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Last Showgirl Revue On Vegas Strip Closes
Weekend Edition/Saturday (NPR)
February 13, 2016
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With its elaborate headdresses, colorful sequined gowns and statuesque dancers, Jubilee is the classic Las Vegas show. It was the last showgirl extravaganza on the Vegas Strip, and now it's closed, its last performance on Feb. 11.

 

Photo by Fred Wasser

Costume designer Pete Menefee.

 

Courtesy: W.W. Norton

 

 

William Wells Brown
PRI's The World, a co-production of the BBC & WGBH/Boston
November 14, 2014
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William Wells Brown has the distinction of being the first African American novelist ever to be published. Brown wrote Clotel (1853) during five productive years in Europe in which he experienced a freedom that wasn't possible in America. His novel is taught in some college classes today, but most of us don't know about him. Reporter Fred Wasser talks with Ezra Greenspan, whose new biography is William Wells Brown: An African American Life (W.W. Norton).

Photographic Memory
Weekend Edition/Sunday (NPR)
November 18, 2012
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Fred Wasser reports on Ross McElwee's new film, Photographic Memory. When he was in his 20s, McElwee spent a year in France. In Saint-Quay-Portrieux he worked as an assistant to a wedding photographer named Maurice. He also had a romance with a woman named Maude. Almost 40 years later – for this film – McElwee returns to France in search of these two important people in his life, while at the same time exploring his relationship with his son Adrian.

 

Photo by Marie-Emmanuelle Hartness

Ross McElwee

 

The Not-So-Distant History Of Radio Jingles
Weekend Edition/Saturday (NPR)
July 28, 2012
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Fred Wasser remembers a quirky musical art form: the radio jingle. We're not talking about the kind of jingle that sings about toothpaste or a cup of coffee. These jingles were about the radio stations themselves. Jingles were a staple of radio – especially the Top-40 kind – for decades.

 

Rembrandt in America
Western North Carolina Public Radio – The Mountain Air Network
WCQS, Asheville
October 31, 2011

WFAE, Charlotte, NC
November 4, 2011

WHQR, Wilmington, NC
October 31, 2011

North Carolina Public Radio
WUNC, Chapel Hill
WURI, Rocky Mount
WUND, Manteo
October 28, 2011

Rembrandt van Rijn, Portrait of a Girl Wearing a Gold-Trimmed Cloak, 1632, oil on panel, 23 7/8 x 17 3/4 in. (oval), Private collection, New York

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Rembrandt. We know the name, but do we know the work? A new exhibition is at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. Rembrandt in America highlights both authentic and inauthentic Rembrandt paintings – side by side. Fred Wasser has this story of the artist and those who copied him.

 

The Secret Musical Life of Jack Lemmon
Weekend Edition/Saturday (NPR)
June 11, 2011
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Fred Wasser reports on a lesser-known aspect of Jack Lemmon – his musical talent.

 

Issac Delgado & Nat King Cole
NPR's Latino USA
August 27, 2010
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Transcript (English)     Transcripción (Spanish)
Fred Wasser talks with Cuban-born salsa singer Issac Delgado about his new album, L-O-V-E, a tribute to the late Nat King Cole. In the late 1950s and early '60s, Nat King Cole recorded three albums of  Latin standards, in Spanish: Cole Español, A Mis Amigos, and More Cole Español. Issac Delgado grew up listening to these albums, and has now fulfilled his dream of recording some of the same songs.

 

Thomas Day
All Things Considered (NPR)
July 29, 2010
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Fred Wasser profiles Thomas Day (1801- circa 1861), who had a successful career as a North Carolina cabinetmaker in the decades before the Civil War. His home base for most of that time was Milton, North Carolina, in Caswell County near the Virginia border. His shop produced fine furniture and architectural ornamentation.

He overcame serious obstacles during his rise to prominence. Thomas Day was a mixed-race "free person of color." Even though he wasn't a slave, Day and his family lived with restrictions and uncertainties. Thomas Day was also among a small percentage of free blacks who owned slaves.

An exhibition, Behind the Veneer: Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker, opened May 22, 2010 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. A new biography is titled Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, written by Patricia Phillips Marshall and Jo Ramsay Leimenstoll, with photographs by Tim Buchman, Eric N. Blevins, and D. Kent Thompson (The University of North Carolina Press, 2010).

