This is a half-hour video of Studs Terkel that shot by CNN in 1997. A camera crew follows Terkel as he commutes to the WFMT offices aboard the public transportation system in Chicago and goes through a normal day at WFMT. A few of Terkel's colleagues are also interviewed.
00:00Copy video clip URL This tape begins with color bars and tone.
00:13Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Terkel making his way towards the bus stop on his way to work. Terkel is greeted by a couple of friends along the way. He eventually reaches the bus stop and peers out into the street to see if a bus is coming. Shortly afterwards, a bus pulls up and Terkel enters. He is immediately greeted by a friendly bus driver whom Terkel seems to know fairly well. The two start up a conversation while the sound guy pulls out his money for the bus ride. The sound guy unknowingly hands his money to the bus driver and is quickly told to insert the money into a small machine near the front of the bus. Terkel also greets a few of the other people aboard the bus.
04:36Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Terkel as he leaves his first bus and makes his way over to a second bus stop on the corner of Foster and Broadway in Chicago. He makes conversation with various people along the way. Terkel and one of his friends finally get on a bus. Terkel makes his rounds while on the trip, talking to the other riders on the bus. He finally sits down and begins to go over some of his notes on a book he is reading, presumably for his radio show on WFMT.
08:45Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Terkel stepping out of an elevator and greeting his colleagues at the offices of WFMT. He proceeds to give the cameraman a brief tour of the building as they walk towards Terkel’s office, briefly introducing Andi Lamoreaux, WFMT program/music assistant and record librarian at the time. Once there, Terkel comments on the amusing posters that hang upon his door. Inside his office, Terkel’s desk is surprisingly clean and uncluttered. Terkel sits down and begins to go over some potential material for his program.
11:09Copy video clip URL Cut to a short interview with Linda Lewis, WFMT receptionist & program department assistant. She describes some of the work that she does for Terkel at WFMT and says that she has to “keep up with him.” The interviewer also asks her about Terkel’s work at the Chicago Historical Society. She briefly talks about his archiving of all of his material from his forty five year career at WFMT. Lewis also talks about what Terkel brings to the station. When asked whether anything about Terkel amazes her, she replies by talking about how sharp Terkel’s memory is, especially when remembering his nearly 9,000 interviews.
13:48Copy video clip URL Cut to an interview with Sydney Lewis, Studs’ major WFMT assistant and friend since the early ’80s. The interviewer asks her about what it’s like interacting with Terkel on a daily basis. She states that it is a fairly frantic process most of the time and that it requires a lot of patience, but that it is also a lot of fun. She talks about Terkel’s curiosity and how that creates a very hectic, but lively, work environment. The interviewer also asks Lewis about what WFMT will be like without Terkel. She states that it will be “less fun” and much quieter. She also calls Terkel “the best mentor and teacher that anyone could ever have.”
15:54Copy video clip URL The interviewer asks Lois Baum, WFMT associate program director and Terkel’s assistant/friend since 1964, about her working relationship with Terkel. She refers to him as an amazing man. “I think the most amazing thing about him to me is the fact that he brings so many things to bear on his program, so many things on any one program. And I don’t know very many people who have that ability with memory, with a skill of being able to bring these things to one subject.” The interviewer asks her what Terkel has done for her in her life. She explains that Terkel had opened a lot of windows and doors for her through knowing and working with him and through listening to his program on WFMT. The interviewer also asks Baum about Terkel’s coming work at the Chicago Historical Society. She believes that it will be good for Terkel to organize his vast body of interview tape but says that he will be missed. “Life is never dull when Studs is around. … This man proves that if you maintain a lively curiosity and a spirit of openness about people and ideas, you can keep going forever. And I think that’s one of the things that keeps him young.”
19:02Copy video clip URL Cut to an interview with Hudson Fair, WFMT recording engineer, who talks about his work with Terkel. He speaks of Terkel’s careful preparation for interviews and his conversational interview style, specifically when it comes to music. He also refers to Terkel as “self-deprecating.” The interviewer asks Fair to do his best Terkel impression. His impression is fairly amusing.
22:33Copy video clip URL Cut to some footage of Terkel with a group of musicians as he begins one of his shows. Terkel introduces the guest musicians on the show that day—Norbert Heller, David Taylor, Gary Stucka, and Alex Klein, Tina Dragovic, and Andrea Coppola. Terkel speaks precisely and articulately, making a mere introduction seem profound and in-depth. Terkel asks a few questions of the guests before they begin to perform. Terkel then watches the musicians as they perform a piece.
26:10Copy video clip URL Cut to a shot of Terkel’s endless amounts of taped interviews from his time spent at WFMT. Terkel goes through his many rows of tape and talks about the type of content found in the interviews. You can tell these tapes are very close to his heart. “It isn’t just celebrated people who are writers, or thinkers, or musicians; it’s the ordinary people, so-called, who have things they have wanted to say all their lives. So in a sense, this is something of a treasury I’d say.”
27:45Copy video clip URL Tape ends.