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Orson Welles ABC KGO Broadcast Script and Photograph Lot

Treasure Island Medal of Honor Dedication

This is an outstanding group of the Orson Welles ABC Radio broadcast from the U. S. Naval Training and Distribution Center, Treasure Island , San Francisco, California. The program aired on December 9, 1945, the second anniversary of the date LTC Edward "Butch" O'Hare was declared officially Missing In Action.

This particular broadcast was made to rename the three theater complexes on Treasure Island from the generic "Theater Number One" "Two" and "Three" to honor three of the US Naval Service heroes of WWII -- all of whom were to be Killed In Action, going back into battle after the receipt of the award of their high decorations.  All three were awarded the Navy Cross, and two of them received the Medal of Honor for heroism in combat during WWII, and the third (for Seaman 3rd Doris Miller) is currently under consideration by Congress at this time.

The broadcast featured Commodore R. W. Carey (USNA, Class of 1914), also a recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism in 1915.  At the time of the broadcast, he was the commander of the USN TADCEN installation at Treasure Island.  Three of the photos in this lot show Commodore Carey in uniform and wearing the ribbon representing the Medal of Honor.

Included is a cover letter from the US Navy Entertainment Officer, TADCEN, Treasure Island documenting the complete script lot including the Orson Welles handwritten edits and changes, and referencing another photograph (not present with this lot) forwarded under a separate cover.  The letter is dated 12 December 1945, three days after the original broadcast, and it is signed by the Entertainment Officer, Ensign James L. Cook.

There is also a separate photo of Orson Welles seated behind the KGO microphones, taken concurrently.  Note the water glasses, water pitcher and the same pinstripe suit.

The original production script is present in its entirety.  14 pages of text which were broadcast from KGO, San Francisco, over a 30 minute period. The script has three speaking roles for the principles shown in the photographs above: The KGO announcer, Orson Welles, and Commodore Carey. Additional text is from interviews broadcast from the ABC studios at WJZ New York; KXOK, St. Louis Missouri, and WACO in Waco, Texas.  Selected portions of the original script are shown with some contextual content.

The script details the heroic actions of USMC Sergeant John "Manila John" Basilone, an enlisted Marine Corps hero of Guadalcanal. For his actions on Guadalcanal, John Basilone received the Medal of Honor.  He was Killed In Action in the first wave attack on the 19 February 1945 invasion of Iwo Jima, an action for which he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross.  Basilone was the only enlisted man to receive the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, and the Purple Heart in WWII (pending the disposition of Doris Miller's award).  The interview is with his father, Salvidore Basilone, in New York. Theater Number Three (where this broadcast was conducted) was renamed in his honor by Commodore Carey.

The second interview was from St. Louis with the mother of Lieutenant Commander Edward "Butch" O'Hare (USNA Class of 1937), recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions at the Battle of Coral Sea.  After receiving the decoration, he went back into combat, and was declared Missing In Action on December 9, 1943.  He was awarded the Navy Cross and Purple Heart posthumously. Theater Number Two was renamed in his honor.

The third interview was with the parents of Seaman Cook Third Class Doris "Dorie" Miller, hero aboard the USS ARIZONA who was the first African American to receive the Navy Cross for his actions during the surprise attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. He was declared Missing In Action aboard the USS LISCOME BAY (CVE-56) on December 7, 1943. The interview is with his parents in Waco, Texas.  It is interesting to note the content of the interview specifically addresses some very progressive attitude regarding racial issues and Orson Welles wishes that Doris Miller's life and death would serve to enlighten others in the future. Theater Number One was renamed in his honor. At this writing (May 2007), Doris Miller is still being considered for the Medal of Honor, pending legislation to waive time constraints is in Committee.

Of historical interest are the two pages of rewrites on the introduction to the broadcast, all in Orson Welles handwriting.  It appears the edits were made on the fly in pencil, hastily scrawled on the front and back sides of pages one and two of copies of the original script.  These edits are shown here: Original Page 1 -- Edited Page 1 -- Original Page 2 -- Edited Page 2 -- Retyped Intro for broadcast (not numbered).