The Smoke-Filled Room II

Lead: Nominated on the ballot in a previously dead-locked convention, rumors began to spread that the choice of Warren Gamaliel Harding at the 1920 Republican Convention was brokered in a smoke-filled room.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In early 1920, months before the convention, Harry M. Dougherty, Harding's campaign manager, seeing the possibility of a dead-lock between front-runners Leonard Wood and Frank Lowden, engaged in a little political speculation which probably gave birth to the myth of the smoke-filled room. He said in an interview, "I don't expect Senator Harding to be nominated on the first, second or third ballot, but I think ... that about eleven minutes after two o'clock on Friday morning at the convention, ...fifteen or twenty men, somewhat weary, ...sitting around a table, ...one of them will say: 'Who will we nominate?' At that decisive time the friends of Senator Harding can suggest him." It was pure speculation but of such are myths born.

The Smoke-Filled Room I

Lead: Nominated on the ballot in a previously dead-locked convention, rumors began to spread that the choice of Warren Gamaliel Harding at the 1920 Republican Convention was brokered in a smoke-filled room.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In early 1920, months before the convention, Harry M. Dougherty, Harding's campaign manager, seeing the possibility of a dead-lock between front-runners Leonard Wood and Frank Lowden, engaged in a little political speculation which probably gave birth to the myth of the smoke-filled room. He said in an interview, "I don't expect Senator Harding to be nominated on the first, second or third ballot, but I think ... that about eleven minutes after two o'clock on Friday morning at the convention, ...fifteen or twenty men, somewhat weary, ...sitting around a table, ...one of them will say: 'Who will we nominate?' At that decisive time the friends of Senator Harding can suggest him." It was pure speculation but of such are myths born.

The Smoke-Filled Room I

The Smoke-Filled Room - I

Lead: One of the persistent myths of American politics was that Warren Gamaliel Harding was nominated at the 1920 Republican Convention by political bosses meeting in a smoke-filled room.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The campaign for the Republican nomination of 1920 was waged during a time in which Americans, weary of war and divisions within both political parties, were ready to settle down to less intense tumult. U.S. Senator Warren Harding, the newspaper publisher turned politician from Marion, Ohio was a candidate suited for such a mood. He was affable, generous, and pleasant with an aggressive, gregarious campaign style. He based his political climb on offending as few people as possible. Besides, he just looked like a President. One of his earliest supporters, recalls his own reaction on meeting Harding around the turn of the century, "What a President he'd make!"

Battle for Color TV II

Lead: In the 1940s two corporate giants, NBC and CBS, fought over the means of broadcasting television in color.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: After World War II, NBC under its chairman, David Sarnoff, had begun commercial black and white television broadcasts and was selling TVs by the truckload. Its great rival, William Paley’s CBS, was producing Black and White shows such as Ed Sullivan but at the same was experimenting with color television in hopes of getting a jump on the competition. The problem was the CBS color system used a spinning wheel with color filters in the camera and in the TV set and produced a signal which could not be received by existing black and white TVs without a relatively expensive converter. Sarnoff had too many sets out there to give up his advantage and began a campaign to smear the CBS system. NBC was working on an all-electronic color system, without the cumbersome spinning wheels, but which they thought would not be ready for years. By 1950 CBS was ready and had applied to the Federal Communications Commission to designate its system as the only standard. Both sides were at it now. Secret meetings with congressmen, lobbying, accusations in the media. Millions were at stake. Finally, the FCC approved CBS color in October 1950 and the courts struck down NBC’s court challenge. The problem was, not a single CBS color set had been sold, just a lot of useless black and white sets.

Battle for Color TV I

Lead: If Peter Goldmark had had his way, television would have never been broadcast in black and white.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By the late 1920s most of the technical problems of TV broadcasting were solved. A way had been found to convert light into electricity. The transmission of this electrical signal would be done just like radio, but the major obstacle proved to be the way in which the signal would picked up or scanned. Television is in many ways similar to a motion picture. Characters in a movie don’t move. Motion picture film is simply a series of still photographs put end to end and run so fast across the screen that the mind of the viewer gets the impression of movement. Television operates in basically the same way. Hundreds of frozen images per second are picked up or scanned by the camera, converted to electricity, and then sent on to the TV set which sits the next room or fifty miles away and reconverts the signal.

First Ladies: Jane Pierce

Lead: For Jane Pierce the White House was an ever-present dread.

Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Franklin and Jane Pierce were a study in contrasts. He was a tall, robust, physically vigorous person, addicted to glad handing New Hampshire politics. She was shy, frail, deeply religious and hated politics. They met one day when both were students at Bowdoin College in Maine and Franklin rescued the frightened girl during a powerful thunderstorm. There began a long courtship which ended when she married then Congressman Pierce in 1834.

Read more →

James Caldwell: The Soldier’s Parson

Lead: When his troops ran out of wadding for their weapons, James Caldwell found a musical substitute.

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

Content: At the time of the Revolution much leadership on the side of independence came from clergymen. In the middle colonies many Presbyterian pastors were in the vanguard of the Patriot cause. One of them was James Caldwell. Virginia born and Princeton educated Pastor Caldwell was chaplain of the 3rd N.J. Regiment. His enthusiasm for the Patriot cause earned him the love of his troops, but much resentment as well. Both his home and church at Elizabethtown, N.J. were burned by Tories raiding parties.

 

Read more →

Henry’s Wives: Katherine Howard

Lead: Of the wives of Henry VIII, the teenaged Katherine Howard was the least prepared for the task. She paid for it with her head.

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

Content: Most probably Katherine Howard did not come to Henry's bed as a virgin. The king was then nearly fifty, freshly divorced from the disappointing Anne of Cleaves, extremely fat, with ulcerated legs, in short no great catch. But he was the King of England and when in the spring of 1640 he noticed Katherine, one of Anne's former ladies-in-waiting, he was enchanted. She was everything the German Queen was not and he fell head over heels in love. His first two wives had been set aside because they did not give him a male heir. When that was accomplished by Jane Seymour just before her death, Henry's dynastic needs were not as severe He could return to diplomatic concerns in the search for a Queen. He needed an ally in Lutheran Germany as a counterweight to Catholic Spain and France and chose Anne, sister of the Duke of the German Duchy of Cleaves. They never quite got along and six months later Henry was ready to move on and ripe for the romantic and exciting young Katherine Howard.

 

Read more →