This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Van Doren introduces Freuchen, who talks about his book "The Legend of Daniel Williams."
Van Doren introduces Streeter, who talks about his book "Merry Christmas Mr Baxter."
Van Doren introduces Schuster and mentions recent events in Hungary, which Schuster discusses. (Hungarian Revolution)
Van Doren closes the program.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71210
Municipal archives id: LT7457
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Now let me introduce you to our speaker by the day the first speaker is Peter frightened lead a broken bone in Denmark first went to see it eighteen a few years later with his friend Rasmussen explored in map the Greenland ice cap and discovered a name the power now than Greenland outpost the early read United States now has an idea based again and again he'll return to explore the Arctic and Hudson Bay and Greenland losing a leg in cost as a result of freezing and Gang Green he's been a farmer and a sea captain fisherman unsealing as a journalist he's been on the staff of political Denmark's largest newspaper for forty odd years is very story incidentally was an account of Cook's not total expedition and later he was the first to expose Cooke as a fraud. He now has a desk at the United Nations which he covers for his paper. He was an underground agent in Denmark after the Nazis overran the country with a price on his head a saboteur helping refugees to escape from Hitler he has written more than twenty books one of them Arctic adventure has sold in one form or another one language or another over a million copies and another Eskimo was filmed by M.G.M. in Alaska with him as a technical advisor and playing the part of the whaling captain in the film three years ago he told the story of his life and adventures in vagrant Viking modeless tales some polar perhaps another all fascinating. And now he has given us the legend of Daniel Williams a Bible carrying great Negro who seeking freedom at the end of the civil world became a storied outlaw in the fall no like all of his books it is the work of a bone storyteller who's running to have the magic of the spoken word grain exciting and eighty three times in the past year Peter protein has been in the news once when you probably and certainly hundreds of thousands of people watched eagle a week after week to see him on the sixty four thousand dollar program he chose as a subject the seven seas you remember and unflustered apparently under no more nervous tension than the years here today he dreaded up out of his knowledge and background the answer to the eight thousand dollar question the sixteen the thirty two and finally the sixty call to the breathless excitement and the light of his audience incidentally Sunday night he began a series answering the challenge of again you may pause a little that then came his second news where the adventure this past summer the Danish government sent him to Greenland to visit the scene of his first expedition on the fiftieth anniversary of it that expedition started out with twenty eight men three died during the remaining twenty five who returned only three alive today he made the news a third time in a way not so pleasant or he was involved in an automobile accident in Denmark and according to the scant report we got here he came out of it with three broken ribs and a battle ahead this was shortly before the October book and author luncheon where he was kind of scheduled to speak. Unable to get any further news of him and of his condition and assuming that a man of seventy who had undergone such an experience would be unable to keep the engagement we postponed his appearance but we reckoned without the proper appreciation of his Viking nature he says somehow it's gone feeling that we were being over coffee no postponement was necessary at any rate here yesterday and we are happy to have with us such a fabulous storyteller and indomitable vitamin D. to frighten you saw. My ladies and gentlemen I. Am very pleased and very surprised to hear all the things made when Dawn talked about me I never heard before and it's very nice to get something you should know I have done several things in my life but not so much as she told you and you know anyway not in that way but it is a fact. Well it is a truth that the facts always spoil the plots always spy the story and I guess I am here just because I sent out a new book that is Mrs Messenger sent out the book written called the legends out there on your Williams with is or so to speak a historical book but if your writing historical novels you have to keep away from facts because they very often disturb you and spoil the plot and the business of the story and yet there is something to it last Sunday in fact all right you are the same book in New York Times Now what do we care about New York Times. Well the special bond the a guest of the Helsinki own and also because of along with a lot the Lord about that Daniel Williams whom I put up had been op ed piece labor. Studies going on. And well. Some cold prospect source came up sometimes and the man critic in New York Times found out that this prospect thing took place ten years before than your brilliance was there a nice little man didn't know that there had been sleaze difference go into these places I've been there and I know that I was right this very nice sometimes to know that your right very often you don't know it. But this is the first time I have written a book who didn't deal with this see you know I'm born at the See my sister's was. Going people and I happiness a lot of my time I still am and therefore I have to put my books my stories into something I know little about very very little now Mrs Van Dorn talked about this seven season the television I can just as well tell you I'm just writing a book preparing a book about the seven seas that is if Ms Messner of a standard out I don't that's up to help because when the book is finished and then when these people came to me and proposed to me to go on television and question and paid me sixty four thousand dollars to make a search for that thing I was going to do it anyway. I. Can understand that. Why should I be I object and now maybe Mrs Messam will pay me sixty four thousand dollars more but that's another question you know we have to be talked about inside the office. But they are going out to the sea again and I don't know much about it and when I was so happy to win a little thing only the secret is if people ask you be careful to not always know a little more than they those who ask you that help because then you can you can tell them something and they will impress the model but you see when you're out to sea you're out for yourself it's a loneliness you have sailing if you are standing on the bridge if you are captain but before that you may stand at their wheel or you may be on the outlook and you are alone and they are your imagination can grow and grow and you don't have the courage of critics around you because a soon you come to people my God they're criticizing you they all do and even if the No one most part of the world well you wouldn't expect anything by way so far north and you can go I have my critics I ordered a book called The bacon Viking a title Mrs Messner invented I would have called them something else something more modest but that's all that's up there she is the one who sells above so I came out of this period was book was sent up there and. A teacher missionary out there who know Danish started in translating that and reading Little by little will join the Knights of the Eskimos up there and they're pretty calm right