Mar. 24, 2000

Broadcast Date: FRIDAY: March 24, 2000

Poem: "The Cat," by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from These Are My Rivers (New Directions).

On this day in 1958, at 6:35 in the morning, ELVIS PRESLEY arrived at the draft board on South Main Street in Memphis, Tennessee, to be INDUCTED INTO THE ARMY. He arrived wearing dark blue trousers, a gray and white checked sports jacket, a striped shirt, and pink and black socks. He said, "Millions of other guys have been drafted, and I don't want to be different from anyone else."

It's the birthday of playwright and actor DARIO FO, born in San Giano, Lombardy, Italy (1926). He has developed an irreverent, anarchic style that reminds some of the Marx Brothers and others of medieval jesters. His 70 plays include Accidental Death of an Anarchist (1970), We Can't Pay? We Won't Pay! (1974), and One Was Nude and One Wore Tails (1985). He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997.

It's the birthday of poet and publisher LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI born in Yonkers, New York (1919). In World War Two, he was the commanding officer of a submarine chaser at the D-Day invasion. In 1951 he moved to San Francisco and founded, with Peter Martin, the City Lights Pocket Book Shop, the first paperback bookstore in the country. The City Lights store became a center for the Beat movement. Its publishing arm printed Howl by Allan Ginsberg. His book A Coney Island of the Mind is the largest-selling book by a living American poet.

It's the birthday of the English playwright SIR ARTHUR WING PINERO, born in London (1855). Pinero's Trelawney of the Wells (1898), a comic, nostalgic look at Victorian theater, is his most often performed work.

It's the birthday of poet, craftsman and socialist WILLIAM MORRIS, born in Walthamstow, north of London (1834). With artists such as Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Morris helped form the Pre-Raphaelite movement. His poems were often written in a medieval style. His interest then turned to crafts; he co-founded a design firm that left a lasting mark on such applied arts as wallpaper, printing, stained glass, carpet- weaving, typography and furniture especially the Morris chair, with its removable cushions and adjustable back.

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