Radio stars (Oct 1938)

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I -HAVE VISITED privilege to see Mr. Riley sitting beside his fire with its glow upon the face that could not be mistaken for any- thing else in the world but genius. I think he would be glad to know that he lives in the hearts of his country- men and in the healing of little children at the Riley Memorial Hospital." To me, that program is an enduring memory and I am humbly proud of the part I was allowed to play. I got many stories about Riley while there, some of which have not been published, I feel sure. For ex- ample, the housekeeper told me this one: One morning Mr. Riley arose in none too good a mood, after an eve- ning at the village tavern with his cronies, and demanded that a cab be summoned. When the hansom arrived before the door, the fat driver in the high seat behind was much larger than the horse. The animal was prob- ably as skimpy a bit of horse-flesh as one might ever see. Riley took one look and shouted across the lawn in a voice that could be heard all over the neighborhood: "You take that blankety-blank hair trunk back to the livery stable and bring me a horse!" The driver's shoulders were seen to shake with laughter all the wav back to the stable. Dramatic things have happened in connection with these visits with Interesting Neighbors. Out in San Diego, I called with my microphone on a family of Portu- guese tuna fishermen. During the course of the inter- views, it was brought out that some time previously they had re-discovered Clipperton Island, and on it a colony which had been abandoned some twenty years before. Strangely enough, the beds were still made up. The tools still hung in the blacksmith's shop, so oxidized that when picked up they would crumble in your hands. There were pigs on the place and every sign pointed to a hasty desertion. Why the place had been so hurriedly left was a mystery to these fishermen and we closed the broad- cast without solving the problem. I like to remember a program I did in Salt Lake City. It was perhaps the most delicate I'll ever be called upon to handle. The problem was to present the Mormon religion through the voices of a Mormon family in such a manner as not to offend members of that particular church or any other church. At the same time I had to bring out every fact concerning polygamy and concerning An ace interviewer writes of the most Interesting Neigh- bors he has called on during the programs two-year life the beliefs of the Church of Latter Day Saints (the official title of the Mormon Church ). I received the whole-hearted cooperation of the Reverend Heber Grant, the president of the church, in this undertaking. The program was en- tirely successful, and today I treasure the letters from that church—letters of appreciation for the work done. Many people have asked me how the thing was ac- complished, because never before had the members of that church allowed a broadcast so personal, and never before had there been such absolute frankness concern- ing all things pertaining to (Continued on page 70) Betsy Belcher and Bob Ripley became friends when she accompanied her father on a mi Ice visit to the Believe- It-Or-Not house where Bob keeps his curios.