 

Composer Carrie Jacobs-Bond
Weekend Edition/Sunday (NPR)
August 30, 2009
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Fred Wasser reports on the life of Carrie Jacobs-Bond (1862-1946). She's the composer of "I Love You Truly," "Just a Wearyin' For You," and "The End of a Perfect Day." They were parlor music favorites in the early 1900s. "I Love You Truly" became a popular wedding anthem. Although she sold close to 20 million copies of sheet music, Carrie Jacobs-Bond and her music are largely forgotten today.

 

The Settlement Cook Book
Weekend Edition/Sunday (NPR)
April 12, 2009
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Fred Wasser reports on the life of Lizzie Black Kander. Her classic Settlement Cook Book: The Way to a Man's Heart was first published under the name Mrs. Simon Kander in Milwaukee in 1901. For recently arrived Jewish immigrants, Kander's recipes and homemaking tips were a valuable introduction to American family life. The book became a bestseller nationwide and remained popular well into the 1970s. Today, Kander's book seems a bit old-fashioned, but it's a delicious slice of cultural history.

 

Wallace Stevens
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
April 28, 2002
Producer: Fred Wasser
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Host Lynn Neary talks with J.D. McClatchy about the life and work of poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955). McClatchy is the editor of the fourth installment of the Random House Voice of the Poet audio series, which features Langston Hughes, Adrienne Rich, and Wallace Stevens reading their own works. Three of Wallace Stevens' poems are discussed in this segment: “Not Ideas About The Thing But The Thing Itself,” “Nomad Exquisite,” and “Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour.” J.D. McClatchy is the editor of the Yale Review.

 

Steve Tyrell
All Things Considered (NPR)
April 18, 2002
Producer: Fred Wasser
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Host Liane Hansen talks with Steve Tyrell about his new CD, Standard Time. For many years, Tyrell was an accomplished record producer. He produced the Academy Award-winning B.J.Thomas song, "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head." Now, Tyrell has a new career as a singer of standards.

 

Mike Douglas
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
June 23, 2001
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Lisa Simeone talks with former TV host Mike Douglas. The Mike Douglas Show ran in syndication from 1961 to 1983, first from Cleveland, then Philadelphia, and finally Los Angeles. The show is famous for its eclectic mix of guests. Douglas writes about his life in television in I'll Be Right Back: Memories of TV's Greatest Talk Show (Written with Thomas Kelly and Michael Heaton/Simon & Schuster, 2000).

 

Tony Curtis
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
May 20, 2001
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Lisa Simeone talks with actor Tony Curtis about the 1959 Billy Wilder comedy classic Some Like It Hot. The film stars Curtis, Jack Lemmon, and Marilyn Monroe. This week, MGM releases Some Like It Hot on DVD.

 

The Snowy Owl (personal essay by Fred Wasser)
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
February 18, 2001
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NPR's Fred Wasser tells us about his first bird-watching trip, a search for a Snowy Owl that was spotted in Frederick County, Maryland. The white and fluffy bird breeds in the Arctic tundra and often travels south during the winter months in search of food. According to folklore, a close encounter with this bird could turn your life around.

 

Carl Sigman Remembered
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
October 1, 2000
Host: Jacki Lyden
Producer: Fred Wasser
We remember Carl Sigman, who died this past Tuesday at the age of 91. The versatile lyricist wrote: It's All In The Game, Enjoy Yourself, Ebb Tide, Pennsylvania 6-5000, and dozens of others.

 

Charles Bukowski
Weekend Edition/Sunday (NPR)
August 13, 2000
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NPR's Fred Wasser profiles Charles Bukowski, the legendary and notorious writer. Bukowski's earthy, visceral writing – and lifestyle – brought him a devoted audience. Six years after his death in 1994, Bukowski remains popular, and a new edition of posthumous works are being published next month, under the title Open All Night (Black Sparrow Press).

 

Molly Picon
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
March 25, 2000
Producer: Fred Wasser
NPR's Murray Horwitz and Susan Stamberg read from the memoir So Laugh A Little by Molly Picon. In this excerpt, Picon recounts her grandmother's love of Hollywood movies. Molly Picon (1898-1992) was born Malka Opiekun in New York City, where she became a star of the Yiddish-language theater. She went on to act in many Hollywood movies including Mamele (1938) and Come Blow Your Horn (1963) with Frank Sinatra. She was Yente the Matchmaker in the movie version of Fiddler on the Roof (1971).  She also appeared in numerous television shows, including: Car 54, Where are You?; Dr. Kildare; Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.; and The Facts of  Life. (So Laugh A Little, by Molly Picon, as told to Eth Clifford Rosenberg/Julian Messner, Inc., New York, 1962.)

