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The University of North Carolina presents the last program for the season on American adventure written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton and produced by the University of North Carolina communications that director. Tonight's program a play about novelist Thomas Wolfe. Kuch kuch. What is it. Who's out there. Prof. What are you doing here to 2:00 in the morning I got to see a profit I got to see you thought I was asleep. Can I talk to your prof. Come on into the living room and sit down. Excuse me a minute when I get there forget the fire I won't be here long Prof. Just a minute. But it had to be now. All right. Sit down. We'll freeze together. I get worried about something and I can't stop worrying about it. Really important. I was called to the dean's office this
afternoon. You're not in trouble surely not with the university. With myself. The Dean said that being a military school you know where that is the one in Nashville. That's right. They need an English teacher. The Dean said he had suggested me. Well it's a little early in the morning for deep thinking Tom but on the surface I still can't see any reason for knocking down my door at 2 a.m. I rode my folks and told them I'd take the job. How tall are you. Six feet seven inches. If you don't tell me what you got me out of bed at this on earthly hour then tell me simply how I'm going to take all six feet of you and throw you out of the house. But how can I tell you simply it isn't simple it's a matter of my life and my life isn't simple. All right. Be as complex as you like while I freeze today. I'm sorry. My dreams are too big. That's my trouble. They're all out of size. What dream of writing being famous.
Hearing words I've written spoken on the stage see them in print. Like a boy dreams of being a cop I guess. But you're not a boy Tom. You're big into rustic. Big men should dream big dream you can dream a dream for a thousand years and still not have anything in your hand to show for it. What does this job in Nashville have to do with all this. If I take the job I'll never write you and the other professors here the ones who've taken an interest in me. You've opened up the future and expanded it with visions proclaimed it for youth and I'm young I feel a future right here beating with my policy. I have to say it whatever it is I have to put you down in writing. If I take this job lose my vision's lose my youth. I don't want ever to be cynical. Look I think I can write down inside me I'm almost sure I have to write even to live. But I have to learn more don't I so do we all come. You mentioned once at a
professor at Harvard had the best writing course in the country remember the best there is. He's an old professor of mine sent you said that I thought about going to Harvard and taking that course. I see. It won't be easy to go. Won't be easy to get into Harvard will it. Baker has a limited class of 12 students a year Tom. I have to go. I can't take this job in Nashville. Tell me I can write. Prof tell me I have to tell me to go to Harvard tell me I have to fight to go to Harvard when I get home. You would overwhelm an oak tree. You're asking me to ask you to risk your whole life to gamble with it. And I will. I think you've got what it takes. Hold on I'm not sure exactly what it is. If you put your soul in the Thomas soul is in it now. Prof Scotch. How are your boys. Hello Mr. Don't remember used to live in the house next to mother's Borden
housewares and how were you born. Here take it home most over the U.S. They go here you little more than a kid are you. And I'm 18. Second time I heard some great things about you being editor of the school magazine and newspaper The big man on the campus. I'm tall enough to be big. That's not all that sure is proud of your proudest moment in Buncombe County. Say you're going to amount to something I didn't tell Mr. Cope. How's that. I intend to amount to a great deal. You don't say remember when I was a boy I sort of thought I would too. But here I am 54 and I'm still on the road a good job my job I did that and didn't mean to sound egotistical mister. That's all right. I understand about you with just don't get your hopes too high leaves too much room Monday when you're full. It is well. That I get an email this afternoon. If you did Mrs cover sun it's on the
table in a hall pass. GET OUT OF MY WAY. Pretty nice about Tom getting that off of being a military school isn't it. I daresay it's no more than my Tom deserves. Be good to have him back Oh Mona did you think it wouldn't. Well no I didn't think you know I believe that. Here move this is. A law that you have to stop yelling or pay your room rent Mrs. Taylor. This is your youngest son is home. Also seven feet of him just pushing open the gate. Oh well you wouldn't you know he'd be back just when I didn't have time to turn around. Mrs Culbertson watch them. They've all been in here Tom. Lol I gotta go all over me. Yes so you're Tom Wolfe. Now put on them heavy bags before you break your back. Are you more. Oh good as could be expected after working 16 hours a day. Well come on Kiss Me Hello. Now go up and get washed for dinner. LOL I've
got to start filling out that frame of yours Tom. Don't they feed you at that university. No I haven't lost any weight don't tell me. Go hurry and get washed for supper. And you Mrs. Taylor may go over to PAX square and tell Tom's father to come eat with his hands washed. He's got a college graduate for supper. Here I have this other pork chop toddler thing small but take it thanks. Our school is years Ron. Well it really I don't know how I'm going to feel you always did have an appetite it didn't get you weaned till you were almost 4 and your father's responsible for that who you thought you were cute. Mother only I
