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Great Days In Dayton
First Flight


“Great Days in Dayton”

Reproduced on these pages is the full script of a “Great Days in Dayton” broadcast.  Al music and sound effect “cues” are indicated just as they appear on the working scripts used by the cast.  The sponsor hopes that you will find interesting these dramatized episodes from the life story of your city.


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Script No. 19—“First Flight”


[Theme: Starts fortissimo, then fades behind…]

ANNOUNCER:  “Great Days in Dayton!”

   [Music: Swells and fades behind…]


ANNOUNCER:  The growth and progress of any community is measured not only by the spirit and determination of its citizens, but by their ability to plan wisely for the future.  Dayton has grown from a tiny frontier settlement of crude log cabins to the great city we know today because the citizens of earlier days foresaw the needs of the community and determined each step in the city’s development.  Our sponsors, The Dayton Power and Light Company, are proud of the part they have played in Dayton’s advancement over the long years during which they have supplied natural, gas, electric light and power, and city steam, to the homes, businesses and industries of Dayton.  And their plans for the future are plans for Dayton’s future…definite preparation for many years of growth and expansion for the whole city.  It is their hope that through the presentation of these historical dramas all of us may be made more conscious of our first duty as Dayton citizens…to look forward, to plan well and to carry out each project with the full strength of a determined civic spirit.  (PAUSE.)  And now...here is your narrator, Mr. Charles McLean, who will introduce today’s drama.

    [MUSIC:  Swells and fades behind…]


NARRATOR:  Forty years ago Dayton was a city of 85,000 population.  It had grown very rapidly through the preceding decade.  Business and industry were expanding swiftly, and numerous civic undertakings were keeping pace with that expansion.  There was just cause for civic pride, and perhaps there was some excuse for the fact that that pride was self-centered…that Daytonians of that day, seeing their own immediate accomplishments, were blind to a still greater promise for the future.  (PAUSE.)  Our play today presents scenes well within the memory of many living Daytonians.  It presents real characters, though for obvious dramatic reasons its story will be carried in part by fictional characters who may be assumed to represent typical Daytonians.  The time is about the turn of the century.  The opening scene is in the home of Edward Driscoll, a successful Dayton manufacturer.  The Driscoll family is at dinner.


       [MUSIC:  Fades out.]


[Table sounds.]

EDWARD:  Yes, Ben, I read your article, and I don’t think that a newspaper editor like Walter Barton will publish it.  It’s fantastic…completely fantastic.

MARY:  But I thought it was very interesting, Edward.

EDWARD:  Perhaps, my dear.  Yes, it was interesting…interesting in a way a fairy tale is.  But thoroughly impractical.

NANCY:  I liked it Father.   And you worked awfully hard on it, didn’t you, Ben?

BEN:  Yes, I wanted to make Dayton people see that this thing isn’t just a pipe dream.

EDWARD:  Nancy, my child, you’re as impractical as your brother.

BEN:  I know it isn’t practical yet, Dad, but…

EDWARD:  But, but, but!  That’s the way all dreamers talk. Ben, my boy, if your paper wants you to write feature articles, I tell you that you’ll find plenty of sound, solid, practical subjects right under your nose.  Subjects of real interest to Dayton people, too.  There’s our new Union Depot, the finest in the state.  There’s the Algonquin Hotel, best between Cincinnati and Cleveland.  Our street railways, nearly all electric now.  The Conover building, Dayton’s first skyscraper and one of the tallest in Ohio.  The new Arcade Market.  The new Main street bridge.  All practical things…all things that Dayton people have done.  But these young fellows…what do they actually do?

BEN:  They repair bicycles, and that’s how they make enough money to…

EDWARD:  repair bicycles, do they?  Why don’t they manufacture bicycles on a bog scale, the way George and Frank Huffman do?  The Dayton bicycle…there’s something to be proud of!  And the cash register; John Patterson’s name is getting to be known all over the country.

BEN:  Dad, these men will be known all over the world…by millions of people who may never hear of John Patterson.

EDWARD:  If they are, they’ll be known as fools who broke their necks trying to do something which sensible people know is impossible.

MARY:  But, Edward…

EDWARD:  I’m sorry for their father.  He’s a fine man…a sensible man.  And their sister, Katherine; isn’t she a good school teacher, Nancy?

