Archives On The Air

Archives on the Air takes listeners deep into the archives of the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center. The AHC collects and preserves primary sources and rare books from Wyoming, the Rocky Mountain Region, and select aspects of the American and global past. Voiced by the AHC's Birgit Burke (previously by Molly Marcuse), each new episode of Archives on the Air reveals a fascinating tidbit from the AHC's vast collection.

Archives On The Air 162: King Of The Gag-Writers—David Freedman Papers

Jun 17, 2019

David Freedman was a Romanian-American comedy writer from the early days of radio. He was known as the king of the gag-writers. Freedman started in the Jewish Vaudeville scene and had shows on Broadway.

Archives On The Air 161: The Academic Witch Hunt—Clay Cochran Papers

Jun 17, 2019

In the 1950s McCarthyism looked for communists in the US. Academics were among those under suspicion.

Archives On The Air 160: Monster Suit Appendicitis—Forrest Ackerman Papers

May 24, 2019

Filming classic Japanese monster movies like Godzilla was often a grueling experience for the actors in the monster suits.

Archives On The Air 159: Wyoming's Railroad Age—James L. Ehernberger Western Railroad Collection

May 23, 2019

Railroads have been a vital part of Wyoming's commerce and culture.

For example, in the late 1800s a new railroad was built between Newcastle and Sheridan. People thought it would only be profitable for moving cows. But towns along the railroad grew as access became easier.

Archives On The Air 158: Toni vs. The Cosmetics Industry—Toni Stabile Papers

May 22, 2019

Investigative journalist Toni Stabile began looking into the cosmetics industry in the 1950s. She researched and wrote about issues in the cosmetics industry throughout her career.

Archives On The Air 157: Mr. Sardonicus—Ray Russell Papers

May 22, 2019

In 1961, fans of horror met Sardonicus in a short story in Playboy by Ray Russell. A movie version called Mr. Sardonicus came out soon after. Russell wrote the screenplay. It was directed by William Castle.

Archives On The Air 156: Greetings From Gebo!—Mileva Maravic Papers

May 22, 2019

In the early 1900s, the west had many small mining towns. One of these towns was Gebo, Wyoming. Gebo was well documented by former resident Mileva Maravic.

Maravic grew up in Gebo. She collected photos and memories from the town.

Archives On The Air 155: Americans React To Hollywood Blacklist—Miscellaneous Collections

May 17, 2019

In the 1940s and ‘50s the House Committee on Un-American Activities questioned 10 men from the film industry. They were accused of being communists. All 10 refused to testify and were jailed.

Archives On The Air 154: Sock It To Me—Dan Rowan Papers

May 16, 2019

Dan Rowan was a fighter pilot during World War II. When the war ended he went to Hollywood.

Rowan was working at a car dealership when he met comedy writer Dick Martin. The two became the comedy team Rowan & Martin. They toured night clubs and late night talk shows.

Archives On The Air 153: Escape From Bolivia—Gale McGee Papers

May 16, 2019

From 1978 to 1980 Bolivia was in crisis. There was a series of military governments and coups. U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Gale McGee was in the middle of one of these coups in 1979.

In 1937 Denis J. Mulligan was chief investigator of the U.S. Bureau of Air Commerce. Also in 1937, the German-built Hindenburg caught fire and crashed over Manhattan. 36 people were killed. Mulligan was the lead American investigator. 

Public domain, from Wikimedia Commons.

Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil was one of the most notorious con men of the 20 th Century. He reportedly swindled 8 million dollars from his victims. 

Archives On The Air 150: Krebiozen—A. C. Ivy Papers

May 9, 2019

In 1946, Dr. A. C. Ivy wrote a code of ethics on human experimentation as part of the Nuremburg trials.

But, Ivy went on to violate ethics rules in his own work with the alleged cancer treatment Krebiozen. 

Al Christie created one of the first permanent film studios in Hollywood in 1911. His partner wanted their studio in Florida, but Al won a coin toss and they went to Hollywood.

In 1879 the Central Colorado Company built a rail line between Cheyenne and Fort Collins. Cheyenne became Poudre Valley's trading hub. 

Today we think of shopping malls as the epitome of capitalism. But the man who invented malls was a socialist. Austrian architect and mall-inventor Victor Gruen believed malls were a way to re-centralize suburban sprawl and create public spaces. 

At the end of World War I the U.S. government had a surplus of small planes. They sold them for low prices. Many former fighter pilots bought the planes and became barnstormers.

Cartoon writer Michael Maltese began his career with the Max Fleischer Cartoon Studio, but he is best known for his work with Warner Brothers in the 1940s and 50s. Maltese designed iconic Looney Tunes characters like Pepe Le Pew, Wiley Coyote and Yosemite Sam. 

The Mission Impossible film series has dazzled audiences since 1996. But the franchise has a history before Tom Cruise.

When Japanese Americans were interned at Heart Mountain in 1942, adults tried to maintain a sense of normalcy for the children. Internees quickly organized girl scout and boy scout troops. 

In 1906, the Crow tribe adopted a man with a camera into their ranks. His name was Richard Throssel.

Throssel had a mixed background of Scottish, English, and Cree. His adoption gave him unique access to the Crow tribe. 

The 1960s Batman TV show was campy. Many fans of the Batman comic thought it was cheesy. Executive producer William Dozier received this letter in 1966: 

In 1981 Peggy Simson Curry was named Wyoming's first poet laureate by Governor Ed Herschler. Curry was an author and a passionate educator. She led a program called Poetry-in-the-Schools and taught her students that "writing is love." 

Mountaineer Luther Jerstad was part of the 1963 Mount Everest expedition. It was the first successful American Everest climb. Jerstad was passionate about mountain climbing and recalled crying when he reached the peak of Everest. 

Eric Taylor was a screenwriter in the 1930s and 40s. He wrote 1945's Dick Tracy movie and six Universal monster movies, including Son of Dracula.

Before Hollywood Taylor wrote pulp fiction detective stories. Once he had two stories published in the same magazine. One story was published under the pen name Mark Layton. 

Cheyenne still looks very much like it did in a pamphlet from 1910.

Cheyenne officially became a city in 1867. It had a reputation as an agricultural and railroad community. 

To help build the social-scape of the city, the Cheyenne Industrial Club published a pamphlet called "The Cheyenne of To-Day" in 1910. 

Wilma Soss liked to say she wasn't born like other people. She erupted in a San Francisco earthquake.

Soss fought for women's rights as stockholders. 

Tim McCoy dropped out of college to pursue adventure.

He moved to Lander, Wyoming in the early 1900s. McCoy became an expert roper and horseman. He also developed an interest in Native-American life - and learned to speak Arapahoe and Shoshone. 

Joanne Forman decided to become a composer at sixteen. She had an illustrious career ever since that moment.

Forman helped create a number of theater programs in the U.S. She became a specialist in puppetry in multicultural and bilingual education. 

H.C. Ingraham wrote western short stories. He also wrote "The Circus Review," a Circus industry newspaper.