History Book – The Birth of a Wax Craftsman

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NICK EICHER, HTE: Today is Monday, November 29th. Good morning! It is The world and all in it of WORLD radio supported by listeners. I am Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Next step: the WORLD history book.

Today, the collapse of an energy giant is fueling concern, a musical quartet is making headlines and a sideshow sensation is born. Here’s senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.

SONG: Jacques Duphly, Harpsichord Pieces

KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: People Watching: People watching as we wait at airports, in queues or on a park bench. It’s a hobby that is falling apart in the smartphone age. But, 260 years ago, the birth of someone who redefined people watching: “Madame” Marie Tussaud. She was born on December 1, 1761.

Anna Maria Grosholtz was born in France, on the border with Germany, but at 6 she moved to Switzerland. There she learned wax modeling from the local doctor. She moved to Paris as a child, still dabbling in the wax portrait. She made a figure of Voltaire around the age of 15. His talent won him the favor of the French royal family. She married François Tussaud, and together they had three children.

SOUND: Execution scene of the 1989 film, “The French Revolution”

But, the French Revolution arose, and it found itself on the fringes of the revolutionaries. They called her a royal sympathizer and forced her to model the victims of the guillotine.

These models were then put on pikes and displayed to further the cause of the Republic. From the Trending Stories YouTube Channel:

NARRATOR: The models acted as a sort of real-time political commentary, and it was always Marie’s job to make the death masks of the recently deceased.

After these events, in 1802, Madame Tussaud decided to rebuild her life. She moved to England and established a traveling wax museum. Juliet Simpkins worked in advertising for Madame Tussaud’s in London when she spoke to CSPAN in 1994.

SIMPKINS: There was no public transportation, so if you had to be entertained, the entertainment would come to you. Thus, Madame Tussaud spent 33 years traveling in the main towns and villages of Great Britain …

Some of his wax molds still exist, with figures on display even today. Eventually, she set up a permanent museum on Baker Street in London. This flagship museum remains in its original location, along with nearly 30 other sites around the world.

And from art to music. Sixty-five years ago, on December 4, 1956, the so-called Million Dollar Quartet met and jammed at the Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

MUSIC: Jam session with the Million Dollar Quartet

The quartet included superstars Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, as well as Carl Perkins of fame “Blue Suede Shoes”. Newcomer Jerry Lee Lewis also joined, singing and playing the piano. The session was impromptu; Perkins and Lewis were there to record their own projects, but Cash and Pressley arrived by accident.

They riffed on the kind of gospel music they all grew up on, putting down a few tracks before going their separate ways. The local newspaper wrote an article about it, dubbing the quartet the “Million Dollar Quartet”.

Sun Studios didn’t release the tracks to the public until 25 years later, in 1981. It was kind of a musical flash in a bottle, the first and last time the quartet recorded together.

MUSIC: Jam session with the Million Dollar Quartet

And press piano keys to push paper.

KPRC NEWS: Yeah, everyone is concerned about their job. / Right now, I think everyone is a bit shocked. / People don’t know if they will get their paycheck on Friday.

Houston-based energy company Enron started in 2001 Apparently strong. It had an annual turnover of $ 100 billion and 30,000 employees. But in December, they stunned the business community with the biggest bankruptcy on record at the time. This unfortunate milestone came 20 years ago on December 2, 2001. A former Enron employee told documentary filmmakers about the sinking feeling of that day.

EMPLOYEE: We all felt like we were on the Titanic and the last lifeboats were long gone, and we were instantly on the sinking ship.

This clip from the 2005 movie, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”. Along with the massive bankruptcy reorganization, Enron’s demise also signaled the biggest audit failure of all time. CEO Kenneth Lay had, over many years, assembled a management team that relied on accounting loopholes and other questionable financial practices. They covered up billions of dollars in debts resulting from mismanagement, deceiving the company’s board of directors and urging his longtime accounting firm, Arthur Anderson, to turn a blind eye.

Investment banks have helped prolong the deception, supporting hundreds of special purpose entities or shell companies. Michigan Senator Carl Levin at the 2002 Senate hearing into Enron’s financial irregularities pointed to Wall Street’s complicity in the scandal.

LEVIN: As disturbing as Enron’s own fault is the growing evidence that America’s leading financial institutions not only participated in Enron’s deceptive practices, but at times designed, advanced, and profited from them.

Seismic as Enron’s unscrupulous dealings are, the company did not long retain the title of “greatest corporate bankruptcy in US history.” The WorldCom scandal eclipsed him the following year.

SONG: Grace Jones, “White Collar Crime”

This is this week’s history book. I am Katie Gaultney.


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