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In memoriam Joseph Jefferson known to the world as Rip Van Winkle. Born February 20th 1829 died Easter Sunday April 23rd 19 5. We are. Our. Program 11 of America on stage. The character of a nation as seen through its theater America on stage is produced by the Wisconsin state broadcasting service under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters a consultant for the series. Jonathan W. Kervyn professor of speech at the University of Wisconsin and a specialist in the
American theater. Here to introduce the program Professor Carson. In 1820 Washington Irving drawing upon his knowledge of German folklore and memories of boyhood wanderings to the secluded regions of the Hudson River Valley. Created the Dutch American character of an engaging idea of a Catskill mountain village and gave in the name Rip Van Winkle. He could hardly have foreseen that his character was destined for immortality not alone on the pages of our literature but as much or more so on the stages of our theatres. Oddly enough though Irving was interested in the theatre and collaborated in writing plays with John Howard Dean of Home Sweet Home fame. He apparently never saw dramatic possibilities in this tale of the amiable rip. Many others did. To judge for the number of stage adaptations to appear after Irving story was published but remain for an actor. He had a long line of distinguished actors Jones of
Jefferson or Joel as his vast public called him to do rip real justice in 1865 with help from dramatist dye and blue sickle. Jefferson constructed a new Rip Van Winkle play then pulling himself in rips tattered garments he proceeded to create the most beloved stage character in our theatres history. Ladies and gentlemen Joseph Jefferson is dead. The man who personified American Theater on three continents died yesterday evening at his cottage in Palm Beach Florida. At the age of 76 death came after a short illness which began while Mr Jefferson was visiting with his old friend ex-president Grover Cleveland. With us is the eminent actor Mr. Francis Wilson longtime friend and admirer of Joseph Jefferson. Mr. Wilson Jones of Jefferson was a player in the fullest
acceptance of that word. One who felt that the chief province of the theater is to entertain and only secondarily to instruct. And as such a player for nearly half a century he stood foremost in his profession as an actor as a writer as a lecturer on the talk was circuit as a human being. He has affected a revolution in the attitude of the people and the clergy toward the theater and all things in it plays and players are acceptable today in places and circumstances not possible before Joseph Jefferson. Mr. Wilson everywhere I went today there seemed to be black draped photographs of him frequently as he appeared in Rip Van Winkle and everywhere passers by tip their hats solemnly and silently. Oh yes he was dearly loved in towns where he played business came to Warhol shops and school work clothes streets decorated in the Jefferson holiday proclaiming all of this so that young and old might say they had seen
Rip Van Jefferson. He'll be remembered mostly as rip don't you think. In my opinion Rip Van Winkle will serve as his lasting memorial. After all a man cannot play a role for 40 years on three continents without leaving it as an indelible impression on the history of his theater. He was magnificent as rip wasn't he. He was tremendous. The critic winter has said it the world has seldom known the creature in whom pathos humor wisdom and frolic were blended as they were in Joseph Jefferson. And these characteristics were transmuted into the characterization of Rip Van Winkle. This this rare blending is evident in the second act a powerful thing is done by him. A blend of drama and satire interspersed with irresistible humor. The scene is the dimly lighted kitchen of Rip's cottage. It is night and the Furious star beat.
