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Original The American Trail header art

The American Trail Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> The American Trail

Original The American Trail mp3 cover art

The American Trail was sponsored and funded by The Ladies' Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars
The American Trail was sponsored and funded by The Ladies' Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars

Walla Walla Union Bulletin announcement of The American Trail from Feb 1 1953
Walla Walla Union Bulletin announcement of The American Trail from Feb 1 1953.

Gen. James H. Doolittle is heard in Chapter 12 - The Blue Yonder
Gen. James H. Doolittle is heard in Chapter 12 - The Blue Yonder

President Dwight David Eisenhower delivers a stirring postscript to Chapter 13 in an appeal to America's youth
President Dwight David Eisenhower delivers a stirring postscript to Chapter 13 in an appeal to America's youth.


Veterans of Foreign Wars badge

Background

From the February 1, 1953 edition of the Nevada State Journal:

VFW Auxiliary To Sponsor Program

The first of a series called "The American Trail" will be broadcast on February 4, over Station KOH (NBC), starting at 9:45 to 10 a.m. The American Trail series, sponsored by the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, will bring 13 thrilling chapters in American history to 30 million school children and will be sponsored locally by the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 407 and Battleborn Auxiliary No. 9211.

For the next three months 13 little known dramatic stories of American history will live again for fourth to eighth grade children across the country. These stories will be enacted by nationally known radio and television actors whose professional skill makes American history live again. The 13 thrilling chapters in the American Trail radio series are:

Chapter I: "Dispatch to New York"
Chapter II: "The Northwest Ordinance."
Chapter III: "The Louisiana Purchase."
Chapter IV: "Lewis and Clarke Expedition."
Chapter V: "Samuel Slater's Machine."
Chapter VI: "The Golden Ocean."
Chapter VII: "The Magic Wire."
Chapter VIII: "On to Monterey."
Chapter IX: "The California Gold Rush."
Chapter X: "The Rich Desert"
Chapter XI: 'The New South."
Chapter XII: 'The Blue Yonder."
Chapter XIII: 'The Brave Flag."


The Ladies of the VFW Auxilliary coordinate their launch

One of several patriotic anthologies of the era, this series was intended to chronicle high points of the history of The United States in thirteen chapters. Even more pointedly, the entire series is primarily directed to America's youth. The scripts were well written, informative, and reasonably historically accurate, though naturally slanted to emphasize the merits and virtues of American freedom through The Cold War years. The productions were predictably jingoistic and as much propaganda as historic narrative, capturing much of the sentiment and Communist hysteria of the period. But given the tenor of the era, the intended 4th to 8th grade audience and its timeslots, the tone is appropriate.

As the series progresses, it becomes clear that more and more patriotic fervor entered each subsequent episode, extending even to the organist.

The series of programs was announced at the mid-year Conference for VFW Auxiliary Members held from January 23-27, 1953 in Washington, D.C.. State VFW Auxiliary Chapter Presidents were given previews of the thirteen programs and instructional materials and press releases to take back to their State Chapters in order to better promote the national broadcasts. Numerous local civic groups and national youth groups such as The Campfire Girls and The Girl Scouts were enlisted to help promote the series, as well as local Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs). To their great credit, one is reminded that the Ladies of the Auxiliary throughout the country provided the bulk of the financial support for The American Trail through ongoing activities as humble as rummage sales, bake sales and other similar fund-raising appeals throughout their various chapters across the nation. The Ladies Auxiliary typically supported the men's VFW groups as well throughout this period, since many of the local VFW Chapters throughout the country had been decimated by the effects of The War Years.

It's worth remembering that this was an era during which the Ladies of the Nation--and their considerable ability to effectively organize for various formal and informal charities--were still at the peak of their resourcefulness and persuasive powers. They'd gained considerable experience with such drives throughout World War II when a great majority of their loved ones were off fighting the War. These amazing ladies were not only a domestic force to be reckoned with, but had also become a significant political force to be reckoned with, as well. Our research for this series uncovered story after local story in regional and local newspapers of the era recounting these ladies' often breathtaking influence throughout their communities.

As the respective Ladies' Auxiliary Chapter Presidents meeting in the Nation's Capitol fanned back out to their communities, it's clear they hit the ground running once they'd returned to their home states and towns. They ensured that the children of their communities would be provided the opportunity to hear these broadcasts in every city and town throughout the nation. If the local broadcasting affiliate could only slot the broadcasts on Saturday afternoons, the Ladies would respond by organizing listening parties with their childrens' teachers. If the affiliate could only slot the broadcasts for a weekday, they'd ensure that it was an appropriate before-dinner timeslot, so as to ensure an alert audience for each broadcast.

