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Listen to the last profile of a nation in terms of its living language this way. Off base. Are our notebooks full of surprises. Listen to the land as a weekly series produced by station w h y y Philadelphia under a grant from the National Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcast. By sharing a lot of the writings of our country past and present we can come to a fuller deviation of those things which are meaningful to us as Americans and perhaps of the nature of our role in the contemporary worth. Now here is the host and narrator of listening to the law. Richard. AS. Part of. The noise comes up the windows his hand on the Get Out Of My Way horn impatient cab driver Hackman and hell driving the hot dusty icy streets so they can eat and also save the Jets the Jets and the dimes the quarters the big and all the little tips. The price of survival smiles and the slammed door and the angry horn sneering in the grating
break saving all the months saving for that vacation and what you'll get in the seat and drive across the country with children with wife and children bag and baggage. His hand on the Get Out Of My Way horn all the way cross country. Going to see his wife's relatives having his in-law good time. The title of that piece is ode to a cab driver. And I'd be willing to wager a five foot shelf of books and a lifetime subscription to poetry annual Most of my listeners cannot identify the writer. Now it has the rhythm of a chilling Z in its forthright colloquial spirit as reminiscent of a Sandburg or a frost. But the writer is a woman is no mistake on that point as I'm sure you'll agree at the end of the programme when I reveal her name. I'm not trying to be caught but the teaser is all in the spirit of this week's theme which is labelled offbeat. You get the idea from this definition of inherent flying ability as contained in a memorandum issued by the Air Service.
Advanced flying school Kelly Field Texas under the date of June 1st 1926. Subject definition of inherent flying ability to Commandant a USAF S Kelly Field Texas June 1 1926 1 pursuant to verbal instructions from the Commandant a USAF s the academic department has thoroughly investigated and looked up the meaning of quote inherent flying ability unquote. Such a definition has been constructed from the best authorities available and is academically correct irrespective of whether it be applied to flying of lighter than air or heavier than air craft. Definition follows the innate faculty of selective and instinctive discrimination of the stimuli of the sensory motor operators to harness Ammonius we adjust to metabolic changes in physiological equilibrium in such manner
as to comprehend and assimilate instruction in the attributes necessary to perform the intricate and complex operations which comprise the piloting of aircraft. Sonar you know all about that subject. The military has come in for more than its share of joshing through the years by the very nature of its organization and administration particularly in the field of satire. A case in point is the charming satire which appeared in the army combat forces journal under the signature of Colonel W. C. Hall of the Corps of Engineers. A story which purports to explain why. Brave Horatius never got his medal. History is filled with varying accounts of how her races with only two companions held a bridge across the Tiber around 4 9 6 B.C. against overwhelming Etruscan forces. But the fact that her racist never got his medal. Colonel Hall explained wasn't the fault of joy just to sell US
commander of the 2nd foot Legion of the Republic of Rome who tried to get the Roman Steinitz Medal of Honor for Captain Gaius chi as a racists. Lucilla's recommendation went first to the Roman Army's G3 and all of these numerals by the way are of course in Roman numerals G3 was plans operations and training next month that was sent to g to intelligence with a recommendation that the phrase quote saving the city unquote be changed to quote lessening the effectiveness of the enemy's attack unquote G3 also noted quote The Roman army was well dispersed technically the Reserve had not been committed. The phrase as written might be construed to cast aspersions on our fine army unquote G1 personnel after long study and the matter over to the Judge Advocate General's Office which can be discovered that this raid of the a trust INS did not constitute actual warfare a fact which made the stand of a racist
and his companions a police action. Since the Medal of Honor could not be awarded in peacetime the J.A.G. suggested the Soldier's Medal for Captain her a ship's back to personnel for concurrence with the DAs ear and personnel contended that a star of bronze would be more appropriate. This required another opinion from the J.A.G. who ruled that quote Seventeen months have elapsed since the event described in the basic letter star of bronze cannot be awarded after more than 15 months of elapsed unquote. The good captain was however clearly eligible for the pirates scroll with a metal pendant but personnel refused to concur because the international political situation had changed and quote are currently find relations with Tuscany would suffer unquote. Two years after the episode on the bridge Captain Horatius received a letter at a P.O. 19 care postmaster
Rome informing him that because he had lost his stored in Shield and neither of his companions had the finance officer was being directed to deduct the cost of this equipment from his paycheck. And of episode. As you may have assumed many of the items I'm including in this programme this week are clippings of things which have a personal appeal to me. Here's one in particular that attracted my attention in the New York Journal American. The issue of August four thousand nine hundred forty two. It's a reporter's interview with an attractive dark haired dark eyed Mexican girl on the eve of her electrocution for murder. Tony Joe Henry balanced her chair against the thick steel bars of her death cell and said she might as well kick the lid off. Most folks wonder what goes on in the mind of a condemned person she said All right I'll tell you. Maybe it'll help some reader. Most of us must seem like crossword puzzles to readers the way we're
