The Lance Zavitz Radio Show Transcript Collection
John B. Zavitz
1 box; 2 linear ft.
Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State
The Lance Zavitz Radio Show Transcript Collection is open for research.
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[Description and dates], Box/folder number, The Lance Zavitz Radio Show Transcript Collection, Archives & Special Collections Department, E. H. Butler Library, SUNY Buffalo State.
Lance Zavitz was a reporter, editor, church editor, columnist and self-described “commentator” at The Buffalo Evening News newspaper from 1933 to at least 1960. He wrote columns, editorials and book reviews. He also worked on the newspaper’s “church page,” and gave speeches/talks to community groups. Zavitz was born on March 28, 1899, and died Feb. 27, 1987 in Gerry, NY. He was a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Canada; at that time, he lived on Fishery Road in Cold Spring, Cattaraugus, N.Y., with his wife and four children. The U.S. City Directories 1821-1989 shows his profession in 1941 as a “rewriteman” for the Buffalo News who lived on LaFayette Avenue; in 1956, the directories show him as still working for the newspaper but now living on Leroy Avenue. Several records show he became a lay pastor and later minister of the Ellington Congregational Church in Ellington, N.Y., where he presided over funeral services. Town of Ellington, N.Y., sesquicentennial (1824-1974) records refer to him as having served as “pastor for 15 years” in 1959, when he “decided to become a part of the Billy Graham evangelist team.” Other references to Zavitz cite him as “Graham's news bureau chief” (a 1964 article in Harvard’s Crimson newspaper) and press agent (1965 article in the Lima, Ohio, News). Zavitz also is listed as a contributor to Christianity Today (June 24, 1966, Volume 10, Number 19).
The Lance Zavitz Radio Show Transcript Collection consists of one box of scripts that were delivered on WBEN Radio from 1934 to 1940, and one folder of miscellaneous correspondence to, from and about Mr. Zavitz. The correspondence dates from 1933 to 1953. The collection captures mid-depression attitudes on local, state, and national levels including commentary and seemingly prophetic analysis.
The scripts are for a show titled “The Week in Review.” The show name sometimes was changed to “The News in Review,” which may reflect the fact that some shows were delivered weekly, while other shows were two or three weeks apart. The scripts are arranged chronologically, with a start date of Jan. 6, 1935, and an end date of May 17, 1940. The show originally was broadcast on Sundays; it then was moved to Saturdays; and finally was moved back to Sundays. Also, the show’s length and time slot changed often. Show lengths were either 5 minutes, 10 minutes or 15 minutes. The show’s time slot ranged from 6:35 to 6:45 p.m. to as late as 10:30 to 10:45 p.m. Most of the shows were delivered on the radio station WEBR (1340 AM and later 970 AM), which went on the air in 1924. It was sold to the newspaper The Buffalo Evening News in 1936; The News then sold WEBR to competing newspaper the Buffalo Courier-Express in 1942. (More information on WEBR can be found at http://www.buffalobroadcasters.com/broadcast-history/WEBR-Radio-970/4.)
Shows from June 2, 1935, to mid-August 1936 were delivered on WBEN. WBEN was licensed by the The Buffalo Evening News and started broadcasting in 1930. The radio station’s studios were in the Statler Hotel; some of the Zavitz scripts are typed the back of letterhead from the station. (More information on WBEN can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WBEN_(AM)). Shows from Aug. 30, 1936, and on are listed as being delivered on WEBR.
Scripts are typed. Most scripts are 5 to 8 pages in length and many contain hand-written editing and corrections, crossed-out sentences and paragraphs. Content-wise, they are a recap of international, national and local news stories. Topics covered include the passing of Navajo medicine man Hosteen Klah, and the loss of knowledge when a tribe member dies, with references to the Western New York tribes of the Senecas, the Tuscaroras, the Oneidas, the Onondagas and the Mohawks (March 7, 1937, script); Robert H. Jackson of Jamestown, N.Y., later U.S. Attorney General, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice and Nuremberg prosecutor; Franklin D. Roosevelt’s push to expand the Supreme Court; labor unions; neutrality in the years leading up to Word War II; shipping scrap metal to Europe and Japan; New Deal legislation; minimum wage and laws related to its inception; British rule in India; emphasis on reading rather than spelling in education; Buffalo’s new bishop, John Duffy. Also, Germany celebrates Hitler’s 48th birthday; Eamonn de Valera and the new Irish constitution; the Basques and Spain; Germany wants to “anschluss” all German-speaking people; Supreme Court upholds National Social Security Act; the marriage of Wallis Warfield Simpson and the Duke of Windsor; unrest and strike in the steel industry; Jews in Palestine; British plan to separate Palestine into three sections; Japan and China; American neutrality; American Chemical Society meeting in Rochester, N.Y.; Ku Klux Klan and incoming Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black; Buffalo, N.Y., attorney Frank Raichle investigates city payroll scandal relating to WPA projects; and J. Ramsey MacDonald. Also: President Getulio Vargas of Brazil; major snowfall in December 1937; what Buffalo pays for snow removal; Joseph P. Kennedy; Orville Wright and anniversary of Kitty Hawk flight; U.S. gunboat Panay is bombed on the Yangtze River in China; New York State Gov. Herbert H. Lehman; economic conditions and political parties in France; the League of Nations Council; U.S. foreign policy under Roosevelt; the trial of Rev. Martin Niemoeller, leader of the Protestant Churches Synod who opposed Nazi Party; German troops march in to Austria on March 11, 1938; German invasion of Austria results in persecution of Jews, censorship, disbanding groups and Gestapo organization; the Tennessee Valley Authority and dismissal of Dr. Arthur E. Morgan. Also: New York State Legislature session, bills related to Buffalo did not pass; Roosevelt publicly proclaims he has no intention to become a dictator; House of Representatives defeats Roosevelt reorganization bill to place more power in the hands of the president; minimum wage increase; the 75th Congress; federal grand jury indicts 18 people charged in German spy ring with ties to Buffalo, N.Y., where a man named William Lonkowski is charged with photographing blueprints of a Navy airplane in the files of Curtiss Airplane & Motor Co.; Germans will try one-time Austria Chancellor Kurt von Schuschnigg for high treason; Nazi use and definition of the word “Aryan;” Howard Hughes and aviation; Douglas “Wrong-way” Corrigan” flies from New York to Ireland; Japan withdraws offer to host 1940 Olympics; British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler meet; Charles “Lucky” Luciano; Fair Labor Standards law takes effect; results of 1938 state and Congressional elections; Eighth Pan-American Conference in Peru; the 76th Congress; cardinals gather to elect a new pope, Pope Pius XII; German takeover of Czechoslovakia; Neutrality Act of 1937; Poland refuses to share territorial rights with Germany; coal miners on strike; Paraguay and Bolivia; Danzig, Poland; WPA workers strike; moves of Japan and Germany comment that “Hitler could have been stopped anywhere along the line of march. Now it may be too late. Only time will tell” (Aug. 25, 1939); Nazi Germany invades Poland; Soviet invasion of Finland; League of Nations expels Russia; maiden voyage of ship Queen Elizabeth; British war bonds; Germany invades Norway and Denmark; and Germany invades Belgium and Holland.
The Lance Zavitz Collection contains one box of 225 folders arranged in chronological order.