away a friend of mine called the awestruck he heard that and the first thing he said this is entirely bad that's wrong Peter doesn't know anything about what he's talking about I better go and write a book and made make an autobiography now we had an advantage before me he doesn't know to how to write until it's so he want to make that book and my daughter people who are sitting down there is going up next summer and take dictate down an Eskimo have put in Danish and put that you know reason come back and then you will get there early to know what happened in different places. Have been and the different situations I'm writing about seeing from his point of view in fact that is my fate although in the world where I go people have something to say about my books and criticizing it and doing it but what do you care I don't because I have my satisfaction of being allowed to tell what I do what I feel and what I want people to see and this book I wrote now than your Williams who was a man who is regarded as a bad mind I heard so much about him that I felt sympathy for the guy and tied to explain a little about him and lots of facts I could find and that I have to make up myself because I have a book out of it. And if not what could I go to do You couldn't have the book finished but I did. And that is what I'm doing all all law why go you see some time I when I was a young man I like to read the toddler logs mostly from the Arctic because that is where I belong but you all know nobody cared to read dial and nobody longed to have that book was there twenty seven The general I went west no West Ham but you're forty below and so on and so on you close the book right away but if you take everything what you have heard everything what you have seen and worked or didn't work at all in your mind too can have a talk around it up to be part of the story I know I will only you have to take care of that everything is through everything what is said in the book is clearly said by some persons and everything what happened is something you have no have happened then the people even ladies like you who hasn't been in those places I'm writing about they will get a feeling that this is true I hope and it is and that is why I am writing the way I do now when such illustrious people lies coming up to talk after me here you will hear something else my When I see the president of Hunter's college it is not terrible that I am there standing talking just before him but just to prove my marks and I hope you will forget it pretty soon when the president with you I thank you. Mr frighten the president and Hunter College looked quite fascinated when you were talking. In our second speaker and with Rita we have the happy and unusual combination of a businessman who can observe the human comedy with extraordinary perception and can report it with an accurate and I don't amused detachment ever since the fall of nineteen seventeen when from a training camp in South Carolina he wrote the I'm able to soldier level home to his girls would be to have had a large and appreciative audience for that book became a best seller overnight and that title almost a household word Last August he retired from the Bank of New York where for twenty five years he had been a vice president with plans to devote time what part of it is not occupied a husband father and grandfather to writing in his case actually those family occupations and writing go together for you is always written from the domestic point of view daily except Sunday was followed by Father Of The Bride which immortalized the experiences and sensations humorous and painful that accompany a family wedding in Scone Scandinavia at the light travel book once more the American family man can recognize himself happily or Riley as the case may be but in Mr Hobbs vacation Mr Streeter's eye for the small things of daily existence seems even sharper and his sense of humor more pervasive. This account of a grandfather who gathers his children and grandchildren about him in happy anticipation of five weeks at the seaside is a constant delight the whole business of living in a large old house by the sea a temperamental pump mechanic said not Mr Hobbs strongpoint the need to dispose of never never lasting glow of garbage and bottles in burnable trash an unexpected large icon expected a large social life sons in law whom you can never understand. Grandchildren whose parents believe in a complete laissez faire upbringing. It all adds up to a wonderfully funny poignant story and now at this appropriate season we have merry Christmas Mr Baxter the same grandfather obviously with a different name and this time it bases the problem of Christmas determined to put some order and sense into it first where shall the families eat Thanksgiving dinner and by Christmas. The in-laws it seems have rights. How can a little decent economy be observed if Christmas cards are to be set how can the list be cut down to reasonable proportion as the business of shopping in Christmas crowd the unbelievable number of employees to be remembered the dreaded office party. Wrapping presents a man's finger somehow seemed to be all from a last minute Christmas Eve dash into Saks that avenue of plans up for economy forgotten I'm carol singers dressing the tree the final we're in is peace and beauty of the whole traditional of the. It's an experience in which we recognize ourselves every step of the way told with the humor and tenderness characteristic of all Mr Peters family chronicle and it gives me great pleasure to introduce. Edwards. Actor as an. Overly generous introduction anyone who wasn't thinking. Of Prague and needs all the help he can get but I'm delighted nonetheless flattered to be here today but I must confess that I have a certain this may facing an audience that knows as much about books as this round. And that is. Every concession on. Hand by the fact that I know those of you who never heard of a before and as your arm rest and my experience says that the moment any writer becomes branded he takes up a permanent position behind the eightball. Is fully aware that is ready finds himself in front of a microphone and can no longer hide behind a barrier either his own books and I want to go the faces before him reflected nothing that benign goodwill but as he rather the students feed invariably he says same faces given into the stern line was a challenge as most people I have read the. So many things that is published says about him in desperation and the ghost carried out his books they know how absurd. These statements gone but they want to be sure that the author has no allusions on this subject and then. To destroy any that man crops up and then to make matters right for the perp alone a humorist is usually a person who doesn't know too much about anything and every did how that's you to say he wouldn't be a humorist because nothing is funny if you know enough about it for example on sure that the late Mr Ron Stone. Took this theory of relativity much more. Than I do and it's traditional that the writer's travel books never permit them the remainder of the day in any one place and so the owners knowing little. Presumably. Has little to say and that's why I still invade. My confreres day to come fully equipped with definite subjects that they can wrap around themselves like a bride's kimono at the slightest provocation but it all adds up to I think as that humor is probably not a basic product Fortunately for all of you I haven't the remotest idea. That's exactly what it is but I suspect that it best. It's a seasoning. Rather than a dish laughter laughter is a an involuntary thing you don't laugh becaus