America’s First Railroad

Lead: Far from the industrial North, America's first railroad began at Charleston, South Carolina.

Content: In 1828, Horatio Allen, an American engineer, became fascinated with the new means of transportation known as the railroad. He paid a visit to England to study the few railroads then in existence. He was very impressed. So much so that he bought four locomotives and had them shipped back across the Atlantic.


Lead: As world population grew in the years before and after 1800 so did the demand for food. At the same time, much farm acreage was depleted, tired, unproductive. This problem was solved in part with guano.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Guano is bird excrement. Grouped with the droppings of bats and seals it is perhaps the most potent natural fertilizer, and bird guano is the primo variety containing up to 16% nitrogen, 12% phosphorus, and 3% potassium. In the mid 19th century, guano was treated as if it were gold, provoked at least one fighting war, and made enormous fortunes for growers and suppliers alike.

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Truman and MacArthur

Lead: By firing Douglas MacArthur President Harry Truman was forced to endure a fire-storm of criticism but in doing so strengthened the constitutional office of commander-in-chief.

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

Content: After nearly being thrown off the peninsula during the previous summer, by fall 1950 victorious United Nations forces mostly Americans were moving back into North Korea. Things went very well until Thanksgiving when China entered the war and her troops forced the allies into another demoralizing retreat. This continued until late winter when under Matthew Ridgeway the Eighth Army recouped its losses and began to move slowly back north. When they reached the vacinity of the 38th parallel, Harry Truman felt the time was ripe for a cease-fire inplace. Theater commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur disagreed and without permission from Washington began to issue public statements on his own threatening and taunting the Chinese. In addition he allowed himself to be used in a not-so-subtle public attempt to undermine the policy of his Commander-in-Chief. A letter from MacArthur to the Republican leader was read on the floor of the House of Representatives. In it he said that if we were not in Korea to win the administration should be indicted for the murder of American boys. It was clear that despite his military leadership and tactical genius, MacArthur was becoming a loose cannon and a serious liability to American policy. After much consultation and with the unanimous support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Truman fired him.

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Indira Gandhi II

Lead: Cloudy were the political fortunes of India’s longtime Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the late 1970s. Unfazed, she engineered a vigorous comeback.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Her political intuition, which in the past had seemed infallible, was failing. Power was slipping from her grasp. In June 1975 the High Court of Allabahad (‘a la ba had) found the Prime Minister guilty of irregular and illegal election practices. Economic decline was forcing many Indians further into poverty. When rising public disorder threatened the government, Gandhi resorted to desperation tactics. She declared an emergency, sent political enemies to prison, rescinded constitutional rights, and censored the press with unusual harshness. Confident that her actions had cowed the opposition Gandhi called a snap election. The people rejected her borderline authoritarianism and handed the Prime Minister’s Congress Party a sound thrashing.

Indira Gandhi I

Lead: Born of a political family prominent in the movement for independence, Indira Gandhi became a leader in her own right as Prime Minister of India

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The daughter of Jawahalal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister after independence, after education in Switzerland and Oxford, she returned home, married a lawyer, Feroze Gandhi, then served her widowed father as hostess. By 1955 she had her own seat in the Indian Parliament and four years later became President of the Congress Party, the nation’s strongest political alliance.

Dillinger and Hoover II

Lead: Like two combatants, John Dillinger and J. Edgar Hoover circled around each other during Dillinger’s year-long crime spree in the 1930s. They used each other for publicity and public relations.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1917 Edgar Hoover was hired as a file clerk by the Department of Justice. Within two years he had secured a position as Special Assistant Attorney General Mitchell Palmer. It was in this capacity that Hoover oversaw deportations and arrests of many Bolsheviks during the Red Scare of the 1920s. By 1924 he was temporary head of the Bureau of Investigation and was confirmed several months later. Gradually, Edgar Hoover transformed the agency into a professional powerhouse. Agents were recruited on the basis of merit, the world’s largest fingerprint file assisted in the apprehension of criminals, the FBI labs provided law enforcement agencies with world class forensic assistance, and the FBI National Academy trained top cops from around the country.

Dillinger and Hoover I

Lead: In the 1930s two men came to represent the struggle between forces of law and lawlessness. Dillinger and Hoover used the popular press to portray themselves to the public.

Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: John Herbert Dillinger was perhaps America's most famous bank robber. He was raised on a farm in Mooresville, Indiana. After a turn in the U.S. Navy, from which he deserted, Dillinger was caught after a botched holdup and served nine years in various state prisons. He learned the craft of bank robbery at the hands of the professionals while incarcerated, and shortly after his release began a round of bank heists, five in four months. He gained his first national notoriety. He was daring, physically commanding, and was known for being a sharp dresser.

Video Gets Memory

Lead: In the early days, television was very exciting. It had one major problem. No memory. Once broadcast, a live television program was gone.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The networks had devised a way of filming live telecasts. The machine was a kinescope, actually a 35 mm movie camera which filmed live East Coast television for rebroadcast programs three hours later in the West. “Kines” were grainy, had trouble getting the television picture in sync with the movie camera, and were very expensive. By 1954 the networks were using more movie film than Hollywood.

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