Entertainment History


Franz Liszt was a pianist, a composer and a conductor, and basically the first rock star who drove fans into fits of swooning and screaming. Some fans even stole the detritus of his life (unfinished coffee, broken piano strings) to carry with them. Read the show notes here.

Frankie Manning and the Lindy Hop, Part 2

Once Manning became a professional dancer and choreographer, his work took him all over the world. After WWII derailed his swing dancing, he had a hard time returning to a world where musical tastes had changed. Read the show notes here.

Frankie Manning and the Lindy Hop, Part 1

Frankie Manning grew up loving dance, learning and practicing in ballrooms and private parties in New York. His innovations in creating new moves for the Lindy hop led him from dancing as a hobby to a career as a performer.

Bela Lugosi, Part 2

While his name instantly conjures an image of the dashing, sophisticated vampire that helped spark an entire horror film genre, Lugosi really lost more than he gained from playing the role.

Bela Lugosi, Part 1

While he's mostly associated with the role of Dracula, Bela Lugosi's early life was significantly affected by WWI, the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the transition from silent film to talkies. Read the show notes here.

The La Scala Opera House

The Teatro alla Scala is one of the most renowned opera houses in the world, and is Italy's crown jewel of the arts. Even if you have only a passing knowledge of opera, odds are, you know a name connected to the history of this legendary cultural hub. Read the show notes here.

Elsa Lanchester: Becoming the Bride Pt. 2

After her unconventional upbringing, Elsa's career as a performer began to take off in the late 1920s, around the same time she met her husband. But the role that would define her image came in 1935.

You may not know her name, but her image is famous. As the love interest for Dr. Frankenstein's monster in "The Bride of Frankenstein," Elsa Lanchester became a film icon, but her life story is as interesting as any cinema fiction.

Orson Welles and the War of the Worlds

In 1938, Orson Welles produced a series of radio dramas, including one based on "War of the Worlds." The broadcast aired the night before Halloween and purportedly caused a mass panic. But why did listeners believe the show was real? (And how much of the panic was hype?) Tune in to find out.

The Rite of Spring Riot

Riots are a distressingly common part of human history, and the strangest events can trigger widespread violence. In this episode, Deblina and Sarah take a closer look at one of history's strangest riots. Tune in to learn more.