It's clear that these considerable organizing activities and civic undertakings were just the tip of the iceberg in demonstrating these Ladies' extraordinary abilities. As with much of the vast normalization activities the nation endured after World War II and The Korean War, the Ladies of America, unsung for the most part, were most definitely doing a great deal of the heavy lifting that got both the Nation and its Economy back on track throughout the post-War years.

Though Bing Crosby and his son Lindsay are heard in Chapter 9, General James H. Doolittle is heard in Chapter 12, and President Dwight David Eisenhower is heard in Chapter 13, little else is recorded about the principal cast or production details. We have every reason to believe that the Ladies' Auxiliary had no trouble enlisting the support of many of the popular voice talents and performers of the era in support of this most worthy undertaking.

The chapters themselves trace a chronological progression of key events throughout the history of the American Trail West from Patrick Henry's inspiring "Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death", to the closing chapter which poignantly provides the history and deeper meaning behind the American Flag of the era.

There were several other, similar youth-directed productions of the era, both network sustained and sponsored by the various patriotic and post-War associations that sprang up during the Cold War years. The Ladies' Auxiliary clearly had the best of intentions behind this production and indeed, the series acquired the endorsement of several governors, legislators and even President Eisenhower in the process.

Though the remaining production credits of this series remain yet to be discovered, many of the voices heard throughout the series are quite familiar. We continue to attempt to determine more of the credits to this fine, annual precursor to our July 4th celebrations. We're reminded that virtually all of the messages of each of the 13 Chapters of this well-produced program retain their meaning to this day.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Juvenile Patriotic Dramas
Network(s): NBC and several other local affiliates and networks while in syndication.
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 53-02-07 01 Chapter 1. - Dispatch To New York
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 53-02-07 to 53-05-02; NBC; Thirteen, 15-minute programs; Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. [Tuesdays at 6:30 p.m. in some markets]
Syndication: The Ladies' Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars syndication
Sponsors: The Ladies' Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars
Director(s): Unknown
Principal Actors: Bing Crosby, Lindsay Crosby, General James H. Doolittle, President Dwight David Eisenhower
Recurring Character(s): Fictitious New York Reporter, Tom Farrell
Protagonist(s): Fictitious New York Reporter, Tom Farrell
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Unknown
Music Direction: Unknown
Musical Theme(s): Unknown organ and piano accompaniment
Announcer(s): Unknown
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
13
Episodes in Circulation: 13
Total Episodes in Collection: 13
Provenances:
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, Wisconsin State Journal.

Notes on Provenances:

All above cited provenances are in error in one form or another. The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and The Wisconsin State Journal

American Trail had remained undated for the past fifty years. We thought it was about time we corrected that oversight. It took us almost 23 minutes to set that right.

You're welcome to compare our fully provenanced research withthe '1,500 expert researchers' at the OTRR and their own American Trail log
. We've therefore provided a screen shot of their current log for comparison, HERE to protect our own further due diligence.

What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. Here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here's the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.

We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it.

We continue to provide honest research into these wonderful Golden Age Radio programs simply because we love to do it. If you feel that we've provided you with useful information or saved you some valuable time regarding Top Secret--and you'd like to help us even further--you can help us keep going. Please consider a small donation here:

We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.

All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.







The American Trail Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
53-02-07
1
Chapter 1. - Dispatch To New York
Y
Premiere Episode

53-02-06 Wisconsin State Journal
GOV. WALTER J. KOHLER will initiate a series of radio reports to the people of Wisconsin at 1:45 p.m. Sunday. He will speak over WHA and the state radio council network. Gov. Kohler has endorsed a series of dramatic programs to be presented by the Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars on the same stations at 9 a.m. on Saturdays, beginning this week. The program is "The American Trail," 13 chapters of little-known American history. The first episode will deal with the establishment of the U.S. Constitution. Others will be about the Northwest Ordinance, the Louisiana purchase, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and the California gold rush. In a letter to Mrs. George L. Holm, national president of the auxiliary, Gov. Kohler said: ""The American Trail"...is certain to make a great and good impression upon the youth of America. I wholeheartedly commend the Auxiliary...for it."

53-02-07 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): new series: "
Dispatch to New York."

