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Radio station television and radio center in cooperation with broadcasting today's program jail. Master Benjamin Johnson walked to school from Westminster on his left the tennis courts just then completed in the year of grace 15 83. On his right the queen's garden the fountain and Westminster Abbey. On one particular day the annual Queen's scholarships were held. For the winners and education at Oxford or Cambridge. A chance a chance to rise to be something in the world of London in the world of England on the continent.
A chance. Marched up Ben Johnson. Last year Johnson there jarana learned your lessons boy. Yes your honor. Then tell us who is the most learned teacher of the Latin quintillions or Quintilian. He was a gentle Teacher Your Honor gentle pretty. Have you forgotten that was Cicero tooth or two who is taught you your lessons boy. HEADMASTER canned answer. And he has told me of Cicero. Have you not redeemed yourself many times or I do yours. But it is. Quintilian that remains in your little head. Where is the next. A chance. A chance for a poor boy to rise in the world. But no matter. After all his stepfather had planned.
For an honest hardworking grade. Of apprentice you must learn to be yours. Did Aveo Johnson screwing. An apprentice. Seven years to learn bricklaying being 85. Being 80. I never learned how to read. It is not my fault you're an ignoramus. Do you want me to forget what I know just to suit you. I only my own no you no harm then I do wish I'd learned and then what then. Then I should read what you read. An old friend who quintillion O as much a man in his way as. Cicero. Oh if I wasn't a bricklayer. If you weren't you'd be
dead. That's your place in the world. Every man has his place. I do hate dissatisfied bricklayers. Yes a strange man Ben Johnson. But talented. Reading. Reading everything he could. And beginning at least a little. To be known as an actor of plays. It goes well and I am leaving the theater happy. Oh I've ranted till my throat aches and my feet are sore right here not the play's a success and your a success and. Success. You are a true friend Spencer. Did you see Langley this morning. He's got that wicked smile over his face. You can see the money coming in.
Well who cares. Oh here let me close the door. And I asked the playwright has been after you to know you didn't tell me you were writing a play with him. You didn't ask. I never knew. Oh pity an actor about the town. A man of talent and you didn't know my private business. Strange you have to be careful of him you know. Am I a baby in Are you dangerous I rather like him. Why don't you. Another new play not too dangerous not to. How much. Well after oh people must love mustn't they and what will they laugh at. What indeed their dishonest friends. Certain indiscreet doings. The latest political lies and so on and so I watch it called. What's what called. The play the play. I love dogs I see. You catch your breath like an old man I just don't like it. Well that doesn't concern you. Just watch from the side. Give me your expert advice as I love my head. If you were
only acting a part in it but the offer I tell you Nash is the author. I'm just helping a bit. Slanderous. For her. Call the Isle of Dogs your worship. And so Ben Johnson and his friend Spencer who had acted in the questionable play soon found themselves in jail. Not the worst jail in London but nevertheless not very inviting. But why would a man risk being in jail just to write it it was a risk Spencer and you lost I might add my love course. Nash didn't help how he claims he only wrote the first act the first act is still part of the play isn't it.
If you don't mind my remind you of this maybe nationally self-calming to confess is more like a keeper. Just imagine nothing today Robert nothing is it but your credit's good. We're not noblemen you know all the charity general charity I have news for you anyway. Although none of the best I know that they can't finance. How did you know his grannies of profit would buy his soul. You don't seem to realize the gravity of the charges brought against you. You are before the king's own privy council. I am your humble servant. And addition is the charge your honor. Veteran defined the charge of sedition for the prisoner. Of course of course it is against the King against the crowd and against the nobility of the nation. Very
grave and dangerous practice which is yes. But Your Honor the play was comedy. No harm meant at all indeed. Oh yes positively and all our information is incorrect information. Do you deny the play is part of a French plot to discredit the queen. French gold I would swear on the just the truth now if you please. We know you are an actor or the truth is all I speak your honor. Be careful as we mean to find out every last fact of this matter. The facts are simple. A comedy must cause laughter. And to cause laughter the writer of the play writes about matters which cause people to laugh. I did no more and no less no less indeed. But the issues remain. They were relieved me. French gold I who once fought for
England right for French gold. Don't just say bad as some excuse is needed. They can't keep you in jail because the play insulted some nobleman or other and that line about the tech my boy. You said yourself it's better than having to be a bricklayer I if I lived through it. Well look at me. Just a poor actor. What did I ever do to deserve being played here I ask you now don't blame me Spence it must be how it was obtained just the opposite. Oh these shaving his hair with goodwill band. But what I want to show you now here I'm just the actor I never wrote one line against anyone who told you to take apart the book quick enough to warn me against not oh there you go band got me in the wrong AGAIN. I don't blame you. I gambled and lost. So I want to do what I say. Maybe I'll be wiser the next time. That's the lesson to be learned. Quite true. The occupation of writing plays was risky and.
The nobility was touchy and with some reason after all lords and ladies had their secrets and Ben Jonson wanted to expose them. He took his risks. And another tankard jog find theater manager you are language not coming to see your investment in J O nonsense. You didn't think that did you. Just a normal matter. Chances likely place for anyone to cool off. I could do without it thank you. Tell him he can't think to be a writer of plays of he's not willing to go to jail every now and then. That's quite right. Well don't be so sober about it. Isn't this a celebration. But there is a reason why did Lady whatsoever and Lord who cares anger their noble selves. Very obvious of course. Yes of course because I did mean them for the characters in the play and they were clever enough to discover what misfortune is it that we were sent to jail because
of it. What do you mean. I mean I don't give a hang about the lord and lady in question. So why take the risk to make the folks of the bluff of course I do they laugh because they recognize the Lord and Lady. No I say tis the folly tis the folly they laugh at. So let them laugh. From now on I shall write of the folly. Yes amen. Well-known dogs. When you want to call us we want you to know God lordships a fitting title for Nocturne a player just out of jail. Wow Ben's idea. Oh yes of course to Ben's new idea is not new. I got it from the last. So you still wished fire to be a literary man whatever to remaining out of jail to folly to Ban Johnson to our life and if it were.
A life in the theatre was merely the beginning of Ben Johnson's career as a writer a. Writer. There's money in this one Ben they didn't like the writing of it was more than money. It was the fulfillment of a great idea an idea that gave him strength to overcome his poor beginning for greatness is born with some men. These are questions not the records the plays alone remain. Then Johnson attacked those things which men do. And we three hundred years later still laugh at his play for men still. Her. Heard in today's program where Don's dribbling dicks at a bird. Lauren Ingram Lauren
cocking Scott platter and Greg Morris with Mary Casey very Don Walker and Fred as were our studio engineers. Why is a writer is written by Floyd Horowitz and directed by Larry Wall. This is Dave Carter speaking. This has been another program in the series why is a writer produced by WSU School of the air under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network.
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Why is a writer?
Jonson in jail
Producing Organization
University of Iowa
WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program focuses on playwright Ben Jonson.
Series Description
Produced by the Iowa School of the Air, this series focuses on various works of literature from Shakespeare to Twain.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Actor: Stribling, Don
Actor: Morris, Greg
Actor: Setterberg, Dick
Actor: Ingram, Lauren
Announcer: Carter, Dave
Director: Walcoff, Larry
Producing Organization: University of Iowa
Producing Organization: WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Writer: Horowitz, Floyd
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: S60-6-25 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:30?
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Chicago: “Why is a writer?; Jonson in jail,” 1961-03-31, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 27, 2024,
MLA: “Why is a writer?; Jonson in jail.” 1961-03-31. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 27, 2024. <>.
APA: Why is a writer?; Jonson in jail. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from