NANCY:  Yes, very good.

EDWARD:  There’s another brother, too…Lorin.  They tell me that he has good business judgment.

BEN:  That isn’t everything, Day.  They…

EDWARD:  Don’t interrupt me.  I think it would be very unfortunate if the paper published your article. It would make Dayton a laughing-stock all over the country.  I can just see it.  Two Dayton men, Orville and Wilbur Wright, are experimenting with a flying machine.  A flying machine!  I tell you it’s ridiculous.  [Fades out and in.]


   [Newspaper sounds.]

BARTON:  I’m sorry, Ben but it’s too much like one of those articles on the inhabitants of Mars.  It would be all right for one of the New York or Chicago papers; they publish Sunday supplements that are just full of that kind of stuff.  But I agree with your father.  This would make Dayton ridiculous.

BEN:  I tell you they’re going to make this work, Mr. Barton.

BARTON:  I know, I know, but whatever you say, the thing is just a big box kite.  There’s nothing new about that.  I used to fly them myself when I was a boy.  Flying a kite in a strong wind is one thing.  Putting a gasoline engine in the kite, getting in it yourself and sailing around up in the air like a bird is another thing.  They’ll never do it.

BEN:  Listen, please, Mr. Baron.  I’ve talked with both of them.  They know what they’re doing.  They say it isn’t so much a matter of getting into the air as of staying there.  It’s a matter of control, of balance.

BARTON:  Yes, yes, I suppose so.  Well, now, if you want to write an article on something mechanical, do one on the automobile.  Find out haw many there are in Dayton, what kind, what’s the fastest one, and all that.  Go around and talk to the automobile men.  They’re thoroughly practical.  They’re not dreaming of flying through the air; they have their feet on the ground, like the wheels of their automobiles.  {Music: Fades in and out.]



VOICE:  This is a good inner tube, is it, Mr. Wright?  I’m getting tired of having punctures all the time.

WILBUR:  Yes, it’s a good one, though of course no bicycle tube is really puncture-proof.  Here, I’ll take it out of the carton so you can have a good look at it.  [Sound of opening carton.]

VOICE:  H-mmmm, yes, it looks pretty good.  How much is it?

WILBUR:  [Abstracted.]  You could.  You could twist the wing, just the way this carton twists.  I wonder…

VOICE:  What did you say, Mr. Wright?

WILBUR:  I said you could twist the wing this way.  And the air pressures would…

VOICE:  [Stammering.]  Here’s a dollar.  Here it is.  I’ve got to be going.  And you just keep the carton.  [Fade out and in.]



VOICE:  Yes, sir.  There he stood twisting that cardboard carton in his hands.  Silly-looking paper box…you know, the kind they pack inner tubes in.  Well, there I was looking at the tube, and I says,  “How much?”  Well, sir, Wilbur looked straight through me and says, “You could twist the wing this same way.”  I don’t think he heard me, or even saw me.  Made me feel spooky.  I slapped a dollar on the counter and got out of there as fast as I could.  [Fade out and in.]



ORVILLE:  You think this would work better than the hinged wings, Wilbur?

WILBUR:  Yes, I do, Orville, though of course we’d have to try it.  As long as we hinge the wings we can never make them strong enough.  They’ll smash every time the kite or glider lands a little off level.  This way the wing will have its full strength clear out to the end, and by twisting those ends we can vary the air pressures enough to get balance.

ORVILLE:  All right, let’s build a kite that way and try it.  [Fades out and in.]



BOY 1:  Gee, that’s a big kite, Mr. Wright!

WILBUR:  Yes, it’s about five feet wide.

BOY 2:  But why do you have four strings instead of one?

WILBUR:  I think it may balance better that way.  Let’s start it now with a good run.  The wind’s about right.  (PAUSE.)

BOY 1:  There she goes!

BOY 2:  She’s sure sailing!

WILBUR:  Now, you see if I can just work these four strings to twist the ends of the wings, I may be able to…(PAUSE.)

BOY 1:  Look out!  Look out!  She’s coming down.

BOY 2:  Here she comes!  [Light crash off.]  Gee, Mr. Wright, that’s too bad.  She isn’t broken, though, is she?

WILBUR:  No.  No, it’s not broken, and that’s the important thing.  [Fade out and in.]