Me. No mother I never did enjoy space in these doors again never. Oh mother don't be so hard on him. Why not. How dare you say so. That father of yours is enough to spoil the temper of an angel. I went down to the marsh to drive up the book. I don't know what it's been doing to the bees he was howling and tearing about. I barely escaped with my life. Oh what is that. That's only Schneider fathers don't want all that honor should honor him without a broomstick. I won't have him in here. Oh is the supper ready. Yes mother. It's there by the fireside. Shall I lay the tell us that the night I wonder when I read this. Shall I meditate for two mother for three for two. He gets no supper here tonight the storm raged for water stop up in such a dumb Bon Jovi's fog filter
meaning. Yes mother Humanae the table for three. Gary is no. Can not better my boy. Oh we are living. Is he not of your Father Stafford or I thought he was here only he's gone back to the mountains he's done it on purpose to spite me. Shall I run after him and bring him home. I know the road we will can climb together. No I draw over a promise Allison it's for me to bring him back again. But mother if he hears your voice behind him he'll only run away for help. I can't rest under cover one he's out in the storm. I feel better when I'm outside sharing the storm with him. So Don take yourself there and the girl will think of this other thing I hope your father ain't going to the mountain I mean we all die of the cold out there. He for that. I just heard all claws and over it father seeing that this very night every twenty years the ghosts of Henry watched. The ghosts of Hannah Cutts and his pirate crew this is the Catskills above here. Oh dear. Did he say so. Yes
spirits have been seen there smoking drinking and playing a £10 dreadfulness every time that Henry cuts and lights his pipe there's a flash of lightning and we roll the balls along. There's a peal of thunder. Don't be frightened I'm your daddy what are you doing. Really not child's head with nonsense. Oh no he says that there is someone outside could get at your my darling don't you know darling. My darling don't deliver me or oh I rather like Mother don't you know that you know it's true. I will be on your regular file got you on a blog there was no that oh did you. Why have Cat 5. That's just wrong. And you got me by the hairs that just know when I had you by the hair. That's the time I said they all who do you mean by that wildcat Who did I mean
knowledge me serious Who did you mean. Ha ha ha who I know who I mean maybe is the dog she neither I called the dog Schneider that's not like that well of course he's likely he's my dog I'll call him a vile cat much as I please. Very Schneider. Right. Oh never mind the dog when I was already eating this game back. I looked for it myself though I know there's probably no more I what's here right atop a bottle. Was it's a bottle when you think I don't sort of bottle that was given them a note if you don't get me that bottle I just break up everything in the house. If you dare fight there haven't I done it two three times before. Why just throw everything right out of the. Bathroom. All right give me. Nobody. Can help it's it's not my bottle let me know. I borrow that bottle from
another fire. You're going to love it I think I do indeed. You know let's see I last night I stopped I don't know why but I mean the reason for yesterday's And the reason is why don't bother me. Why did you stop. Oh no not. This. Week. Grow up some. Fun to get up early in the morning. Oh come not get so mad. Get action by Flynn huntin. What do you think first the first thing I saw in the morning I don't know what a rabbit. Rabbit the feeding of the go you know they always come out early in the morning and feed the grass never mind the grass I want you don't get so patient you wait til you get that I have it then I cross the house yes in this little tale. Of us wish to come out never mind his tail. The more fatter the rabbit the more visor is the tail will go on. Well I hope to God. Yes and these ears for sticking up Same your mind his ears go on. I pull the trigger. Bang went the gun and I am the rabbit.
Run having a soul you shot nothing out of it I shot him in Iraq. Oh oh oh oh they're not oh Matt made her feel like a natural. Now I'm going to tell you what I did shot that spot I didn't shot you know the 40 acre field of our power. Oh it you say you know the one I mean well enough it used to be aren't so used indeed me it ain't ours now. No do you not know them. I won't bother about it better let somebody bother about that field what belongs to it. Very indirect field there's a pun. I do think I see in that pond no ducks ducks 100000 more than a thousand ducks Belisle hard up on the gun I guess and so on. With this plan to save the company and hire the timing the two are scared to talk to me that they're now going to take that their name this time as I did before I pulled the trigger and buy a gun you don't want to leave one duck out of a thousand who is
said $1 did and didn't say anything of the kind you said wrong. But I shop more as you did. I shot however old. If you want I think you did your thing in me and all that boom he comes right after me going to and I come right away from him. Oh you would laugh if you could see the blue was a comment on how it was then he chased me across the field. I tried to climb over the fence so fast but I could on the blue come up and save me the trouble of the cookbook. Bill don't you see I don't over on the other side and then you went fast asleep for the rest of the day you know it's a fact that's in front o you are it you have break my heart you. Know. Can I and others can go on. Friday as much as you like then what do I care. Well they better soon as a
woman gets caught. Then all the danger is over. I take the bottle for one little drink. Your wife's choice. No. I'm the same way that. You want to treat me. Well tonight I'm going to drink to kind of you would only let them drop loose so long as I cannot trust you or your mustn't suspect me. I will trust you could just tell me. Then it's too bad but it's on a day when a man gets They ought to let him alone.
Good stuff like I'm just going to refer you to your good health. You know. You do and that's just not my coming back to my own story. Did the bottle that's a fact that's a fact. That does. Not stop you drink under my roof. Watch what you say. Oh to drown God's. Own truth. You disgrace your wife and your child. This kid oh yes just great. Then I say for you no longer have any shared this house or this. Never catches big I construct your sleep no more under this roof but you turn to turn me out like a dog. But maybe you are my little girl not into the storm ripped her car with funders your own record not his but to me is the storm in my home grown. Oh no father.
