Introduction to Samuel Johnson II

Lead: Poet, biographer, lexicographer, critic and essayist Samuel Johnson was born 300 years ago in the midlands village of Lichfield, England.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sam Johnson was a sickly child scarred by scrofula, a tuberculin infection of the lymph glands, and for the rest of his life his awkward appearance was compounded by a nervous condition and facial tics not to mention long periods of melancholy or depression. He was regarded as something of an eccentric but as soon as he opened his mouth and spoke his fluid, witty, and brilliant conversation, people around him, even the most famous, were captivated.

Read more →

Introduction to Samuel Johnson I

Lead: 2009 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest figures of 18th century English life and letters. His contemporaries knew him simply as "Dr. Johnson."

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Samuel Johnson, poet, biographer, lexicographer, critic and essayist, stands astride 18th century English scholarship and criticism. Yet, Johnson's prominence owes as much to another's writings as it does to his own accomplishments. In 1763 young James Boswell met and fell intellectually in love with Johnson. Over the years after their meeting, Boswell meticulously recorded conversations and details about his friend and memorialized them in one of the most influential books of the century, the landmark biography, Life of Johnson.

Read more →

Huey Long II

Lead:  At the height of his political power, Louisiana Senator Huey Pierce Long, while making inroads on the national political scene, was struck down by an assassin’s bullet.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: While he was governor of Louisiana Huey Long himself adopted the nickname “The Kingfish”—based on a smooth talking scheming character from the Amos ’n Andy radio show.  He had campaigned for governor on the populist slogan coined by William Jennings Bryan, “Every man a king, but no one wears a crown,” and his populist attacks on the greed and privilege of the wealthy and big business struck a chord with the struggling poor of Louisiana during the Great Depression—mostly rural voters. He became a hero to many, even while his critics warned that his heavy-handed methods and corruption were more like a dictator than one who valued democratic means to get what he wanted.

Read more →

Huey Long I

Lead:  During the Great Depression, a flamboyant politician dominated state politics. Huey Long transformed a backward state and through the sheer force of his personality, compelled Louisiana into the twentieth century.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Huey Pierce Long was born on August 30, 1893, in Winnfield, Louisiana, in the north central region of the state. He was seventh of nine children raised in a farming family of modest means. The “Populist” movement was strong in his parish and Huey absorbed the ideas of the populists. Though his schooling was limited, he was bright, headstrong and very ambitious.

Read more →

Building of Berlin Wall II

Lead: Surrounded by East Germany and its citizens sometimes subjected to hostile restrictions on travel, West Berlin proved itself a shining example of the virtues of political and economic freedom. It had to be stopped.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

Content: By 1960 East Germany was in trouble. Its population was restless under communist repression, its economy was dependent on Soviet aid, and suffered under the usual inefficiencies of a Marxist command structure. Its population was declining. Thousands were exercising the opportunity of free access to West Berlin to escape to the West. 200,000 in the first seven months of 1961 alone walked across the various allied checkpoints in West Berlin and never looked back. East Germany could not survive this continued exodus.

Read more →

Building of Berlin Wall I

Lead: At the height of the Cold War, with tensions at a fever pitch, the Soviet Union and its East German client state, in an act of self-preservation, built a wall around West Berlin.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Cold War lasted from 1946 until the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. For much of that time, the city of West Berlin was the cockpit of low-grade super power rivalry. In the summer of 1961, events in Berlin threatened to spark a much wider conflict.

Read more →

John Steinbeck and The Grapes of Wrath

Lead: In 1939 John Steinbeck published The Grapes of Wrath, perhaps the major American novel of the Great Depression. Its publication, however, was not without controversy.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: John Ernst Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, a rural community 100 miles south of San Francisco. As a child he observed the hard life of itinerant and migrant farm workers and his boyhood home became the setting of much of his work. Beginning in 1935 with Tortilla Flat, In Dubious Battle, and Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck proved himself an acute observer of social conflict and pain. Yet it was with The Grapes of Wrath that he reached the pinnacle of his literary craft. Much of the material in the novel came from a series of investigative articles the author wrote for the San Francisco News on the plight of the “Oakies,” emigrants from the mid-west dust bowl – Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas. In The Grapes of Wrath Steinbeck wove an elegant, semi-documentary narrative telling the story of the Joads, a 1930s Depression era farm family from Oklahoma. Seeking a better life, they had migrated to California only to find themselves caught in the same cycle of poverty and hopelessness they had left behind. The struggles and hardships of the working poor it seemed are rarely relieved by a change in geography.

Read more →

Samuel Johnson: Founding of The Spectator

Lead: In 1711, English British essayists Joseph Addison and Richard Steele founded a periodical known as the The Spectator. It exposed the growing British middle class to the ideas of the Enlightenment and gave authors a chance to try out a new style: the periodic essay.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sam Johnson said of Joseph Addison, one of the founders of The Spectator: “Whoever wishes to attain an English style, familiar but not coarse, and elegant but not ostentatious, must give his days and nights to the volumes of Addison.”

Read more →