All that, and Star Wars too.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS Radio – The World Tonight – October 2, 1985 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Busy day in the world, this 2nd of October in 1985. The Middle East factored in, with reports that the body of a missing Soviet diplomat was discovered in Beirut, and additional reports disclosed the discovery of a second missing diplomat was found behind the Soviet Embassy. And if that weren’t enough, warnings were issued by the fundamentalist Muslim (The Islamic Liberation Organization) group responsible for the kidnapping/executions, that the Soviet Embassy would be attacked next. All this as retaliation for Soviet-backed Syrian assaults on the PLO and Sunni Fundamentalists in Tripoli.
Meanwhile, Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev arrived in Paris in what was called “French seduction”, en route to Gorbachev’s meeting with President Reagan. The Soviet leader tried to not let the Middle East drama get to him, but it was apparent it was on his mind. Gorbachev had a lot on his plate during this first series of visits since assuming power.
There was also the sad news that film icon Rock Hudson died of AIDS earlier in the day, a little over a year after his disclosure of contracting the disease.
If anything, brought the subject of AIDS home to just about everyone.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: CBS News Special Report – The Death Of Rock Hudson – October 2, 1985 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
And L.A. had another earthquake . . .
What a day – October 2, 1985, as reported on the CBS Radio program The World Tonight.
. . .and with a few deft strokes of the pen . . . .
Click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS Radio News reports on Munich Crisis – September 24, 1938 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
News for this day in 1938 was about the crisis over German demands for land belonging to Czechoslovakia. The Munich crisis over the Sudetenland, as it was known, was slowly turning into a flash-point for all-out war and last ditch attempts to prevent it were going on feverishly.
In a series of historic firsts – the first being Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain‘s shuttle diplomacy of flying back and forth between London and Berlin for talks with Hitler, which had never happened before, and signaled the first time Chamberlain had actually flown in an airplane. The other being the first time such a crisis was covered by Radio worldwide and was a form of instantly carrying news of the crisis. Both of these probably helped ease the crisis to a degree.
But the bottom line was, for all the proclamations and pledges of support for the Czech people, the end-result negotiations were far from satisfactory for Czechoslovakia.
On September 24th in 1938 the world was still hanging in the balance and details of negotiations were not yet revealed. Prime Minister Chamberlain was heading off to Munich again for what would be the last round of talks before “Peace In Our Time” was declared (which he actually never said, but those clever headline writers . . . . .)
Here is the latest news on the crisis, as reported by CBS Radio and its around-the-clock coverage, including talks by H.V. Kaltenborn and an interview in London between Edward R. Murrow and Czech diplomat Jan Masaryk.
And that’s what September 24th sounded like in 1938.
Paul Hindemith – one of the vital figures in 20th Century Music.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Paul Hindemith: Concerto for Woodwinds, Harp and Orchestra – CBS Symphony, Thor Johnson – World Premier – May 15, 1949 – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Something special this weekend. A world premier performance of the Concerto for Woodwinds, Harp and Orchestra by German 20th century music legend Paul Hindemith. This broadcast, part of the adventuresome CBS Radio series Invitation To Music was aired on May 15, 1949 and features the CBS Symphony conducted by Thor Johnson.
Hindemith was one of the most significant figures in 20th Century German music. A gifted violist, conductor and violinist, he was part of the legendary Amar String Quartet in the 1920s as well as already achieving considerable attention as a composer and part of the Modern Music movement. Having escaped Germany at the time of the Nazi rise to power, Hindemith finally landed in New York in 1940 and continued his career as well as obtaining American citizenship in 1946.
The Concerto for Woodwinds, harp and Orchestra has been recorded several times since it’s premier, but this is the first one.
So you get to hear it just as the rest of the world did for the first time.
The Suites were milestones.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Duke Ellington in concert at the Ravinia Festival – July 1, 1957 – CBS Radio Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
The legendary Duke Ellington this weekend. The Radio premier of his Such Sweet Thunder, Suite on characters from Shakespeare as performed during the Ravinia Festival on July 1, 1957.
