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The best understanding of America begins or so it seems to us with the realisation that this nation is young yet that she's still new unfinished. That even. America is man's greatest adventure and time and space. The University of North Carolina through a grant and aid from the National Association of educational broadcasters presents American Adventure a study of mine in the New World. The series made possible by the fund for adult education an independent agency established by the Ford Foundation. Written by Johnny Laird directed by John Clayton today's recorded program presents grenade.
Rounds and John Oliver White fresh Lieutenant commanding Nigro platoon II company 370 first and untrained eyes blue eye five feet weight 130 pounds. Age 27. Married son aged one year. Killed in action near RWA France September twenty ninth 1918 Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. You know what I mean. Better go home with you. All right quiet there's a war going on you know you know that Jenna ransom just to finish that job later. Take your seat with the others. Yes it is important I want to know about any serious more out problems. I understand that they are sad just the way things are. We come back from the line from too much action to
waiting. I don't have a problem Major. We'll be back in the trenches soon when Cano and we get daughters. When will that be when division is using. Couldn't you approximate a time Carol. Yes captain it will be five minutes after army headquarters towns division headquarters to issue them. Thank you. Not at all Captain. Colonel Are there any footballs in the supply rooms. I beg your pardon lieutenant. The footballs are footballs. Yes sir for what military purpose do you want footballs with Janet to play with Sir. Yeah until it runs in the middle of the war do you propose that we pause for a game of football. Well yes. You see sir I don't see so far as I know Tenet they are no footballs in the regimental area or any other questions of a military nature. Then watch the morale of your men and remember we must all maintain utmost secrecy about the date of our advance. You didn't tell us that date. I know Captain. As I said we must all maintain utmost secrecy.
I would get out of this I mean if I was in the States I mean leave just sneak away in a dog. Me What are you afraid of Tater afraid you did you say you leave. Yeah leave. Tired of fighting. Don't you love I don't like you did oh maybe you will give it a good chin grows on you so slow like fun you guys fight a war and go to whack it as if today who did it. You proud to meet you. You don't fool me. What if there was a ship right now on this field and they said this ship was a truck and you say look Im in a truck
goes back to the train and the ship she goes back to the states. You take your pick you can go to the front and fight or you can get on a ship and go home. Do I get ownership wouldn't you say. I don't know I watch you pay no attention to God no patriotism. I was born without God no amateur feel I've been very very free. I'm sick of men wake me up when it's over you know cause a bit on the wind as well just stay low the less I'm going to teach you a mission forward for you what you see what I want to know is how can you fight a war with guys like Taylor around. Come on into the tent so I didn't think you did rent he want to see me so I
don't. Yes I want to talk to you is great. Good men don't talk like still waters not like they used to do. We all know Sergeant Taylor he's done it all the others I see. You know anything about football side football. Yes it's fall football season. I used to play football have been looted Reds weighed one hundred twenty seven men to see what you got started. I was always too busy trying to get started to notice. But I've watched teams breaking apart before starting five basketball players become five players instead of one team each man tries to sink as many points as he can when he should feed the ball to the men who can sing from Bass Yes sir.
Five men working together 25 times as strong as five men working independently side and you want to doctor the men liked at first so I don't suppose you look around and find me a football. Good both here and quickly. No time to lose. Now that's one problem I can't handle alone. You know where to go when you have a problem you can't handle. No I don't take it to the chaplain and Sergeant Fletcher. It's a way to get into the ship and you've got it. All right man. Come around here a minute. The sergeant said tired of calisthenics and close order drill took the trouble of finding a football or a couple of good football players any other football players. I was the best quarterback.
Now we know why we got a certain coach the other team referee All right. Just bring a game like we raised fold tailor the season for football. And in this outfit everybody plays. Colonel you didn't say that we couldn't play football. Didn't I know after I went out of my way to imply it Lieutenant. I missed that implications or perhaps you didn't seem to be very sharp that day. Football authors say
calisthenics in close order drill. Yes but Colonel I have a theory. Really Lieutenant you're making fun of me sir. We both are lieutenant. I was simply trying to teach the men teamwork so the Army does that with the drill the army method is not good enough for her. I see. Continue the way I see it Colonel. In football a man often makes up personal sacrifice to help the team in close order drill there are not sacrifices there's only a formal machine like teamwork in football you think and follow orders in close order drill you just follow orders. There's an interesting thing about your reasoning Lieutenant much that I find a certain amount of sense to it. I wish we had more time or need times for my outfit's not in fighting shape Colonel. Why have we had to go into battle tomorrow. Lieutenant sir we moved to the front a D'Addario tomorrow morning Lieutenant. I see.
