Thursday, November 21, 2013 | Categories: Episodes |
An aerial view of the crash of Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 831 on November 29, 1963, just outside of Ste-Thérèse-de-Blainville, Quebec which killed all 118 passengers and crew on board. (AP Photo)
Fifty years ago, in November 1963, the world was consumed by the assassination of President John Kennedy. But of course there was other news as well. Two well known writers died- C.S. Lewis who wrote the Narnia Chronicles and Aldous Huxley, author of the dystopian classic Brave New World, and LSD enthusiastic. And in Canada, a plane crash killed 118 people. Rewind presents audio from the other stories of November 1963.
On this edition of Rewind. a trip back to November 22nd, 1963, a time when the world was absorbed with the news of the assassination of President John Kennedy. It was tragic and consuming, and changed the United States immeasurably. For weeks after, there was blanket coverage of Kennedy's funeral, of the shooting of his assassin by Jack Ruby as well as various conspiracy theories.
But of course there was other news as well. On this program we took a look at some of the other events that happened in late November 1963.
The Beatles released their second album in the U.K. It was called With the Beatles and had songs like All My Loving and It Won't Be Long. The musical Hello Dolly made its debut in previews in Detroit. The first episode of the BBC series Doctor Who went to air.
Two notable authors died on the very same day as President Kennedy. There was Aldous Huxley, best known for his grim vision of the future in his novel Brave New World. Also, C.S. Lewis, creator of the Narnia series of books for children. We had reflections on both those men on today's show. PHOTO: C.S. Lewis (CP Images)
We also had a couple of pieces of audio about a plane crash outside Montreal that happened just a week after the President's assassination. It killed all 118 people on board. It's been called Canada's forgotten tragedy.
We started with an interview that Michael Enright did some years ago on The Sunday Edition about Clive Staples Lewis, better known as C.S. Lewis.
His enchanting series of books for children, known collectively as The Chronicles of Narnia, tell the story of a group of English school children who find a magical world of talking animals and epic battles on the other side of a wardrobe.
In 2005 Michael spoke with Alan Jacobs, who had written a biography of C.S. Lewis called The Narnian.
Next, Aldous Huxley. He was one of the most influential writers of his time, and his book Brave New World, published in 1932, painted a picture of a dystopian future. Huxley was also known for his interest in spiritualism and his use of psychedelic drugs. His book The Doors of Perception talked about his experiences with LSD.
The interview we aired on Rewind was from 1960 and the program Project 60. The interviewer Alistair Cooke talked to Aldous Huxley about his life, his literary works and his interest in mysticism.
Huxley continued to use LSD for the rest of his life. And even as he lay dying, unable to do so himself, he asked his wife to inject him with LSD. He died that same day, November 22, 1963, the same day as President Kennedy. Three years later, in 1966, LSD was officially banned in the United States.
LSD was studied in the 1960s by scientists and psychologists, but stories emerged of people who had suffered from horrifying experiences while using the drug. In 2010, the New York Times wrote about new scientific research into the use of psychedelic drugs to treat various mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.
Just a week after President Kennedy's assassination, there was a plane crash outside Montreal that killed all 118 people on board. The crash was Canada's worst at the time, and its cause has never been determined. But perhaps because it happened so close to the assassination, it has been largely forgotten.
We aired two pieces of audio. The first was from the CBC Television program This Hour Has Seven Days in 1965, almost two years after the crash. It presented a portrait of some of the people who died in the crash, as well as an examination of the investigation into the crash that began almost immediately afterwards.
The other was with Robert Page, who lost his father in the crash, He has since gone on to help write a book about the tragedy. He talked to Tony Doucette of CBC Radio's The Early Shift in Windsor on two separate occasions.
Robert Page is one of the authors, along with his wife Jean Grant Page and Ernest Dick, of Voices of a Forgotten Tragedy: Trans-Canada Airlines Flight 831.
You can find out more about that project at their website, which is www.tcaflight831.com
The documentary At the Moment of Impact was prepared, written and directed for This Hour Has Seven Days by Jim Carney.