 

Nat King Cole
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
December 18, 1999
Producer: Fred Wasser
Jacki Lyden talks with Daniel Mark Epstein about his biography, Nat King Cole. Epstein explores Cole's journey from jazz pianist to singer, and his racial struggles along the way.

 

Indonesia's Voice of Conscience
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
May 1, 1999
Producer: Fred Wasser
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NPR's Ted Clark profiles Indonesian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer. His new book is The Mute's Soliloquy, A Memoir (Hyperion East), an account of his imprisonment on Buru Island from 1969 to 1979. Pramoedya is one of Indonesia's greatest writers, but his work is still officially banned in his country. He is a nationalist who is mistrusted and feared by his country's leaders. But for the first time in decades, Pramoedya has been allowed to travel outside Indonesia and is now in the United States.

 

George Morrison
Weekend Edition/Sunday (NPR)
December 6, 1998
NPR's Fred Wasser reports on the life and art of George Morrison, whose abstract works reflect both his background as a modernist and his Chippewa Indian heritage. Morrison lives in Grand Portage, Minnesota, on the north shore of Lake Superior. He takes much of his inspiration from that setting.

 

Country Singer Connie Smith
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
September 12, 1998
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Jacki Lyden talks with country music singer Connie Smith about the release of her first album in twenty years ("Connie Smith," Warner Brothers/Nashville). Beginning in 1964, Smith rode a wave of successful hits. She had five top-ten albums, 12 top-20 albums, and 48 Billboard charted singles. Then she stopped recording in order to devote time to her family and her faith.

 

The Changing World of Publishing
Morning Edition
(NPR)
December 29, 1997
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NPR's Fred Wasser reports on the changing world of publishing. The focus is now on big-name authors who receive big advances. Midlist writers are being squeezed out because their books don't make much, if any, money for the publishers.

 

The Death of  Michener & Robbins
Weekend All Things Considered (NPR)
October 19, 1997
Producer: Fred Wasser
Washington Post columnist and book reviewer Jonathan Yardley comments on the passing, this past week, of authors Harold Robbins and James Michener.

 

Harry Houdini
Weekend Edition/Sunday (NPR)
October 30, 1994
Producer: Fred Wasser
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Host Liane Hansen visits the fourth floor vaults of the Library of Congress to view Harry Houdini’s personal collection of magic and spiritual books. Joan Higby of the Rare Books and Special Collection Division leads the tour. Higby calls the magician’s books a “wonderful index of Houdini’s mind.” Liane also talks with Ruth Brandon, author of The Life and Many Deaths of Harry Houdini (1993).

 

“Holiday Greetings” from E.B. White
Morning Edition (NPR)
December 25, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
Bob Edwards reads “Holiday Greetings” by E.B. White. The selection is taken from the collection E.B. White: Writings From The New Yorker, 1927-1976 (edited by Rebecca M. Dale).

 

Fred MacMurray Obituary
Morning Edition (NPR)
November 6, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
Actor Fred MacMurray, who starred in such film classics as Double Indemnity and The Apartment before playing the dad on TV’s My Three Sons, died yesterday. He was 83.

 

Gene Roddenberry Obituary
Morning Edition (NPR)
October 25, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
Gene Roddenberry, creator of the Star Trek television series, died yesterday. He was 70 years old.

 

Hume Cronyn
Morning Edition (NPR)
September 27, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
Susan Stamberg visits with Hume Cronyn in the theater where he got his start: Washington, DC’s National Theater. Cronyn has written the first volume of his memoirs, A Terrible Liar.

 

Isaac Bashevis Singer Obituary
Morning Edition (NPR)
July 25, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Renee Montagne talks with Richard Burgin, author of Conversations with Isaac Bashevis Singer. Writer and Nobel Laureate I.B. Singer died yesterday at the age of 87.

