Listen to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, conducted by Rene Jacobs, this Friday evening at 7, on Classical 101.
Interview With Studs Terkel
Studs Terkel died at age 96 on October 31, 2008. Terkel was a broadcaster, interviewer and oral historian whose career lasted 76 years, from 1930 to 2006. His many books include Giants of Jazz; Working: People Talk About What They Do all Day and How They Feel About What They Do all Day; Talking to Myself: A Memoir of the Times; My American Century; Touch and Go and P.S., Further Thoughts From a Lifetime of Listening.
In 2005, promoting his memoir And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey, Terkel spoke with WOSUâ€™s Christopher Purdy. Booked for ten minutes, the conversation lasted over an hour and a half. Here are four excerpts from their visit:
Part 1. (MP3. Length – 3:23)
Studs Terkel and Chicago.
“I was an asthmatic little boy when I was brought to live in Chicago in 1920. I was eight years old. The smell of the stockyards cured my asthma right away.â€
Part 2. (MP3. Length – 5:45)
Studs Terkel and Radio.
“Every radio soap opera back in those days had three gangsters. The bright one, the middle one and the dumb one. I was always the dumb one. And I always died – just before the first commercial breakâ€¦Later they wanted us all to wear tuxedos for the studio audience. You looked like a gangster going to his sister’s wedding. But I became a disc jockey before the term was invented.”
Part 3. (MP3. Length – 4:03)
Rosa Raisa and Enrico Caruso.
“Raisa! How does someone your age know Raisa? You are the first person your age to ask me about Rosa Raisa! What a great, magnificent voice. She was the greatest Norma everâ€¦.better than Callas. She loved to sing with Caruso. He invented the Gramophone you know. Any immigrant who could scrape together a quarter could buy a recording of Caruso singing ‘Celeste Aida.’”
Part 4. (MP3 – Length – 6:52)
Are you optimistic?
“People want to know how to survive with some dignityâ€¦remember I told you there was machinery that saved my life? And thereâ€™s machinery that can destroy us all. And this is our choice. We live in a world of sanity. Thereâ€™s enough imagination in the human race to create this world that makes me, at ninety-three, live with a new kind of verveâ€¦”