This documentary examines the accomplishments of Norman Corwin, a radio pioneer and critically acclaimed writer. During the program, the following people relate facts and anecdotes about Corwin: playwright Robert E. Lee; former CBS News anchor Charles Kuralt; author Ray Bradbury; Broadcast historian Erik Barnouw; former president of CBS News, Frank Stanton; playwright Jerome Lawrence; author Studs Terkel; and former CBS anchor Eric Sevareid. These individuals comment on the following topics, among others: what it is like watching Corwin work; Corwin's influence on their work; Corwin's importance to radio and America; Corwin's experimental work and his knack for being on the cutting edge; his use of language; Corwin's influence on the soldiers of World War II; his gentle disposition; the cancellation of Corwin's radio series; Corwin's book "Trivializing America"; and his vast accomplishments. Also, Norman Corwin comments on the following topics: his first radio play, "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas"; the effect that "They Fly Through the Air" had on his career; the creation of "My Client Curley"; the reason why "We Hold These Truths" was broadcast over all four major networks; his wife; his anger at injustice; what he hoped to accomplish with "One World Flight"; the McCarthy era; the end of his radio career; the purpose of "Hollywood Fights Back"; Carl Sandburg's influence on his life; and his book "Trivializing America." Also included are an audio excerpt of actor Charles Laughton, who expresses the admiration Corwin has earned from actors, and footage of television producer Norman Lear, who comments on the depth of Corwin's soul and the passion in his heart. In addition, audio clips and footage of the following radio and television programs written and directed by Norman Corwin are heard and seen: the 1972 and 1993 productions and rehearsals of "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas," which features David Warner, Marvin Kaplan, and Samantha Eggar; William Shatner reading "They Fly Through the Air"; "The Ballad for Americans" which features Paul Robeson (1939); "Radio Primer" (1941); "My Client Curley" (1940); "We Hold These Truths," featuring Lionel Barrymore, Orson Welles, and Jimmy Stewart (1941); "This Is War" (1942); "The Long Name None Could Spell," with Martin Gabel (1944); an election eve radio special promoting the re-election of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, which features Judy Garland, Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Keenan Wynn, and Groucho Marx (1944); "On a Note of Triumph," with Martin Gabel (1945); "The Undecided Molecule," which features Groucho Marx, Vincent Price, and Keenan Wynn (1945); "The Undecided Molecule," which features Milton Berle (1972); interviews from "One World Flight" (1947); "Hollywood Fights Back," with Gene Kelly, Lauren Bacall, Peter Lorre, and William Wyler (1947); "Document A777," which features Laurence Olivier and Van Heflin (1950); "Lust For Life," starring Kirk Douglas (1956); "You Think You've Got Troubles," featuring Michael Dunn (1972); and a rehearsal of "Bill of Rights 200," starring Richard Dysart, Norman Lear, and James Earl Jones.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the CBS Foundation, 1998.


  • DATE: June 14, 1996 Friday 9:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:20:01
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: T:44039
  • GENRE: Public Affairs/Documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Biography
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV, 1996


      Les Guthman........ Producer
    • Jill Fox Donzelli........ Coordinating Producer
    • Kiku Lani Iwata........ Coordinating Producer
    • Steve Weinstein........ Coordinating Producer
    • Dan Birman........ Coordinating Producer
    • Lori Brown........ Coordinating Producer
    • Julie Eppler Desanto........ Coordinating Producer
    • Kara Finnstrom........ Coordinating Producer
    • Jennifer Glipse........ Coordinating Producer
    • Kirk Pfaffenberger........ Coordinating Producer
    • Stephanie Tienamm........ Coordinating Producer
    • Elizabeth Anderson........ Production (Misc.)
    • Soren Ashmall........ Production (Misc.)
    • Edward Cheng........ Production (Misc.)
    • Marilyn Heck........ Production (Misc.)
    • Colleen Farrell........ Production (Misc.)
    • Janet Huber........ Production (Misc.)
    • Stacey Kravetz........ Production (Misc.)
    • Ana Moreno........ Production (Misc.)
    • Susan White........ Production (Misc.)
    • Norman Corwin........ Guest
    • Erik Barnouw........ Guest
    • Ray Bradbury........ Guest
    • Charles Kuralt........ Guest
    • Jerome Lawrence........ Guest
    • Robert E. Lee........ Guest
    • Eric Sevareid........ Guest
    • Frank Stanton........ Guest
    • Studs Terkel........ Guest
    • Lauren Bacall
    • Lionel Barrymore
    • Milton Berle
    • Humphrey Bogart
    • James Cagney
    • Kirk Douglas
    • Michael Dunn
    • Richard Dysart
    • Samantha Eggar
    • Martin Gabel
    • Judy Garland
    • Van Heflin
    • James Earl Jones
    • Marvin Kaplan
    • Gene Kelly
    • Charles Laughton
    • Norman Lear
    • Peter Lorre
    • Groucho Marx
    • Laurence Olivier
    • Paul Robeson
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    • William Shatner
    • Jimmy Stewart
    • David Warner
    • Orson Welles
    • William Wyler
    • Keenan Wynn

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