Wrench in the Machine: The Shapp Gubernatorial Campaign’s Media Blitz of 1966

Pennsylvania and machine politics were synonymous for years, even into the 1960s when reformers and direct primaries thwarted old-style machine politics in other states. Political machines with their control over patronage and nominations had dominated Pennsylvania’s politics since the Civil War, but even the direct primary failed to usher in a new, more open system. That changed suddenly when...
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Editor’s Letter

Forty some years ago, when I was in elementary school, I took a field trip with my science class to The State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg to see the dioramas of Pennsylvania’s wildlife in Mammal Hall. Walking around the dark, circular gallery, I peered through windows into the fascinating, realistic habitats of 13 mammals, from the common to the locally extinct, and was transported to...
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Two Decades of PA Books: An Interview with Brian Lockman

PA Books is a weekly television series that has been running on the Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN) for 20 years. Brian Lockman, president and CEO of the Harrisburg-based network, has hosted the program from the beginning, interviewing authors of books related to Pennsylvania. He does 35 to 40 new interviews a year, and PCN reruns past programs frequently. A recent survey indicated that PA...
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An Epic in the Making

“It’s exciting. It’s moving. It’s surprising. It’s suspenseful It’s filled with men who became heroes, and women who became legends. It’s an epic 300 years in the making. It’s Pennsylvania history. Experience it. It’s too good to miss.”   Motivation is tough to describe, even tougher to define. It’s the stuff acting is made...
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Pennsylvania’s First Television Station: “Loving What We Were Doing”

No champagne corks popped at Philadel­phia’s old Philco plant on October 17, 1941, to celebrate. The achievement failed to rate even a few lines in local newspapers as reports of the increasingly grim drama unfolding in Eu­rope took chilling precedence. Like so many of the seemingly minor events that herald major changes in our way of living, America’s first commercial network...
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Some Questions for Examining Pennsylvania’s Black History

Civil rights activist Julian Bond was born in Nashville, Tennessee, in January 1940. When he was five years old, his father, Dr. Horace Mann Bond, was named the first Black president of Lincoln University, Chester County, the country’s oldest private African American college. Bond’s family lived on the campus of Lincoln University until 1957, when Dr. Bond was appointed dean of the...
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A Modern Marriage Inspired by the American Revolution

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage,” advised Benjamin Franklin in his Poor Richard’s Almanac, “half shut afterwards.” Despite their great admiration for Philadelphia’s most prominent – if not wittiest – sage, historians David and Joan Dutcher don’t set much store by his marital advice. Their courtship was inspired by the American Revolution...
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Keystone Born, Hollywood Bred: “Movie Buff” David Mallery Reviews the Acting Careers of James Stewart and Grace Kelly

There is magic in the movies. They draw viewers away – even if but for a few hours – from mere ordinary, everyday life to see their own experience and the experience of others in a detached but powerful way. Some induce laughter, others bring tears. But audiences seem grateful for the opportunity to know the richness, the complex­ity, and the irony of events without their having to...
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Meet Mister Rogers, Everybody’s Neighbor

“The greatest gift that you can give anybody,” says Fred McFeely Rogers, “is the gift of your honest self. And that’s what I try to do with the Neighborhood.” Television personality, writer, composer, and beloved neighbor worldwide, Rogers speaks of his vision for Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the longest running program on Public Broadcasting System (PBS). But...
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Sparking a Rock ‘n’ Roll Revolution: An Interview with Dick Clark

For many baby boomers – members of that much-touted generation who came of age in the fifties and sixties – rock ‘n’ roll provided a defining point in their adolescent lives. Few will ever forget the first time they jitterbugged to Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley and the Comets, or took to the dance floor with The Twist by Chubby Checker. Many cherish the memory of...
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