 

The Khalil Gibran Memorial Garden
Morning Edition (NPR)
May 23, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
Susan Stamberg visits the new Khalil Gibran Memorial Garden in Washington, DC. The garden is a tribute to one of the world’s bestselling writers – the author of The Prophet. Gibran (1883-1931) was born in Lebanon, and lived most of his life in Boston and New York.

 

Doc Pomus Obituary
Morning Edition (NPR)
March 15, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
(Host Bob Edwards) Songwriter and singer Doc Pomus, whose real name was Jerome Felder, died last night of lung cancer at the age of 65. His hit songs include “Save The Last Dance For Me,”  “This Magic Moment,” and “Viva Las Vegas.”

 

The New Lincoln Museum at Ford’s Theater
Morning Edition (NPR)
February 18, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Bob Edwards visits the Lincoln Museum at the Ford’s Theater National Historic Site in Washington, DC. Bob talks with Frank Hebblethwaite, the museum’s historian, about the changes in the museum following its re-opening after a two-year renovation. Items that were previously considered too sensitive have been taken out of storage and are now on display.

 

Buck Ram Obituary
Morning Edition (NPR)
January 3, 1991
Producer: Fred Wasser
(Host Bob Edwards) Samuel “Buck” Ram, the manager of the singing group “The Platters,” died on New Year’s Day. He was 83. Ram wrote most of the group’s hit songs, including “Only You” and “The Great Pretender.”

 

Ebenezer Scrooge
Morning Edition (NPR)
December 25, 1990
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Mara Liasson talks with Paul Davis about some of the ways Ebenezer Scrooge has been portrayed over the years. Since its publication in 1843, Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol has been adapted, condensed, and modernized hundreds of times. Davis, a professor of English at the University of  New Mexico, is the author of  The Life and Times of Ebenezer Scrooge.

 

Frank Sinatra Turns 75
Morning Edition (NPR)
December 12, 1990
Producer: Fred Wasser
Jonathan Schwartz takes us on a musical voyage through the Sinatra years, focusing on Sinatra’s recordings of Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.” Today, Old Blue Eyes turns 75. Jonathan Schwartz has hosted radio programs on New York’s WNEW radio for 24 years. Schwartz is the author, most recently, of a book of short stories titled The Man Who Knew Cary Grant.

 

Poet Mark Strand
Morning Edition (NPR)
October 1, 1990
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Bob Edwards talks with Mark Strand, whose new book of  poems, The Continuous Life, has just been published. Last May, Strand was named the nation’s fourth Poet Laureate. Strand, who teaches at the University of Utah, writes children’s books, short stories, and essays, and translates Spanish literature into English.

 

Ethyl Eichelberger Obituary
Morning Edition (NPR)
August 14, 1990
Producer: Fred Wasser
(Host Alex Chadwick) Ethyl Eichelberger died last weekend. He was 45. Eichelberger was often called a performance artist, but preferred to be called a storyteller. Eichelberger – a man who often performed as a woman – liked elaborate homemade costumes.

 

Maria St. Just and Tennessee Williams
Morning Edition (NPR)
June 18, 1990
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Rene Montagne talks with Maria St. Just about the new book Five O’Clock Angel: Letters of Tennessee Williams to Maria St. Just. Maria St. Just had a 35-year friendship with playwright Tennessee Williams, and was the inspiration for the character Maggie in the Tennessee Williams play Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

 

Josephine Baker
Morning Edition (NPR)
December 11, 1989
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Bob Edwards talks with Phyllis Rose about singer and dancer Josephine Baker. Rose’s new book is Jazz Cleopatra: Josephine Baker in Her Time. Rose teaches at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

 

Donald Barthelme Obituary
Morning Edition (NPR)
July 24, 1989
Producer: Fred Wasser
(Host Susan Stamberg) Short story writer and novelist Donald Barthelme died Sunday at the age of 58. We hear excerpts from an interview Bob Edwards conducted with Barthelme in 1984.

 

Hank Greenberg
Morning Edition (NPR)
July 5, 1989
Producer: Fred Wasser
Host Bob Edwards talks with New York Times sports columnist Ira Berkow about the life of baseball great Hank Greenberg (1911-1986), who played in the major leagues in the 1930s and ’40s. Greenberg was one of the first Jewish players in the majors to achieve star status. And he was the first Jew to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Berkow edited Greenberg’s posthumously published autobiography, Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life.

 

 

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