Thank you for trusting me with an informations I did all the time and I'm willing to trust a man who fights for the team. To ransom. It's interesting I want to wake up so I am awake when he was gone they said. Taylor did he just Azza been expecting this just a second. Why you get your guns up. I expect to use it. Right man just sit out there. But also let you know what's the matter. So then what's the matter. We've got toddlers into him at all right about we get along fine. If it wanted to for him. Yeah I tell you no. Yeah. What about a tailor you say I was a Cohen because I didn't want to go back to the front are you. Most of what I know suck and you know that's what you keep
saying how just a minute. You think Taylor is a coward. Man Ever hear of Russian roulette. Oh I see a game where you take five at a bullet had a pistol in it. That's right and one bullet in it. Suppose I do that now. Take five bullets out of my gun one bullet in and lock the chamber in place and spin it. There's one chance in six this pistol fire when it's shot it would take a brave man to put this barrel next to his head and pull that trigger. Lou did A.J. if you go in do you really a coward Taylor. You mean a good deal of the rest of you like to join Taylor in this game. Out of all the platoon only Taylor will volunteer his food to pull that trigger out of 10 right or wrong.
Taylor claims it's foolish to fight a war. No one will volunteer and none of us will bother with it. I will say it isn't necessary. Yes it is to give me the push to do it if you cute you will be responsible. Very well Taylor. Here it is. Now would I do spend the chamber's again. One chance in 16. Or do you know what the barrel to your temple. Yes count three and pull the trigger when you do. Free. Congratulations Taylor. Yes. Here you go. Let's agree that Taylor's a brave man. The bravest of you all. What about you Lieutenant. Do you head it wouldn't
be fair for me to do that slam Why not. How can officers play games with enlisted men. Yeah there's a better image. There would be no danger for me slim. I know I removed all six of the board. When it rains Yes Taylor you know come on in the tent. Thank you sir. The tent flap open will have enough light to see by. Yes. Sit down in the packed their tailor. Mind if I smoke. Go ahead. It's four o'clock in the morning. But I couldn't sleep. I've been awake to the missive to you know why that Lieutenant do that for you.
You're the first man ever done anything for me to do to end it. Maybe I figure you had a reason. Men generally have reason to tailor even though some of them they don't understand. Then why is it like the other men why aren't you. I'm too smart that's where I grew up with my head on my shoulders thinking for myself. I see and I just don't get this less fight for the old home play stuff for our families for freedom. My old home place was a two dollar a week flat in a tenement district. My family's two brothers and a couple of sisters wouldn't give me a piece of bread if I was starving to death begging to stage freedom for me was freedom to go without working smoke cigarette butts when I could find a fight for freedom to fight for the whole family. Would I care who wins a war. See those stars out there Taylor. WHAT'S SO PRETTY about a
star. Who do you mean. It's sort of a light bulb. I think a star is prettier than a light bulb because man can't change it improve it a star is a mystery just like this problem of your problem ain't no mystery I just got no reason to fight. It is a mystery because you want to fight. Do you know that if you come up here trying to get me to send you back to the kitchen crew I can get you assigned to Graves Registration Tator listen to me. You don't have to move up to the front lines with the rest of us. I'll assign you to a rear echelon team you're free Go get your things and look here Lieutenant I am asking for no favor. That's what I thought. You want to fight. But you don't know why and it doesn't make sense to you. You figure you're the only one in the whole lot me like that. But you're not most people have something to fight for so do you. What.
Listen Taylor when a man leaps in front of a car to save a kid's life what's he fighting for. I don't know the kid's life maybe maybe doesn't know the kid. Maybe the kid throws rocks at his automobile but he does it anyway risked his own life to save the kids. Why Taylor. I'm not sure you want to fight but you don't know why. All right maybe it's because millions of helpless people have asked you to defend them. I ask you to leap in front of the automobile to save their lives. People you don't like and once you do you're part of their team Taylor team I don't get that either. TAYLOR Did you ever feel that you should take up for the town in which you were born if somebody said something abut it maybe the town wasn't any good was dead but it was yours. So you didn't like it when somebody said it was Dave. That's right that's the same way with a nation tailor a nation gets pushed around you don't like it. And the nation's life is threatened. You don't like it. Janet is there with Diane for
a man's dignity is worth dying for. Taylor That's the best thing we have. And dignity like those stars is beautiful because we can't touch it. We can't improve it. And it's a mystery to us. Didn't it. Big words. Stars are big objects Taylor. Yes. I can't quite get hold of this dog though. But you know they're there together. You better get some sleep now Taylor. Oh. I'd be all right. This is the last night you'll have for a while. We move back to the front. Tomorrow morning with you all right.
