Saturday, July 15, 2017

American History on Old Time Radio: Aaron Burr on Cavalcade of America & Weird Circle

A few days ago, I highlighted some episodes from Cavalcade of America that told the story of Alexander Hamilton.  Now, I think it makes sense to share some episodes featured the man that did him in....Aaron Burr.  This is the second episode in my American History series on Old Time Radio and will head on from here.  It is a topic that I am interested in and will share more episodes down the road.  I am focusing on Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton - whose duel 213 years ago this week ended the life of Hamilton and set Burr down a path of destruction that is showcased in these two programs.  

Trinity Church (New York City) - February 17, 2017

Alexander Hamilton's Final Resting Place - Trinity Church (New York City) - February 17, 2017

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."

On May 12th, 1941, Cavalcade featured the story of Burr's daughter, in an episode aptly named "Theodosia Burr". Theodosia Burr was the devoted daughter to Aaron Burr and his wife, Theodosia Bartow Burr, who was formerly married to a British officer. The mother died with Theodosia was only 11. Theodosia was also have a tragically short life, being lost at sea in 1813. Theodosia was married to the governor of South Carolina, Joseph Alston who died shortly thereafter.
This episode follows her role as a dutiful daughter and political peace-broker (when she could) between her father and Alexander Hamilton.  The episode features Ann Starrett as Theodosia Burr and also stars Alfred Shirley, Agnes Moorehead, Ray Collins, Edwin Jerome, William Johnstone, among others.

Theodosia Burr (May 12, 1941)

The Weird Circle is a great series - and honestly, it is amazing that I have never showcased it before.  The series ran from 1943 through 1945 and featured 30 minute adaptations of stories, many were of the supernatural or fantasy genre.  Many famous stories were included in this series, including those from authors Robert Lewis Stevenson, Victor Hugo, Edgar Alan Poe, Charlotte Brontë and many others from the Victorian era.  These are very great stories, though they tend to over-play their part.  Still, these represent some of the most famous stories in English Literature.

On September 30th, 1943, The Weird Circle produced a dramatization of Edward Everett Hale's "The Man Without a County."  This story was first published in the December 1863 edition of The Atlantic and it told the story of Philip Nolan, an American officer who renounced his country during a trial for treason stemming from his connection to Aaron Burr.  During Nolan's trial, he shouts "I wish I may never hear of the United States again!" The judge grants his wish - and he spends his life in exile.  You can read the original Edward Everett Hale story here (from the Atlantic site) or from here (at Cornell University and the University of Michigan's Making of America site).

Man Without a Country (September 30, 1943)

I hope you enjoy these episodes and this new series coming your way.  

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and Cavalcade of America:
Here are some links to programs relating to The Weird Circle:

Here are some of my other blog entries relating to Old Time Radio

1 comment:

  1. I remember a CBS Radio Mystery Theater from the '70's that had something to do with the duel between Hamilton and Burr. It seems whenever the anniversary occurs on the same weekday as the original some of the events replay. Spooky fun, not very historical, but still fun!