Elmo Roper, Edna Ferber, and John Gunther

Thursday, April 17, 1958

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Irita Van Doren introduces Elmo Roper, a leader in the then-new field of market research. He discusses the "near-science" of public opinion research. He speaks on two themes - probability and sampling and semantics: asking the "right" sort of questions. He speaks on many issues that are informed by public opinion research - particularly political and social issues related to the Cold War.

Next, Van Doren, introduces Edna Ferber, novelist and playwright. She discusses her time spent in Alaska and her novel "Ice Palace." She goes on to talk about the "Angry Young Men." She goes on to share the thoughts of an "angry old woman," mentioning that while millions are spent in an effort to send man in to space, school teachers remain poorly paid. She speaks at length about the concept of being part of humankind.

Finally, Van Doren introduces John Gunther, author of the "Inside" series of continental surveys. For this Books and Authors Luncheon Gunther discusses his most recent work, "Inside Russia Today." Gunther speaks of some of the surprises he found in Russia - no golf courses! He then tells a short antidote about another writer, Walter Duranty, who thought he had seen Trotsky being sent into exile, but late learned that it was only an actor. He speaks of Kruschev's drinking and notes that he and his wife were no followed (to their knowledge) during their 51 days in the country.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71267
Municipal archives id: LT7933

Hosted by:

Irita Taylor Van Doren


Edna Ferber, John Gunther and Elmo Roper


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About Books and Authors Luncheon

Hear, first-hand, the thoughts and voices of some of the greatest thinkers, adventurers, and characters of our nation.

Legendary New York Herald-Tribune book review editor Irita Van Doren, moderator of the series [1949-1968], has an intellectual largesse and a genuine interest in the American literary arts, which produces engaging, sometimes off-beat discussions with both first-time and veteran authors. 

In addition to literary writers like Louis Auchincloss, James Michener, and Rachel Carson, listeners are enthralled by nonliterary experts speaking on their autobiographies.  Sammy Davis, Jr., expounds on Yes, I Can!; burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee entertains audiences while promoting Gypsy, A Memoir; and sociologist Vance Packard defends his groundbreaking exposé on advertising, The Hidden Persuaders. 

Those notable personalities join a slew of others like Steve Allen, Marian Anderson, Bennett Cerf, Noel Coward, Jules Feiffer, Edna Ferber, A. E. Hotchner, Fannie Hurst, Jane Jacobs, Somerset Maugham, Vladimir Nabokov, Gore Vidal, Jessamyn West, and Marguerite Young.  An indispensable catalog of craft talk and biographical context, the New York Herald-Tribune Books and Authors Luncheon series explores all manner of disciplines and issues in American arts and history.


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