A 1997 interview with Studs Terkel on Chicago Tonight. John Callaway interviews Terkel on Labor Day. The two talk about Terkel's impending retirement from radio, the importance of history, and the effects of the technological age on society.
00:00Copy video clip URL Tape begins with a countdown sequence.
00:16Copy video clip URL Cut to Studs Terkel talking about his time at WFMT in Chicago. The show also plays a brief clip of Terkel on his show “Studs’ Place.”
00:37Copy video clip URL Introduction sequence for Chicago Tonight.
00:56Copy video clip URL Host John Callaway introduces Terkel. He explains to the viewing audience that Terkel will be retiring from radio and moving over to the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum) in hopes of archiving his close to nine thousand hours of interview tape. Callaway also mentions Terkel’s newest book, entitled My American Century.
02:05Copy video clip URL Rich Samuels meets with Terkel in his office at WFMT. Terkel gives Samuels a brief tour and shows him the nine thousand hours of tape that will be transferred over to the Historical Society after his retirement from WFMT. Terkel goes through row after row of his tapes, citing the names of the various interviewees that made it on the show over the years. There is a quick cut to a picture of the cast of “Studs’ Place” in NBC’s Studio A. Terkel fondly talks about his early days in television. A few brief clips from the show are playing as Terkel recounts his time in television. Terkel then briefly talks about his newest book, My American Century. When asked exactly how much tape he actually has, Terkel responds, “About nine thousand hours or so. About seven thousand hours of these tapes, a couple of thousand hours of tapes of the books I’ve done. In a way they’re both related; the books I work on this thing, because they’re both oral work–oral history, oral journalism. And so in a sense, we’re talking about the spoken word.” Shortly after that, the segment ends.
08:00Copy video clip URL Callaway begins to interview Terkel. He first asks Terkel about what he wants to do with his tapes once they make it over to the Chicago Historical Society. Terkel explains why he chose to move his collection and gives the viewing audience a better understanding of his motives behind his decision. Terkel then talks about the loss of the human voice in today’s technological age. Terkel also says that he would want to be remembered for his curiosity for the human race. He makes a few thoughtful observations about the human race as well.
11:23Copy video clip URL Callaway brings up Terkel’s fear of the younger generation being unaware of their own history. Terkel then talks about what he calls a “national Alzheimer’s Disease.” He also goes into an amusing story about a “yuppie” couple whom he used to wait at the bus stop with. It’s quite an amusing story that reflects Terkel’s thoughts on the younger generation forgetting history.
15:14Copy video clip URL Callaway brings up the recent teamster’s strike at UPS. Terkel gives his thoughts on the situation and goes into greater detail about his thoughts on union work.
17:07Copy video clip URL Callaway conducts an interesting interview exercise by testing Terkel on his improvisational skills. Callaway begins to name off certain names that Terkel would be familiar with, like his wife’s name and his son’s name. Terkel talks about his wife, his son, and the various names that Callaway lists, such as Chicago Mayors Richard J. Daley, Harold Washington, and Richard M. Daley.
23:45Copy video clip URL Callaway asks Terkel about the fact that he did not begin to write books about oral history until he was fifty-five years old. Terkel explains his fascination for human life and goes on to talk about his childhood and growing up in a men’s hotel. He also fondly talks about Bughouse Square.
26:03Copy video clip URL Callaway asks Terkel to talk about his newest book, My American Century. Callaway then quickly closes the show. The credits begin to roll and Callaway and Terkel continue their conversation over the credits.
26:55Copy video clip URL Tape ends.