OH MY GOD BLESS normal child bless you no rid o you have tried me from Bowl you have opened the door for me to go. You might never open it. What I need to come back. I have no shouting just follow. Them see. Like. Your oh oh oh. Oh oh. Oh oh oh. You're. Mr Wilson hasn't been the usual thing for audiences to be stunned almost shocked at the climax of that action. Yes indeed audiences have been shocked into silence. Frequently as the curtain falls that silence would be broken only by quiet sobbing. A magnificent tribute to play and play out how we fear that rip deserves punishment but not not what we know is to come. You mean when he drinks with the spirits on the mountain and suffers the loss of twenty
years of his life. Yes you know the passing of Jefferson would have been appropriately beautiful if in the sleep seen on the mountain he had one night never awaked. But it was not to be. Well death yesterday on Easter Sunday was not inappropriate. Indeed no. Joseph Jefferson's belief in personal immortality was absolute and in his acting that faith was a signal advantage to him in the mountain scene when Rip is encircled with the Phantoms. He seemed to become transfigured. He made that episode as pathetic and awful as the scene of hamlets meeting with the ghost. No observer who ever really saw can ever forget. On an earthly expression of Jefferson's face. As he looked upon those spectators and realized. That as a mortal. He was alone.
What's the matter. Banks are going to speak to our fellow man. I don't like this kind of people in the world. No I don't like going to the ground for the first time any of them. How are you all gentlemen. I didn't mean to intrude you are you want me to drink that I can but as this is the first time I see you I don't come to survive. I want for my head for so long I don't know it's just what you want. Mm hmm.
And ripped into a suite destined to last for 20 years. It's been observed that the power of the terror of these scenes as played by Mr. Jefferson has been due to the fact that the acting is not acting but living up a perfect illusion. This was his supremacy. He was not of the Cramer. He was an impersonator. His performance of Rip appeared to be completely spontaneous. It was universally regarded as natural and yet it was the product of a scrupulous art. The result of design formed with thought and executed with artistry and finally he awakes. We can do a very ripping a long white beard stumbles down the mountain dazed undone
recognized by anyone he stops the first willing passer by. My friend if you truly ever hear of a man in this place who is singing for us. Reply me in country Rip Van Winkle down the laziest drunken vagabond in the country just to go on. There is no mistaking me mom. I know him. You do. Yes if you know all about him good. So what's become of him. What's become of him. Oh he's been dead these twenty years so he didn't linger long spared most are trying to feel a part of me. She's alive I mean he's alive she's the prettiest girl in the village. But if she doesn't get married soon she'll be a middle aged woman before long she trips on her litter John's wife she says because her mother packed creature. Yes she's alive and married again. Oh horseshit watching racked up. Why easily enough vector rep died she was a widow wasn't cheap. Yeah I forgot about
apes being dad. Look up old gent. Hadn't you better be going home wherever that is where my home votes here's here's very jams in this village shop. Why or what's your name so I don't know but I believe I nobody just repeat my name it used to be it. Look then Wakil impossible he's been dead for wait wait here's someone coming down the speaker who remember him for sure. Oh so you'll come to that conclusion have you. I cannot accept the situation any longer. But that's going to trim my mind start all to form in my virtual write off like they're about to speak except as I come in and you'll repent it to the last hour of your life. Now she can knock him down flat as a flounder this is something you do you think you are dealing with your first husband won't cry I won't ever come up today like that and I'll give you something to cry for the next morning.
I haven't seen it I never thought of people he thought it would actually be better to become a thing of rags or misery like this poor soul out. God bless you poor boundaries. Why do you come to this place where you were known. My wife asks me if I'm alone. Come with me. Come to my house and. God. God and rest awhile you me me me me. Bring him a chair. Is that your daughter. Yes that is my daughter. I thought she was a child and stay with me did I get some food or Jadakiss me hope that you have grown. Do you remember something of your father.
I do I do I wish he was here now. Did you know him. Thought I did but I was afraid that I said out here in the village people are laughing at me as they should. I want you to look at me now and tell me if you have ever seen me before. No no try my darlin bone sure. What do you mean. I am afraid to tell you my dear because if you say it is not true. It may be. But mean it I dream I am mad. But I am your father. My father. Looks in my face and don't know what I do. There. My father knows me and I know somebody knows you know what old vagabond is this in my house. You poor old man I brought home to feed. Give him a cold potato and get him out of here ya cold potato husband of this woman. What does this meddling fellow mean to say I mean to dis my voice Gretchen by me.
