Sarah Bernhardt

Lead: On March 23, 1923, thousands of mourners lined the streets of Paris for the funeral procession of one of the leading actresses of the 19th century - “The Devine Sarah Bernhardt.”

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: She was born in Paris, France, in 1844 as Henriette-Rosine Bernard. Her Dutch mother was courtesan, a highly paid prostitute; her father was unknown. A sickly child, the girl was educated in a convent until one of her mother’s lovers, the Duc de Morny, Emperor Napoleon III’s half brother, arranged for the sixteen year old Sarah to attend the Paris Conservatoire, the government sponsored school of theatre.

 

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Lucille Ball

Lead: Her earliest dreams were of life on the stage, but Lucile Désirée Ball, aka Lucy Montana, aka Diane Belmont, succeeded beyond her remotest imaginings.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: Her childhood was not an easy one. Her father died when she was three, her mother for a time abandoned her to the care of her new husband’s mother, a harsh disciplinarian, and then the reunited family lost their home in a legal action. Despite these hardships, Ball never left behind her desire to perform. She studied for a time at the Minton-Anderson School of Drama in New York City, but the introverted Ball, homesick and ironically, intimidated by the school’s star pupil, Bette Davis, departed but she did not give up and remained in the City. Odd-jobs and her own natural physical beauty led eventually to a relatively successful modeling career and finally an offer to film with Eddie Cantor a Hollywood movie, Roman Scandals. Six weeks in Hollywood led to a half century and one of show businesses most successful careers.

Thomas Edison’s Invention of the Phonograph

Lead: In 1877, Thomas Alva Edison stumbled upon his most original invention, the audio phonograph. He captured sound.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Most of Thomas Edison's inventions were either improvements on other ideas or adaptations of existing technology. His incandescent lamp was vastly more efficient than any before, making home lighting economically viable. His kinetoscope laid the foundation for the modern motion picture. It was with the phonograph, however, that Edison made his most creative contribution to modern life and its discovery was by accident.

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Video Gets Memory

Lead: In the early days, television was very exciting. It had one major problem. No memory. Once broadcast, a live television program was gone.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The networks had devised a way of filming live telecasts. The machine was a kinescope, actually a 35 mm movie camera which filmed live East Coast television for rebroadcast programs three hours later in the West. “Kines” were grainy, had trouble getting the television picture in sync with the movie camera, and were very expensive. By 1954 the networks were using more movie film than Hollywood.

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A Moment in Time Capsule 1970: The Beatles Disband

Lead: It almost seemed impossible. A world grown accustomed to Beatlemania would have to reconcile itself to reality. In early 1970 the Beatles, the most popular rock group in history, broke apart.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Almost from their beginnings as a group in working class Liverpool, England and Hamburg, Germany, The Quarrymen, who later changed their name to The Beetles or the Beatals or Johnny and the Moondogs or Long John and the Beetles, or The Silver Beatles, but by August 1960, The Beatles, pushed the edge of rock music. At the core of the group were John Lennon, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney. Other artists had played with them, but they would emerge internationally soon after mid-1962 after they were joined by drummer and occasional soloist, Ringo Starr.

 

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Charlie Chaplin

Lead: Few people have left a greater impression on the development of the motion picture business than Charles Spencer Chaplin. He is considered by many to be the greatest comic artist of the screen.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Charlie Chaplin got started in vaudeville. Born in London before the turn of the twentieth century, Chaplin grew up in an acting family and by the age of 12 he was on his own, performing in music halls all over England. On a tour of North America in 1913, he was signed by Mack Sennett of Keystone Films to work in comic pictures at a significant increase in salary. He never looked back.

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Ella Fitzgerald – The First Lady of Song

Lead: A Virginia girl, product of an unhappy home and a common law marriage, at times homeless, a delinquent, street dancer and a numbers runner for the mob, but, oh my goodness, could Ella Fitzgerald sing.

 Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.                

Content: The Great Migration in the late 19th and early 20th century lured many blacks from the south to northern cities thinking that there were jobs there. Too often there were not. Caught up in that diaspora was Temperance Williams and her three year old daughter Ella Fitzgerald. They struggled in their new home, Yonkers, New York even as Temperance acquired a new beau, Joseph Da Silva, a Portuguese immigrant who probably abused Ella but with whom Temperance had another daughter, Frances Da Silva, Ella’s only sibling and life-long intimate.

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P.T. Barnum I “Sucker Born Every Minute”

Lead: "There's a sucker born every minute." It may have expressed his true attitude toward the public but chances are P.T. Barnum never said it.

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

Content: Often the study of history is an exercise at exploding myths. Sayings or events associated with famous people enter the public consciousness and whether true or not, grow with each repeated account of the story. Even reputable historians sometimes pass on unverified legend as if it were true.  

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