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Trivia -- Week of March 6, 2006


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Greetings, everybody! One of the delightlful surprises from last night's Oscar ceremony was hearing that Eric Simonson's A NOTE OF TRIUMPH: THE GOLDEN AGE OF NORMAN CORWIN had won the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject. Corwin was one of the few real poets of radio's golden age back in the '30s and '40s, and a real inspiration to anyone who ever wrote for radio at any time (including me -- 10 years ago I participated in a local re-creation of one of Corwin's most popular radio plays, My Client Curley, which was the basis for the 1944 Cary Grant film ONCE UPON A TIME).

 

Corwin's first national fame came from his rhyming drama The Plot to Overthrow Christmas which was such a sensation it was repeated annually on CBS radio for many years. He is also known for his more ambitious projects from World War II, such as We Hold These Truths, an all-star tribute to the Bill of Rights broadcast on its 150th anniversary in 1941 (and restaged on National Public Radio for its 200th anniersary in 1991). The title of the documentary comes from Corwin's 1945 all-star broadcast, On a Note of Triumph, a poetic meditation on the end of World War II, and the documentary itself tells how that famous program came together. The public reaction to it was so great that the program was repeated the week after its original broadcast, and was later released on a set of 78 rpm records and published in book form.

 

Corwin has continued to write short and full-length plays for National Public Radio over the years, and at the age of 95 shows no signs of slowing down. You can hear excerpts from both his classic and modern work for radio at http://www.normancorwin.com.

 

Now, on to this week's movie trivia . . .

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Filmlover, you are correct! It was John Wayne, who won the Oscar for TRUE GRIT, his 141st starring role.

 

And you are so lucky to have met Norman Corwin! I know it was a thrill just to have been in My Client Curley, where I played four different roles in the production. That's the closest I've got!

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Hmm, no takers -- not even a guess?

 

In 1990, AMPAS (the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) set a time limit of 45 seconds for an Oscar acceptance speech. The timer starts when the actor starts speaking. After 25 seconds, a red warning light flashes, and if the actor is still thanking everyone within earshot, the orchestra blares out exit music.

 

With that time restriction, I can see why some stars go through a long laundry lists of people on the dais, which nevertheless makes three-quarters of a minute seem a lot longer.

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Yesterday's answer: Geraldine Page, who was nominated seven times before finally winning a Best Actress Oscar for THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL (1985).

 

That's it for this week -- hope you enjoyed the Oscar trivia. And we'll see you back here on Monday!

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