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Well Prime your. College radio players present the world premiere of a patriotic play by Jack Fox courage 53. Today's play is one of a series produced by the Grinnell College radio players under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters through the fund for adult education of the Ford Foundation. We bring you courage fifty three by Jack Fox. Where do men find the courage to fight a war. With a professional soldier. Fighting is merely the work he has agreed to do. He's selling certain acquired skills and services. Soldiering is his job and he must do it. During a war. The army is made up of civilians.
We're only taking a turn at soldiering. They've been used to offering different skills on the labor market. Many are fresh out of high school. Some are college students and there are truck drivers salesmen grocery clerks. Fighting isn't their business. But most wars have been fought by such men. Men used to working every day to earn a living suddenly find themselves fighting every day to keep alive. It's a strange kind of business and they have to learn it well. A lawyer can lose a case once in a while. Maybe a newspaper man can misquote the mayor without losing his job. But a soldier can't make a wrong move when he's on the line. He has more at stake than a fee or a paycheck. He's not risking capital each day but his life and it takes something for a man to be able to do this. Perhaps a military band or a recruiting poster can kindle a quick sense of patriotism in him
or a desire for adventure. Maybe the side of a combat veteran wearing his ribbons and battlestars can make him wish he were entitled to these emblems of manhood. Or maybe he can be aroused by the words of Shakespeare put into the mouth of Henry the Fifth when he spurred his men to battle gentlemen in England now. Bad things themselves or cause they were not here. An old man who keep while he speaks with us up on say Christmas Day. These kind of things can get a man to a recruiting station and into uniform perhaps. But what keeps him going when all these of dissolved into the background and he finds himself 3000 miles from home pushing as close as he can to the earth because the air around him is full of flying metal fragments. Where does the courage come from. No wreck his You'll look familiar to me. Yeah we've been up there before we move out any second now. I'm watching Larson for a second. I'm going to need to meet this. I read it seems almost like me to too
cozy. Personally that doesn't mean a thing to me. I just let him keep it exercised. Do you good. What else have you got to do today. I got lots to do. One day I was going to melt down a chocolate bar had some reason to do it. Then I've got some ideas I'd been working on for a real souped up car wreck. I figure I can latch on them when I get out. I can cut down the body. I've got an idea let's go. I'll be at your side like I'm holding the same notebook. Kyla. We took two weeks ago. I don't know what it's going to prove when we get up there again for Sapir mind on your work trip. Watch the men around. You know when you're going and when you move out your spot scuttle. Always make sure you know when you're. The voices you just heard. For those of brave men not heroes but good soldiers doing their job. They weren't speaking of
courage but they were acting courageously. They didn't tell you about what was going on inside them how they felt about fighting a war. At least don't much about why they were able to take part in such a business but maybe a battlefield isn't a place where people talk about things like that. Here's someone else far removed from a battlefield who has something to say. My name is Fred Ortmann. I'm a veteran of World War 2. I spent most of my time hopping from island to island in the Pacific but I came through everything OK and now I'm back home in Detroit married and I've got a son who's almost two and a half years old. I've got a good job and in general I can't complain. Things are pretty good. But one of the soldiers you heard talking a little while ago was my kid brother Rick and avoiding all those shells you heard exploding. There was one that was tagged for him. They gave him a silver star but he never saw it. It was said to me and my wife because where is next of kin
Rick lived with us. And he meant a lot to us. It's been six months since we received a telegram about Rick. It hit us kind of hard but I guess we're slowly getting over it every now and then something will happen to start me thinking about it again though like the other night when John and I were listening to a news commentator Ryan's decision to take action in Korea was a positive indication that we had learned our lesson from the last war. If Hitler and Mussolini had been checked when they made their first attempts to extend our national boundaries he said there would have been no world war two. The senator pointed out that the Communist threat of what he terms a creeping aggression has been met squarely and has been met in time. He feels that no attempt should be made to extend the war by limiting the fighting to the Korean Peninsula he said. We are showing that our intention is only to halt the aggression not to assume the role of aggressor here in New York attention was focused today on automobiles. Believe
the nation's motor companies unveiled their new models spokesman and he thinks we can win a war simply by holding onto a peninsula. Cray must know what they're doing Fred. We're not losing the war. No we're not winning it either you can't win a war like this all we're doing is seesawing back and forth over the same land. We push them only so far and then we don't get all worked up over it Fred. And please don't shout you wake up Bob. All right. All right. It's just that when I think of what it's costing us in terms of men it makes me boil no matter how many hills and ridges we take we still haven't won anything can't go on forever. They can't keep pouring men in like they have been. Sooner or later they'll realize that they're losing too many. And then listen to term is just more work that way. They've got more men than they know what to do with. We could spend a hundred years whittling them down and they'd still be able to send them across faster than we get handle frightens me to hear you talk like that. You make it sound completely hopeless. Sometimes I think it is such a small
war and we're not in it alone. It's just dead it's not a small war it's big. It's not just some trouble that's going to be mopped up in a hurry. And how can you talk about like that after whatever no risk is big enough to have hit home here. I didn't mean it that way. And you know I'm sorry honey I know you did. I think this was horrible. There's no sense to any war. I'm just grateful you're not overseas again this time. I don't think I could stand it. I'm sorry Joanie I guess I'm all one you know how I feel about Rick. I try not to think about it. I don't like to think about it either. I keep trying to understand and it doesn't do any good because I don't know what it is I'm trying to understand. I want to keep the war and wreck crowding out of the way in my mind but I can't do it Fred. You're not thinking of going back in because of Rick. I was just reading the other day about a jet pilot who has a wife and children who's been talking about. No. Don't start thinking things like that. I wouldn't want to go through that again Fred.
