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This is American Adventure a study of man in the New World. His values and characteristics written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton American Adventure is produced by the communications center of the University of North Carolina. Earl when Director Tonight's program is about the famous American Cyrus Theo and is the story of his efforts to lay the Atlantic cable and tie together two continents. 20 30 to 65 the British writer Great Eastern late with steam up engines silent all fall into Ireland. In her hold she carried seven thousand tonnes of submarine telegraph people and a full supply of coal and food for her long strange voyage to newcomers. The meat supply was of course largely alive but there was hardly a sound from the five coming to the chicken. 10 bullocks one milk cow one hundred fourteen sheep 20 pigs twenty
nine geese and fourteen the turkeys. Even the animals seem to have taken on the pension held by the crewman who stood without speaking and watched tensely waited nervously for the beginning of the vast enterprise. The laying of the Atlantic. Only one man moved confidently. A man with a beard. Stepped out of the Means a lot of if he had a care in the world. Coffee too cold but it was a fabric first step. To feel. Good morning same. Morning. That. He was well known this man. Internationally famous. For his failures. One of the most dedicated salesmen of all time. Cyrus the Great Cyrus. The American Cyrus feat. We got the cable sports to the shore and yet missed a few. I think so Captain Anderson.
Will anything you want to say before we begin laying the cable again. No thank you. No speeches for me. I didn't say you were. All things could hardly be better plan than they are captain. Cable has been repeatedly checked machineries is good but I did just tell you where to tread before we start. I've prayed about this so much Captain that I don't have to miss this I was feeling pretty A. Lot. Here we are floating out on the ocean once more. Trying to do something which many reasonable men we say cannot be done. And looking to you and for help in doing it. Now. Captain Anderson and I have come to you concerning this Atlantic cable before. And you didn't see fit to favor us then. And with look to ourselves to see what the fault might be. We found many faults and no reason for you to help us. But there
are reasons outside Captain Anderson and Mr canning and these men and me. We aim to connect two continents with instant communication because we believe a better understanding will come between men. Now. If this is a cause which interests you in our behalf. We pledge to give you the glory. In Jesus name Amen. No doubt about it was defeated about what kept you already in practice. There were men in both Europe and America who said that the Atlantic Cable could not be laid at the speed of the ship the speed at which the cable was on while in the depths of the ocean would at some point lose synchronization. So that the cable would be ripped apart and the cable itself had to be perfect. The weather had to be good or there were many reasons why it could not be done.
Say that Mr. Canning. How's it going. Everything is going through the machine as the instrument room reported in continuous contact with the station through the entire length of the cable. If anything happens I'll know about it soon enough. It's a beautiful sound isn't it. Well think of the cable. It's a filter for cable. Mr. Canning my wife says I'm in love with The Atlantic cable. The road to mystify you have caused. Us to write more separate. Men to go blind looking into cable up there the first day.
But your speed gap and started to three knots but we're up to six and off now that will probably be the peak. Yes we can. Cable faster than that. How did you ever get into the cable lion business anyway Cyrus stumbled and I reckon most of headsup reason. Show isn't any pleasure to be at it. Oh I suppose I got tired of hanging up my necktie at the same stop every night when I was 34 Captain Anderson. I had made my fortune and retired with my wife and family to a beautiful home. To my friend was nowhere in the world where. It started small but it grew with this feeling. One night I remember hanging up my necktie on the same stop as a hundred nights before and the fact that it was an expensive necktie didn't relieve the fact that I was doing nothing and going nowhere. Where you go in Nashville back to Newfoundland dragging a kid drawing please don't even mention dragging that blasted film perhaps.
Probably lost all your money. Good percentage of it is down with the last cables. But when we finish playing this one I'll be back in business. What makes you think you can make it this time. You never made it before Mr. Field. I have made it before same thing Seth was along on their trips I made it 7 years ago. Look Doc you would have heard about if those if. The people in America almost with cries of celebration and bad news in newspapers and people shouting cry and you could get a list deputy to Christopher Columbus. I heard something about this. It was probably wrong no I remember there were celebrating something in London once when my ship was in port. Something about a cable. And I can't remember it very well. Like Mr caring said you were probably drunk no. I remember the people in the streets and everybody was yelling. I figured the Queen it had a baby. Maybe it was a lot harder. Anyway I think I'm listening.
