and examine the hidden costs of crossing over." For more information, go to: http://backstoryradio.org/shows/color-lines/.

Segment 2 | From the Archives: Literary "Passing" - George Eliot
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We expand our discussion of the notion of "passing" by looking at women who used masculine pen names. Mary Ann Evans is now far better recognized by her pen name, George Eliot, as she is by her birth name. One of the leading English writers of the Victorian era, she chose a masculine pen name to be taken seriously -- to escape the automatic association of women writers with romantic and light-hearted plots. Here we offer a selection from chapter 1 of one of her most famous novels, Middlemarch (1871-72). For more infromation about George and her works, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Eliot.

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January 12, 2016
Segment 1 | From the Vault: Dalton Trumbo (2015).
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From one of Pacifica Radio's flagship programs, From the Vault, we present this profile of blacklisted Hollwood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, now the subject of a major Hollywood film: "This week on From the Vault we salute one of America's greatest screenwriters and novelists, Dalton Trumbo, who is known as much for his Academy Award-winning scripts as he is for being one of the infamous "Hollywood Ten," a group of Hollywood film industry professionals blacklisted for publicly denouncing the tactics of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in the late 1940's. In 1971, Trumbo sat down for an interview with Pacifica's Larry Bensky to discuss the film adaptation of his award-winning 1939 novel Johnny Got His Gun. Dalton also explores his thoughts on the Attica Prison uprising, and reminisces on the days of McCarthyism and blacklisting in America. We'll also hear archival recordings from our collection of Trumbo’s contemporaries who knew him best, including Ring Lardner Jr. (a fellow member of the Hollywood Ten), communist activist Dorothy Healy, and actor Kirk Douglass.

Segment 2 | From the Archives: Salt of the Earth (1954).
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Here is an excerpt from a film produced during the 1950s directed by blacklisted director Herbert Biberman and produced by a number of other blacklisted Hollywood cast and crew members (including Paul Jarrico) -- though many of the actors came from the local community in which the film was made. The film, based on actual events, focuses on Mexican workers at a Zinc mine who call a strike -- and ultimately triumph as they build a solidarity among themselves. The film is especially unique, not only in the way it was made, but also in its feminist message. The success of the workers was heavily dependent on the trasnformation of the male workers in the film, one that took place as they learned to rely on -- and respet -- the strength and support of their wives, mothers and daughters. For more infromation on the film, see: http://magazine.oah.org/issues/244/salt.html.

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January 5, 2016
Segment 1 | With Good Reason: Reading the Founding Fathers' Mail (2015).
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From the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities' With Good Reason: "More than 30 people who spent the last three years immersed in thousands of letters written by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Abigail Adams, and James Madison, are experiencing a sense of loss and sorrow now that the massive project to proofread the letters and make them available online has come to a close. Join us as Bill Kissell, Donna Carty, and Dena Radley share favorite letters that reveal the fascinating inner lives of the founders. Also: Project Director Sue Perdue (Virginia Foundation for the Humanities) and Kathleen Williams (National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives) describe the scope of this remarkable project of the National Archives called Founders Online (produced in collaboration with the University of Virginia Press)." For more information, including links to online feaures, see: http://withgoodreasonradio.org/episode/reading-the-founding-fathers-mail/.

Segment 2 | From the Archives: City Water Tunnel #3 (Marty Pottenger).
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Here are some edited audio selections from performer, writer, and director Marty Pottenger "performing" several of the individuals whom she interviewed while collecting the material for her Obie-winning play City Water Tunner #3. The Multi-media play is about the building of one of the largest non-defense public works project in the Western Hemisphere. The tunnel's construction began in 1970 and is scheduled for final completion in 2025. For information about the play, see: http://www.martypottenger.com/projects/cwt/. You can also follow a link there to the entire performance, now available on YouTube.

Segment 3 | Rear Vision (ABC Radio): A History of Drinking Water (2015; 2016).
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This segment of our show comes to us from ABC's Radio National's weekly program, Rear Vision: "Most people in the big cities of the developed world don’t think twice about their water supply—unless perhaps, water restrictions are applied during a drought. Rear Vision tracks the remarkable advances in water engineering that make that assumption possible, beginning with the great gravity fed water system of ancient Rome. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, advances in water engineering not only allowed urban centres safe drinking water but found ways to manage waste water contamination as well. Now, in the twenty first century, will recycling and desalination plants answer the challenge of future drought and climate change?" For transcript and more information, see: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/rearvision/a-history-of-drinking-water/7029616.

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December 29, 2015
NO SHOW THIS WEEK. CHECK OUT OUR PREVIOUS PROGRAMS.

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December 22, 2015
Segment 1 | Against the Grain: Cotton Capitalism (2015).
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Against the Grain offers us this conversation about capitalism, cotton culture, and slavery: "According to Sven Beckert, cotton was central to capitalism's development, and in particular its accelerating globalization. A key part of his narrative highlights the crisis brought on by the abolition of slavery in the US, when both capitalists and governments looked to new regions and workers for the raw cotton they desperately needed." For more information, see: Sven Beckert, Empire of Cotton: A Global History (Penguin Random House, 2015); Fink, McCartin and Joan Sangster, eds., Workers in Hard Times: A Long View of Economic Crises (University of Illinois Press, 2014).

Segment 2 | From the Archives: Solomon Northup's Twelve Years a Slave (1853; modern reading from LibriVox).
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Here is a selection from one of the most famous slave narratives -- "as told to and edited by David Wilson" --that appeared in the decades before the coming of the Civil War. Published in 1853, the Twelve Years a Slave tells the story of Solomon Northup, a free black man living and working as a carpenter and musician (violinist) in Saratoga, New York, and how he was tricked into traveling to Washington, D.C. for a lucrative job, kidnapped, and sold into slavery in the Deep South. The narrative offers an account of his 12 years of bondage in Louisiana under various masters -- and his liberation through the intervention of friends and family in New York. For the full audio of the narrative, go to: https://librivox.org/twelve-years-a-slave-by-solomon-northup/. For the text, see: http://docsouth.unc.edu/fpn/northup/menu.html.

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