As I considered making a show to serve as a kind of year in review, I first thought to choose my favorite program from each month of the year, 12 shows, excerpt 3 minutes for flavor, a bit of commentary or set-up. Well, when I got to the month of May and saw three weeks of Raintree County–and remembered my interest and involvement with this book and the world of its author and his suicide at the peak of his worldly success–I made a new plan. My most important story of 2014, reading and thinking about Raintree County in the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth.
Raintree County was published in 1948, the same year as Indiana University professor Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and these two authors and these two books might actually illuminate each other.
Also, a quick note to let you know that the music you hear within these programs is from the soundtrack to the movie Raintree County, the 1957 film starring Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift, Eva Marie Saint and Lee Marvin. Johnny Green was the composer.
Part I excerpts the May 6th episode Taking the Measure of Raintree County and my guests are Don Gray, emeritus professor of English literature at Indiana University; Eric Sandweiss, Carmony Chair in the Department of History at IU and Editor of the Indiana Magazine of History; and Cherry Williams, Curator of Manuscripts at The Lilly Library at Indiana University. Much of this episode focused on an exhibit of Lockridge Jr.’s personal papers, manuscripts, and family memorabilia showcased at the Lilly Library, in particular the one artifact that serves as the novel’s framing device, The Illustrated Historical Atlas of Henry County Indiana of 1875.
Part II excerpts the May 13th program which consisted of my interview with Ross Lockridge Jr.’s second son, Larry Lockridge, whose biography Shade of the Raintree was re-issued by Indiana University Press this year in a 20th anniversary edition.
Part III excerpts my interview with Ernest Lockridge, the oldest of son of the Ross Lockridge, Jr. and author of several novels, Prince Elmo’s Fire being the most successful, and a kind of photo expose/memoir called The Skeleton Key to the Suicide of My Father.
Producer & Host is Doug Storm.
Board Engineer is Jonathan Richardson.
Carissa Barrett coordinates our social media.
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.