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Lab Created Chicken Meat, Jackie Onassis, Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley
The Truth Network Radio
July 9, 2023 4:53 pm

Lab Created Chicken Meat, Jackie Onassis, Pedestrian Deaths on the Rise

CBS Sunday Morning / Jane Pauley

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July 9, 2023 4:53 pm

Hosted by Jane Pauley. In our cover story, Allison Aubrey reports on meat raised without slaughtering animals – by cultivating cells in a lab. Plus: Tracy Smith looks back on how a young Jacqueline Bouvier met the most eligible bachelor in Washington, the young John F. Kennedy; Mo Rocca sits down with the inspiring Rose Styron, poet and widow of novelist William Styron; Jim Axelrod talks with traffic safety experts about the rise in pedestrian fatalities; Lee Cowan catches up with the Smothers Brothers; and Martha Teichner meets author Neil King Jr, who walked from Washington, D.C. to New York City, a journey he recounts in his book, "American Ramble."

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Make a strong start to a better you. Get started at cerebral.com slash wondery. That's cerebral.com slash wondery. I'm Candace DeLong and on my new podcast, Killer Psyche Daily, I share a quick 10-minute rundown every weekday on the motivations and behaviors of the cold-blooded killers you read about in the news. Listen to the Amazon Music exclusive podcast, Killer Psyche Daily, in the Amazon Music app. Download the app today. Good morning.

I'm Jane Pauley, and this is Sunday Morning. Something's cooking at a lab in California that could forever change life at the dinner table. First, consider this. The chicken and turkey market in this country is a billion-dollar industry, but now there's the promise of a scientific breakthrough that could radically change the way we get our poultry and save an untold number of chickens, which is why we ordered up this report from Alison Aubrey. This facility just might be what a chicken farm of the future looks like. This is real meat, no compromise, made in front of you. So you grew this chicken in these tanks behind us? Yes. Without ever slaughtering a chicken?

You could ask me that a thousand times and the answer is yes, yes, yes. We grew it right here. Meat without the animal, coming up on Sunday Morning. Lee Cowan is catching up with the Smothers brothers, that legendary comedy duo from the 60s, still carrying on like boys in a sandbox. Mom liked you best.

You lower your voice. Mom liked you best. Yes, Smothers is their real name. And yes, they're real brothers. And yes, they did fight with one another, like all brothers do.

His thought process is not, I think, different. And we argued constantly, we could clear a room and we have cleared a room. But their rivalry didn't mean they didn't take care of one another.

That may be more true now than ever. The brothers in the Smothers family, later on Sunday Morning. As for our Tracey Smith, she's looking back on an early chapter in the life of young Jacqueline Kennedy and the job that led her from camera girl to first lady. Young Jacqueline Bouvier grew up dreaming of being a writer, not a housewife. And when JFK finally popped the question, she kept him guessing. She did not give him a formal response right away. He asked her to marry him and she didn't immediately say yes?

She waited a week. Jackie before Jack, coming up on Sunday Morning. Also ahead this morning, Martha Teichner introduces us to a man who took a month-long walk and wound up finding the spirit of America. On the subject of walking, Jim Axelrod reports on an alarming spike in the number of pedestrian deaths.

Maraca travels to Martha's Vineyard to talk with poet Rose Styron, wife of late novelist William Styron. Plus a story from Steve Hartman, humor from Jim Gaffigan, and more. This Sunday Morning for the 9th of July, 2023. We'll be back in a moment. Is this thing on?

Check one, two, one, two. Hey y'all, I'm Keke Palmer. I'm an actress, a singer, an entrepreneur, and a Virgo, just to name a few. Now I've held so many occupations over the years that my fans lovingly nicknamed me, Keke Keep a Bag Palmer.

And trust me, I keep a bag, love. But if you ask me, I'm just getting started and there's so much I still want to do. So I decided I want to be a podcast host. I'm proud to introduce you to the Baby, This is Keke Palmer podcast. I'm putting my friends, family, and some of the dopest experts in the hot seat to ask them the questions that have been burning in my mind. What will former child stars be if they weren't actors? What happened to sitcoms? Only fans?

Only that? I want to know, so I asked my mom about it. These are the questions that keep me up at night, but I'm taking these questions out of my head and I'm bringing them to you because on Baby, This is Keke Palmer, no topic is off limits. Follow Baby, This is Keke Palmer, wherever you get your podcasts. Hey Prime members, you can listen early and app free on Amazon music.

Download the Amazon music app today. Grilled, fried, or broiled, we love our chicken. Now comes word of an innovation cooked up in a lab. That's good news for everyone, especially the chicken.

Here's Alison Aubrey of NPR. For thousands of years, humans have slaughtered animals for meat, but Dr. Uma Valeti dreamt of a different way. You don't have to kill a chicken to eat chicken. He figured out how to grow meat directly from animal cells.

It's completely different from Beyond Meat or Impossible, which are made from plant-based ingredients, including vegetable proteins. This is real meat, no compromise, made in front of you. So you grew this chicken in these tanks behind us without ever slaughtering a chicken.

