NYPR Archives & Preservation
December 16, 2016 - Volume 15  Issue 51
Edition # 740


The Brooklyn Board of Education and John J. Pershing P.S. 220 present Louise M. Dickenson, with a “serious” lesson in geography. “Africa has been the last of the continents to be developed by white men.” Reasons given for this by students include the presence of “wild savages in the jungle” and “fierce Arabs who roamed over the desert and attacked all travelers.”

1960: WNYC covers the result of a plane crash into the Pillar of Fire Church in Brooklyn.

Radio personality Jinx Falkenburg at the "I Am an American Day" ceremonies in Central Park. Listen to her brief talk. Now, where is that podium? (PM Photo/WNYC Archive Collections)

I Am an American Day was the brainchild of New York public relations man Arthur Pine. The songwriters of “I Am an American” brought their piece to Pine, who had the song played on network radio for an “I Am an American Day” at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The campaign was so successful that a newspaper chain promoted “I Am an American Day” nationally and got President Roosevelt to name it as an official day. It later became "Citizenship Day" and then "Constitution Day." 

October 25, 1938
National Anthem Conundrum
In her A Woman's New York column in the Washington Post, Alice Hughes writes: "Girl About Town--Mrs. Elizabeth Faff upset our Mayor La Guardia the other day with a distracted squawk that our municipal radio station, WNYC, played the national anthem far too often, and at difficult hours. Mrs. F. wanted to know specifically whether she had to hop from bed or bathtub whenever the speaker gave out the tune. Hizzonner was stumped. Finally the flag association ruled that when sitting in the living room, one should stand--but whenever the action would be forced or unnatural, such as eating at table or when splashing in the tub, one should let it go."

It's interesting to note that on the very same day, the communist newspaper,  the Daily Worker ran a profile of WNYC, calling it "the people's radio station."
WNYC first day of broadcast, July 8, 1924 (Municipal Archives Collection)

 WQXR's 80th anniversary has come and gone. Onward to 90! More from the Great Artist series: In this 1977 episode, Bob Sherman interviews George Balanchine, whose balletic celebration of the waltz is to premiere at the State Theater.
WNYC celebrated its 92nd anniversary this past July. Just think, 7-and-a-half 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: A Holiday Cluster of Mirth and Cheer.

This week's NEH-funded Annotations blog series features: Algonquin Round Table wit Marc Connelly, on his memoir, Voices Offstage.

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