The last giant of World War II is dead.
Norman Corwin was a radio man, and on VE day, CBS broadcast On a Note of Triumph, the hour-long show it had commissioned him to write. Listen to it by clicking here. The score is by Bernard Herrmann.
Corwin just died at the age of 101. There is still greatness in radio, and I imagine artists like Ira Glass, Garrison Keillor, and Scott Simon particularly feel the cold wind this news blows through the door.
So much time has passed, and so many names have come and gone since 1945, that I wonder if there’s any point in mentioning that Eric Severeid took the title of his memoir, Not So Wild a Dream, from the prayer with which Corwin ended On a Note of Triumph.
Lord God of test-tube and blueprint
Who jointed molecules of dust and shook them till their name was Adam,
Who taught worms and stars how they could live together,
Appear now among the parliaments of conquerors and give instruction to their schemes:
Measure out new liberties so none shall suffer for his father’s color or the credo of his choice:
Post proofs that brotherhood is not so wild a dream as those who profit by postponing it pretend:
Sit at the treaty table and convoy the hopes of the little peoples through expected straits,
And press into the final seal a sign that peace will come for longer than posterities can see ahead,
That man unto his fellow man shall be a friend forever.
That was once radio.