How Time Warner Cable's NY1 became an iconic news channel in New York City:
Roma Torre: I would have been in the office at nine o' clock because that's when I arrive. But because it was a primary election day, and I was covering politics at the time, they told me to come in at two o'clock on September 11th. I was at home, and my daughter had just started kindergarten. My husband ran in and said, 'Turn to CNN!' I heard the woman who replaced me at the anchor desk speaking on CNN and that's because CNN's antenna was knocked out because they were on top of the World Trade Center. NY1's was on top of the Empire State Building. For a while, we were the only game in town. CNN was putting us on their air because they had no means of transmission. I got dressed so fast and jumped in the car and started driving, which was kind of foolish because I didn't have a game plan. Of course, from Jersey, all roads were closed getting into the city. I did a u-turn in Route 46 and decided to go North and went to Tarrytown and parked the car because I heard on the radio that Metro North was running. When I got to Grand Central Terminal, I miraculously found a cab and got one block until firefighters stopped the cab to ask if he could please let them in to take reinforcements to the tower. I was like, 'Of course!' So I walked to the west side. I really didn't get into the office until about seven or eight o' clock that night and I set out from my house at 10 a.m.
PUBLISHED: May 23, 2013
LENGTH: 43 minutes (10896 words)
Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Robin Williams and Gus Van Sant reflect on the film 15 years later:
"Damon: The very first day, I remember we started crying, because it was a scene between Robin and Stellan. And when Gus called action and we watched these guys—I mean accomplished actors—do our scene verbatim, we had waited so long for this to happen. I remember just sitting next to Ben and I had tears rolling down my cheeks because I was just so happy and relieved that it was really happening.
"Affleck: We did tear up a little bit. But why is Matt saying this shit? Like, he holds his fucking tongue for 15 years and now because it’s Boston magazine, he says he started crying? His career is not over, you know what I mean? He needs people to believe that he’s like Jason Bourne or whatever!"
PUBLISHED: Jan. 5, 2013
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5167 words)
An oral history of Freaks and Geeks, which received a huge cult following after its cancellation, and launched the careers of actors like Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and James Franco:
"PAUL FEIG: We did our infamous two weeks with the writers locking ourselves in a room and telling personal stories. I wrote a list of questions for everybody to answer: 'What was the best thing that happened to you in high school? What was the worst thing that happened to you in high school? Who were you in love with and why?'
"JUDD APATOW: 'What was your worst drug experience? Who was your first girlfriend? What’s the first sexual thing you ever did? What’s the most humiliating thing that ever happened to you during high school?'
"PAUL FEIG: That’s where most of our stories came from. Weirder stuff happens to people in real life than it does on TV. It was a personal show for me and I wanted it to be personal for everybody else.
"GABE SACHS (writer, 'I’m with the Band,' 'The Garage Door'): We thought the questionnaires were a private thing between us and Judd and Paul, so we wrote really honest. And the next day at work we get them all bound together. We’re laughing with everyone but going, 'Oh, man!'"
PUBLISHED: Dec. 6, 2012
LENGTH: 34 minutes (8608 words)
An oral history of the Beltway sniper attacks that occurred during three weeks in October 2002. Ten people were killed, three people were injured, and many people were too afraid to leave their homes:
"Iran Brown, victim, now 23: 'I remember every detail, down to what I ate for breakfast: chocolate-chip waffles. My aunt drove me to school, and it was very early because she had to go to work. I was the first to arrive.
"'I got hit right under my left chest. I fell to the ground. A teacher came out to help me. I had my hand over the wound, but it wasn't like in the movies with blood gushing out. I explained that I'd been shot and needed help, but it didn't seem to register in her brain.
"'My aunt heard the shot and reversed the car when she saw me on the ground. I got up on my own and walked to the car. Of course, I'm panicking and praying. Reality is kicking in. My aunt was a nurse, so she knew more than the average person. She rushed me to a clinic.
"'I had been watching the news. I was aware of what was happening. I had asked our PE teacher why we were going outside if the sniper was in the area.'
PUBLISHED: Oct. 1, 2012
LENGTH: 31 minutes (7862 words)
[Not single-page] An oral history of the TV show "Cheers":
Danson: I'll tell you about the worst day of my life. Shelley and Rhea were carrying that week's episode, and the guys were just, 'Let's play hooky.' We'd never done anything wrong before. John had a boat, so we met at Marina del Rey at 8 a.m. We all called in sick, and Jimmy caught on and was so pissed. Woody and I were already stoned, and Woody said, 'You want to try some mushrooms?' I'd never had them, so I'm handed this bag and I took a fistful. On our way to Catalina, we hit the tail end of a hurricane, and even people who were sober were getting sick. Woody and I thought we were going to die for three hours. I sat next to George, and every sixty seconds or so he'd poke me and go, 'Breathe.' [gasp] And I'd come back to life.