What's the major mistake Amy. I thought I had the machinery upstairs. You couldn't have had it with all that noise. I. Believe I'll go up on deck and check it. Scuse me cos. MR. Ok goodnight. I believe I would step out and take a look myself. Or he's got me all nervous. I finished up a sometimes later safe nicer way to do so I was all right kept me Captain Anderson. I hope you don't click on the field for getting that celebration. I was probably on the ship at the time. It didn't last long anyway so I thought they said three weeks. Yes but then the cable stopped working so it was all a failure. I don't like to be remembered. Sorry to have brought it up. It was like being on top
of the world with your name in the history books. And they knocked you off. You feel foolish if you presume too much. That was the first cable you tried mystery you know the third the first cable broke after about 400 miles. So we had to raise more money. The second cable we tried to lay using two ships they met in the middle of the ocean. They are each took half the cable and one started toward Ion the other toward Newfoundland. How did that work. We started three times first and I got about three miles second time they got about 40. The third time they got to 100. Before the cable broke so I had to go back and raise some more money. Some of the stock holders wouldn't even come to the meeting. I don't like to remember that those. A third cable relayed successfully and the world went crazy. My wife and I were having the most wonderful time of our lives. I was back home I was very happy. The president of the royal family the governors mayors and the
cable stopped work. And it started again and it stopped. Then it would start and stop and start and stop until I wanted to put up with my hands and check and it stopped for good. So I started over. Raised three million dollars got another cable at a great distance. Here we are. Yes I want some more coffee. Yes that would be very kind of coffee. Yesterday. The Great Eastern was the largest vessel in the world at that time and I got a message from the testing room to Mr. Canning of the payout machinery to Captain Alexander on the bridge and then to the engine room took quite a while. But on the second day of the voyage a message made that lengthy round in the message was there's a fault in the cable stopping and prepared to put it back in. The bag. I don't know. And I don't know that's going to third the normal walking
speed of. The ship with the propellers on the side you know still it was at the mercy of winter time the Atlantic. Rolls which were fortunately fine after two hours of taking in cable they cut it so that they might hook up their testing machinery to the island length and see if a proper signal was now possible. Cable was found to be still faulty so the operation continued. Oh I've known cable to stop working for two hours no one knew who I am then began again. I see Mr Fields is most likely it's a mistake on show the take up machinery is doing all right except that one is new. It's an improvement over the last two trips and I swear I missed a few. We get this craving light I never want anybody to say cable to me again so long as I live. And if we don't get to tonight and I said No I don't want anybody to say. 2 am to cable is cut again for a second test and show that the fault in the cables still
lay between the vessel and the Island station. Operations. As the cable came aboard it was covered with a greyish coating of mud and moves from the bed of the ocean. The man washed it off and examined the cable foot by four. Like in Ireland for the Telegraph signal had suddenly stopped engineers crowded around their equipment reporters for English and Continental papers waiting for a man who had their money invested in the cable stock fidgeted nerve. This way and what with all the bricks all of their worsening find bargains in Atlantic cable stock that morning I was on deck at one third the speed of a human lark the cable came back a little. I left after dawn. All right stop the machine or a. Box of jewel the cable for another dish to the test of the remaining cable was now sound engineers and Ireland raised their weighty sigh of relief as the signal resumed. Reporters hurried to the nearby telegraph stations to
wire their reports at landing cable stock went up again. Then about half an hour after the signal had resumed it stopped. When you knew what was wrong with you know where the fault lie I tell you in just a fever some men are stupid some you know smog we have smog minimal dis ship whatever I want on the mish stupid. Sixteen hundred miles to go in my count get 50. With a calm sea and in a shallow part of the ocean. A short time later the cable again worked properly no one knew why it had stopped. No one knew why it started again but the great eastern began putting down people once more. The fast hum of the cable running through the machinery was resumed. Mile after mile of six nautical miles an hour the Great Eastern put hours then days behinder its vision for the way things are going missed a field
or will be a new phenomena without great delay this machinery of yours as a mob a mystic I believe it is way with just a little. We're having the luck reading that soon we will get to the edge of the ocean bank missed a field the depth of the rock there from 200 phantoms on down to 700 dangerous seventeen hundred Never mind never mind Mr. Catlin Mr. Field we're pulled into that little hobble and Newfoundland Never mind I agree I agree with you. One of the four main for a hobby you're no books it's nine and ten. Yes pots contain Newfoundland. Yet. The actual journal of W.H. Russell who was aboard.
We take the following words. July 27 morning broke on a bright clear blue sky. From the testing room came gratifying reports improved insulation of the cable which had been caused by the emotion of the cable Coda was that many of them ended up parroting out journeys to the United States. They speculate on the probability spots and you think. And I can more a joyous progress all going successfully. Not a hitch in cable. Machinery. Or ship. It's worthwhile to go and look at the cables. As everyday and scan by watchful eyes and noted in books. That fly so the whole apparatus. And then in a gentle skims the surface of the ocean more than 200 feet. On. Saturday July 29. Everything has gone on more admirably during the night. Content on August 5th is certainly. No. Ship's Time.
