17: Name Change / No Theme

17: Name Change / No Theme

Mar 21, 1996
Our first show as This American Life.
  • Host Ira Glass talks changing the name of the show from Your Radio Playhouse and stumbles on a more fundamental truth about naming things: The people with an investment in the name can be incredibly divisive. He consults television talk show host Joe Franklin for advice. Joe actually likes the new name: This American Life. (11 minutes)

    Radio

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  • Navy Pier's renovation was presented as a success in last week's show, but recent press reveals that the pier is bleeding money. WBEZ personality Aaron Freeman and his kids take Ira on a tour of the pier, looking at it from a child's perspective. (11 minutes)

    BusinessChildrenCityEconomicsFamilyJobs/Employment

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  • Barbara Adams, a former member of the Whitewater trial jury, showed up for jury duty wearing a full-scale costume from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Ira dissects a discussion on an Internet mailing list about fandom, inspired by Adams' celebrity. Also: Temple University professor Cindy Patton's childhood infatuation with G.I. Joe dolls concerned her mother, who wanted her daughter doing more traditionally "girly" things. As an adult, she decided she wanted her toys back. Her parents were reluctant to give them back to her. She discusses her struggle to recover her "childhood as a boy." (21 minutes)

    ChildhoodLegal SystemParentsSexualityTelevision
    Song:
    • "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home", artist unknown

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  • The first in a series of pieces in the coming months on This American Life: Non-journalists covering aspects of the Presidential campaign. First up: Chicago playwright David Isaacson presents a piece on Pat Buchanan. (13 minutes)

    PoliticsPresidents

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