NYPR Archives & Preservation
March 24, 2017 - Volume 16  Issue 12
Edition # 754


1945: Ralph Kirkpatrick performs French and Italian compositions for harpsichord at a Metropolitan Museum of Art concert.

1966: Tony Schwartz plays the voices of Danish tomato vendors in Copenhagen. He also speaks with Steve Schwartz, who collects folklore and folk music from Danish immigrants.
No Script? It's Against the Rules
"It was somewhere in the Fall of 1924, just about the time I was informed that I was to be the next Park Commissioner of Brooklyn, that I was asked to make a talk on 'Trees.'

"I had always spoken ex-tempore, hence I went to the [WNYC] studio without a prepared speech. They asked me where my script was and when I told them I had never used one, they opened their eyes wide and replied it was 'against the rules' and I would not be permitted to speak.

"I sat there in the ante room while they phoned Grover Whalen, who assured them I would make no breaks and told them to 'take a chance' and put me on. I had never talked over the air before and felt a bit shaky without an audience facing me.

"Christie Bohnsack was director then...Christie and the boys called in all the people who were still awaiting their turn to go on--bandmasters, singers and other musicians--and they sat in a semi-circle in front of me. I thus began to 'ad-lib' to this hastily assembled audience...and imagined I was addressing the 'unseen millions.'...The flood of telegrams and telephones calls to the studio was instant and gratifyingly enthusiastic.

"From that time on, for three or four nights a week over a two-year period Bohnsack, [Tommy] Cowan and I put on a series of programs...and the succession of nights we broadcast became very popular.

"Our readers may recall 'Brooklyn Night,' 'Flatbush Night,' 'Greenpoint Night,' 'Harlem Night,' 'Coney Island Night,' when we introduced Sam Gumpertz' Wild Man of Borneo and a hundred other features..."

Excerpts from Edward T. O'Loughlin, writing in "WNYC Broadcasting Back in Hylan's Day," The Brooklyn Eagle, November 20, 1949, pg. 34.
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

On this edition of WQXR's Vocal Scene. host George Jellinek looks back at the legendary Swedish tenor Jussi Bjorling and his 30-year career. Jellinek takes particular interest in Bjorling's “effortless high C’s” and the qualities that made his voice unique.
The New York Public Radio Archives Celebrates Women's History Month. We've pulled together some of the department's leading preservation work, series and sonic artifacts concerning women's history.
WNYC celebrated its 92nd anniversary this past July. Just think, 7 short years to the big centennial. In this space we'll be linking to various historical WNYC champions, broadcasts and milestones celebrating nearly a century on the air in the public interest. This week: Eric Zoro: WNYC's Morning Man for 20+ Years.

This week's post on the NEH-funded Annotations blog series is: Barbara Tuchman Argues for "History as Literature"

With sadness we note the passing this week of one of our contributors, Charis Conn. A former Senior Editor at Harper's Magazine, Charis wrote five articles for our Annotations blog. You can find them all here.

Tomorrow is the 106th anniversary of the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist fire. Listen to a 1938 WPA dramatization, the 50th anniversary memorial, the testimony of survivors, and more at: Triangle Fire.

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Interested in revisiting some of the 753 previous issues of The New York Public Radio History Notes? We've put up links for editions since June 2013. See: History Notes.

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