In moving forward with the Pacifica Radio Archives 1968 Revolution Rewind Initiative, we searched for recordings that not only covered the events of that year like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, The Poor People’s Campaign, and student uprisings across the country, but also recordings that exhibited the explosion of creativity that was finding its way onto community radio airwaves forty years ago.
Pacifica producers dove into the classic arts headfirst – and the work of William Shakespeare became common place on radio stations like WBAI-99.5 FM in New York City. In fact, between 1966 and 1968, one prolific enthusiast named Alfred Rothschild performed on-air at least 13 readings of Shakespeare’s plays; in the first part of today’s show we’ll hear his rendition of Romeo and Juliet. We couldn’t resist another adaptation of Shakespeare’s love story, this one imagined by legendary New York dramatist and radio producer Baird Searles and the famed Mind’s Eye Theatre, truly avante guard by any standard. Their deliberate use of anachronisms using songs by The Beatles and Rolling Stones and their creative use of sound and mixing techniques pushed the limits of the relatively new stereophonic medium, creating a far out and hippie-fueled production of Romeo and Juliet. Enjoy this forty year journey back to 1968, and the arts on community radio! KPFA celebrates our 58th anniversary by bringing you treasures from Pacifica’s vault.
We start with exploring an aspect of the Pacifica Radio Archives that is often overlooked – comedy. Drawing from unique programs within our collection, we are able to revisit some of the funniest folks of years past.