You could ask me that a thousand times and the answer is yes, yes, yes. We grew it right here. They're getting the oxygen. His company, Upside Foods, just received clearance from the USDA to start selling their meat, made at this production center in Emeryville, California. We'll be able to produce 50 to 75,000 pounds of meat every year right away.

The process begins here. Animal cells have been extracted from an egg or live chicken. All the cells that make the cut of high quality cells make it into this seed lab. This is the equivalent of a hatchery.

The cells are frozen in tiny vials. And from that small amount, we can grow thousands of pounds of meat. So it only takes a thimble full of cells to start the whole process of growing thousands of pounds of meat?

Yeah. Coaxing the cells to multiply and grow into meat is part alchemy. So this is a live cultivator. That means this is actually right now involved in growing chicken. This turbine mixes in all the food the cells need to grow.

Amino acids, fats, vitamins. The idea really is when an animal is alive, there's blood circulating, constantly something is moving around in the animal's body, touching the cells in the animal's body. We're just recreating that. Valeti says in about 10 days, these cells have grown into chicken that's ready to cook. Just a few years ago, everybody was saying, this is science fiction.

Yes. Making 50,000 pounds of chicken a year, it's like a dream come true. Growing up in India, his big dream was to become a cardiologist, a dream he realized with the help of his parents. They always knew my goal in life was to become a cardiologist. And I only wanted to train at the Mayo Clinic. And I trained at the Mayo Clinic. It was not easy to get there. And it was a lot of work.

Working with heart attack patients, his team set out to use stem cells to regrow heart muscle. And he figured, why not grow animal meat in a similar way? I realized that we were raising 70 billion animals every year to feed about 7 billion people. When I looked at the environmental impact of that, it was astronomical impact. And the amount of feed that goes to feed animals to feed us, that equation just seemed wrong.

Livestock is responsible for an estimated one-third of all human-induced methane emissions, a potent greenhouse gas. And so though Valeti loved to eat meat, he had become a vegetarian. But the scientist in him saw a solution. And his father, a veterinarian, was an early supporter.

He loved animals. It wasn't just his dad who saw the opportunity. The very first venture capitalist that Valeti wrote to said yes. I did not even know what a VC meant at that point.

That was about eight years ago. Now, there's nearly $3 billion invested in more than 100 cultivated meat startups around the globe, says Bruce Friedrich. He's head of the nonprofit Good Food Institute, which promotes alternative proteins. Even companies like Tyson and Cargill, the two largest meat companies in the United States, they have both invested in two different cultivated meat companies. A report from Boston Consulting Group estimates that if just 11 percent of meat was swapped for protein alternatives like cultivated meat, by 2035, it would have the same environmental impact as switching 95 percent of airplanes to renewable energy. Cultivated meat requires a fraction of the land, requires a fraction of the water. It doesn't require antibiotics in the production. This is just a whole new way of making the exact same meat that people love.

Not everyone is convinced. Critics say whether cultivated meat can cut carbon dioxide emissions depends in part on whether its production facilities are powered by renewable fuel. The meat industry currently has the efficiency of its large scale. It needs to compete on price and taste. Cultivated meat already competes on taste. It's already there, but it's got a ways to go before it competes on price. It needs to scale up. So until then, it will be priced at a premium. We got a taste of upside's chicken, which was pan seared with white wine, lemon and water.

You cannot buy this meat in grocery stores yet, but just last weekend, Michelin-starred chef Dominique Crenn served it to customers for the first time ever in her San Francisco restaurant. For Valeti, upside success is bittersweet. He lost his father to COVID, just as he struggled to get the company off the ground. I feel my dad's presence every day in my life. I think he's seen me growing up and wanting to go after things that matter a lot, so I think he's there cheering. It was tough to walk away from his promising career in medicine, but Valeti says he's not looking back.

This seems very unreasonable to everybody in the world, but I think we'll need people who are unreasonable to be able to change what we don't like in this world. The dictionary defines ramble as a walk for pleasure without a definite route. Martha Teichner catches up with a man who went on a ramble and discovered America along the way. In March 2021, Neil King Jr. left his home in Washington, D.C. and went for a walk. King would walk 330 miles all the way to New York City.

It would take him 26 days. He retraced his steps with us this spring, heading off down the Mall with the U.S. Capitol at his back. Just weeks after the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, after a year of COVID, what King experienced along the way, sticking to back roads, would become a book, American Ramble. I had set out with a wonder first stirred by a sickness. A jolt of fear had opened a seam of freedom, and I had slipped through. After a career as a Wall Street Journal reporter, the walk was his way of contemplating America, past and present, and at 61, his own life, after surviving esophageal cancer.

I was off to do something that was very pure and basic, which was just to notice things and immerse myself in a walk through one spring that had kind of cleansed my eyes in some ways or my spirit. You'll see the exact line between Maryland and Pennsylvania, the Mason-Dixon line. It runs right through the middle of this incredible 19th century German farm. The Mason-Dixon line. Until after the Civil War, the dividing line between slavery and freedom. King asked himself, whose history gets forgotten and who's remembered?

