First Ladies: Betty Ford

Lead: After the dark days of Watergate and White House scandal, the nation needed a lift. It found one in the person of one of the most popular and refreshing of its First Ladies, Betty Ford.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: On the way to the helicopter taking the Nixons into exile in August 1974, Pat Nixon warned her successor that she would grow to hate the red carpets that attended life in the White House. Betty Ford never did. She was one of the most interesting and bracing First Ladies, whose friendliness, candor and outspoken honesty became a lightning rod for carping critics, but gained her a level of popularity rare among the long line of Presidential ladies.

Lucille Ball

Lead: Her earliest dreams were of life on the stage, but Lucile Désirée Ball, aka Lucy Montana, aka Diane Belmont, succeeded beyond her remotest imaginings.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Her childhood was not an easy one. Her father died when she was three, her mother for a time abandoned her to the care of her new husband’s mother, a harsh disciplinarian, and then the reunited family lost their home in a legal action. Despite these hardships, Ball never left behind her desire to perform. She studied for a time at the Minton-Anderson School of Drama in New York City, but the introverted Ball, homesick and ironically, intimidated by the school’s star pupil, Bette Davis, departed but she did not give up and remained in the City. Odd-jobs and her own natural physical beauty led eventually to a relatively successful modeling career and finally an offer to film with Eddie Cantor a Hollywood movie, Roman Scandals. Six weeks in Hollywood led to a half century and one of show businesses most successful careers.

FAX Communications

Lead: In one of its earliest forms, the facsimile, known today as the FAX, was an experimental newspaper, delivered by high frequency radio broadcasts.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the 1920s radio transmission of newspaper photos was a regular part of print journalism, but the process was of restricted value because it made use of expensive photographic paper that had to be chemically developed. One inventor, a transplanted Brit, William George Harold Finch, wanted to take the idea a step further. He developed a process that used radio waves to transmit written words and pictures to a home receiver similar to an AM radio. The printer was very slow and produced results that were rather crude by current standards, but the idea was so intriguing that several big-city newspaper papers, such as the St. Louis Times-Dispatch, began experimenting with Finch’s equipment and that of his rival John Hogan. Perhaps this was a defensive tactic. Newspapers were a print medium and their publishers had convinced themselves that radio and its infant cousin television, were too transitory to be satisfactory. They believed that people wanted their news in tangible form.

 

Read more →

Cosmetic Surgery

Lead: Though the dream of improving on nature’s gifts has persisted over the centuries, the modern practice of reconstructive surgery was given new birth in allied field hospitals in France during World War I.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Religious skepticism about human vanity or health concerns have swirled around surgical attempts to re-shape the body. Cosmetic surgery has caused great controversy from the beginning. As early as 600 BC physicians were trying to alter facial or other body features. The arrival of antiseptics and anesthesia in the nineteenth century increased the safety and success of such efforts, but did little to diminish the debate.

Read more →

The Fall of the Bastille

Lead: It was July 11, 1789 and in Paris the Revolution seemed to be lost.

Intro.: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: Faced with what amounted to little more than open rebellion on the part of the members of the Estates-General, France's representative assembly, Louis XVI, King of France, was losing control of events. On June 20, excluded from their hall, the representatives of the vast majority of the French people had met in a nearby Indoor Tennis Court and took the Tennis Court Oath, pledging not to disband until they had written a new constitution.

Benjamin Franklin IV

Lead: In late 1776 Benjamin Franklin, accompanied by two grandsons, was sent as the United States’ first ambassador to France. His skillful diplomacy secured that nation’s support and therefore the success of the American Revolution.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When Ben Franklin arrived in Paris he was the best known American in Europe. His writings and experiments on electricity had been celebrated for years, his epigrams were widely quoted and he was feted by society matrons, diplomats, scientists and ordinary citizens. Franklin was on a mission, however, and by the New Year he had engaged the French foreign minister in secret negotiations over a proposed alliance. Franklin used his fame and popularity to great advantage and played upon French dreams of retribution for repeated losses during the eighteenth century to the growing British Empire. He was convinced the French would help the Americans if the cause did not seem a hopeless one.

Benjamin Franklin III

Lead: In a life distinguished by business success, intellectual curiosity, and community innovation, Ben Franklin, by the 1740s financially secure, embarked on a course of extraordinary public service.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The foundation of Franklin’s success was the printing business which he leveraged into a succession of lucrative ventures. He published Pennsylvania Gazzette, one of the best colonial newspapers, Poor Richard’s, a wildly popular almanac which appeared yearly for 25 years after 1732. He invested in real estate and other successful printing ventures throughout the colonies. This gave him the financial security and leisure to pursue his intellectual and social interests.

Benjamin Franklin II

Lead: In a life distinguished by business success, intellectual curiosity, and community innovation, Ben Franklin, by the 1740s financially secure, embarked on a course of extraordinary public service.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The foundation of Franklin’s success was the printing business which he leveraged into a succession of lucrative ventures. He published Pennsylvania Gazzette, one of the best colonial newspapers, Poor Richard’s, a wildly popular almanac which appeared yearly for 25 years after 1732. He invested in real estate and other successful printing ventures throughout the colonies. This gave him the financial security and leisure to pursue his intellectual and social interests.