383
June 19, 2009

Origin Story

This week we bring you little-known and surprising stories of how all sorts of institutions—from a controversial legal precedent to a Hollywood teen dance flick—began. In one story, a man tries to set the record straight about his life's achievements, which he says include inventing thumb wrestling and popularizing the eating of shrimp in the New York area. And the story of a seven-year-old old boy trying to figure out where he comes from.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass talks to business professor Pino Audia and Fast Company magazine columnist Dan Heath about corporate creation myths, and why so many of them involve garages. (7 minutes)

Mad Man

TAL producer Sarah Koenig tells the story of her father, Julian Koenig, the legendary advertising copywriter whose work includes the slogan "Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking" and Volkswagen's "Think Small" ads. For years Sarah has heard her dad accuse a former partner of stealing some of his best ideas, but until recently she never paid much attention.Then she started asking her dad for details of this fight for his legacy, and what she learned surprised her. (20 minutes)

The Secret Life Of Secrets

Ira tells the story of the 1953 U.S. Supreme Court case that formed the basis for the controversial state secret privilege—the precedent that allows the United States government to stop lawsuits by claiming that national security secrets might be revealed in court. Ira talks to Barry Siegel, author of the book Claim of Privilege, and Judy Loether, whose father's death was at the center of the landmark Supreme Court case. (14 minutes)

Song:

“Friends and Ancestors” by Nedelle