Who are the memory keepers? In the 1700s, it was a mill and a farm. Up the road in York, Pennsylvania, he visited Michael Helfrich, the mayor. In the 1920s, you had the migration of African Americans up from Bamberg, South Carolina. But by the 1950s and 1960s, the great fathers of the community decided it was a ghetto, and they used the first use of eminent domain to wipe out the entire neighborhood.

What do they want to put in instead? You're standing in a park, and then to add insult to injury, they took half of the park and gave it to the industry next door for a parking lot and a new building. The much older Cooka's House, built in 1741, barely escaped demolition. That is Thomas Paine right there. Helfrich lives in it and has turned it into a shrine to founding father Thomas Paine, who stayed here during the Revolutionary War. We have here our Underground Railroad conductors.

Across town, King met another of York's memory keepers, Samantha Dorm. We have United States Colored Troops. I believe we have about 32 that fought during the Civil War. Dorm leads the restoration of York's long-neglected African American Lebanon Cemetery. Since 2019, our volunteer group coming out here, we've uncovered over 800 of the flat acres.

The point is to rescue the stories of lives. It makes a difference when you're learning about people who not only look like you, but who are related to you, and to be able to say, I come from greatness. I know now that I'm related to over 100 individuals on this land alone of my family. That shrine became a thing that awed Neil King. This is one of the oldest rivers in the world. It's like the fifth oldest river in the world. It's 320 million years ago, way older than the Nile.

As he made his way along the Susquehanna River with Paul Nevin. We have all these different tracks in here. Whose passion is these Native American petroglyphs, possibly a thousand years old. There's a bird track here.

We have, this is a little infant-sized human footprint here. And then this is like a serpent would make, a creepy crawly. As King walked, time seemed to slow down, and then stop altogether as he found himself among Pennsylvania's Mennonites. He chanced upon this.

And then this. Well, the serendipity was the magic. And I met, you know, so many great people that I almost felt were put there by some higher power to interact with me. He drifted from the ethereal, to the concrete, to the very real world of everything his walk was not.

I have arrived at where I wanted to come, which is the heart of darkness itself. That is to say, the Jersey Turnpike, I-95, the main artery of commerce for the United States of America. Time took on new meaning as he toured the final resting place of some of that commerce, New Jersey's Middlesex County landfill, with Brian Murray, the man who runs it.

We tip about 1,600 tons of garbage a day, and last year we buried somewhere around just shy of about 540,000 tons of garbage. On top of an astonishing garbage mountain that will rise another 12 feet this year. We're walking through a whole scale of time, a measure of time. Where are we right here?

I think we're like the early 60s, maybe the late 50s, so end of the Eisenhower administration basically, and up there is today. And this bridge right there. A depressing return to now?

No. As King crossed the Bayonne Bridge, he spotted his destination, Manhattan. I was just sort of overwhelmed. It was like I was hit by a wave of elation, rapture, a full body sense of elation.

It wasn't like the city was some new thing, but my eyes had been renewed in a way. A day later, Neil King Jr.'s American ramble ended at the ramble in New York's Central Park, a twisted network of paths that reminded him of the complexity of the country he had sampled. In the end, I think the walk, despite all the kind of gloomy thoughts that you can have about various episodes from our history and our past, left me a lot more optimistic in a way about our future than had been the case when I walked out the door.

To find gratitude and joy at three miles an hour, traveling light. Your parents warned you to look both ways before you cross, but Jim Axelrod tells us that whatever your age, crossing the street is increasingly dangerous. So this is the Roosevelt Boulevard. This is it, Route 1. It's been nearly a decade since a drive down Philadelphia's Roosevelt Boulevard was no big deal for LaTanya Byrd.

So it was July 16, 2013, a very hot summer day. And it never will be again. It's just crazy, this road, and no matter how many times people die on this Roosevelt Boulevard, the drivers just, they don't pay attention to the speed. LaTanya's 27-year-old niece, Samara Banks, her four sons and her sister were walking home on Roosevelt Boulevard from a family get together. But these two cars came up and they just hit them so hard. The two cars, street racing at nearly 40 miles an hour over the speed limit, killed Samara and three of her sons. To this day, LaTanya blames not just the two speeding drivers, but the design of Roosevelt Boulevard itself, which allows cars to travel at high speeds and the worst to happen.

Could have it happened even if these guys weren't drag racing? Yes, the Roosevelt Boulevard, you know, was designed a long time ago. So as time changed, you know, the population increased in that area. But as the neighborhood grew around the 12 lane boulevard, the ways for people to cross did not.

As people moved into that area, they had to cross. So how was that person, if they lived on the other side of the Roosevelt Boulevard, how were they going to get across? This is one of the most dangerous streets in Philadelphia, a city that, according to preliminary data, saw 59 pedestrians killed by vehicles in 2022, a 40 percent jump from the year before. Are the deaths on Roosevelt Boulevard, pedestrian deaths caused by automobiles, vehicles, are they preventable?