Oh no no you are going to try to change me. Do you think I'm going to tramp is your old husband. He is my only husband. This is the gratitude you have for him. I never speak a non common word to you and you shall never see a problem of my face an example. You should stay out all night if you don't know I don't think you should go on ahead you know you can't get in. Time for a group hug you noted. Oh yes you will. Maybe a little Bonbon soon. When I saw my brain for the last time it was 76
years. He took me through his garden. And pointed to some blossoms on a tomato vine me and said. The saddest thing in old age. Is the absence of expectation. Therefore I have become a gardener. My boy he said when you are past 70 Don't forget to cultivate a garden. It is all about expectation. He did not expect remembrance as an act or but I believe he will endure as Rip Van Winkle. A role which has preserved one of our few folklore stories. It should not be permitted to die. It should remain bright as a memorial to an extraordinary man who lived an extraordinary legend. Joseph Jefferson born February twenty eight hundred twenty nine. Died April 23 19 5. In the
AA. You're listening to program 11 in the series America onstage. Here is a consultant for these programs professor of speech at the University of Wisconsin Jonathan curve on long life on the American stage of rip and winkle Jefferson played him for nearly 40 years speaks for more than the skill of the actor. It tells us something too about the enchantment of needed and if of course there never was a real Rip Van Winkle any more than there was a real Mike Fincke or Paul Bunyan yet all do have a kind of reality or reality we might say of the imagination. For years the actor Jefferson preserved by his
sensitive accurate playing one of the most cherished figures of American myth. It may be that still comparatively a new nation as America clings to its myths with special pride from its Conneaut tradition and permanence and stability. The Hudson River country where in Irving's words the Catskills are described as a dismembered branch of the Appalachian family seen away to the west of the river swelling up to a noble height and lording it over the surrounding country. This region was early and long hospitable to romantic legend. It was steeped in picturesque lore here early in the century a group of native artists. Among them Thomas Cole Asher Durand and Thomas Doty had found the perfect models for their affectionate paintings of American landscape each painting of this so-called Hudson River School is a celebration of the nation's scenic glories. Here too the romantic poet William Cullen Bryant found
inspiration as America became a nation of cities and city crowds as reason and scientific explanation gave the lie to naive guesses a fantastic story like that of Rip offered flight from the practical workaday world no one adult or child in Jefferson's audience would think of questioning Rip's leap of 20 years and there seemed to be for all people in any age a need to preserve the mysterious and unexplained. George Jefferson kept alive one of our ageless legends until now as his only proper Jefferson has himself become a legendary figure of the American theater. Someone has said there will be as there have been many performers of Rip Van Winkle. There is but one Jefferson. And the critic William Winter explain why. For him it was reserved to idealize a subject
to elevate a prosaic type of good natured indolence into an emblem of political freedom to construct and translate in the world of fact the Arcadian vagabond of the world of dreams. Few events of American history have attracted so many novelists poets and playwrights as the American Civil War. And among the plays to deal with that struggle if you haven't more clean than Bronson Howard Shenandoah subject of the next programme the twelves in the series America onstage. Oh and. Illa. Illa. Illa. Program 11 of America on stage produced and recorded by the
Wisconsin state broadcasting service under a grant from the Educational Television Radio Center. The programs are distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters consulting for the series. Jonathan W. curve and professor of speech at the University of Wisconsin heard in the cast were cliff Roberts Ray Stanley Agatha church Carl Schmidt Sheila case Barry Kaufman and Ken ost music composed and conducted by Don vaguely. Production and script by Carl Schmidt. This is B N A B Radio Network.
America on stage
"Shenandoah" by Bronson Howard
Producing Organization
University of Wisconsin
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program presents a radio play of Shenandoah by Bronson Howard (1888).
Series Description
Selected American plays written prior to 1900. Each is an expression of contemporary popular sentiments. Radio adaptations of theatre performances, using selected excerpts.
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Actor: Schmidt, Karl
Actor: Roberts, Cliff
Actor: Stanley, Ray
Actor: Church, Agatha
Host: Kerwin, Jonathan W.
Producing Organization: University of Wisconsin
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Howard, Bronson, 1842-1908
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 57-6-12 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:27
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Chicago: “America on stage; "Shenandoah" by Bronson Howard,” 1963-12-02, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 21, 2024,
MLA: “America on stage; "Shenandoah" by Bronson Howard.” 1963-12-02. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 21, 2024. <>.
APA: America on stage; "Shenandoah" by Bronson Howard. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from