Harrelson: I was a little worried about him. It looked like his face was melting. I think I may have been freaking a little myself, but I had to be cool about it.
Wendt: We got into serious trouble for that. I think we thought Jimmy and Les and Glen would have more of a sense of humor about it. We did it because Ted was doing it. He's sort of a reluctant leader. He didn't try to flex his influence. He's just eminently followable.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 27, 2012
LENGTH: 47 minutes (11853 words)
Thirty years after seven people in Chicago died after taking cyanide-laced Tylenol, investigators, law enforcement officers, health and public officials, and friends and family members recount how it all unfolded. The perpetrator was never found, and the case was recently reopened:
The [Janus] family was all at Adam’s house, planning the funeral and mourning together. Adam’s younger brother, Stanley [Janus], had some chronic back pain. And he asked his wife—they had been married just a little while, and her name was also Theresa—to get him some Tylenol. And she came out and gave him two Tylenol, and then she took two Tylenol. And then he went down. And then she went down.
Lieutenant with the Arlington Heights Fire Department [to the Daily Herald]
When I arrived at the house, there were cars and people everywhere. All eight of my men were working, four on one man and four on a woman. Everything that would happen to the man happened to the woman a few minutes later.
As I was putting on my blue blazer to leave, around 5:30, a nurse told me that they were bringing the Janus family back. And I said, 'Well, it’s probably the parents,' because they were feeble and they might have been very upset. And the nurse said, 'No, it’s his brother.' I had been talking to this six-foot healthy guy. And I said, 'Well, what happened? Did he faint?' And she said, 'They are doing CPR—and they are working on his wife too.' That’s when I took my blazer off."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 24, 2012
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5348 words)
An oral history of Burning Man, which started as an effigy burning in 1986 on San Francisco's Baker Beach, and moved to the Black Rock Desert in 1990 to become one of the largest annual gatherings of inventors, artists and free spirits:
"ALAN “REVEREND AL” RIDENOUR (head of Los Angeles Cacophony): In ’96, Burning Man was at its peak. We did the Damnation of Tinseltown and the flaming Helco tower. Burn Night felt like a scary, transformative ritual. Flash played Satan, and he came through with a gas can and doused Doris Day and John Wayne. I was on acid when I heard Flash’s booming laugh. He was Satan.
"ELIZABETH GILBERT (author of Eat, Pray, Love who wrote about Burning Man ’96 for Spin): Honestly, I was scared of it. I remember the way the camp turned from this playful thing by day—beautiful and fanciful and Narnia-like—to this menacing thing at night. Being around all that fire, people with guns, and a lot of people on drugs, I was like, “They’ll be eating each other soon!” And in some ways they were—more sexually than anything else. I understood that Burning Man was waking something up. That awakening might lead to transcendent creativity—or it might be savage and ungovernable once it’s released."
PUBLISHED: Aug. 24, 2012
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6209 words)
An oral history of the first all-sports talk station, WFAN, which included Don Imus, Mike Francesca, and Christopher "Mad Dog" Russo:
"Jeff Smulyan (founder and CEO, Emmis Broadcasting): Imus was just getting out of rehab when we bought the station. His agent was a friend of mine; we laughed because we had a bad radio station and a bad personality who's probably going to be a drug addict for the rest of his life and a baseball team [the Mets] with rumors about drugs. It was kind of like the grand slam.
"Mike Breen (updates, 'Imus in the Morning'): He was a bad drunk and a drug addict. You didn't know what you were gonna get. The first day I started working with Imus at NBC, I asked the program director to bring me back to meet him; it was two o'clock in the afternoon and he was drunk. So the program director says, 'Can this kid fill in on sports for Don Criqui tomorrow?' And Imus was like, 'Sure, now get out of my office.' He didn't even look up. When I went in the next day, I sat down and he had no idea who I was. So he shuts his mic off and he looks at me and he says, 'Who the f--- are you?' I said, 'I'm filling in for Criqui.' He turns his mic back on and he says to Charles McCord, 'Charles, do you know this kid? He claims he's fillin' in for Criqui.' Now this is on the air, this part. So he spent the next 10 minutes interviewing me, asking me how I got to work on his show."
PUBLISHED: July 10, 2012
LENGTH: 62 minutes (15675 words)
Twenty years later, how Michael, Magic and the NBA's best players sought to regain U.S. dominance in Olympic basketball:
Nathaniel Butler (official NBA photographer): We were sitting on the baseline. Magic is backing a guy down, and the guy on defense is yelling at his bench, "Now! Now!" And on the bench, one guy's pulling a camera out of his sock and taking a photo of his teammate.
Hubbard: One time they were playing against Venezuela, and the guy who was guarding Magic kept on saying, "I need your shoes! I need your shoes!"During the game. And Magic goes, "Look, I need my shoes!"
PUBLISHED: June 11, 2012
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4881 words)