Charles Dickens in America II

Lead: On his first tour of America in 1842, British author Charles Dickens created a firestorm of abuse by criticizing American publishers for pirating his books.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Americans loved Charles Dickens books, but they didn’t like to pay for them. It was Dickens’ custom to serialize his novels in London newspapers before they were issued in book form. American publishers would obtain the papers, copy the text, and release what amounted to be little more than pirated editions, much to the delight of U.S. citizens who got Dickens on the cheap. The culprit was the lack of any international copyright agreement to which the United States subscribed. When he bitterly complained on his first trip to America, the public accused him of feathering his own nest. The press was especially harsh. It stood to lose much if required to pay for reprints.

 

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The Mason-Dixon Line

Lead: The most famous boundary in United States history originated in a eighty year dispute between two colonies.

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

Content: One of last parts of Colonial Maryland along the Chesapeake Bay to attract settlers was northeast of present day Baltimore. The soil was there heavier and not as hospitable to the growth of tobacco as in the southern reaches of the Bay. This area was good for the cultivation of wheat and corn and as trade with the hungry West Indies expanded, the area began to draw more development. Unfortunately, this brought Maryland into conflict with Pennsylvania. Lord Baltimore's charter promised Maryland land up to the fortieth parallel which in 1632 was the southern border of New England, but in the meantime the government in London had made other promises particularly to William Penn and by the 1730s it was obvious that these grants were in conflict with the Maryland charter. For instance the principal city of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, was significantly south of the fortieth parallel.

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.

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