Yes, they are preventable. It turns out when we build things unsafe for pedestrians, we build them unsafe for everybody. There's really nobody winning in this system. Beth Osborne, who runs the nonprofit Transportation for America, says Philadelphia mirrors a national trend when it comes to pedestrian deaths. More than 7500 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2022, the highest number in 40 years, and an average of 20 people a day. Who pays the price most often and significantly in this country?

Black and Native Americans, by far. One study found Black Americans are more than twice as likely for each mile walked to be struck and killed by a vehicle as white pedestrians. These are populations that are more likely to need to walk for lack of access to a reliable automobile.

You also, in those neighborhoods, tend to have roadways that were built to get people through them quickly and not necessarily take care of the folks in the neighborhood. And pedestrian fatalities as a whole went up 77 percent from 2010 to 2021, after decreasing in the three decades before. What has happened in the last decade?

We can look at the turning point at 2009, and that's around the time smartphones were becoming very popular. It's also the time we saw cars starting to get and trucks getting much bigger. And when they crash into particularly a person that's not protected by more steel, then it's going to be more deadly. But more than the design of vehicles, Osborne blames the design of our roads themselves for the alarming rise in pedestrian fatalities. We build our roadways to move vehicles, and we often make no space on them for anyone outside of a vehicle. Throw in speed limits she says are too high in areas where there's a lot of foot traffic. Speed is so central to what generates mistakes and what makes them deadly.

And you've got a recipe for tragedy. Osborne took us to an intersection in Langley Park, Maryland to show us how decades of design prioritize drivers at the peril of pedestrians. The traffic speeds are high. The crossing distances for someone walking is long. They have these features like what we're standing next to called a slip lane that allows the cars to take a right turn very, very fast, like that.

The communication to the driver is don't slow down, but stop in an instant if there's a person there. We can do better, right? We can totally do better.

These are not hard things to change. You have family homes and families living. John Barth is trying to do better for his city. Despite that, this is built 100% for cars, not for people. He's on the city council in Indianapolis where he's trying to implement an approach called complete streets. Having bike lanes, having bump outs, having streets that have been on a street diet, so there's fewer lanes. Those are the changes that will over time send clear signals to drivers that you need to think about the neighborhood and the pedestrians around you. In a neighborhood near Butler University on the city's north side, Barth says city planners' awareness of pedestrians translates to safer streets. So if you look at this sidewalk, you can see there's space between the sidewalk and the street, so pedestrians feel safe when they're walking. They have a buffer between them and the street. In the middle of the street, you have an island that is a signal to drivers that you should be driving slowly.

You point out these islands in the middle. Does that sort of subconsciously tell the driver to slow down in addition to the speed limit sign? Yeah, so even if they're not thinking about it, that is forcing them to constrain their driving because there's something that's visually telling them you can't speed here. With a record 40 pedestrian fatalities in his city last year, Barth says the time for change is now.

The status quo is not acceptable. A single pedestrian dying in any given year is not acceptable. In Philly, they're hoping new approaches will work as well. In 2020, speed cameras were introduced on Roosevelt Boulevard and crashes have dropped 36 percent.

The city has also pledged 78 million dollars from the Biden administration's infrastructure plan to make the boulevard safer. You know, my family didn't die in vain. You know, it has to be something that, something has to be done.

Too late to save Latonya Byrd's family from heartbreak, but hopefully it will save many others. Are you there, Senator? Yes, right here, Mr. Morrow. Good evening, sir. Thank you. Good evening, Mrs. Kennedy.

Good evening. I understand that the two of you had a very much publicized courtship. How did the two of you meet? We met at the house of a friend about two years ago. Before becoming American royalty, Jacqueline Bouvier was a working woman.

And as Tracy Smith tells us, her first big job led to a life-changing first date. Mrs. John F. Kennedy, third youngest of the 29 wives to live in the White House. If you were alive in February of 1962, there's a good chance you saw this. Mrs. Kennedy, I want to thank you for letting us visit your official home.

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's tour of the newly restored White House was broadcast on all three TV networks to an audience of about 80 million. This is wallpaper that was printed in France about 1834. It's all scenes of America. Those are beautiful winged chairs over there.

They are pretty. But people who knew her well say that the real Jackie was not at all like the flawless figurine who appeared on screen. It seems that some people assume that the most interesting thing about Jacqueline Bouvier is that she married a Kennedy. You know, I think the presumption has been that her life only became interesting after she married him, when in fact, because she was so interesting, he married her.

I'm good. Carl Sforza Anthony is author of a dozen books about first ladies. His latest, Camera Girl, by an imprint of our sister company, Simon & Schuster, is about Jacqueline Bouvier before everything, a young woman who once wrote that her ambition was not to be a housewife. She had a rather dim view of marriage. She felt very strongly, even as a young woman in the early 1950s, she should not marry before she had somehow established herself. What Jacqueline Bouvier wanted was to be a writer, and she was willing to start at the bottom.