ORVILLE:  How did it work, Wilbur?

WILBUR:  I’m afraid to say, Orville, because I think we have the thing we’ve been after all this time.  The kite fell, but that was because I hadn’t learned to control the strings.  For a while…for a little while, that is, I kept it up there, sailing beautifully.  And being able to warp the wings does balance it.  [Music: Fades in and behind…]


NARRATOR:  These early inventions were followed by weary months of trial and error.  All existing tales of aero-dynamic figures, which were used to shape the kite wings in order to get the greatest possible lift from the air, were found to be wrong.  Wilbur and Orville Wright had to develop their own figures, work out for themselves the laws which have since formed the basis of all successful flight.  But in the course of doing this they carried on further experiments with kites…kites which they finally built big enough to support the weight of a man.  From the government bureau they found that the best place in the country for steady winds was at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and here, during 1900 and the next two or three years they experimented patiently with their gliders.  Time after time they sailed through the air for several hundred feet, and they found that their methods of preserving balance, both lateral and fore-and-aft, were becoming increasingly effective with each change of design and adjustment, as well as with their increasing skill.  This was flight.  The age old problem had been solved.  Man could at last leave the ground, control his motion through the air, return safely to the ground which he had left.  But there remained the second problem…that of being able to fly with power, more or less regardless of favorable or unfavorable winds. And this was not accomplished until December 1903…again at Kitty Hawk, the scene of so many of their early experiments.  [Music; Fades out.]


WILBUR:  I thought we’d have most of the people in Kitty Hawk here today, Orville.

ORVILLE:  Maybe it’s too cold for them.  Or maybe they just don’t believe we can fly.

WILBUR:  You do, don’t you?

ORVILLE:  Yes.  Yes, I think we’re ready at last.  The engine seems to be all right.

WILBUR:  Here come a few people, anyway.  Mr. Etheridge, Mr. Daniels, Mr. Dough, and Mr. Brinkley.  They’ll help us get her started.

ETHERIDGE:  [Coming on.]  Well, boys, do you think you’re ready?

ORVILLE:  We hope so, Mr. Etheridge.

DANIELS:  She looks pretty big for that little engine.  Think she’ll ever rise by her own power?

WILBUR:  She ought to, if our figures are correct.  There’s enough power in that engine, even if it is small.

ORVILLE:  Lend us a hand, will you?  We’ll get her into position on the monorail.

VOICES:  All right…Steady, now…I’ve got my end…Sure weighs more than you’d think to look at her…All right, come around now…Here we go…Easy, easy!  (PAUSE.)

WILBUR: Now, she’s set.  Start up the engine, Orville.  (PAUSE.)  [Sound of engine cranking.  False start.  Finally starts.]

ORVILLE:  It sounds all right, Wilbur.  [Engine sound up and down.]

WILBUR:  Yes…Yes, she’s running all right.  Get aboard, Orville.  (PAUSE.)  You all right?

ORVILLE:  All right.

WILBUR:  Now, everyone, let go!  [Engine faster.]  That’s it.  She’s beginning to move.  [Engine recedes.]

DANIELS:  Look, look! She’s rising!  He’s off the rail!  He’s flying!  He’s flying!

ETHERIDGE:  And I never thought I’d live to see this day!

DANIELS:  Look out!  He’s falling!  He’s crashed!  Come on, everyone!

WILBUR:  [Coming on.]  Are you hurt, Orville?

ORVILLE:  No, not at all.  And I know what the trouble is.  The front rudder is badly balanced.  Maybe there’s a difference when we’re flying with the engine.  We’ll have to learn the controls differently now, I suppose.  [Fade out and in.]

   [Knock on door.]  (PAUSE.)  [Door opens.]

BOY:  Are you Bishop Wright?


BOY:  Telegram.

WRIGHT:  Oh, yes, yes, of course.  Thank you.  [Door closes.]  Katherine!  Lorin!  Here’s a telegram…and it’s from Kitty Hawk.

LORIN:  What do they say?  What do they say?

KATHERINE:  Please read it aloud, Father.  Please do!

WRIGHT:  [Reads] “Success four flights Thursday morning all against twenty-one mile wind started from level with engine power alone average speed through air thirty-one miles longest fifty-nine seconds inform press home Christmas.”  [Speaks.]  It’s signed by Orville.