photographed behind these bars. Doni Joe Henry is a twenty six year old Slim brunette sentenced to die here August 10. For the 1940 St. Valentine day slaying of a Houston Texas salesman she appealed her case three times before the appeal was dismissed by the state supreme court in the first place she said the victim doesn't return to haunt me. I never think of him. I've known all along it will be my life or his. I believe mine is worth as much to me as it was to him. I wonder though sometimes why it's legal now for some fellow to kill me. And another thing I've got a brother going overseas with the army any day now. I hope he gets off before I'm electrocuted. I think you might try to stop a bullet over there and I wake up at night you see and my nerves yell and jerk at me because you might try to stop a bullet over there. Tony Joel lighted a cigarette and inhaled absently fingering her cigarette lighter. You know that lighter is
guaranteed for a lifetime she said. Now you know one person whose life time lighter lasted a lifetime. Funny I never thought it would outlast me. Maybe I'll smash it August the 10th. And this is funny too. I'm worried a little about AB's Irish Rose. You see I never saw many stage plays AB's Irish Rose as a radio serial and every day I used to listen to it but they just continued the serial until next September. I won't be here in September and he won't live here anymore. I'm scared I'm scared to death because I don't know where I'll be in September and maybe he's Irish Rose will go right on without me laughing and fussing and making wonderful noises for everybody else. It was in San Antonio Texas in 1939 that Tony Joe met Claude cowboy Henry a former boxer. They were married and Henry subsequently was sentenced to 50 years in a Texas penitentiary for the fatal shooting of an officer of the
law. Tony Joe has testified repeatedly that she and her accomplice been in Berks killed Joseph P. Callaway 42 years old that they might use his car in robbing a bank. The money in turn was to be employed in affecting cowboy Henry's release from prison. Explaining her husband's place in the pattern of her crime. TONY JONES said no one ever cared about me before him. That guy is the king of my heart. He gave me a home and he got the drug monkey off my back and that drug monkey is a big strong thing. I remember the day I told him I was a coke and the look on his face he thought I just smoked marijuana and he grinned and when I told him my train went a lot further than marijuana. He took me to a hotel room and I lay there in bed for a week and he would come in and then ask me how I was doing. He slapped my face with ice towels and we both laugh. The nights here are mean. Sometimes I pray he can get a letter through to me.
He's smart. He's no Roukema gook from Kokomo that one. They say some condemned prisoners get a lot of grace from meeting all the things they want just before they go. But me I'd rather read a letter from him. Late in July after Gov. Sam Jones had signed her death warrant officers cautiously confiscated Tony Joe's scissors and a wealth of other sawing implements they expected me to blow my top she said and waving at the mirror over her death's old dresser she added You know I could cut my throat out with that stuff and never occurred to them. Well it never occurs to me either. I don't even think of harming Burke's anymore he blamed everything on me Burke's dead. But now we're both going to die. I wish he didn't have to go though. His mother is alive and mine isn't in the Bible says an eye for an eye. It doesn't say two eyes for an eye.
No date has been set yet for the execution of Burke's. He too is sentenced in 1040 Tony Joe said. I think condemned persons fret more about losing contact with human beings than anything else. You feel so out of it. It's more than these bars it's more like a hellish battle with long distance when she won't give you a number anybody's number not one friendly human being's number. You get so cold pretty soon you're a freak even to yourself. Tony Joe with Burke's was hitchhiking along a Texas highway when Callaway picked them up. They admittedly threatened him with guns crammed him into the luggage compartment of his car and drove to a rice field seven miles off Lake Charles dragged across the bleak frozen stubble of the field. The salesman was told to pray Tony Joe shot him above the right eye as he knelt naked beside a straw stack. I'm still not sure why we took his clothes she said. I said once and I say knowledge seem that it would delay their
pursuit pursuit. I'm telling you I shot him because it's no good lying now. Burke didn't do it. Sometimes I wonder why I didn't knock the man unconscious instead but it was like being drunk real drunk. Ever pull something when you were drunk and that something seemed the cutest smartest thing in the world but afterward it was the off list. Well me I was drunk with pleasure. Pressure. I told you about my husband. I always knew there was a God running the show. But I thought maybe I could steal just one little act. Barring unexpected intervention by Governor JONES Tony Joe will be the first white woman to die by electrocution in Louisiana the second to suffer capital punishment. And yet with the state's new portable chair waiting for her in the death chamber of this squat Paris jail Tony Joe still wisecracks when the photographer had come to take perhaps the last picture over as he wrestled with the focus pocus rituals but cuter The Cameraman Tony Joe said
you know I've smiled twice mister you haven't shot yet. You got the idea how much talent is being wasted here today. Some time ago in Sam Reagan's column southern comfort in the Raleigh North Carolina News and Observer I came upon a poem that reflects Mr. Reagan's fine taste haunting and fragile thing. RW justice Reagan wrote of Raleigh Nolen in Gainesville Florida recently with a Chinese friend Rosalind who undertook the translation into English of some poems by Chinese poets of the third and fourth century. One of the several translations was the following The Song of the abandoned one. Once you said this. A mind must have a stopping place. A nod or a then or a tomorrow. You
have no nom. And no tomorrow. Only other than. A recalling of shadows. Am I one of them. When sometimes restless with longing. You lay aside your brushes and absent died do you walk away and leave everything behind you starting again from nowhere and nothing no one. When sometimes sleepless with recollection you walk the quiet streets of strange towns at midnight. Is that I you remember. What days come back to you. To the slow rhythm of your heels against strange pavements What face. Is that mine. When the changing shadows from the Rushlight SPE side unfamiliar doorways form reminiscent patterns. And I part of it when a wandering night wind long and deviously descended from the soft wind of that summer. Rub soft against your body.