And back then, this was the bottom. A column in Washington's Times Herald called The Inquiring Photographer later changed to Inquiring Camera Girl. Her job was to take pictures of passers-by and ask their opinions about random topics, like women in politics, or how a wolf whistle made them feel.

But she's asking strangers on the streets of Washington, 10 years before becoming the world's most famous woman. She was fearless, charming, and single. And some of Jackie's friends, like newsman Charles Bartlett and his wife Martha, thought she'd be a perfect match for the most eligible bachelor in town, a certain congressman from Massachusetts. The Bartlets were close friends of both Jackie and JFK, and they would stay close. Charles and Martha stood godfather and godmother to John Jr. But back in 51, they just wanted those two to meet. So one night in May, they threw a dinner party at their Georgetown home. Now, this is the part of the story where we usually say, eh, that's ancient history, that there's no one alive today who remembers what happened on that night in Georgetown 72 years ago.

But in this case, there is someone who remembers it all. Stand here, for instance. Learn how to balance things. See how the room is balanced? Yes. I'd get up in the middle of the night and move the furniture.

Do you move it around? Martha Bartlett, the hostess of the dinner party where Jackie met JFK. And how much is this? Oh, 30,000. Oh. Is still very much alive, thank you. The castle said you've never seen a rooster until you've seen a rooster weather vane. And living in Washington in a house filled with American antiques. That's in the metropolitan.

Here's Pennsylvania. That is a reverb 200 years old. And at age 97, her memories of what happened back in 51 are still alive as well. May 13, 1951. What do you remember about that first dinner where Jack met Jackie? Well, I wasn't too sure that he would enjoy Jackie or that she would enjoy him. So I had my other good friend, Loretta Summers. So we had an extra one, which was very peculiar. But we had it anyway.

And so if he didn't like one, at least he wouldn't be bored because he did show boredom. Do you remember the menu? Probably, as usual, it was my same old chicken casserole. Chicken casserole. That was what you served at these parties. I'm afraid so.

You can name the menu before you set out. Years later, Jackie shared her memories of that night. And according to author Karl Anthony, JFK made quite an impression. She wrote about the first time she met John F. Kennedy and how she knew, as she put it, he would have a disturbing effect on my life. And she says she almost felt like running. But she knew that whatever heartbreak he was going to inevitably bring her, it would be worth it.

Now we're going to come in here. And privately, Martha says, Jackie was in hot pursuit. Jackie even said that the two of you were shamelessly matchmaking, trying to get her and Jack together. I'd say she was the shameful one, if there was anybody.

Why do you say that? Well, she would goad me on. Oh, she would.

What would she say? Well, she would see an opening at a dance or something that we could invite Jack to. Or she'd cancel her European friend so that she could see Jack instead. You know, if we hadn't been so close, I would have said she used me. To get to Jack?

It was as much her idea as mine. And it seems she did whatever it took to improve her chances, like paying a visit to family patriarch Joseph Kennedy. And whether it's a coincidence or not, several days after she visits Joe Kennedy, for the first time, the names Jackie Bouvier and John F. Kennedy are linked together in the gossip columns with a prediction that a wedding in the next year will be Bouvier and Kennedy. You know, she was never a sort of gaga, crazy, doe-eyed, in love with him, that kind. They do begin to date, but he still kind of drags his feet. And she's a little bit disappointed that it's taking so long.

Wait, wait, wait. She's disappointed. What's interesting is that this is the young woman who said, I'm not interested in marriage. She said, I'm not interested in marriage.

She never said she wasn't interested in an adventure that might take her to the White House. What happened from then on is well-documented. In fashionable Newport, Rhode Island, the wedding of U.S. Senator John F. Kennedy and socialite Jacqueline Lee Bouvier. The Kennedy-Bouvier wedding in 1953 was one of the social events of the season, maybe the century.

Charlie Bartlett was an usher. Martha Bartlett was one of more than a dozen bridesmaids. You were in the bridal party. What do you remember about that leading up to the wedding? I don't know why, but she was not a happy bride particularly.

I think it was due to the fact that her father couldn't give her away. Was he there? He was there.

He got totally intoxicated the night before and couldn't get up the next morning. The 36-year-old Massachusetts senator and his pretty 24-year-old bride. And so began a union that still fascinates today. Martha Bartlett was there for a lot of it.

That's her next to Jackie at the State of the Union. But for her, as with many of us, the Kennedy saga brings mixed emotions about a glamorous couple and a dream unfulfilled. So when you look back on your matchmaking, you and your husband's matchmaking, do you think job well done? No because I find it terribly sad. What do you mean? It's a sad tale. You don't think so? In the end, yeah. But I think we all like to believe that the beginning was magical.

Yeah. And we all love fairy stories. Martha's husband, the late Charlie Bartlett, put it more simply. Talking about his role introducing JFK to his future bride, Charlie said he needed a gal. And we found him a hell of a gal. This morning, Steve Hartman shares a story about the ageless appeal of soulful music. While most tweens in America are fawning over Bieber, Swift and Stiles, 11-year-old Paisley Gardner has a different idol, a singer she kept hearing on the radio. Sounds like an angel somehow.

