Sunday, September 4, 2011


First off, thanks to the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH) for their help with this episode. More on them in a minute.

I'm pleased to present the first of three podcast episodes of stories from Eddie Dowling, a theater giant who produced, directed, and starred in the original 1945 Broadway production of Tennessee Williams' play "The Glass Menagerie." These stories come from a set of oral history interviews with Dowling conducted in 1963; the full transcript of the interviews runs to over 800 pages, and covers Dowling's whole life up to that point. This trio of podcast episodes just includes the stories about "The Glass Menagerie." The original interview tapes no longer exist, just the transcript, so what you'll hear is me, Paul VanDeCarr, reading from the transcripts with as much dramatic brio as I can muster! You judge how well I do. You can listen to this episode on the player above, or subscribe to the podcast for free in iTunes.

I was enraptured by these stories when I first read them at the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH), and I hope you'll enjoy them as much as I did. In this first episode, Eddie Dowling talks about meeting Tennessee Williams, falling in love with "The Glass Menagerie," and assembling a cast, which included the talented and notorious Laurette Taylor. 

In the second and third episodes, which I'll release in the coming weeks, you'll hear about the harsh words that renowned theater critic George Nathan had for Tennessee Williams before the play opened, the Chicago premiere, the edge-of-your-seat Broadway opening, the acclaimed but rocky 18-month run of the show, and the fate of Laurette Taylor.

Thanks a million to the Columbia Center for Oral History for permission to use these stories in the podcast. You're welcome to share this podcast, but if you want to cite or use this interview in a project of your own or in some other context, you'll have to ask CCOH for permission. To be clear: The contents of the Eddie Dowling interview are protected by copyright, and may not be cited, reproduced, or otherwise used, in whole or in part, without express written permission from the Columbia Center for Oral History, at Columbia University in the City of New York. CCOH has an unparalleled collection of interviews with all kinds of people dating back decades -- in text, audio, and video format. Check out their website, or drop them a line to learn more! They're very friendly, and the Center is open to the public.

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