That was one of our shields one of looked in advance of the year it fell short. We move forward and the cat is going to dinner you want to be a hero slam I want to get some gym and stay alive that's a way to be a good hero to stay alive by moving cautiously. When the whole man who lived can accomplish more in war than the men who die lieutenant. During the Germans got a machine gun up there. Maybe Taylor. And I send out private Konrad to see you ought to be back by now. Maybe you're going to be the candy hero that Lieutenant ransom Lux. Before don't end it. Thank you. Robert Cone ready back gets.
His due time for Mandaric noted that here tonight. You want a job Jay Leno and I wouldn't put through some fight you know still Hey how do you plan to move in on that hero Taylor and a creek bed is better away. It's good enough. Let's go. You go into Sergeant Fletcher take charge. Yes. Let's go to Lieutenant ransom. I got a request before you go. All right slim good the three day crowd lieutenant. And you may need a crowd before you fruit. Very well come and see him. You. Want to. Keep your head down but I want to thanks.
Don't you worry about. How much more we've got to go. Please Creek about halfway I want to force that to me. It's a smear. Watch drawing. Slam. Going swimming. Just get up quietly. I think I think I've found I've got it right he said. What I say. Why are you stopping spam. We've reached a big tour of the creek so.
All right I go around we do you know so you wait. I'm giving orders Yes No sir. You wait you can court martial me when we get back to St.. But I'm go in first. All right Jim move out. Thank You are like a tailor. Oh yes I am. Are you slim. He did he did slim right then knew you didn't see it. Is it him Newton. Yes tell. And we just lost our crowd the let's go.
We can't go around that don't know Dan and we know that now it's on his part we have already do. And I'll be coming over the trench in a few minutes and machine gun he'd already come off kill him just like you did sneak him machine guns him to be about 30 to 50 yards from here. Yes yes. That's a good gas into the crowd and then a grenade. Yes sir. Hit me up this bank Yes and now see if I can see it from here. Right. But you put in my. There. That's a dirty look you're not going off into the water up until I got a new tenant. Say anything. No sir I don't see no more cuts. It's alright it's alright I'll fix you up here. Stop trying to be pain. Yes yes you're all right. I think this is your ticket back to the states Taylor thank
you. Yes I'm going to get this bandage out of the pack. I saw the gun. We're going to tell. This happened here just a piece this coven or that kind of tragedy this one. Just stop the bleeding is behind had to log and set about to stop talking to him back in supply. I mean I don't have to own the world right now is for you get that guy I got to stop this please. I want to let him listen to take granny go home and I don't know where or when I either want to die with her and that could go over. I can't I can't carry the ball. Most of you can't I can't leave you. There's been a growing becoming over the trenches and to cement a hobby over regular tennis and somebody somebody to get
that. Is this what you want. Yes. That took one of your grenade has said no don't don't let him get you to throw it's no word of mouth roared with a think at me or not this time not get it. But she would. Have been listening so go back up the creek a reason and climb over the bank. Yes he has said good luck so. No he ain't got no bread for me right now but I do
want to talk to you but the right it's you know that attended ranch and he get the gun low. That's right. If you can hear me you can help him through with a grenade. Oh Jesus. I stood in the hood. No I didn't. He's so weak. She's just hoping she just help him through that grenade. Lord Lieutenant I want to help him. Grenade lieutenant.
Grenade. That's right. He doesn't write a lot. You know do you. Yeah. Do you and the men are going to be. Or a wonder where my showed this. I don't know. No mo.
Ranson John Oliver White First Lieutenant commanding negro platoon company 370 1st Infantry is blue height five feet weight 130 pounds. Age 27. Married son aged one year. Killed in action here are your friends. September 29 1918 Distinguished Service Cross posthumously. American Adventure is written by John E. Lee directed by John Clayton produced by the
communications center of the University of North Carolina. American Adventure is a study of man in the New World the series is made possible by the National Association of educational broadcasters and the fund for adult education and independent agency established by the Ford Foundation and grenade Lieutenant Ranson was played by Charles Kuralt and Taylor was Jonny Lee American Inventor is produced and recorded by the University of North Carolina on the campus at Chapel Hill. This is the ne E. B network.
American adventure
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/500-8k74zh1w).
Episode Description
A study of an aspect of basic patriotism. The story of an African-American soldier in the first World War who has no stock reasons for fighting.
Series Description
This series studies the values and characteristics of notable figures from America's early years. It is written by John M. Ehle and directed by John S. Clayton.
Broadcast Date
Social Issues
World War, 1914-1918--Drama.
Media type
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Actor: Kuralt, Charles, 1934-1997
Actor: Ehle, Gail
Director: Clayton, John S.
Host: Kasell, Carl
Producing Organization: University of North Carolina
Writer: Ehle, John, 1925-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-12-4 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:25
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Chicago: “American adventure; Grenade,” 1954-01-01, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 20, 2024,
MLA: “American adventure; Grenade.” 1954-01-01. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 20, 2024. <>.
APA: American adventure; Grenade. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from