Sounds like an angel. Yeah. What? Huh?

Okay, well that's kind of odd. Paisley and Jessica say they didn't know what to think when a few months ago, their daughter became obsessed with that buttery smooth voice of that 70s soft rock legend, Michael McDonald. They say Paisley was smitten. Without an image of who this person was. So one day she Googled a picture of Michael McDonald and she came running up the stairs and flailed herself on the bed and was like, no, no.

Her pop star turned out to be a grandpop. I just had to deal with it, but it's okay. So last month, Tony got tickets to see McDonald here in Des Moines, Iowa. Got him at the last minute for $7 apiece. Eat your heart out Swifties.

And then surprised Paisley with the concert of her lifetime. You want to go see him? Yes.

Let's go. And I almost screamed. You did scream. Yeah, I did.

Yeah. Mr. Michael McDonald. McDonald is on tour with the Doobie Brothers. I love you Michael. Paisley says she was the youngest fan in the audience by a generation and the only one who actually got to talk to McDonald.

Michael, you're my baby. Sort of. He said thank you to me. That was it. He said thank you. That was enough for her.

After my visit, I reached back out to Paisley and we talked about how cool it would be to have a real chat with him. The odds of that happening would be very, very slim. Or maybe not. What's that? Wait a second.

What? How are you, darling? It's okay, sweetie. Eventually Paisley recovered for a nice conversation. Is your best friend Christopher Cross? Well he's one of my best friends. And an even nicer invitation.

We'll have you see the show from backstage maybe. How's that? Mm-hmm. A sweet gift for the girl who learned there's so much more to music appreciation. I love you.

Than hair color. To begin, they were folk singers and comedians. Brothers whose humor often sprang from sibling squabbles.

But times changed and they did too. Lee Cowan's conversation with Tom and Dick Smothers. One of our Sunday best. This is take two with Smothers Brothers. Quiet on the set.

God, I always wanted to say that. Tom and Dick Smothers. Never expected to be back on camera again at this point in their lives. I have to get him really irritated to have him do a good interview. Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, production 120.

Take one. They especially didn't think they'd be appearing here on CBS. CBS presents this program in color. After all, ours is the network that famously canceled their top rated show back in 1969. It's the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

This Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour turned primetime TV upside down. My old man's a sailor. What do you think about that? He wears a sailor's collar. He wears a sailor's hat. Tommy was on guitar.

Dick was the straight man on the bass. My old man's a cotton picking finger licking chicken plucker. What do you think about that?

I think you better not make a mistake. Looking back at it, we look so naive and so pure and so clean. Was a cotton picking finger licking chicken plucker's raincoat or was a cotton picking finger licking chicken plucker's shoes?

What about socks? Did you think of yourselves as stand up comedians early on? No, we thought of ourselves as folk singers.

But suddenly my word reached someone else I knew. Stupid song, I'll sing it. I'll sing it anyway. What did you say? Stupid song, but I'll sing it. I don't want you angry.

I just want you to know that it's a stupid, dumb song. They were almost an instant hit. Just two weeks after the show premiered, the Smothers brothers beat Bonanza in the ratings, which at that time was practically unthinkable. It was just the biggest thrill.

It was unbelievable. They were truly charming, especially their famous bouts of sibling rivalry. Just be quiet one minute. Mom likes you best.

You lower your voice. Mom likes you best. The truth was, though, they say their onstage arguments weren't really all that different than the ones they were having backstage. In fact, we were getting along so poorly, he set up a thing where we had couple counseling.

Because we're a couple. It was in this room. Yeah. And it helped us so much. It made a big difference.

It prolonged our career. Their youth is what appealed to CBS, which was struggling to garner a younger audience. Everybody's probably surprised, here we are, back for the fourth show in a row.

Surprise ourselves. When the Smothers brothers comedy hour hit the air in February of 1967, Dick was only 29, and Tom was 30. And I know someone's got a fight over there, but why does it have to be me? Which meant they were also young enough to get caught up in the political and social upheavals of the 1960s, Tommy especially. Our government is asking us as citizens to refrain from traveling to foreign lands.

Okay, all you guys in Vietnam, come on home. Who wrote the heavy satirical pieces? It's gonna get all the letters.

Tommy didn't necessarily see himself as political, he says, but he was socially conscious. And along with the show's other writers, including Steve Martin and Rob Reiner, nothing was off limits. At the start of his term, we are going to give our President Nixon our full support and lay off the jokes entirely. That's right.

It's going to be in office for at least four years, and I'm sure we'll be able to get around to him a little bit later. Even the show's musical guests were stars of the counterculture, performers like Pete Siegel. We were knee deep in the big muddy, the big fools had to push on. There was never premeditation or anything we ever did. We never did it to get attention.

We just did it, and if it got attention, I said, I'll do it again, maybe we'll get some more attention. As their humor got sharper, the CBS censors started sharpening their scissors. The censors handbook right here will change my way, that's for sure. I just, I must finish reading it because they wrote it themselves. Well, why is it taking you so long to read such a skinny little book? Well, it was written in crayon. Cutting out controversial content, sometimes entire skits, putting Tommy on the defensive. I was offended.