Opposition is not to toot 52 degrees 33 minutes and 30 seconds longitude 27 degrees and 40 minutes. Water two thousand fathoms or two nautical miles. One 10 p.m. ship's time. And ill omened activity about the testing room which has been visible for some time reached its climax. The engines were slow. And five minutes the great ship was motionless. In an instant afterwards. Everyone was on deck. And the evil tidings flew from lip to lip. Something was wrong with him. What's the pressure on the cable wire to transmit that to my notion take more than act according to the authorities. What are you thinking about Mr. Field. At this Spock seven years ago Mr. Canning we began the second attempt to play in Atlantic cable seven years ago and believe it or not it was on the same day
that if they win air that is a coincidence. Why do you do it. Satish. Why do you keep dry and. The last time we had to stop and pick up table to fold was a piece of wire not an inch long which had pierced the cables insulation. After years of planning making preparations a piece of wire not an inch long threaten the success of the whole thing. Why do you do it. Because. Some day Mr. Canning. I'm going to retire to New York or to Boston and join some important club or. Get a chair by the fire and win some young whippersnapper comes up to me and says Where's her. And what do you do. I want to say. Where young man. I haven't been doing much. Since I laid the Atlantic cable. I want to see his expression said Rudisha it is big. That's why it's the biggest thing I've ever heard of. It's something my sons and grandsons can be proud of and point
back to and say. I'm Cyrus feel the 8 for the ninth. And people will look up and say I've heard the name. It's big Mr. Canning. It's impossible as a man too big and some of them impossible men climb mountains and of course they do but only foolish ones. You know. Men are peculiar creatures. A lion an elephant they wouldn't climb a mountain just because it was big Goss somebody said it was impossible to do it. But. Man wouldn't. Man likes to stand on the top of accomplishments and give his lion's roar. Look. Look where I am. Look here all you past generations of two legged creatures you crusaders and kings and squires and sea captains and mothers and artisans of a thousand years ago. Look here this is what you said a man could not do. It is done. I don't care about their status and also they're the people a thousand years ahead will be striking at even greater accomplishments and tracing back their history. I
would be a part of their history. They would say. And back here in 1865 a group of men aboard our ship did the impossible and aided the progress of all mankind when they laid the Atlantic cable. Recruited and people on board. I'm staying awake knowing Yes. And. For us have missed accounting. For the faces of the people when you say. Well young man. I haven't done much since I laid the Atlantic cable. And 9:30 p.m. ship's time. That part of the cape over the Mister play was picked up. Was at once cut. And reserved to be examined by Mr. Canning. The short end was spliced in jointed to a fresh end of the cable from the ass of the tank. These operations were finished before midnight. But it was not judged expedient to assume the process of paying out until the morning. As yet no one knew the nature of the injury to the cable.
No one could account for the hitch. But it certainly did not affect anyone's belief in success. We've been a bit delighted Cyrus but we've had that off way and then with a little luck or they'll be calling you Christopher Columbus again you'll be the toast of Ireland and America again Cyrus the little duck on the night of August 2nd on the bus it was almost two thirds of the way across a gale rolls from the westward. Then the wind shifted suddenly to the north northwest. There was a deep fog the sea was hived up the border was 2007s the word went from the pest room to Mr. Canning to the captain to the engine room that there was a flaw in the cable and the engines must be stopped. By it. You're not content to get the cable on here. I can stand it that in the pilot we did nothing but gold look a really good
time to the take up machine room. Really have to drive if we never get it back then we did Anderson do you think oh I don't know where we all. Knew. It was a lot of the vessel we did Cyrus. Was still sitting there much later when Captain Anderson and Mr. Canning came in and stood awkwardly nearby. We were drawn and tired. Salt water was on their faces and their clothing was. Mr. Canning nodded to Captain Henderson. We lost. She's broke. She's going. In tomorrow to water Mr. Fay. She's. Got. Them. God.
We've told you a story of defeat Ladies and Gentleman in order to tell you a greater story the victory. The victory belongs to of Cyrus field. Who returned to England after this fourth failure in their once more raised the money needed the 3 million dollars needed for another keep this new cable was put aboard the Great Eastern which one year later layoffs will enjoy Ireland's steam up but engine silent her crewman again expectant. On the ship only one man moved confidently. A man with a beard. He stepped out of the main salon as if he hadn't died. Care in the world. Copy to Cohen as usual Seth. Nobody considers you with coffee just a feel. Good morning Samus. I didn't say. He was a well-known man. Internationally famous for his favors. One of the most dedicated salesmen of all time Cyrus the Great Cyrus the American Cyrus field. Who won his fifth
attempt to. Lead the Atlantic cable. American Adventure is written by Johnny Lee directed by John Clayton and is produced by the communications center of the University of North Carolina. The part of Cyrus field was played by Fred yon American Adventure was produced and recorded on the campus at Chapel Hill. Tonight's program originated from W. PTF in Raleigh North Carolina. Ford Foundation.
And the resolute Cyrus feel was played by Fred Young a student the captain was Bill Tuchman a student Mr Gatting was Johnny Lee member of the faculty. Seth was Allen O'Neal and Charles Kuralt was the narrator. The entire cast was composed of students faculty members and townspeople of the University of North Carolina community. American Adventure is produced and recorded on the campus at Chapel Hill. This is the n e ybe network.
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American adventure
Producing Organization
University of North Carolina
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
A study of persistence in the face of repeated failure. The story of Cyrus Field, who on his fifth attempt lays the Atlantic cable.
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.
Transatlantic cables--History.
Media type
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: 5023 (University of Maryland)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:24:15
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Chicago: “American adventure; Resolute,” 1956-06-07, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 21, 2024,
MLA: “American adventure; Resolute.” 1956-06-07. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 21, 2024. <>.
APA: American adventure; Resolute. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from