I can't I'm not going back in. They don't want guys like me. I'm almost an old timer. No it's not revenge I want. All I want to know is that one wreck was over there he didn't feel like he was lost or. We wrote to him Fred we go to every week. I don't mean that he thought we were forgetting him but that the war itself was a half hearted thing that he was just one of the unlucky guys that had to go over and get messed up. I don't understand what you mean. Maybe I don't understand it myself but it's a matter of pride pride. I know it sounds crazy but that's what it is. And the last one no matter what else you felt or how much you hated the idea of the whole thing there was always a feeling of pride somewhere underneath. This war is like a bad dream that's not really happening. We don't believe it yet. The guys over there are doing a job. We don't have sense enough to feel grateful for their saving our necks and we can't understand why it's dragging on so long. Maybe you're right Fred. I don't know. Maybe it's just something I feel and
it's not really true. But the men have got to feel this pride or whatever it is they must feel something of that period. They couldn't do what they've been doing over there without something like that. Nobody would have thought you had any pride or spirit when you are in. You never said anything about it and you didn't do anything but complain about how much you hated it. Once in a while you'd say that it was a job that had to be done and that's all just a job that had to be done. Maybe it's enough just to feel that at least it's better than a World War One slogan about making the world safe for democracy. It's closer to what it was really like because a war is just DOD dirty job. Maybe the men fighting this war had their own slogans. Maybe that better than yours. They might even be feeling a different kind of pride but you don't understand. You really do make me feel like an old timer. Do you think that I'm that much out of touch with thing.
I don't know Fred. Things change so fast now maybe we are almost becoming the older generation. I didn't think the world could shift into a different gear that fast. This thing seems to me almost like a continuation of the last war I certainly don't understand these things. But I believe when people have to do something they realize that when they do it whatever the need is at a particular time people who can meet it always turn out things like that are just wishful thinking Joan. It's like believing in miracles. I know what you think that it's a simple childish outlook but I believe it. I really do. It takes more than faith honey you just can't believe things like that and expect everything to turn out OK. You might as well be expecting someone like Joan of Arc to come. Well why not. She did come along didn't she. Yes she did. But that doesn't prove anything. Besides she's practically a myth. I'm talking about just the everyday garden variety footsoldier who finds himself caught up in the shooting. Do you think he hears voices telling him he's doing great and noble things. Do you think he'd listen if he started hearing voices
like that he'd be ready for a psycho ward. That's all right Fred. Maybe we'd better stop talking about it. I can't explain what I mean any better. Ok honey let's drop it. We're not going to settle anything here anyway. Why don't you see if you can get something else on the radio. Where are you going from. Just into the other room I want to run. I wanted to tell Joan a lot of other things but it seemed she'd had enough talk for one night. I was thinking of how I felt when I was in the army. It was something to be proud of. I'm not trying to say that wars are good or that every generation should have one so that these young men will have something to be proud of. There are too many things connected with war that nobody can take pride in but a soldier has got to feel that what he's doing is important not as an end in itself but as a way of declaring his faith in our life. He believes in a life outside of war. So I started writing to a buddy of Wrex.
He wrote us a letter after Rick was killed. I answered him and pretty soon it became a regular thing. He was a young fellow up on Rick's sage from Salt Lake City a fanatic for automobiles. So I talked to him and I told him he'd have to come to Detroit for a visit when he got back. This was no place to buy a car. And there was a lot of this around town. It's a hard question to answer because war is a strange business. A soldier isn't risking capital each day. But his life. And it takes something for a man to be able to do this. Maybe it is a way of declaring his faith in a life he believes in. Maybe it. Is a matter of pride. The Grinnell College radio players of world premiered courage 53 by Jack Fosse courage 53 was directed by Herbert Prescott
heard as today's narrator was Robert Sterrett as Fred Ortmann was James Leavenworth and as Joe Nordman Nancy one of them James Stewart played the role of Rick and Jerry Tomlinson was the soldier. Production was by Dick Armstrong. Courage 53 presented by the Grinnell College radio players under a grant from the NEA Eby sponsored by the fund for the adult education of the Ford Foundation. Special theme music for the series was composed and played on the Herrick chapel organ by HOIL carpenter Charles Haynes as your announcer reminding you that this is a Grinnell College production. This is the Anna B tape network
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Courage '53
Producing Organization
Grinnell College
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
"Courage '53," by Jack Foss. This is an exciting play which seeks the answer to the question: "Where do men find the courage to fight a war?"
Series Description
A series of 13 patriotic plays by professional freelance writers as edited and directed by Herbert Prescott with the Grinnell College Radio Players.
Broadcast Date
Performing Arts
Media type
Actor: Weinfeld, Nancy
Actor: Leavenworth, Jim
Actor: Tomlinson, Jerry
Composer: Carpenter, Hoyle
Director: Prescott, Herbert
Funder: Fund for Adult Education (U.S.)
Performer: Burroughs, L.C.
Producing Organization: Grinnell College
Production Manager: Schmidt, Karl
Writer: Foss, Jack
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 54-1-9 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:24
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Chicago: “Patrioscript; Courage '53,” 1953-11-30, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Patrioscript; Courage '53.” 1953-11-30. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Patrioscript; Courage '53. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from