53-02-14
2
Chapter 2. - The Northwest Ordinance

Y
53-02-14 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The Northwest Ordinance."
53-02-21
3
Chapter 3. - The Louisiana Purchase
Y
53-02-21 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The Louisiana Purchase"
53-02-28
4
Chapter 4. - The Lewis and Clark Expedition
Y
53-02-28 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
Lewis and Clark Expedition."
53-03-07
5
Chapter 5. - Samuel Slater's Machine
Y
53-03-07 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
Samuel Slater's Machine."
53-03-14
6
Chapter 6. - The Golden Ocean
Y
53-03-14 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The Golden Ocean."
53-03-21
7
Chapter 7. - The Magic Wire
Y
53-03-21 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The Magic Wire."
53-03-28
8
Chapter 8. - On To Monterey
Y
53-03-28 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
On To Monterey."
53-04-04
9
Chapter 9. - The California Gold Rush
Y
53-04-04 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The California Gold Rush."
53-04-11
10
Chapter 10. - The Rich Desert
Y
53-04-11 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The Rich Desert."
53-04-18
11
Chapter 11. - The New South
Y
53-04-18 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The New South."
53-04-25
12
Chapter 12. - The Blue Yonder
Y
53-04-25 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The Blue Yonder."
53-05-02
13
Chapter 13. - The Brave Flag
Y
[ Last Episode ]

53-05-02 Wisconsin State Journal
- 9 a.m.--American Trail (WHA): "
The Brave Flag," last of series.






The American Trail Radio Program Biographies




Ladies' Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars
(Sponsor/Creator)

National Patriotic and Philanthropic Service Organization

Founded: 1914 inKansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.

Chartered by Act of Congress: 1936

Radiography:
1953 The American Trail

Veterans of Foreign Wars badge

Ladies' Auxilliary Badge


Dixie Hild takes her Oath of Office for the 2008-2009 Presidency of the Ladies' Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars
Dixie Hild takes her Oath of Office for the 2008-2009 National Presidency of the Ladies' Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Then Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama addresses The VFW and Ladies' Auxiliary
Then Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama addresses The VFW and Ladies' Auxiliary.

Dixie Hild (center right) and her 2008-2009 National Staff
Dixie Hild (center right) and her 2008-2009 National Staff.

VFW Centennial Plaza (dedicated on October 5, 2001)
VFW Centennial Plaza (
dedicated on October 5, 2001).

The plaza,which commemorates 100 years of "veterans helping veterans," features a life-size, two-figured bronze sculpture depicting a soldier transitioning into civilian life. The statue, titled Citizen Soldier, was created by Jim Brothers, a Lawrence, Kansas, sculptor. The bronze statue, sculpted on a one-and-a-quarter life-size scale, is two figures attached at the hip. The two figures are of the same individual: one is a soldier fighting for his country; the other figure depicts the soldier today as a veteran and as a member of the VFW.

Rounding out the Plaza are five bronze tablets, which represent the VFW's founding fathers:

  • Recognition and remembrance of military duty
  • Assistance to disabled veterans
  • Community service
  • Their alliance with the Ladies Auxiliary
  • Their partnership with today's youth.
The Ladies Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars, which was founded in 1914 to help veterans and their families, is the backbone of VFW volunteer efforts. Promoting patriotism and helping veterans in need are just two of the many ways that the Auxiliary serves America's communities. The Ladies Auxiliary also has its own volunteer programs directed at VA, state and community hospitals.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States--with its Auxiliaries--includes 2.2 million members in approximately 8,100 Posts worldwide.

Its mission is to "honor the dead by helping the living" through veterans' service, community service, national security and a strong national defense.

The VFW traces its roots back to 1899 when veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service: many arrived home wounded or sick. There was no medical care or veterans' pension for them, and they were left to care for themselves.

In their misery, some of these veterans banded together and formed organizations with what would become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum. By 1915, membership grew to 5,000; by 1936, membership was almost 200,000.

The VFW was officially chartered by Act of the United States Congress in 1936. Since then, the VFW's voice has been instrumental in establishing the Veterans Administration, creating a GI Bill for the 20th century, the development of the national cemetery system and the fight for compensation for Vietnam vets exposed to Agent Orange and for veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, VFW won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America's active-duty servicemembers, and members of the Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VFW also has fought for improving VA medical centers services for women veterans.

Besides helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first veterans' organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which is being constructed in Washington, D.C., and is expected to open in 2010.

In 2001, VFW unveiled its tribute to service and country with its dedication of Centennial Plaza.

Annually, VFW members and its Auxiliary contribute more than 13 million hours of volunteerism in the community, including participation in Make A Difference Day and National Volunteer Week.

From providing $2.5 million in college scholarships to high school students every year to encouraging elevation of the Veterans Administration to the president's cabinet, the VFW is there--honoring the dead by helping the living.

And the Ladies' Auxiliary is right along side the VFW, selflessly serving with the Men's Auxiliary in the 21st Century.




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