Do you remember mine. When the surf on far beaches under a young moon adds to your loneliness until you have to remember some time lost something. Or somebody. Will you let it be me. Now that I said that could have been written yesterday. But in fact was written some sixteen hundred years ago some weeks ago in our two part program on American humor we read a Mr Dooley piece on the subject of golf. Now here's an offbeat item on the same subject written by a schoolboy name unknown of St. Andrews University perhaps through the miracle of radio. The writer can identify himself anyway. Here is his evocative and precise inspiration. Thus spake the voice of golf with its Psalm like overtones. I thrive in the green
meadows and beside the wooded hills. I glory in cool breezes and sparkling sunshine yet oft I lure my followers or wintry fields are under summer's blazing skies. I appeal alike to young and old. I encourage the weak reproach the boastful reward the strong I am the spirit of fairness and the essence of self-control. I am opportunity oft returning. I am ambition I am a fixed star. Men follow me and women to the slew of Despond to the golden heights of achievement. Men may love me curse me kneel to me to ride me yet I am as constant as the tides of the rolling seas. Indeed I shall never die of loneliness I am the chief enemy or I drive away dull hours and countless petty cares I have for my bosom companion health and for my delight a hearty appetite. I revel in entertainment.
The world of out-of-doors is my house. My guests are whosoever will condescend to share my delights. I lay foundations of everlasting friendships and build off in the land of romance. I am an intoxicant. I cure all but killed none. Well if you wrote that fine piece and you heard me just read it won't you please get in touch with me. Not long ago while vacationing on Martha's Vineyard I came upon a literal translation of the Lord's Prayer in weapon OOC dialing the weapon a log Indians were native to Martha's Vineyard. And this poem was used in the early seventeenth century by Roger Williams and other reverends who were his contemporaries. The close relationship of the prayer to the version familiar to us is readily apparent yet the simplicity of the Wampanoags faith gives their supplication a special charm.
Father hours above in heaven admired in the highest manner be thy name. Like done by will on earth as like in heaven. Let us be forgiven evil doings of ours as we would forgive wrongdoers to us not guide us into snares but help us to escape from evil by powerful kingdom dined the strength in the greatest glory. Always always wish me so. Amen. The mood established by the Lord's Prayer is appropriate to introduce in this next item which is one of the most beautiful statements of the Christmas message I've ever come across in its eloquence and university. It is not restricted to season and thus its inclusion in this program. The essay is called There are no common men. It was written in the early part of this century by a veteran newspaper man by the name of W. T
Bost for a little known Alabama farm journal which has since become the powerful progressive farmer Tom busts memorable essay as a statement that I have read to and ask friends to read themselves friends of all faiths. Whether or not they accept the divinity of Christ and each person is found in it some nugget of truth some comfort and inspiration which adds to his personal richness. The wonderful element to the story of the Nativity is its perfect simplicity and naturalness. The story deals with the most familiar situations. It introduces only the most humble figures and uses only the most elementary speech. The manger the baby the mother the shepherds the flocks the quiet night. A few simple words could the divine drama have been put on a more unpretentious
stage committed to more unskilled actors or employed speech more common and readily understood. There is no selection of the places persons and moments which seems to us noble elect or significant. There is on the contrary entire disregard of all our distinctions of quality and differences of degree. Life is taken in its most common and homely aspects. Man in his feeblest moment. Witnesses in the humblest occupations. Language In its most obvious and universal significance. And over all this obscurity homeliness and commonplaceness behold the splendor of God shines the manger is forever a place of pilgrimage. The helpless child the mightiest force among men and the shepherds hear voices for whose music the great and the wise have listened in vain. Could any grouping of persons bring
out more clearly the immense range of man's life and its wonderful possibilities. There is a child in the mother's arms. A company of shepherds on the hillside in a sudden splendor of angels in a quiet night. There is a manger for poverty of condition a babe for the common helplessness the shepherd for the drudgery of universal occupations and suddenly in the night which to darken the world a thousand unremembered times out of the old familiar sky. Came the glory of heavenly faces and the unspeakable melody of angelic voices. So a man has always lived even in his rags and sin with the radiance of the sky over him. So every cradle has rocked a son of God. So every mother is held the child of God in her arms. So every common duty of common men has been an opportunity for a heavenly revelation. So every night the glory of the invisible God has been but thinly veiled from the plains
in which flocks are feeding. A few in every generation have seen the splendor of this divine drama. Many of hoped and said that they believed but the great mass of men has never yet dared to live in the joy and peace which must come to those who believe that the world is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. Humanity will not accept its divine parentage because it seems a fortune beyond its deserts out of sheer consciousness of unworthiness as well as out of spiritual dullness of vision. Men doubt their heavenly origin and destiny. There is no more appalling evidence of the devastation wrought by evil in the soul of man and the fact that he still finds the promise of Christ incredible. And yet. Every 12 months the Christian world gathers around the manger at Bethlehem. And listens in the stillness of night to hear the angels song.
