Carl Sandburg, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson and Bishop Sheen

Oh the gems that can be found on Youtube!  From 1957, two legends discussing a third.  Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the greatest American architects of the 19th and 20th centuries, and Carl Sandburg, poet and Lincoln biographer, talking about Thomas Jefferson!

Carl Sandburg, in his multivolume biography of Lincoln, got closer to the heart of the man than many professionally trained historians, telling the tale of a man’s life requiring the touch of a poet as well as a chronicling of facts.  Frank Lloyd Wright developed a style of architecture that causes his buildings to be treasured.  In my town of Dwight, the building of the First National Bank of Dwight was designed by Wright, and is a little gem of his style.  Go here to read all about it. 

It is interesting to hear two men who are now legendary themselves, discussing a third legendary American.  In the world beyond one can hope that Jefferson has since taken part in the conversation!

Carl Sandburg, Frank Lloyd Wright and Bishop Sheen all appeared, on separate occasions, on a popular television show of the Fifties:  What’s My Line.  I loved What’s My Line as a kid.  The game show aspect was fun, but I really watched for the wit of the panelists.  Entertaining and amusing without profanity, vulgarity, salaciousness, nudity or explosions.  How did they ever do it?

 Carl Sandburg appears in the video above on What’s My Line and Frank Lloyd Wright appears on the same show in the video below.  Note how Carl Sandburg disguised his very distinctive voice.  One can only look at these episodes and weep for the decline in the quality of television, and our society, in the past half century.

The Bishop Sheen episode aired October 21, 1956  at the height of Sheen’s fame.  Note the high respect for him by the host, the panelists and the audience.  How much ground the Church has to regain in our society!

7 Responses to Carl Sandburg, Frank Lloyd Wright, Thomas Jefferson and Bishop Sheen

  • I met Bishop Sheen in St. Patrick’s Cathedral one evening in the mid-1950’s.

    My widowed Grandmother (RIP) worked in midtown Manahattan and bought tix for “Snow White” at Radio City. After the early evening movie, Mother (RIP) and Grandmother made the visit to the Cathedral with four young boys in tow. The youngest John, of course, was scooting around and not in sight. So, when trying to quietly call for him, Bishop Sheen heard “John” being called out. He graciously approached and introduced himself, saying his Mother had called him “John.” Grandmother and Mom were in Heaven.

    I remember his TV shows and have CD’s of a few. They broke the mold . . .

  • Don, good find! “My dear, Alistair…” Made me pine for more intelligent discourse on TV instead of cacophony of mumbo-jumbo on talk shows today. Say, Don, could you unearth some colloquies between Bill Buckley and Malcolm Muggeridge and post? They were real gems.

    Alistair Cooke had almost an obsession with Mencken, whom he mentions at the end of the vid. HLM, the “amiable skeptic,” is sorely missed today. Though an agnostic, he left a sliver of hope near the end of his life. He could be nasty, indeed, but beneath the curmudgeon was the soul of someone who thought man could be better somehow.

  • Don, I’m thrilled you share my interest in Frank Lloyd Wright.

    Wright designed his fair share of houses of worship. A Unitarian himself (grandson of a minister), he build Unitarian churches in Madison WI and Oak Park Il, a Greek Orthodox church near Milwaukee, a Jewish temple near Philadelphia and Protestant churches in Florida and Arizona.

  • They don’t make ‘em like this anymore.

    I am from Galesburg, IL, the birthplace of Carl Sandburg.

    I had seen the Fulton Sheen clip before, but I can never help noticing how, as he is shaking hands with the panelists, one of them kisses his ring.

  • Now anytime a bishop is on TV the journalist is obliged – as a precept of their faith – to inquire about teaching on abortion, priestly celibacy, homosexuality, etc. And aren’t the journalists, to quote St Augustine, “ever more ready to ask questions than capable of understanding the answer.”

  • There’s a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit showing right now at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I haven’t been to it yet, but intend to visit it before it closes in May. I too am a Wright fan.

  • And don’t forget the Dana-Thomas House in Springfield, which was one of Wright’s earliest Prairie Style projects. It’s closed for renovation right now but when open it’s probably the biggest (perhaps the only) non-Lincoln tourist draw in the city.

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