In 1942, the legendary actor John Barrymore prowled the stage of an empty Broadway theater to prepare for an audition. He wanted to revive his first great performance as Richard III, but that night, Barrymore also opened the traveling trunk of his overstuffed, fabulous and troubled life.
Christopher Plummer won the Tony Award for best actor for his performance of this lion of the stage. Now, he's committed that performance to film.
Watching Mary Tyler Moore while he was growing up, city planner Jeff Speck saw a different view of urbanity. It stood out amongst the crime-ridden urban settings of other favorite TV series.
Millenials, Speck says, have an even broader vision of what city life means, thanks in part to Seinfeld, Friends and Sex and the City.The neighborhood coffee shops and carless characters show viewers a "walkable" city.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. In parts of New York and New Jersey, life is returning to the way it was before Hurricane Sandy hit. Power has been restored. Schools have reopened. But there are still thousands of people without electricity and areas where homes are unlivable. This is the case of New Jersey's barrier islands. Yesterday, residents of Seaside Heights returned to their homes for the first time since the storm struck.
Scott Gurian of New Jersey Public Radio was with them and filed this report.
With his election victory behind him, President Obama now turns his focus to planning his second term. He again faces a divided Congress - a Republican-controlled House and a Senate led by Democrats. But a second term presents an opportunity for the president try to set a new agenda and maybe change his approach to governing.
This is Weekend Edition from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Time for sports.
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SIMON: The NFL season at the half-way point. Big game this weekend. Sunday, tomorrow night, two 7-1 teams in a classic face-off. Ha-ha. One of them's the Bears. In college football, Notre Dame and Kansas State are in the top 5. What is this, 1997? And the L.A. Lakers send their coach packing. Are they already chanting ohm in Santa Monica?
Twelve days after Hurricane Sandy smacked the eastern seaboard and beyond, tens of thousands of people still lack basic necessities - food, water, even shelter. NPR's Richard Gonzales sent us this postcard about three men from Chicago who took it upon themselves to bring some comfort to Sandy's victims.
Gridlock is the term many use to describe what happens when legislation gets stalled in the U.S. Congress.
But gridlock suggests that people in Congress at least run into each other. I've had enough casual, personal conversations with representatives in both parties in recent years to begin to think a more critical problem might be that politicians of opposing parties are almost strangers to each other.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
David Petraeus has resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, citing an extramarital affair and saying that he showed, quote, "extremely poor judgment." It was a stunning fall for one of the most celebrated generals in recent U.S. history. NPR's Tom Bowman is here to talk about it. Tom, thanks so much for being with us.
Elliott Carter died this week, a month shy of his 104th birthday. He had a huge influence on modern classical music. So in 2008, when Elliott Carter was celebrating his centennial, NPR's Tom Cole went to New York City to interview him. And he has this remembrance of what it was like to meet the storied composer.
TOM COLE, BYLINE: I was terrified. I mean, this was a man who had lived history; a composer who'd won two Pulitzer Prizes, for his Second and Third String Quartets.
Author Ian McEwan's latest creation, Serena Frome, isn't much of a spy. She got recruited into MI5 by her Cambridge history tutor, whom she wanted to dazzle. But he dumps her, and she never sees it coming. She winds up on the clerical side of the operation, cross-filing schemes and plots to stop terrorists, until one day, in the middle of the Cold War, she's summoned to the fifth floor of the agency, where five wise men ask her to rank three British novelists according to their merit: Kingsley Amis, William Golding and David Storey.
It's not often that a book comes out that rewrites a country's history. But that's the case with Tombstone, which was written by a retired Chinese reporter who spent 10 years secretly collecting official evidence about the country's devastating great famine. The famine, which began in the late 1950s, resulted in the deaths of millions of Chinese.
When you reach a certain age, big life surprises tend to come few and far between, unless you're Harold Van Heuvelen. Van, as everyone calls him, has had a blockbuster week full of dreams fulfilled. The story of his dream starts more than 70 years ago, on Dec. 7, 1941.
Van Heuvelen enlisted in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was posted to a base in New Orleans as an instructor for recruits. He spent the war stateside, training men who were being shipped out to Europe and the South Pacific.
Just two days after the U.S. presidential election, China opens the most important event in a decade on its political calendar: a transition of power. Host Scott Simon talks to NPR's Louisa Lim and Frank Langfitt in China about the upcoming 18th Party Congress.
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 8:48 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
It's already starting to rain over northern Ohio this past weekend as the outer whirls of Hurricane Sandy approached. Just a few days before the election, people in Reminderville, the village of about 3,000, were concerned about turnout.
Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 8:48 am
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. And the multi-billion dollar presidential campaign has come down to its final weekend. All that money, all these months are campaigning come down to just a few more frantic days for the candidates. The polls now show a close contest between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney as they campaign in a handful of swing states. Mr. Obama begins campaigning today where he left off yesterday in - have we said this before? - Ohio. NPR's Scott Horsley reports.
Dan Lungren has been in and out of public office since 1979. The Republican represented a Southern California district in the '80s, served as the state's attorney general for eight years, and then returned to Congress to represent the Sacramento area in 2004.
These days, he's still the same pro-business, limited-government conservative he's always been, Lungren told a friendly audience in the Sacramento suburb of Rancho Cordova.
Every morning, British illustrator Ralph Steadman wakes up in his country estate in rural England and attacks a piece of paper, hurling ink, blowing paint through a straw and scratching away layers to reveal lines and forms that surprise even him.
This past week has been filled with some truly tragic stories of loss and devastation in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. There are also a few stories of near misses and disasters averted. Marin Alsop, music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, fortunately has one of the latter.
At the archives of Radio Tanzania, more than 15,000 reel-to-reel tapes are stacked in floor-to-ceiling shelves. Each band, musician and recording date is painstakingly notated. The tapes reside inside three musty rooms of the Tanzania Broadcasting Corp., which occupies the old brick-and-concrete BBC building in Dar es Salaam.
Radio Tanzania was the country's only station from its birth in 1951 until the mid-1990s, when competing stations came on the air and state-controlled radio became irrelevant.
For more about the implications of the scandal with the BBC, we're joined by Martin Bell, OBE. He has a distinguished career as one of the BBC's most famous war correspondents. He covered 11 conflicts, reported from 80 countries over the course of 30 years. Martin Bell was seriously wounded by shrapnel while reporting the war in Bosnia, and if that weren't punishment enough, he then went on to be an independent member of the British parliament from 1997 to 2001.
Martin Bell joins us from London. Thanks so much for being with us.
Political campaigns have been transformed in so many ways over the decades. But you wouldn't want to wear a silicon chip or a yard sign in your lapel. Mort Berkowitz has made political buttons since 1976, and says business is still good. He joins us now from member station WBUR in Boston. Mr. Berkowitz, thanks for being with us.
MORT BERKOWITZ: My pleasure.
SIMON: You've seen a lot of buttons over the years, haven't you?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. The BBC, one of the world's most prominent broadcasters, is in an uproar over allegations that one of its most famous TV personalities was a pedophile who preyed upon youths who appeared on his shows. As NPR's David Folkenflik reports, the BBC is both investigating the actions of the late Jimmy Savile and fielding sharp questions about why it killed a documentary exploring such accusations late last year.