And out of the windows in the frosty air it still seems to many for a moment as if there were a brighter glow upon the snow and the more brilliant splendor among the stars. Little children pure in heart. Look at the lighted tree and hear the familiar carols and the little ones know that long ago on the plains of Bethlehem there came a sudden rush of melody down from the silent stars with words beautiful and loving which men cannot forget. And these children know. That the Shepherds really saw and heard. And their elders crowded about them are stirred in their hearts. The beautiful old story is lived again. It has its balm for pain and sweetness but the bitterness of life. For the message of Christmas is that there are no common man. There is no hopeless
drudgery. There is no Forsaken World whirling through dreary night to a night still darker and a Dreams more awful. The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof. And every birth is a miracle. Every manger or holy place every child a son of the highest. Every occupation and education for immortality. A divine father a divine Son a divine world. So ran the meaning of the first Christmas Day. When angels broke their silence and declared that heaven shines on every birth and that in every cradle a child of God sleeps and wakes. And now before saying goodbye for this week let's revert to the item that opened this program of offbeat material the poem Ode to a cab driver.
You'll recall that I said the writer was a woman a description with which I'm sure you'll agree when I tell you that her name is Marilyn Monroe. And now that you know the name of the author perhaps you'd like to hear once again the verse Ode to a cab driver. The noise comes up the windows. His hand on the Get Out Of My Way a horn impatient cab driver Hackman and hell driving the hot dusty icy streets so they can eat and also save the Jets the Jets and the dimes the quarters the big and all the little tips. The price of survival smiles on the slam door and the angry horns sneering in the grating break saving all the months saving for that vacation and what you'll get in the seat and drive across the country with children with wife and children bag and baggage. His hand on the Get Out Of My Way horn all the way cross country. Going to see his wife's relatives having his in-law good time.
As Maurice Zola Tal wrote in the American weekly article of several years ago from which I called that poem. While I don't say that Robert Frost should go out and cut his throat if he reads this verse I do believe that Marilyn Monroe has a genuine literary gift and of quote and and of program for this week. I do hope you've enjoyed these offbeat items which are called Through the years and put in a very fat scrap book there are far too many to include in a single program. But it's been fun reading them and I hope you pick up a few items for your own collection. I also hope that you will plan to join me again next week when our program thing will be subtitled sense and sensitivity and the program will include notable examples of writings about the sights the sounds the smells and the tastes of America. It's been good fun being with you this week. I hope you've enjoyed it and you'll plan to be with me again
next week at the same time. Until than this is Dec. Burdick saying thanks for listening and until next week. So long. Listen to the land was produced and recorded at station somebody wait a long while for the LBO underground National Educational Television Radio Center and listening to a bit by National Association of educational broadcast. This is James culinary fighting you'll be with us next week for the program sense and sensitivity featuring the host and the great Richard S. Burdick on listening to the line. This is the end beat radio. Network.
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Listen to the land
Producing Organization
WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program takes a looks at unusual, "offbeat" examples of American writing.
Series Description
America's literary heritage is explored through readings of short stories, poems, folklore, journalism and legends. The series is narrated by Richard S. Burdick.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Announcer: Keeler, James
Host: Burdick, Richard S.
Producing Organization: WHYY (Radio station : Philadelphia, Pa.)
Writer: Voegeli, Don
Writer: Hall, W.C.
Writer: Henry, Toni Jo, 1916-1942
Writer: Ragan, Sam, 1915-1996
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 60-54-15 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:15
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Chicago: “Listen to the land; Offbeat,” 1960-11-29, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “Listen to the land; Offbeat.” 1960-11-29. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Listen to the land; Offbeat. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from