Back in 2005, I took advantage of my contacts at the Bob Edwards Show staff to pitch an interview that I wanted to hear; Norman Corwin. Now understand, I have a pretty firm rule: if I can’t facilitate the connection, I don’t make the pitch. Saying, “You should interview So-and-So” is pretty useless if you can’t provide contact information for So-and-So, you know?
But in this case I had some connections (I had previously met Mr. Corwin, whose autographed photo you see here is one of my most prized possessions, worked on the committee of the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention, and ran the largest gathering of OTR fans, the Internet OTR Digest), so I made the pitch to producer Andy Danyo, providing contact info, some recordings (including my favorite Corwin production, “My Client Curley”), and some suggestions; she and Bob decided to do the interview, and the result is what you will now hear, originally airing July 26th, 2005.
From the introduction:
This medium of radio was built on the backs of hundreds of pioneers who made it a popular source of entertainment and information. Some of them labored to keep a bit of radio on the high road, appealing to the better instincts of listeners rather than trying to score a vast audience by appealing to the lowest common denominator. Today you’ll hear from one of those. Norman Corwin wrote, produced and directed some of radio’s finest moments in the pre-television era. Corwin addressed American values through stirring dramas, but also entertained with a clever sense of whimsy.
With the events of the last week or two, I’ve been thinking of Corwin a lot, particularly his On a Note of Triumph; written to celebrate what was then believed to be the final and absolute defeat of the despicable Nazi Regime – who then could have imagined Charlottesville? I’ll be running that production on the tiny Old-Time Radio show I host with my daughter Kate, SummersTime the first week of September on Radio Once More.
A few personal notes: This program was the first time I heard Bob speak my name…surprising and thrilling, I have to tell you. Also, Andy doesn’t know this, but she made me weep the first time I heard this…one of the “drops” she used from On a Note of Triumph, beginning, “I’m a private first class in the army of one of the United Nations…if you don’t mind, there’s some things I’d like to ask,” was a friend of mine, an actor named Harry Bartell, who much later wrote a series of articles for the Internet OTR Digest called Struts and Frets — I urge you to read them, they are fascinating. Anyway, he had been gone a bit over a year at that point, and hearing his voice unexpectedly come out of my satellite radio induced tears of loss and remembrance.