Jun 02 201683 Bill Lascher on Eve of a Hundred Midnights

This week’s episode is an interview with author Bill Lascher about his upcoming book Eve of a Hundred Midnights, about two American war correspondents covering the East Asian theater of WWII. ┬áIn it, Lascher details how they got into journalism, what it was like to cover wartime China, and their various encounters with and escapes from the dangers of war.

Eve of a Hundred Midnights comes out on June 21st, 2016.


Apr 14 201676 The Yellow Kid

Nowadays, comic books are mainstream. Movies about superheroes dominate the box office, and you can’t go ten feet in a major retail outlet without seeing something related to popular comics culture. This is not new. Comics and comic books have always been an integral part of American popular culture ever since the 1890s, with the introduction of the Yellow Kid, America’s first popular comics character.

The Yellow Kid (created by former Edison employee R.F. Outcault) sported a shaved head (a common deterrent for lice) and a ragged, hand-me-down nightshirt as his only garment. He eventually became a star in 1890s New York City, and his distinctive image could be found on everything from cigar boxes to cookie tins. Eventually the Kid led to a fight between newspaper magnates Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, who each tried to woo the public with their own distinct and competing versions of the popular comics character.


Jan 15 201513 Nellie Bly and the Asylum

In 1880s New York Nellie Bly (born Elizabeth Jane Chochrane)reported on the conditions inside an insane asylum by pretending to be mentally ill and getting herself checked into one. Bly’s account of Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum caused a sensation when it was published in the New York World, detailing poor conditions for the inmates, abuse by the asylum staff, and virtually no way to get off the island once one was brought there.

The photo below shows the asylum on Blackwell Island in 1893, about six years after Nellie Bly’s visit.


Related Links:

Listen to Nelly Bly, the Stephen Foster Song from Which Elizabeth Jane Cochran took her pen name.

Read Ten Days in a Madhouse online, or listen to it as an audiobook on YouTube.

Into the Madhouse With Nellie Bly: Girl Stunt Reporting in Late Nineteenth-Century America (requires login)