What do you mean I can't say that? All of a sudden it became something more. So as they started sort of cutting more and more, you kept kind of poking the bear more and more though too, right?

It became slowly, I was poking the bear. How did you feel about it? Because you sort of had hoped that maybe Tommy could dial it down a little bit.

Well, he said to me one time, he said, you sure you know what you're doing? I wasn't sure that was the right thing to do. I said, well, let's pull back and just do what we were doing and then maybe the show would have one more season. I didn't think they were going to fire us. But they did. CBS announced today that the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour will not return to the CBS television network next season. They sued CBS for breach of contract and they won, but it was of little comfort. The brothers had been banished. You never really blamed Tommy for the show ending, right? Crying out loud, no.

He created everything. I was confident in our talent and our show and what we did together. I was just pretty angry near the end where I wasn't funny. I was doing material, it was kind of mean comedy. I needed to be fired.

If we had gone another year, it would have been strident. They didn't give up performing. In fact, they did a few more TV and stage shows. CBS even invited them back for a time. Goodnight, every night.

Just lean forward, nose over toes. And then last year, even though they were both in their mid-80s, they started working up a new stage show. Bless your heart, thank you so much. Walking on stage, I feel that kind of love coming back, a lot of attention to us, it's kind of sweet. And what better place to test both their new and their old material than right here in Norfolk, Nebraska, Johnny Carson's hometown. There's a lot of mature people in the audience tonight. But they were hit all over again, and after a little polishing, the brothers were set to take their show on the road.

When I die, I want to die like my grandfather did in his sleep, not in stark terror like the rest of the people in the car he was driving. So this is kind of a victory lap or something, just to go buy these people one more time and to take a look at these brothers that they liked a lot, to see how they, they don't look that bad. But what no one knew at the time was that Tommy was growing ill. Being a comedy team is like a marriage. It's like a long 50-year marriage. It's like an old marriage, yeah. Like an old marriage. A lot of fighting and no sex.

That's not the point. Since our last visit, he learned he had stage two lung cancer. He's undergoing treatment, and thankfully the prognosis is good, says Dick.

In the meantime, though, Dick has been reworking their show, and this fall, plans to do something he's rarely done, appear before an audience without his brother and his son, continuing to seek out the one thing that Tommy Smothers believed was nothing short of sacred. People laughing is holy, and if you can be part of that and control it and create it, it's the best thing ever. And when someone said, what's the happiest time in your life, is standing on that stage with my brother a few inches away on my right and having that feeling with that audience.

That defines my whole life. There's nothing better. We're well into summer, and as you'd expect, Jim Gaffigan could not be happier. Summer is here, and so are those summer expectations. First and foremost, there's an overwhelming pressure to enjoy summer. It's summer. Summertime's here.

Don't waste it. I feel this every morning when I look out the window. Ugh. It's nice out there.

I thought I should go out there and be uncomfortable. I wouldn't want summer to feel unappreciated. Of course, it's not enough to just enjoy the summer. We are all supposed to have well-mapped out summer plans. Every spring, the questions start, you got any plans for the summer? What are you doing this summer?

Why do I need a plan? I thought summer was about relaxing. Wait, are we supposed to schedule when we relax?

That sounds stressful. I relax by not having plans. Now I understand my unplanned summer plan is not common. Most non-freelancers need to schedule a week off with their employers. This makes sense, but those aren't summer plans. That's called a vacation. Some adults talk about their summer plans as if they just graduated from eighth grade or are living off some endless family inheritance. The only adults who should have summer plans are teachers and NBA players. Summer plans usually involve a destination. You going anywhere this summer? Why does summer mean we have to travel?

It makes no sense. Well, the weather's finally nice here, so I guess we should go somewhere else. We live here. All our stuff is here. Why would we go somewhere where our stuff isn't? That sounds like a situation we'd want to avoid. I almost had to go to this place where they didn't have any of my stuff.

I really dodged a bullet there. Most summer destinations involve the pursuit of water, a lake, a river, the ocean. I live in the Northeast, so people always talk about the beach. The beach, like it's a summertime mecca. You guys going to the beach this summer?

I hope not. Have you been to the beach? It's all sand, just sand and bugs. I never understood the appeal of the beach. Sometimes you have to pay to park at the beach.

You pay to park, and then if you want to sit down, you have to bring your own chair. Yeah, I'll pass on the beach. My favorite thing to do on a beautiful summer day? Take a nap.

Dream about fall. She's a poet, human rights activist, and the widow of a legendary author. Mo Rocca is in conversation with Rose Styron on Martha's Vineyard. I had a very lucky life all the way along, and I think it was because I lived in the present or looked forward. At 95, Rose Styron has finally decided to look back at her life as a poet, a founding member of Amnesty International, a mother of four, and the wife of the late author William Styron, writer of The Confessions of Nat Turner and Sophie's Choice. When you were younger, did you envision your life?