LORIN:  That’s great, isn’t it?  Wonderful!

KATHERINE:  But I was always sure they’d do it!

WRIGHT:  Yes, yes, of course.  Now, let’s see. Orville says to inform the press, and I suppose the papers will want something about it.  Lorin, why don’t you show them this telegram.  You might see that young Ben Driscoll.  He’s always been interested in Wilbur and Orville’s work.

LORIN:  All right.  I’ll take it right away.  [Fade out and in.]


   [Newspaper sounds.]

BEN:  This is Mr. Lorin Wright, Mr. Barton.

BARTON:  How are you, Mr. Wright?

BEN:  Orville and Wilbur Wright are his brothers.

BARTON:  O-o-h, YES.  Well?

LORIN:  I have a telegram here, Mr. Barton.

BARTON:  H-m-m, yes…yes, I see…twenty-one mile wind, eh?  Quite a breeze!…H-m-m…fifty-nine seconds…And they’ll be home for Christmas, will they?  Well, that’s nice.


LORIN:  I thought you might want to run a story about the flight, Mr. Barton.

BARTON:  Well, no.  No, I think not, Mr. Wright.

LORIN:  Then I’ll be going along.  (PAUSE.)

BEN:  [earnestly.]  Mr. Barton, don’t you understand?  These men, Wilbur and Orville Wright, have flown! They’ve done the thing that men have dreamed of doing for thousands of years.  They’ve left the earth!  They’ve flown through the air.

BARTON:  Ben, people have been doing that in balloons for years.  There’s nothing new about it.

BEN:  But there is!  This isn’t a balloon!  It has no gas to lift it.  It flies by its own power, the power of a little gasoline engine.

BARTON:  Yes, yes.  I know.  That’s what it said in the telegram.

BEN:  Can’t you see it? This is the biggest scoop of the century, and it’s lying right in this paper’s lap.

BARTON:  I’m no so sure about that.  Here’s the AP man; we’ll see what he says.  Oh, Lou!  Lou!  Come here a minute.  Read this telegram, will you?

LOU:  Sure, Walt.  (PAUSE.)  Well, what about it?

BARTON:  Do you want to put a story on the wires?

LOU:  I don’t see anything in it.

BEN:  It’s the biggest news you’ll ever handle…that’s all.  These men have flown!…flown, do you hear?  [Laughter.]

LOU:  Don’t you believe it, young fellow.   I know about them.  They’ve been making kites and gliders for years.  Well, now they’ve made a little hop in one of them.  It says fifty-nine seconds; if it were fifty–nine minutes it would be something to crow about.  I would put a story on the wires, then.  But as it is…no!  [Music: Fades in and behind…]



NARRATOR:  If Dayton was unaware of the Wrights’ accomplishment, it was at least no more than the rest of the nation.  Newspapers and magazines either ignored the story as a hoax or treated in humorously.  They were even allowed to carry on further flying experiments in full public view without exciting any marked interest.  Early in 1904 they called on Torrence Huffman, president of a Dayton bank.  [Music: Fades out.]



WILBUR:  Mr. Huffman, we’ve been looking around for a piece of ground that’s open and fairly level.  We think we’ve found it...an eighty-acre pasture that you own along the interurban line at Simms Station.

HUFFMAN:  yes, Wilbur, I own that.  Do you want to buy it?

ORVILLE:  well, no…not exactly.  You see…

HUFFMAN:  Yes, Orville, go on.

ORVILLE: We want to go on with our flying experiments.

HUFFMAN:  Flying?  Oh, yes, it seems to me that I did hear something about your flying in some sort of machine.  Balloon, was it?

WILBUR:  No, sir, it’s a plane…or two planes, rather, with a gasoline engine mounted on them.

HUFFMAN:  No gas bag?

WILBUR:  Nor, sir.  Just the wings and the engine.

HUFFMAN:  You’re joking.  You can’t fly with a contraption like that.

WILBUR:  We’ve done it, Mr. Huffman.

HUFFMAN:  You mean you’ve actually got up in the sir with it?

ORVILLE:  That’s right.

HUFFMAN:  Where was this?

WILBUR:  At Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, last December.

