Jul. 7, 1999


by Arthur Guiterman

Broadcast Date: WEDNESDAY: July 7, 1999

Poem: "Routine," by Arthur Guiterman (1871-1943).

It's the birthday of painter Marc Chagall, born in Vitebsk, Russia (1887), near the Polish frontier. Chagall painted many dreamlike pictures combining people, animals, and musical instruments (especially the violin) with Jewish and Christian symbols. He painted the huge murals flanking the Metropolitan Opera at New York's Lincoln Center.

It's the birthday of director George (Dewey) Cukor, born in Manhattan (1899), who directed Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman, Judy Garland in A Star Is Born (1954); and Audrey Hepburn, as well as many other films.

It's the birthday of film director Vittorio de Sica, born in Sora, Italy, 50 miles east of Rome (1901). His first big success was The Bicycle Thief (1949), followed by The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1971), Two Women (1960), Umberto D (1952). He said, "Life gives me the impression of cruelty. I read the newspapers—crimes, murders, divorces. I do not find evidence of sincerity there. I love humanity. I trust humanity, but humanity has a way of disillusioning me."

On this day in 1905, the Industrial Workers of the World, or "Wobblies," founded their labor organization in Chicago. In opposition to the American Federation of Labor, the Wobblies opposed capitalism and admitted unskilled workers in craft unions. Among the IWW founders were William D. ("Big Bill") Haywood of the Western Federation of Miners, Daniel DeLeon of the Socialist Labor Party, and Eugene V. Debs of the Socialist Party.

It's the birthday of pitching great Satchel Paige (Leroy Robert Paige), born in Mobile, Alabama (1906). For decades he was renowned in the Negro leagues; at 35, he pitched every day for 29 days. In a 1934 exhibition game, he threw a 13-inning, 1-0 victory over Dizzy Dean, who won 30 games for the Cardinals that year. And he once struck out Rogers Hornsby, one of baseball's best hitters ever, 5 times in one game.

It's the birthday of science fiction writer Robert Heinlein, born in Butler, Missouri (1907), author of Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), a cult classic, and The Green Hills of Earth (1951), Double Star (1956), Citizen of the Galaxy (1957).

It's the birthday of black poet and novelist Margaret Walker, born in Birmingham, Alabama (1915). She spent 30 years writing her novel Jubilee (1966), which has been translated into 6 languages and made into an opera.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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