History Book

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: The WORLD Radio History Book. Today, the birth of a children’s classic story, plus the 45th anniversary of the “Saturday Night Massacre” in Washington, D.C.

NICK EICHER, HOST: But first, a young woman leaves for China as a missionary, and ends up saving lives in more ways than one. Here’s Paul Butler.

AUDIO: [Sound of steam train in a station]

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today with October 15th, 1932. Gladys Aylward, a young English maid leaves for China.

AUDIO: [Sound of train leaving station]

BUTLER: Born into a working class family, Aylward faced many challenges answering God’s gospel call to China. The first, was her own father:

AYLWARD: My father sat there and said, “And what do you think you’re going to do?” I said, “I don’t know.” “Well, you’re not a nurse, now are you?” “No, I’m not.” “Well, you can’t nurse anybody.” I said, “No I can’t.” And then he suddenly swung around, looked at me and said: “Oh, go on, get out,” he said. “All you can do is talk.” Well, isn’t that it! I’ll talk. And I’ll talk, and I’ll talk, and I’ll talk. [Laughter]

BUTLER: Aylward enrolled in the China Inland Mission training program, but was let go when she couldn’t learn the language fast enough. Undaunted, she decided to go on her own.

When she first arrived in China, she ran an inn with another missionary—telling Bible stories to travelers and guests. Aylward became a Chinese citizen in 1936 and involved herself in community concerns.

She adopted many orphans during the Sino-Japanese war. Her dramatic 100 mile journey with nearly a hundred children is told in the movie The Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman.

After the communist revolution, Aylward left China, but returned to Taiwan in 1958 to begin an orphanage, where she worked until her death in 1970. She once said, she wasn’t God’s first choice but that He looked down and saw that she was willing, and apparently, that was enough.

Next, October 16th, 1950:

NARR: Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy…

C.S. Lewis publishes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: the first novel in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Audio here from the 2001 Focus on the Family radio drama production…

NARR: …and shortly after that, they looked into a room that was quite empty except for one, big, wardrobe…the sort that has a looking glass…

In 1960, Lewis described the origin of the series in an essay. He wrote that it all began with a picture he imagined as a teenager: a Faun carrying an umbrella and parcels in a snowy wood. One day he said to himself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it.’

NARR: Lucy saw that a very strange person stepped out from among the trees, into the light of the lamp-post…

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the following six books comprise one of the best-selling children’s book series of all time. It’s been translated into more than 40 languages and adapted for stage, television, radio, and the big screen.

This month, Netflix announced plans to create an original series based on the book and the stories surrounding Narnia.

And finally, October 20th, 1973—45 years ago this week.

NBC NEWS SPECIAL REPORT: Good evening. The country tonight is in the midst of what may be the most serious constitutional crisis in its history.

President Nixon’s firing of Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, and the subsequent resignations of DOJ Attorneys Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus become known as the Saturday Night Massacre.

Five months earlier, Richardson selected Cox to investigate the Watergate affair. Cox soon locked horns with the White House over the president’s refusal to release secret Oval Office recordings.

COX: I’m not looking for a confrontation…

On the afternoon of October 20th, Cox held a press conference.

COX: And I’m certainly not out to get the President of the United States.

The president responded by firing him and closing down his office. Under extreme political pressure Nixon appointed a new special prosecutor 10 days later.

In the summer of 1974, the Supreme Court ruled the tapes could not be protected under executive privilege. Less than two weeks later, President Richard Nixon resigned.

The Watergate scandal undermined America’s trust of government, but former Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus believes in the end, right prevailed…

RUCKELSHAUS: No man is above the law, and what happened during the Watergate, I think, proved that, at least in that case…

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.

(Photo/Washington Post)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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