HUFFMAN:  I see…North Carolina.  (PAUSE.)  Well, I have no objection to your using my pasture for your…uh…whatever it is you think you can do.  And we just won’t say anything about rent.

WILBUR:  That is very kind of you, Mr. Huffman.

ORVILLE:  Thanks a lot, sir.

HUFFMAN:  Don’t mention it, boys.  Don’t mention it.  Good morning.

WRIGHTS:  [Receding.]  Good- bye, sir.

HUFFMAN:  Tom, I hope I’m not making a mistake by giving those Wright boys the use of my pasture.  It doesn’t seem right, exactly, to encourage them in what anyone can tell is a waste of time.  They have a good little bicycle business over there on the West Side, and yet they will tinker with this flying machine.  I wonder what Bishop Wright thinks of it.  [Fade out and in.]


  [Engine runs, coughs, stops.]

WILBUR:  We’ve asked you newspaper men to come out here to see us fly.  But I’m afraid that we may disappoint you today, as we did yesterday.  There wasn’t enough wind then.

VOICE:  What does it take…a cyclone?  [Laughter.]

ORVILLE:  No, but it does take some wind for us to get off…about eleven miles per hour.

VOICE 2:  And, what’s the trouble today?

WILBUR:  There’s something wrong with the engine.  But if you’ll wait a moment…[Engine starts.]

ORVILLE:  Now, I think it may be all right.

VOICE 3:  I certainly hope so.  I’ve sat on this fence for two days, but I haven’t seen any flying yet.  [Engine recedes.]

VOICE 1:  There it goes.

VOICE 2:  Looks like they might get up this time.  [Engine dies.]  [Laughter.]  [Whistle off.]

VOICE 3:  Here comes the interurban car, and I’m taking it to town.  If you guys want to sit out here like a flock of crows, that’s your business.  But we’re getting out a newspaper at our shop and if I want to go on working there I have to heave something in it each and every day.

VOICE 1:  Me, too.  [Car coming on.]

VOICE 2:  Flag that car, someone.  We don’t want to be out here another hour.

VOICE 3:  Come on, we’ll have to run for it.  [Music: fades in and behind…]


NARRATOR:  During the next two or three years, Wilbur and Orville Wright flew steadily and regularly at Simms Station.  The cattle in the pasture became used to the sound of their plane, came at last to ignore it completely.  But they were no more indifferent than the hundreds of persons who saw almost daily flights, including many newspaper reporters.  More surprising still was the persistent failure of the War Department at Washington to recognize the nature and value of the Wright accomplishments.  Almost two years after the first flight at Kitty Hawk, Orville and Wilbur offered to their government an airplane which had proven its ability to fly at least twenty miles at the rate of thirty miles an hour.  The reply, couched in the dignified language of the War Department, said nothing…at considerable length.  In fact, it was not until the autumn of 1908 that the United States took official notice of the inventors.  Then tests were held at Fort Myer, Virginia.  [Music: Fades out.]


  [Crowd sound.]

VOICE:  Mr. Wright, this it Lieutenant Selfridge.  He has been assigned by the War Department as an official observer.  Can you take him up for a flight?

ORVILLE:  Certainly.  We can do it now, if you’re ready, Lieutenant.

SELFRIDGE:  Yes, I’m ready.  Let’s start.

ORVILLE:  Take the seat on the right, there. You won’t have anything to do but watch.  The controls are pretty simple.  [Voice up.]  Start the engine.  [Engine coughs, sputters, starts.]

SELFRIDGE:  You think it’s safe with a passenger, do you, Mr. Wright?  The whole machine seems pretty small for a load like that.

ORVILLE:  Well, of course, we’ll be in the air with nothing much under us.  I don’t suppose there’s any such thing as complete safety.  Still, I’ve carried passengers before, so I know the plane has enough power.  I’ve carried Major Squier and Lieutenant Lahm within the last few days.

SELFRIDGE:  Let’s go then.

ORVILLE:  [Voice up.]  Clear the field ahead of us, will you?

VOICE:  [Off.]  Clear the field, clear the field!  Get back, get back, please!

ORVILLE:  Here we go!   [Engine up.]

SELFRIDGE:  We seem to be flying already.

ORVILLE:  It’s not as fast as it seems, and it will seem very slow when we get off.  Now, you see, I set the elevator so that the plane really lifts itself from the ground.  That means we have what we call flying speed. 

