Frank Capra and It’s a Wonderful Life II

Lead:  Following World War II, film director and producer Frank Capra resumed his career with a film that was a box office disappointment but is now considered his masterpiece – It’s a Wonderful Life.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It’s a Wonderful Life, starring Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed, has been embraced by millions and has become a staple in many households, especially during the Christmas season. Capra’s winning formula was consistent – nostalgic and sentimental portraits of common men in small town America who, through acts of great courage, triumph over injustice.

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Frank Capra and It’s a Wonderful Life I

Lead:  One of the most beloved film classics of all time was a box office failure when it was released in 1946. It’s a Wonderful Life was a quintessential Frank Capra movie.         

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Frank Capra’s masterpiece, It’s a Wonderful Life, is ranked high on the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest Films of All Times. The film, however, did not have an auspicious start. It opened at the Globe Theatre in New York on December 20, 1946. Reviews were mixed and the film did not break even. Nevertheless, it was nominated for five Academy Awards, the post-war audiences had grown tired of his 1930s winning recipe.

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The Dancing Stallions of Lipizza II

Lead: Bred as royal horses of the Austrian emperors, the beautiful and graceful Lipizzaner stallions were the subject of a spectacular rescue at the end of World War II.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Hapsburg emperors bred the Lipizzaners for their strength and intelligence. With the end of World War I, the empire was no more but the white stallions, in their home at Vienna's Spanish Riding School, continued the tradition of the precision riding originally developed as battlefield maneuvers against enemy soldiers.

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The Dancing Stallions of Lipizza I

Lead: The graceful and elegant stallions of Vienna's Spanish Riding School have a long and fascinating history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It is hard for those living in the late twentieth century to imagine a time in which motorized transport was nonexistent and the horse in its various breeds was the indispensable provider of locomotion and carriage for goods and people. Today, expensive to maintain and relatively rare, the horse has largely become a diversion and source of entertainment for the well-to-do. There was a time, however, when one had a horse or walked, when goods were mostly conveyed by horse power or by humans, when the fate of nations was decided by the quality of horse bred and fought in their service.

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Scott Joplin II

Lead: Having reached maturity as a composer and fully established as a ragtime musician, Scott Joplin produced what some consider the first great American opera.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: By the first decade of the 20th century, Scott Joplin had become a celebrated composer and performer. His compositions were sold and played widely and his reputation as a performer was on the rise. During that decade he was also putting his hand toward his original opera, Treemonisha (1911). The themes of this work are loosely autobiographical though the story is unique. Living in a small rural community of former slaves, Monisha and Ted discover an abandoned infant under a tree and raise her as their own giving her the name memorialized in the opera. Like Joplin, her parents arrange for her to be educated by a white family in exchange for manual labor. The girl emerges from childhood to take a place of leadership in the community.

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Scott Joplin I

Lead: Born during Reconstruction, Scott Joplin became a role model for talented black musicians as the Ragtime era blended into the Age of Jazz.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Joplin was born in northeast Texas in 1868 to a laboring family suffering the abuse that was the lot of blacks at the hand of whites humiliated by the loss of the civil war and the Reconstruction regime imposed by the Federal government. He grew up in Texarkana. His parents were musically inclined and insured his exposure to church music. This aroused in him an early hunger to perform, eventually mastering guitar, cornet, and piano. His constant practicing enhanced Joplin’s natural talent which was only enriched by his German-born teacher Julius Weiss, who was so impressed with Joplin’s prospects that he gave him free lessons in advanced harmony, sight-reading, and musical theory. Though he was being schooled in the music of Mozart, Beethoven and Chopin, his first love was in the syncopated rhythms of ragtime.

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Cole Porter’s Breakthrough

Lead: The 1940s were not a good decade for Cole Porter.

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

Content: Though he was one of the hottest properties in Broadway with a seemingly endless stream of successes in the 1930s and though his music and lyrics represented the epitome of sophistication and wit, during the war decade Porter went through a long period of personal and professional discouragement.

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AIDS/HIV in Film II

Lead: As the AIDS pandemic began to spread and claim more lives, the movie industry responded with films that took the level of sophistication to a new height.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: During the 1980s, in response to society’s apparent lack of concern for those suffering from AIDS, activist movies emerged which challenged people indifference and their government’s inertia, such as Target City Hall (1989) and Stop the Church (1990) which criticized the church’s pettiness and sometimes hostility to the victims of the disease. Rockville is Burning (1989) addressed the widespread homophobia which impeded attempts to halt spread of the disease. Sympathy stories such Buddies (1985) and An Early Frost (1985) examined the grieving of the families of AIDS victims as well as creating sympathetic characters in an ‘infected as victim” trope. By the 1990s well-developed characters such as the lawyer played by Tom Hanks’ in the award-winning film Philadelphia (1993) created powerful sympathy for those struggling hopelessly against a disease which had only one tragic outcome.

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