Madame Tussaud

Lead: Despite the advent of television and the internet, the biggest tourist attraction in Britain remains a bizarre collection of wax figures imported to England two centuries ago for a temporary stay.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Marie Tussaud (nee Grosholz) did her apprenticeship with Philippe Curtius in the heady revolutionary days of Paris, 1789. Crowds of the curious flocked to their salons to see exhibits featuring among other oddities, King Louis XVI and his Queen Marie-Antoinette eating their inedible dinner in frozen solitude. The most avid interest then and now continues to be the Chamber of Horrors, the waxed collection of notorious murderers caught in the act of taking their victims.

Making Pictures Talk II

Lead: Making pictures talk, putting sound with film, took decades to develop. It required a whole new kind of technology.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The problem was synchronization and sound quality. Essayist Curt Wohleber writes that even if an inventor could have gotten lips to synch with pictures of the person speaking, turn of the century sound reproduction was so bad that it would have ruined the effect. Yet, by 1910, the tools were in place which would ultimately solve the problem. Alexander Graham Bell and his telephone had demonstrated that sound could be converted into an electric signal. Then Lee de Forest developed the audion, a vacuum tube that amplified and manipulated recorded sound. By 1920 De Forest had developed a new system, which converted sound into light. Processed by an audion, light was shined through a thin slit and recorded on the movie film at the exactly the right time, therefore speaking lips fit with spoken words.

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Making Pictures Talk I

Lead: Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph and the motion picture. Putting them together proved to be extraordinarily difficult.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1877 Edison introduced his first sound recording, his own voice reading "Mary Had a Little Lamb." A dozen years later, with an improved version on the market, he started work on method of recording and reproducing moving photographs.

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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.

Ed Sullivan

Lead: For twenty years from 1948 to 1971 one man helped define American popular culture. Millions tuned in at 8:00 on Sunday night to consume the fare served up by Ed Sullivan.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Ed Sullivan was born in the age of Rag, came to maturity in the frenetic jazzy 1920s, and helped establish Rock and Roll as the medium of expression for a generation of restless baby boomers. He got his start in the newspaper business, writing first sports and then gossip columns for a variety of sheets. In the depth of the Great Depression he was hired by the New York Daily News to write his "Little Old New York" strip. These notes on New York society life would continue for the rest of his life.

 

 

Folies Bergere

Lead: Historically, the human desire for diversion and entertainment, like religion, morals and politics, is always nearly subject to evolution and changing tastes. Consider as an example if you will the Parisian Folies Bergère:

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: When it comes to entertainment, with apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald, the French are not like you and me. From the middle of the 19th century until surpassed by American culture in the age of mass communication, the undisputed pace setter in entertainment was France. French theater was considered by many to be indecent, even obscene; it was certainly provocative and pushed the edge of the envelope in morals and taste. For most of that period, since its founding in 1869 as the Folies Trevise, both taking their names from nearby streets, the Folies Bergère always strove to be out front, slightly racier than the competition.

 

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The Panic Broadcast Part II

Lead: As the CBS broadcast of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds progressed, many in the audience began to take it seriously and fell into panic.

 Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: Orson Welles' career as a radio actor included the role of Lamont Cranston in the mystery series The Shadow but his greatest fame came when he brought his Mercury Theater company to Columbia Broadcasting for a series of radio dramas based on famous novels. For Halloween Eve, October 30, 1938, the company chose Wells' science fiction nightmare War of the Worlds, the dramatic description of an invasion by hostile Martians who destroy the earth.

 

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The Panic Broadcast Part I

Lead: On Halloween Eve, 1938, invaders from Mars landed on a truck farm east of Princeton, New Jersey.


Tag: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

 Content: The invasion was harmless, one of the CBS Sunday night broadcasts of the Mercury Theater on the Air, a dramatic re-telling of Herbert George Wells' novel, War of the Worlds. Wells completed his story in 1897 and immediately it was a huge success. Orson Welles, the young director of the Mercury Theater, had for some time been interested in adapting the story as a radio drama and settled on broadcast within a broadcast as the plot. News reports and live, on-the-scene accounts breaking into what seemed to be an ordinary evening of musical entertainment, created a vivid realism that convinced many listeners they were witnessing an actual extra-terrestrial invasion by hostile visitors from Mars.

 

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