Raw footage from "It's a Living," the 1975 documentary inspired by the Studs Terkel book "Working." This tape features Terkel interviewed in his office at Chicago's WFMT radio station.
0:00Copy video clip URL Black, bars and tone.
1:50Copy video clip URL Studs’ office at WFMT. Footage of him talking on the phone and chatting casually. He explains the video project to someone over the phone.
9:22Copy video clip URL Cut to shot out the window, then back to Studs on the phone.
11:18Copy video clip URL Gets off the phone and talks about the Greek immigrant experience.
13:28Copy video clip URL Terkel discusses an invitation to speak at a conference on “work” at a community college. Then a letter responding to a program that aired on TV with Studs and steel worker Ed Sadlowski. Then the amount and nature of the fan mail he receives, including one he calls a “nut” letter from a mentally disturbed woman who accuses him of harming her in the past; his experiences with a mentally ill fan that had become fixated on him and thought he was bugging her family; the amount of phone calls he receives; and his cynicism about the promotion of books. He says that most book review shows are “conducted by a guy who hasn’t read the book. They’ve read the flyleaf. And you can tell, immediately, in the first two questions, whether they’ve read the book or not. And if they haven’t, they go through this litany. And you pretend. They pretend to the audience that they’ve read the book. You pretend they’ve read the book. By this time, I think the audience pretty well knows they haven’t read the book… It’s exhausting.”
21:45Copy video clip URL Terkel describes his frustration with his own tours. “Here is the author becoming a peddler. That’s a new development.” He claims he is not a real author, however. “I call myself a gold prospector” likening himself to a prospector mining for other peoples’ “golden” words in order to tell their story.
26:49Copy video clip URL Cut to a discussion about how Studs can’t control the heat or lights in his office. “My theory is that we are being had by those that design the buildings. They are being had by themselves, too. This is an anti-human type of building. We have no control over our immediate environment right here. In the old days, you could turn off the light, you could adjust the radiator.” He goes on to discuss Muzak (“Who decided this?”) and the homogenization of the world due to globalization, which turns into a story about the adaptability of people through a funny story about coffin-shaped hotel rooms.
31:52Copy video clip URL Terkel moves into the sound both at WFMT and prepares to continue the interview.
34:33Copy video clip URL End.