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I just love much of this footage, so unique & rarely seen
Walter Cronkite, the professional voice, of course sounds just fine.
Current video creators might benefit from noticing how the musical score underlines the ideas, instead of wallpapering everything with their favorite New Age music.
Is it Copeland? If not, it’s definitely in the manner of. I’ve never heard that Wright appreciated Aaron Copeland, but his music fits like a glove. Democracy, nobility, individuality, the feeling of wide open space, a real American sensibility, all seem to be themes common to both men.
A few weeks later, once I had made the journey to T-West (a seemingly endless Greyhound trip), I attended a tuxedoed Saturday evening gathering in the garden room, where I sat at the end of the banquette, far from Olga, who sat by the fireplace - again in her ersatz throne, an origami chair - holding court. She muttered to Wes, asking who that young man across the room was (meaning me), which I heard perfectly. She knew what she was doing. Talking softly is a control mechanism. The question wasn't for Wes, but for me. That encounter was one of the reasons (not a main one) that I cut my losses and left forthwith. I knew it would be only a matter of time before Olga and I were at loggerheads, and as the queen of Taliesin, she would win. I wasn't about to let that happen.
The audience at one of the presentations by Wright seen in the Cronkite-hosted piece appeared to lap up his remarks, despite the fact the he seems not to have been miked (?), and not every word was audible on the video. I had a history-of-architecture prof, an elderly sage, whose slide lectures to a large audience of students were just barely comprehensible. One had the feeling that one was perhaps the only person present who managed to catch almost all of it. (I suppose that if everyone there had the same impression, all well and good !)
Did you spend enough time there to develop relationships with Howe, Hill, or Peters?
What was the main reason you left?
Did you continue your architectural training elsewhere?
I hope they refunded your tuition!
The principal reason I didn't stay at Taliesin is the same as JimM's: Frank was gone, why else would I want to be there? I went to the Wisconsin campus for the meeting with Olga. I was kept waiting for half an hour in the studio (another control technique). That turned out to be very informative and interesting. As I prowled about the hallway to the private office, a woman passed through, and exclaimed that for as long as she had lived at Taliesin, she had never noticed the door leading to the stairs down to the parking lot. I thought that was odd, that a person would go to Taliesin, spend years there, and not even get acquainted with it. It was also odd that, as the group was packing to head to Arizona, someone had tossed a 'cello into the studio fireplace. I began to have concerns.
None of the persons I met there seemed very well-versed in FLW's work. I had no idea who any of them were at the time. I assumed it was Richard Carney who met me. He was red-headed and extremely nervous. Later John Geiger said it sounded like Carney, whom I knew in old age as a very fine gentleman. In Wisconsin, I met no one else. When I arrived in Phoenix some weeks later, after spending a night at a downtown hotel, I was picked up by a middle-aged man in a Jeep. As we drove to T-West, I mentioned all the buildings by FLW in the Phoenix area, but he seemed not to know anything about them. Possibly he just wanted to get me to the camp without having to take any side trips, so he feigned ignorance. I don't know.
To call my reception graceless would be an understatement. A young man about my age, whose name I cannot recall, but may have been John Benton, was tasked with giving me a whirlwind tour of the place, again professing that he knew nothing about the work. I didn't know if he was a student or not, but if it was Benton, who spent a lot of time there, it would have been understandable. After the brief get together in the garden room that tuxedoed night, the lot of us proceeded to dinner. Along the way, we stopped at the fire-breathing dragon for Olga to mutter something about what a wonderful thing it was, as if it had just been installed. Dinner (underdone chicken) was at the music pavilion, followed by a movement performance by Io and troupe that made me wonder about the lavish praise Olga had piled on about the superb performing skills of the apprentices.
Wes was a sort of ominous presence, hovering over Olga for the most part, seeming not to be the terrific gentleman that years later I found him to be. I recall waiting outside by the loggia to meet Herself, and tell her I would not be staying. Wes appeared briefly at a window above, glowering down at me, for what reason I cannot imagine. Leave it to say that I was not impressed by any of it, including the pup tent to which I was assigned half way up the mountain. I've never regretted leaving. The $200 down payment was non-refundable, but I saved $1,800, though that $200 is roughly $1,800 today.
Did you continue architecture studies elsewhere?
After Taliesin, I returned to U of M, but left not long thereafter. Before being drafted, I worked for architect James E. McBurney, Jr.* as a delineator. The neighboring office was occupied by Ralph Rapson and Leonard Parker, with whom we often lunched. Rapson designed the original Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Guthrie met often with Rapson, and their battles over the design were loud and legendary; Rapson insisted on a large entry, and Guthrie insisted on using the space on the tight site for backstage. Rapson won.
* Jim's father, James E. McBurney, Sr. was a popular painter of modest academic gifts. He was a friend of composer Carrie Jacobs-Bond, with whom he spent an evening at the Riverside Inn, which inspired her to write her most famous song, "(When You Com to the End of) A Perfect Day." An enormously popular composer of her day, her second-most famous song was "I Love You Truly." All she had to do was step outside her home in Hollywood, and she would make the front page of Holly Leaves, the local newspaper, in which she was noted as a guest at a dinner given for FLW during his brief residence in the city.