The Suites of Duke Ellington were milestones – they took Jazz to a whole new level, further expanding on the idiom, taking it to that place where Jazz and Classical rubbed elbows and became best friends. Considering how revolutionary Jazz had become during this period, it was the next logical step and it took someone with the imagination and foresight to bring all those elements together. Duke Ellington was the one.
Unfortunately, this premier isn’t complete. Most likely, a complete recording of this was made at the time, but this was network radio. CBS Radio had time constraints, and there was only 30 minutes available to make the case. So the frustration, knowing there was a ways more to go, and the CBS announcer breaking in and closing the broadcast, is palpable.
But this is history. And as I always say – sometimes history isn’t available under the best possible conditions. But this is a historic performance, and if you haven’t heard it before, or are only now becoming aware of Duke Ellington, here is good place to check it out.
And the weekend rolls on.
Even during the Cold War there was a Ford in your future.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – The Moscow Fair – September 13, 1959 – CBS Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Before the infamous U-2 incident (the plane, not the band . . .for you who may not know), there was a decided thaw in the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Cultural exchanges were arranged, there was a little less jamming of Radio Free Europe and Soviet Life,a sort of “feel-good Kremlin” glossy magazine was published.
And in 1959 the U.S. was invited to set up a pavilion for the Moscow Fair, as a goodwill gesture. This was also the setting for the now-famous Kitchen Debate between vice-President Nixon and Soviet Premier Khruschev.
So curiosity was high in the U.S. over Soviet reaction to seeing certain snippets of “daily American life”. And when the fair was over, a lot of questions were posed to the Guides who worked the Fair. The result was this special radio program, produced by CBS News and broadcast on September 13, 1959.
And the honeymoon was on . . . for a few months anyway.
Home Sweet Rubble.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS Radio News – Special Reports on Hurricane Andrew – August 23, 1992 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
In what became the last Category 5 Hurricane of the 20th Century, Andrew on this August 23rd in 1992 was poised to hit Florida. It hadn’t happened yet, and reports were still sketchy as to where it would eventually hit. But on this day , it was all about the weather and all about holding your breath.
And weather in a few other places – in Montana on this day; snow, five inches of it. Wet snow that snapped trees and downed power lines. Snow that appeared where only a week before was a heat wave and turned-on air conditioners. Tropical depressions in Baja sending up flash-flood warnings to Southern California deserts.
A wild day of weather all over.
Meanwhile, there was a Presidential election campaign going on. President Bush calling Governor Bill Clinton a “whiner”. Bill Clinton calling President Bush a hypocrite over his “no child left behind” mantra. Politics, ever the same.
And that’s how this August 23rd rolled in 1992 – it was a Sunday, and no one seemed to mind that, except the people clamoring to load sandbags and cover storefront windows in Florida. That nightmare was only beginning.
All that, as reported via CBS Radio hourly News and Special Reports for August 23, 1992.
Spring wasn’t destined to last.
Click on the link here for Audio Player – CBS News Netalert bulletin – Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia – August 20, 1968 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection
Further evidence that August is a month for upheavals. On the 20th of August in 1968, during the early morning hours, residents in Prague and outlying areas were awakened to the sound of rumbling tanks and squadrons of MIGs. In one swift move, Moscow decided Prague Spring and Socialism With A Human Face had done enough and it was time to restore hard-line Soviet influence in Czechoslovakia.
So, in addition to Moscow, troops from other Soviet Bloc countries joined in and the country was quickly overrun and the shockwaves reverberated throughout the world within hours.
With 1968 already a year bathed in violence and protest, this new episode just added to the jitters the world was undergoing. How the year was going to end up was anybody’s guess. And the guesses weren’t optimistic.
Here is the first hour of bulletins as they were broadcast from around 10:00pm (PDT) on August 20th via CBS Radio and their (relatively) new Netalert service.
Scary times – and no wonder people were tuning out at an increasing rate. Reality was becoming to hard to handle.