Sunday, November 20, 2016

Recipes and Radio: Us Pilgrims from Cavalcade of America (Thanksgiving Old Time Radio)

My second entry of Recipes and Radio in honor of Thanksgiving.  First, the recipe!

Red-Skinned & Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

We don't normally make mashed potatoes from scratch, but these were not that hard and came out great.  But you often want to do something big for Thanksgiving.  These are a great addition to any big holiday meal. Follow this link for the recipe.

And now the radio program.  This is a great episode from Cavalcade that frames the first Thanksgiving as it might have been told by immigrants coming to the United States in the 1940s.   The Cavalcade of America is a great series sponsored by DuPont.  The purpose of the program has been one of great study and I am definitely glad that I have a few episodes to talk about it.  The long-running show ran from 1935 to 1953 and then had a second life on television.  Starting first on the CBS Network, it moved to NBC in 1939.  This 30 minute program provided a great platform to showcase some of the lesser known incidents and people who made the country great.  Not only was this series a great source of historical dramas, there were numerous fictional stories brought in as well.  From the Internet Archive page (see link below),  "The company's motto, 'Maker of better things for better living through chemistry,' was read at the beginning of each program, and the dramas emphasized humanitarian progress, particularly improvements in the lives of women, often through technological innovation."  The series also sought out to bring attention to the contributions of businesses in the growth of America.

With its focus on the history of the United States, there were a number of different programs focused on Thanksgiving and its role in American culture.  On November 24, 1947, Cavalcade presented "Us Pilgrims". This episode is set in an adult education class where immigrants to the United States were learning to speak and write English to pass the citizenship test.  The discussion in the class turned to Thanksgiving and they were asked how they thought the first one came about.  While playing for laughs (much like the series Life with Luigi), it did continually come back to the United States as a bastion for those seeking religious freedom in the world.  And as they gathered for their first Thanksgiving meal, they shared a prayer before they ate.

God.  Us Pilgrims want to thank you for everything.  For this turkey, and cranberries, and all good things you let us grow.  Thank you for bringing us from all countries to USA.  Thank you for we can pray here, and work, and build something fine, and be free men.  And may there always be room here for other pilgrims like us.  Amen.  Thank you.
These are words that are very beautiful and touching today as they were when first delivered in 1947. This episode starred George Tobias, Mercedes McCambridge, Ralph Bell, Dan Ocko, Mildred Clinton, Peter Capell, Rolly Bester, Murray Forbes, and Louis Sorin.  The script was written by Frank Gabrielson and both produced and directed by Jack Zoller. Two years later (on November 22, 1949), they reused the script.

Us Pilgrims (November 24, 1947)

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