No. Now, it's Rose's turn in the spotlight. She's written a memoir and is a subject of a documentary by James Lapine.

Even the 30th person has said to me, you're my role model, and I think, does that mean because I've survived till I was 90 or because I'm still having a good time? Rose Styron is a legend on Martha's Vineyard. The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and filmmaker met Styron in 2014 on the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard, and the two became fast friends. Rose is a social animal. She lives for interaction with people.

That is her passion, and as she says, because she loves to learn and loves being engaged in conversation. How did you get the name Rose? I was named for my grandmother, who died before I was born. What was she like? Did you ever hear any... Is it your mother's mother or your father's... I know nothing about it. My father's mother, I know nothing.

Rose Burgender was raised in a well-to-do Baltimore family, meeting bold-faced names just seemed to come with the territory. This is the part in the piece where we say in voiceover, instead, at 11, she begged to meet Diego Rivera. Yes. Not typical. Oh, really? Well, I don't think so for an 11-year-old.

I don't know. The 11-year-old did meet the acclaimed Mexican artist, and the artwork her mother purchased that day hangs in Styron's home. I remember my excitement at meeting this artist who I so admired, and as we were leaving, he leaned down and said to me, I hope someday you will be as great an artist as I am. I left, and I said to my mother, he's full of himself, isn't he? While living in Rome in her 20s, Rose went for a drink with the writer William Styron, who just happened to be joined by another young writer named Truman Capote. Our romance started that night, and Truman looked 13 years old with his blonde hair, and by the end of the evening, he was saying, Bill, you ought to marry that girl. When you married Bill, you didn't expect it to last more than a couple of years. I didn't. You know, we were having a wonderful romance.

I hadn't thought about the future, I was just having fun. The fun continued when the newlyweds settled in Roxbury, Connecticut. James Baldwin lived in their guest house for a spell. Philip Roth and Arthur Miller were frequent visitors.

My life was that of, you know, a country housewife. During the day, Bill wrote, while Rose raised the children. But Rose ended up giving Bill a critical piece of feedback after she read the first draft of Sophie's Choice. Bill originally had the character of Sophie making her unimaginable choice between her children at Auschwitz at the start of the book. I said, you know, you just can't make this the first chapter. There's not a mother in the world who will read chapter two.

Can you somehow save it? And so we did. That was my only influence, I would say, into his writing.

We have an awful lot in common. But I think after all these years, we're still a mystery to each other. Like so many couples, the Styrens were a study in contrasts. The novels were all in his head. The adventure was in his head.

It was on paper. He was scared of adventure. But you were not scared of adventure.

I couldn't wait. And I resented being denied it. But marriage and Bill were more important. So I got over it each time. But you and Bill had very different upbringings. Do you think that accounts maybe for... And accounts for what? For maybe him being scared of adventure and you craving adventure?

Oh, yeah. Because he had to take care of his mother because she had developed cancer and he was always aware that she might die. And she did when he was 13. So I think that's what set him on this pattern of being afraid of what was coming next. Rose Styren is candid about the challenges they faced in their marriage, including their respective infidelities. It didn't matter if we felt affection for other people. The fact is the main thing was our marriage and we weren't going to mess it up by going too far. She's equally forthright about the depression that afflicted her husband.

Many of the artifacts of my house have become potential devices for my own destruction. William Styren wrote about it in 1989. The disease returned in 2000 and he died with it in 2006. Not having ever been depressed myself, I realized that I had a huge lapse of understanding and I flunked often. It doesn't sound like you did. Well, I did. How do you think you flunked?

In the last, you know, year, say, when he wanted to apologize to me for all the things he knew he had done wrong and instead of letting him talk about it and going over it with him, I couldn't do it. It was a big lack and I kept saying, no, no, no, you're wrong. Everything was fine. Don't worry about that. Oh, that was nothing. But it reminded me of the bad times and I couldn't handle it.

Was it also though because you were never really a backward looking person? I never thought of that, maybe, maybe. Her mind doesn't go to the places that most people's minds go and it's not that she doesn't want to think about it or won't think about it, but she won't.

She doesn't fester. I don't know how else to put it. Well, we have friends buried all around here, as you can see.

It's like 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace and humorist Art Buchwald. So I guess I'll be right there sometime. Not for a while.

I hope not. But I like that there are flowers coming up is where I'd be buried. Maybe some roses will come up next.

What do you think keeps her going? I think a thirst, I think Rose has a thirst for life. I don't have that thirst for life. I'll tell you that, but I wish I did. For Rose Styron, that thirst hasn't yet been quenched. Not a lot of people make new friends in their late 80s and 90s. True.

I never thought of that. What do you think that says about you? I think it says that friendship and family are the two most important things to me. Are you still looking for new friends or is your dance card filled? My dance card will never be filled. Thank you for listening. Please join us when our trumpet sounds again next Sunday morning. Before you go, tell us about yourself by completing a short survey at wondery.com slash survey.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-09 18:09:53 / 2023-07-09 18:31:14 / 21

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