Listen to Hoosier History Live! at 11:30 a.m. each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM. The Saturday show airs again at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. You also can listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast.
Also, you can join us at the Central Library on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. to listen to the live show.
Nov. 14, 2009 show - Johnny Appleseed: The facts & myths
His real name was John Chapman. He probably died in 1845 in Allen County, where the largest city, Fort Wayne, celebrates a popular Johnny Appleseed Festival every autumn. Did he wear a saucepan on his head, as depicted in Walt Disney cartoons? What were the facts, and what were the myths or embellishments, about the folk hero of the Indiana frontier known as Johnny Appleseed?
To enlighten us, one of the country’s foremost experts on Johnny Appleseed will join Nelson in studio. His guest will be Indianapolis-based re-enactor and playwright Hank Fincken, who has spent decades researching Appleseed/Chapman. Hank portrays colorful, eccentric Johnny Appleseed at schools, festivals, fairs and special events; his website is at hankfincken.com.
According to most accounts, John Chapman was born in New England in 1774. He was a pacifist and a vegetarian who befriended many Native Americans – all cause for many other pioneers to regard him as a bit of an oddball, although they were grateful for his gifts of apple seedlings as they settled in the frontier. The wanderlust of Chapman/Appleseed is said to have been motivated in part by his spiritual beliefs. In addition to apple seedlings, he distributed scriptures across the Indiana wilderness in the 1830s and '40s.
Before that, Chapman was a true hero during the War of 1812 and helped save the lives of massacre survivors trapped in Mansfield, Ohio, according to Hank. The author of Three Midwest History Plays and Then Some (1997), Hank also portrays such historical figures as Christopher Columbus, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Francisco Pizarro. Here’s his motto about his one-man shows: “If history were to repeat itself, it would be like this!”
Nelson plans to ask Hank to “do” a bit of his Appleseed character during the show.
Some fun facts:
- Hank has had encounters with people who are descended from the extended Chapman family. (Not directly from Chapman himself, though. He never married.)
- In several regions of Indiana, particularly northern counties, residents have long been convinced that various trees are descended from seeds planted by Johnny. Is this possible? And how far west did he travel? Tune in to get the scoop on Appleseed.
- Hank is a former Peace Corps volunteer in Peru and Costa Rica.
- Along with other Hoosier authors, Nelson will be signing and selling books Saturday (Nov. 14) at the annual Christmas Gift & Hobby Show. Catch him from 3 to 7 p.m. at the 60th annual show at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.
History Mystery question
Not only did Disney feature Johnny Appleseed in the animated movie Melody Time, the movie studio hired a famous Indiana native as the voice of a character in The Jungle Book in 1967. The Hoosier-born performer, who had been a popular bandleader and radio personality, won a new generation of young fans thanks to his character in The Jungle Book, who sings a song that was nominated for an Academy Award.
Question: Name the Hoosier-born entertainer who voiced a character in Disney’s The Jungle Book AND the Oscar-nominated tune that the character sang.
The call-in number is (317) 788-3314*, and the prize is a pair of tickets to the Indiana State Museum, as well as a pair of tickets to the James Whitcomb Riley home, courtesy of the ICVA.
Extra credit if you can sing a few bars of that Oscar nominated song.
*Please do not call in to the station until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.
Chris Gahl of the ICVA will be back with us this week to suggest that we Roadtrip to the Hilbert Circle Theatre to see Indiana native Florence Henderson. She's hosting a special three-night show there starting Friday, Nov. 20, through Sunday, Nov. 22. Her performance will take audiences down memory lane as she sings Broadway hits and other popular songs that were highlights in her career.
She was born in Dale, Indiana but left at 17 to study at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Shortly after, she landed her first Broadway appearance in the musical Wish You Were Here. Of course, Henderson is best known as "America's Favorite Mom" on The Brady Bunch, though she also starred in productions of Oklahoma, The Sound Of Music, The King and I and many more.
Your friends in Hoosierdom,
Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Armstrong Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Garry Chilluffo, online editor
Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support:
Antique Helper, Skip Sauvain of Sycamore Group Realtors, Lucas Oil, Story Inn, Daina's Petite Pies and Slippery Noodle Inn.
Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Indianapolis Marion County Public Library, Monomedia Inc., Indiana Humanities Council, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Drew Pastorek, and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through sponsorships and through individual tax-deductible contributions through the Indiana Humanities Council. Visit our website to learn more.
Nov. 21 - Birds of Indiana
We will be talking turkey – wild turkeys, that is – along with a flock of other bird-related topics guaranteed to intrigue anyone with even a fleeting interest in our feathered friends. Nelson will be joined in studio by Don Gorney, president of the Amos W. Butler Audubon Society, which serves Central Indiana. A volunteer naturalist at Fort Harrison State Park who leads bird hikes throughout the year, Don will share insights about wild turkeys, which once were extirpated from Indiana but have recently rebounded greatly. He also will chat about cardinals (our state bird, of course); hummingbirds and other species that can be seen during the cold months, and species that have become extinct in the Hoosier state, including the Great Prairie Chicken and the Carolina Parakeet.
Don also will share details about Lights Out Indy, a crusade he’s leading to reduce the nighttime deaths of migratory birds because of “building strikes." We also hope to explore bald eagles across Indiana, as well as “introduced” birds to our state, including rock pigeons, house sparrows and European starlings.
Don has worked as a naturalist for the DNR at Chain O’ Lakes State Park and for the butterfly exhibit at the Indiana State Fair. He has the distinction of being one of the few “birders” to have seen more than 300 species in the state during one year.
Dec. 5 - Live from the Holiday Author Fair
Tune in Dec. 5 at 11:30 a.m. for the 2009 version of Hoosier History Live! direct from the Holiday Author Fair!
Visit our website!
Our newly revamped website is chock-full of Hoosier history, including details of past and upcoming Hoosier History Live! shows. Visit us at www.hoosierhistorylive.info to see what's up.