A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Sunday, April 14, 1940
This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Story is introduced not as history, but as a tale. Keep young and you will enjoy it. The story begins in the present day (1940) Bridgeport, CT with Hank and Laura talking about his invention. How he wants to bring 1980 to 1940 with his inventions. He is hit by a drunk driver and wakes up in a strange land. He encounters a soldier and is taken to the king's court. Meets a "sane" young man he calls Clarence and finds out the year is 528 A.D. He is in Camelot, England in King Arthur's court. He observes the king, the knights and the round table, and Merlin. Hank pleads with the court but the king orders he be executed by hanging and burned at the stake. Clarence visits him in prison and Hank asks him to deliver a message. Tells them that he has powers to make the sun to disappear. When the sun eclipses, he is released from captivity and is given special privileges. Everyone calls him "Boss" and appoints Clarence as his assistant. The Boss attempts to modernize the the society. There is growing opposition led by Merlin. Knights don't like all this progress, especially the public education. The Boss is challenged by Sir Sagamore and they arrange to meet in five years because he is going on a Crusade. He is asked by the king to help rescue forty beautiful girls. He is accompanied by a girl he calls Sandy. Come across the castle of Morgan, King Arthur's sister who hates Arthur and his knights. Talks about setting up a national structure when they get back to Camelot. Back in Camelot, Sir Sagamore has returned from the Crusade and the Boss defeats him in the challenge. King Arthur wants to reward him and the Boss asks to give the people a voice in government. He and the King go incognito into the country to observe the common people. They are arrested as runaway slaves. They are rescued by Clarence and they hurry back to Camelot where Merlin is trying to be dictator. King Arthur is assassinated and the Boss and Clarence avenge his death. The Boss is stabbed. Hank wakes up and he is back in 1940.
Harry Miller Lydenburg from NYPL talks about Mark Twain. Full of spirit of the frontier and optimistic confidence in the future. Followed by dramatization of the life of Mark Twain. On a boat going up the Mississippi. Samuel Clemens talking to a woman, Nora Bigsby. He learns from her father to be a pilot. Plans to join the Confederate army, but instead ends up prospecting for gold in Nevada. Became a reporter for a Nevada newspaper. Never struck gold but learned about campfire story-telling. Goes to the Sandwich Islands to write articles. A ship Hornet was burned at sea and he was the only journalist on the scene. Became a national hero. Goes to Palestine to write for San Francisco newspapers. Twain meets a man on his return trip whose sister he wishes to be introduced. Marries her. Moved to Hartford, then England. Made money, lost money. Returned to New York.
Jervis Langdon and Charles T. Lark, trustees of estate of Samuel L. Clemens for permission to use A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. Dramatization written by Richard Pack and Louis M Horowitz. Directed by Rachel Grayson. Cast includes: Arthur Elmer in title role, Dorothy Trevino, Shelly Howell, David Bartell, Anne Burr, Seymour Sosenburg, Paul Talbot, Wyman (?) Holmes, Harry Gordon, Noreen Scott, Edwin Clay, Nathan Ackerman, Walter Black, and Alvin Field. Guest commentator: Harry Miller Lydenburg, Director of New York Public Library.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 8920