SELFRIDGE:  It feels smoother now.

ORVILLE:  Yes, we’re taking off. Now you’ll see that we don’t start to climb fast until the plane gets up to full speed.  That’s to prevent stalling and falling back.

SELFRIDGE:  We’re climbing now, though.

ORVILLE:  Yes, we’re up to speed now.

SELFRIDGE:  You’re right, there’s nothing much under us.  And the people on the ground look awfully small.  How high are we?

ORVILLE:  About a hundred and fifty feet.   We’ll make our fist turn now.  Watch the wing tips.

SELFRIDGE:  They bend, don’t they?

ORVILLE:  That’s the true secret of flying…twisting the ends of the wings so that the air gives more lift on one side than on the other.  We smashed any number of gliders before we learned how to do that properly, even after we had the idea itself.

SELFRIDGE:  Do you think people will have trouble learning to fly?

ORVILLE:  Some of them.  But as planes are improved it will be easier.  We’ll make another turn now. [Knocking.]

SELFRIDGE:  What’s that?

ORVILLE:  I don’t know…something…yes, it’s one of the propellers.  It’s split and cut a rudder wire.

SELFRIDGE:  We’re falling!

ORVILLE:  Sit tight and hang on.  I think I can land…I think… [Crash.]  [Crowd sound on and up.]  [Ambulance bell.]

VOICE:  Get back, get back!  Give them air!  Get back!  [Fade out and in.]


CAPTAIN:  How is he, Doctor?

DOCTOR:  He might be worse, Captain.  He has a broken leg and some smashed ribs, but he’ll pull through.

CAPTAIN:  Can we tell him?

DOCTOR:  Yes, I think he’d want to know.  We’ll go in.  [Door opens.]

CAPTAIN:  How do you feel, Mr. Wright?

ORVILLE:  I’m all right.  How about Lieutenant Selfridge?

CAPTAIN:  It was a pretty bad crash.

ORVILLE:  [Slowly.]  I see.

CAPTAIN:  That’s part of being in the army, Mr. Wright, even in peace time.  We all take our chances.  And you took the same one Selfridge did.

ORVILLE:  Yes, but it seems different somehow. I’ve been at this so long, and he was just a youngster, really.  He was…

DOCTOR:  These things happen, Mr. Wright.   And we know that if anyone could have saved him, you would.  Now, I want you to try to get some rest.  I’m going to have the nurse give you a sedative.  [Music fades in and behind.]


NARRATOR:  The fatal accident at Fort Myer…the only one in the long series of flights made by the Wright Brothers…came at a time when it might have brought complete discouragement.  Their plane seemed to have failed in its Government tests.  Orville, seriously injured, faced long weeks in a hospital.  Their funds, never ample, were nearly exhausted; even the Wright home had been mortgaged to finance their experiments.  Yet, four days after the accident, Wilbur Wright, who had been abroad for some time, preparing to make test flights for the French government, broke the world’s endurance record by making a flight of more than an hour and a half.  The cash prize brought by this accomplishment enabled Orville and his sister, Katherine, to join Wilbur in France, and there they established at Pau, a flying school which attracted not only military and civilian students, but great crowds of spectators, including several of the crowned heads of Europe.  [Music:  Fades out.]


VOICE:  Gentlemen, I have great news for you.

WILBLUR:  What’s that?

VOICE:  His Majesty, King Alphonso, of Spain, is coming to Pau.  He has graciously consented to witness an exhibition flight, and requests that it be made this coming Sunday.

ORVILLE:  We don’t fly on Sundays.

KATHERINE:  Orville, are you sure you ought to refuse?

ORVILLE:  Of course, Katherine…

VOICE:  But this is a royal request…which is to say a command.

WILBUR:  I’m sorry, but I agree with Orville.  We never fly on Sundays.  You can tell His Majesty, however, that we shall be pleased to make an exhibition flight for him on any week day he wants.  [Fade out and in.]


ALPHONSO:  I am impressed, Miss Wright, by the strength of your brothers’ religious principles.  Are all Americans like that?  Is there no work of diversion in America on Sundays?

KATHERINE:  A great deal of it, Your Majesty.  But our family has always been rather strict.

