Rex Stout, Helen Hayes, and William O. Douglas

Monday, February 14, 1966

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

Maurice Dolbier introduces Rex Stout, author of the Nero Wolfe mysteries, the most recent of which was "The Doorbell Rang." The book's plot revolves around the actions of the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover. Stout makes it clear that he disagrees with Hoover's management of the organization and dismisses the actions of the FBI in general. He mentions several other organizations he should "go after," including the Roman Catholic church, the Boy Scouts, and the Ku Klux Klan. For more on Rex Stout, please visit

Next, Dolbier introduces Helen Hayes. She talks about trying to find a "comfortable position" as a writer. She found the experience satisfying - giving her a chance to "air out" her life. She promises to return to the stage as soon as someone offers her a good part in a play that doesn't depress her.

Finally, Justice William O. Douglas, Supreme Court Justice and author of the Wilderness Bill of Rights speaks. He has written many exciting books with an aim to protect the American wilderness. He speaks about the relationship of church and state in a constitutional democracy.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 71337
Municipal archives id: T1851

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Maurice Dolbier


Helen Hayes and Rex Stout


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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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