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Fighting Words: The perils of independence and Irish cry-babies

The Story


Author Claude Dewhurst, Nigerian musician Michael Olatunji, Irish firebrand Brendan Behan and the always-entertaining Morley Callaghan butt heads over a controversial concept: "There are countries so underdeveloped today that the gift of independence is like the gift of a razor to a child." Behan and Callaghan alone supply enough fighting words for several episodes.

Then, Fighting Words welcomes fiery Irish panellist Brendan Behan with Heywood Broun's notion that "the Irish are the cry-babies of the western world." Claude Dewhurst, Michael Olatunji and panel regular Morley Callaghan join Behan for some heated rhetoric, eye-rolling and verbal explosions in this 1961 discussion.

Medium: Television
Program: Fighting Words
Broadcast Date: March 19, 1961
Guest(s): Brendan Behan, Morley Callaghan, Claude Dewhurst, Michael Olatunji
Host: Nathan Cohen
Duration: 27:48

Did You know?


• Michael Babatunde Olatunji became an internationally recognized percussionist with over 3,000 performances to his credit. He earned the Key to New York City and won several Grammy awards in his 50-plus-year career.

• Brendan Behan died in 1964, three years to the day after this appearance. A self-described "drinker with a writing problem," he collapsed after a drinking bout in Dublin and died three days later at 41 years old.


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