ALPHONSO:  To tell you the truth, so has mine.  You’d be astonished to know the number of things I’m not allowed to do.  One of them, for instance, is to fly with one of your brothers.  Ah…here they are now!  Gentlemen, let me congratulate you on your great scientific achievements.

WILBUR:  Thank you, Your Majesty.

ALPHONSO:  I have just told your sister that my dearest wish has been to fly with one of you, but that I am forbidden.  May I, however, at least sit in your flying machine?  And will you explain to me just how it is operated?

ORVILLE:  Of course.  If Your Majesty will come with me I’ll be glad to explain everything I can.  [Music: Fades in and behind.]


NARRATOR:  If Dayton, and indeed all of America, had remained unaware of the Wright Brothers’ accomplishments while at home, there was a noisy awakening once the world echoed with their European triumphs.  Newspapers and magazines which had rejected accounts of their first flights…had even suggested that they were fakirs…now devoted pages to detailed stories of everything they had done, as well as numerous things they hadn’t done.  There was also a sudden and astounding shrinkage in the number of citizens who had always predicted that the Wrights would fail.  Five years earlier it had been very difficult to find anyone who believed that flight was possible…even among those who had seen the Wrights fly.  Now it was almost impossible to find anyone who had not predicted overwhelming success from the very start.  We note this interesting change in the home of Edward Drsicoll, Dayton manufacturer, where our play opened.  [Music: fades out.]


EDWARD:  Perseverance…that’s what counts!  If Orville and Wilbur Wright hadn’t had the courage to stick with it, year after year, they wouldn’t have achieved the success of which we can all be so proud. 

BEN:  I don’t know why you should be so proud, Dad.  You thought they were doomed to failure.

EDWARD:  I did?

MARY:  You certainly did, Edward.

NANCY:  That’s right, Father.

BEN:  Don’t you remember the feature article I wrote for the paper about Orville and Wilbur’s early work?  Walter Barton, turned it down, and you read it and said you weren’t at all surprised.  You said it was fantastic…the very idea that anyone would ever fly.

EDWARD:  I don’t know where you get such ideas, Ben.  I saying that the Wright Brothers would fail.  There may have been a time when I felt a little doubt about their success, and perhaps I felt that your newspaper article was…er…premature.  But as to their ultimate success…why, …do you know, I was at a Board of Trade meeting just today and there wasn’t a single member there…not one…who hasn’t been sure of their success from the start.

MARY:  Why, Edward Driscoll!

EDWARD:  Truth, my dear.  Not a single one.  And now I’ll tell you what Dayton is going to do for Orville and Wilbur. They’ll be back from Europe soon, and this town is going to give them the biggest welcome, the biggest celebration, that anyone here has ever seen.  The committees have been appointed already. The whole of Main Street, from Third to the river, is to be converted into a court of honor.  There’ll be stands built along the sidewalks to accommodate thousands of people who’ll want to watch the parade.  There’ll be ceremonies at the Newcom Tavern, a reception at the Y. M. C. A., more ceremonies at the Fairgrounds, and a big fireworks display at night.  No one will be able to say that Dayton doesn’t know how to honor its two most famous sons.  [Music: Fades in and behind.]



NARRATOR:  Though it may have been late in recognizing the achievements of two of its sons, Dayton was destined, through their success, to become known throughout the world as the cradle and home of aviation.  New developments in flight, new scientific wonders, were to be produced in Dayton… and on the very ground where the Wright Brothers conducted their early flying experiments.  Our play next week will present some of this later history…show how the genius of two Dayton citizens became the basis for one of the greatest forces in today’s world. [Music: Swells and fades behind…]


ANNOUNCER:  Great Days in Dayton” comes to you under the sponsorship of The Dayton Power and Light Company.  Broadcasts originate at five o’clock each Sunday afternoon in the auditorium of the Dayton Art Institute.  And may we remind you that these broadcasts are open to the public…to you, your family and your friends.  Tickets are free and may be obtained in any desired quantity by calling at the ground floor offices of the Gas and Electric Building, 25 North Min Street.  All dramatic roles in these productions are played by members of the Dayton Civic Theatre professional company.  Your narrator was Charles McLean.  You announcer is Morton DaCosta.  For another drama taken from the pages of Dayton history…be sure to tune in next Sunday afternoon.  Don’t miss the next program of “Great days in Dayton!”


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