know I know you're a college graduate now but you'll never grow up as far as I'm concerned Tom. It's good for a mother to have her youngest son at home with her. I'll tell the world that home to St.. And don't you ever leave this house again. I like to talk to you for a minute. Well come on and pull up a chair. You mother talk and I have to come out on the porch to think. Wanted to thank you for sending me money in Chapel Hill for myself as much as you are. Funny thing in the world of study. Tom. Great literature there is nothing finer made of gold and that speech in Hamlet to be not to
be that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind of man has suffered the first line to be or not. It's it's a pretty group in a way that I have a chance to be so as you are you have something big really big. Of course you have. You haven't found a kitchen as anybody in Western Carolina expected you to be a principal of a school. Something greater than that helping people to know things Tom that well that's as great as a man can get it. But not just a school. There are things that must be said to the whole world. They must be teaching aside more of the university than a thought for for a man to think you know and I don't know enough yet. I want to go back to school. Well well you have a fine job offered you. Oh I go to Harvard dad. Good Lord what do you want me to do sell my business I've got a chance to be something that I've got to take
that chance. I've got other children. You've no right to expect all the money for your sale. No you have enough money but little enough Tom. Well I just don't think I can. And how does this not now does seem to Utah. It's very nice school. I think I take a walk. You're not leaving I mean with you son just told me but. By no stretch of biological reasoning could you be my son so I don't see what difference it makes you. Poor man I feel sorry for your father. Sorry for him. I overheard what you were saying to eat. I hope you don't blame me for listening. Get the habit in the boarding house. No it's Dora. I thought I just had to say something. You know how sick your father really I know might not last through the year.
Of course the doctors keep saying that year after year like Dead couldn't be so much a part of all the living things known here. But he will probably this year and whether that means anything or not. When you decide whether to go away or dismisses coverts and it's really none of my business is. Oh don't worry about your business comments like I said I'm only a boater but even if you went and borrowed the money for HOV and Tom still you'd be walking out on him when he needs it right. Thank you Mrs Culbertson. Now if you'll excuse me I'm going for a walk myself. You'll be just like us Father that one. B to be to be on. Leave or live with the. Entire train did make it didn't it.
It must have come down have a beer with me. Not not now sir thank you though. You wouldn't understand Mr Kolker. Ever could. I don't myself. Nobody could. Understand about you. Just don't get your hopes to have you to my room when your fellow mystic OK nobody can see the soul of my life not even me nobody. Tom you would overwhelm I know with your soul and your writing. Big man must have big dreams. Perhaps prophet understood perhaps. But no I will not. She could not.
Dad could never understand even if he went with the money. Still rocking out on England alone. Naked and alone into exile and her dog. And her dog. We did not know our mothers. From the prison and we come into the arms a moment in commune in the prison of this. They could never understand why no palm off on my soul. Good to have you back in town big fellow. Thank you Mr. Cathy has really stayed busy when I am gone and I feel a build up to be a big bounce on the whole I hope not so how's that. I don't think growth will make ash from any more beautiful where I live if you will make my
bank account a whole lot prettier They'll see your mother told you any more of the town gossip since you've been home. No Mr. Cathy which you will boy never do they owe you about a lot of good luck with it if you want. Not for money not to be one of the last man to follow so so desperately. There is so much that is him on the net at least of my disco machinery crunching with depressed kid surprises and a statue is symmetrical and now just staggering. A leaf of grass is greater
than where our social standing. So much to say. So many people who must be made to hear so much to say so much of you to put in old age now but not now not ever lost. Lost. Now Tom stop right there at that door and tell me where you've been so light and on your first night at home in months you you should've waited up oh don't tell me what I should do. You've been drinkin Tom. No I haven't. What you going to be like if I haven't had anything
to drink. Believe me then stop standing there like a prisoner sit and sit I don't I'd rather go to take the rocker. All right. Now what. Rock our lives away in rock. Oh I don't know why God ever pestered me with a boy that acts as strange as you do Tom. Did you have a fight or something but with myself. Now that's not a sensible way to fight. I'd say shouldn't pick out a man as big as you are just talking about how tall I am hear it everywhere I go. How's the weather up there Mr saying over and over. Don't get on your high horse around me Thomas Clayton will. The university didn't teach you much about manners did it. Taught me a lot about myself which I could have done for less money.
