In celebration of Pacifica Radio and KPFA's 50th Anniversary in 1999, former KPFA Drama & Literature Director Susan Stone teamed up with her colleagues to present an outstanding survey of sounds representing the radio arts broadcast on the station over the years.
This week on From the Vault we revisit this extraordinary documentary:
"In the afternoon of April 15, 1949 KPFA-FM was finally on the air. And its extraordinary offerings of news, public affairs, music, arts, and cultural programming began. And what a feast! KPFA's Drama and Literature Department was there from the start, with a heady infusion of readings, musings, and theater.
Maya Angelou, Ann Sexton, and Langston Hughes read to us of men and women, and saints and sinners, Dylan Thomas evoked a childhood in Wales, Claire Bloom read from the Book of Ruth, Pablo Neruda spoke of home in Chile, anthropologist Jaime d'Angulo immortalized the Achumawi, Bob and Ray laughed at us and we laughed back."
Featured in Stone's documentary are broadcast recordings of Maya Angelou, Ann Sexton, Langston Hughes, Dylan Thomas, Claire Bloom, Pablo Neruda, Pauline Kael, Allen Ginsberg, Ernest Hemingway, Bette Davis, Yoko Ono, and Maragaret Mead among many others.
We will also about the life of radio arts from another former KPFA Drama & Literature Department Director, Eric Bauersfeld, whose legendary career has extended far beyond the scope of his thirty-one tenure as head of the department (Susan Stone's predecessor). Among many notable accomplishments, Bauersfeld voiced the part of Admiral Ackbar in the third film of the 'original' Star Wars trilogy, Return of the Jedi. Learn more about Erik Bauersfeld at his website BardRadio.com.
From the Vault is presented as part of the Pacifica Radio Archives Preservation and Access Project, funded in part by an award from the GRAMMY Foundation and the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives and Records Administration, and past grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ford Foundation, and the American Archive funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the generous support of Pacifica Radio Listeners. We also thank our partners and collaborators at the Pop-Up Archive, Amara, Other Minds Archives, George Blood Audio, and the California Audio Visual Preservation Project.