My KPFA – A Historical Footnote




America Since The Bomb

D. G. Bridson





Here are the programs that I was able to record from D. G. Bridson’s wonderful BBC series, America Since the Bomb, which he produced in 1966. Geoffrey was a great friend of Pacifica Radio and his series drew extensively on material that had been heard on KPFA, and so I make no apology for including them here on my KPFA website. A complete listing, including those that I was not able to record at the time, together with Geoffrey’s program notes, can be read by clIcking HERE.


These are the programs that I recorded off the air [click on number]:


1.     Introductory Talk by D. G. Bridson

2.     Korea to Vietnam 1, Bomb Diplomacy. First of three documentaries by D. G. Bridson which trace the history of America’s involvement in the Cold War.

3.     The Spy Scare, Talk by Alistair Cooke. The case of Alger Hiss seen in relation to the overall question of national security.

4.     The Senator from Wisconsin, Documentary by Emile de Antonio. In the wake of the spy-scare came the witch-hunt. This analysis of the methods and results of McCarthyism includes recordings of some of the more remarkable hearings.

5.     The Investigator. Radio Play by Reuben Ship. This brilliant skit on the McCarthy hearings was first broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It played no small part in helping to destroy the McCarthy myth.

6.     The Beat Generation by Kenneth Rexroth. The end of the war in Korea saw the emergence of a new school of writers on the West Coast of America – the so-called Beat Generation. This programme explains the various aspects and antecedents of the movement which claimed to speak for America in the fifties. [I wasn’t able to record this talk but Bridson gave me a Xerox of his working script. The first and least important page is illegible.]

7.     Korea to Vietnam 2 Brinkmanship by D.G. Bridson. This documentary traces the course of the Cold War during the Eisenhower administration.

8.     The Birth of Pop. Illustrated talk by Ralph Gleason. The nature and characteristics of the popular music of the adolescent during the fifties and sixties.

9.     Blacklisting on Trial. Talk by John Henry Falk. The story of blacklisting in the entertainment industry during the fifties, and the legal action which might be said  to have put an end to the era of the witch-hunt. [Several blacklisted authors were remarkably included in the US London Embassy’s 1966 Festival of American Arts and Humanities.]

10. Sick Humour and Satire. Illustrated talk by D. G. Bridson. The age of anxiety was not long in becoming the age of cynicism. A new type of humour and social comment sprang up in America, which rapidly took root in the world of café society. To what extent was this a product of the sense of insecurity that it satirized?

11. Korea to Vietnam 3, The Moon or South-East Asia? By D. G. Bridson. This, the third historical documentary of the series, contrasts the two objectives of America in the sixties, global defence and the conquest of space. Can one nation continue both programmes indefinitely, and if so, how are they to be related?

12. Negro Writing Today. D. G. Bridson talks with Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Leroy Jones and Alice Childress. BBC Third Program, 6 Dec 1964. This was not a part of America Since the Bomb, but historically it belongs with these programs. The tape was given to me by Geoffrey Bridson in 1966 and, although incomplete, it is very valuable as it is probably the only surviving record of these four writers talking together.

13. D.G. Bridson talks with Kenneth Rexroth about the San Francisco beat scene in the 1950s. BBC Third Program, 1963. Another gift from Geoffrey Bridson which became an invaluable part of my talk on the Beat Poets that I gave at art colleges in England and Scotland in the 1960s. In 2018, with 150 added images, it became a Powerpoint presentation that I gave at the October gallery, and then a video, which is HERE on YouTube.