You don't want to take that teaching job do you. Yes I do. Don't lie to me. Then I don't want it. I want to write. Why not take the job teach and then teach ins easy and goodness knows and and write in your spare time keep you out of mischief writing with me isn't a past time. I don't have time to waste 18 years old and you don't have time. You're not planning to die before you're 70 are you talk talk about dying. Don't even tell me there is death I won't listen when I'm 30 you can tell me and I'll believe you then you'll have time not to waste ma. There's a world in front of me waiting for me to talk to it and I don't know what to say exactly. Somehow I don't think I ever will know. Never be able to say clearly just what the world owes me or what this house means. This street or this town or you know what I mean.
But I have to try to say it. You just don't make sense. Not even to myself but somewhere there must be an answer. I have to take a chance on finding it a chance on me more I've got to look yes you'd better go to bed Tom. Can't make heads or tails of what you're saying let me tell you this before I go to bed I get to get up early. Sun going down to Chapel Hill last time I got a cold in my chest you can write me about cold stayed with me and a week or so ago I began to cough. At first a dry cough then a rattling tearing sort of call for full frame. I became worried. My right lung was sure like Tom. One night I remember I was in my room and I said I started coughing. I put a handkerchief to my mouth. When I drew the handkerchief away there was a tiny spot of blood on it. And you didn't write a word. Well I could
have asked the dragon I was half sick with horror and I started to think about it. I swallowed pneumonia a savage night and rubbed my chest with the stuff. I ate cough drops a cold got better the cough subsided. It's gone now. The storm is gone from my lungs. But that doesn't matter. What does matter is that I thought I thought and saw all those slow advance of the old skeleton with the site. I saw the shore destruction the array's sure and I saw the blotting out of my dreams and poetry myself and I couldn't face it. Maybe I'm foolish not to want to take this job but I know that in 15 years I would be a
small town power of my youth and last bit here blaming everybody for what might have been. I can't I can't play the game safe and manage to still live. You're not a boy any longer are you Tom. Hardly know you. You spoke to your father. I told him I wanted to go to Harvard but he said that it wasn't fair to the others. It isn't. But I think if you can handle with him he doesn't look any worse. But I heard you let the dead bury that they had. I couldn't do that not just for myself. He's not going to die any time soon. I called up the doctor only a few days ago. And he said Well Mrs. Wolff I don't know what to tell you. He's been pronounced dead fifty times and he's still up and
around and he may outlast all of us. The doctor said that so tomorrow morning you'll tell Colonel Bingham that you can't take the job book and you'll start getting your things ready for that Harvard moment. Don't stutter you always did stutter when you got excited. I don't like it don't buy me even send you the money but to learn with money for learnin is a fair swap. And when you start writing those big plays of yours you can thank me with them. Just write things the way they are and you'll thank me. I couldn't do anything less than that and make a success of yourself. Now get to bed. I'll come up in a minute and rub some must grow on your chest. I'm all right. I'm the white worries this Harvard anyway. It's in Massachusetts. Cambridge Massachusetts. That's a long way for a boy your age. You will starve to death in that Yankee country never knew you had a
cook and a good man will. Good night Tom. Why hello there Mr Todd where you go and this time I'm going up mister is that a fact. Going to do your father know one right on to the top just where is there a long way from here on here to take you pick up one of the cigars. Thomas was born in Asheville in 1900. Died in Baltimore September
fifty one thousand thirty eight after an operation following upon pneumonia. He held a degree from the University of North Carolina and a master's degree from Harvard. He left no great plays but his novels take their places among the greatest ever written by an American of time in the river in the rock. You can't go home again. The. American Adventure is written by John directed by John Clayton and produced by the University of North Carolina communication center Erwin director. The series is produced on grants and aid from the National Association of educational broadcasters made possible by the Educational Television and Radio Center. And on the part of Tom Wolfe was played by John others in the cast wait at Sanford Erwin and Charles Hadley. Recordings of this the final program for this season and the other American adventure programs are available for use in schools or information write American Adventure NBC New York City. American Adventure is produced in recording studios at the Department of radio
television and motion pictures on the campus in Chapel Hill. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.
American adventure
Unfound door
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A study of the dedicated spirit. The story of novelist Thomas Wolfe as a young man.
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.
Race and Ethnicity
Wolfe, Thomas, 1900-1938--Childhood and youth.
Media type
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Actor: Wynn, Earl
Actor: Ehle, Gail
Director: Clayton, John S.
Host: Kasell, Carl.
Producing Organization: University of North Carolina
Subject: Wolfe, Thomas, 1900-1938
Writer: Ehle, John, 1925-
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-12-13 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:00?
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Chicago: “American adventure; Unfound door,” 1956-07-05, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 19, 2024,
MLA: “American adventure; Unfound door.” 1956-07-05. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 19, 2024. <>.
APA: American adventure; Unfound door. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from