> An archive of Sound Portraits radio documentaries.



[Photo: Billy McCune's self portrait, from the cover of his autobiography.]

My Last Mile (2007)
Forty years ago, photographer Danny Lyon was granted unprecedented access to the Texas prison system, where he met inmate Billy McCune. These tapes were recorded by Lyon, documenting their historic partnership. [7:57]

[Photo: Adrian Nicole LeBlanc with her father, Adrian Leon LeBlanc]

The Ground We Lived On (2006)
Journalist Adrian Nicole LeBlanc faces mortality and loss in recordings she made during the last months of her father's life. [11:31]

[Photo: Freeman operating

My Lobotomy (2005)
A groundbreaking documentary narrated by Howard Dully, a patient who received an "ice pick" lobotomy at age 12. [22:00]

[Photo: WEVD's on-air personality 'The Yeshiva Bucher']

Yiddish Radio Project (2002)
All that remains of the golden age of Yiddish radio are one thousand recordings, miraculously rescued from garbage cans and attics. But the story they tell!

[Photo: ]

Youth Portraits Series (2002)
Stories by young people who served time on Rikers Island.

[Photo: Georgia's electric chair]

The Execution Tapes (2001)
The historic broadcast of executions tape-recorded by the Georgia Department of Corrections. [52:19]

[Photo: Guards at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas]

Witness to an Execution (2000)
The stories of men and women involved in the execution of deathrow inmates at the Walls Unit in Huntsville, Texas. [22:22]

[Photo: Eddie Carmel, the Jewish Giant, in 1961]

The Jewish Giant (1999)
An audio biography of Eddie Carmel, "The Jewish Giant," by his cousin Jenny Carchman. [28:14]

[Photo: Vic K., Sunshine Hotel relief clerk]

The Sunshine Hotel (1998)
A journey into one of the few remaining flophouses on the Bowery in New York City, led by Nathan Smith, the hotel's longtime manager. [23:31]

[Photo: Looking for Mary]

Looking for Mary (1997)
Beverly Donofrio's journey to sites across America where the Virgin Mary has been seen. [23:53]

[Photo: Museum of Jurassic Technology]

Museum of Jurassic Technology (1996)
Writer Lawrence Weschler's profile of this singular institution, home to spore-inhaling ants and bats that can fly through walls. [23:11]

[Photo: LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman]

Remorse: The 14 Stories of Eric Morse (1996)
LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman's exploration of the murder of Eric Morse, a five-year-old who was pushed to his death from a 14th-floor window by two other boys. [39:19]

[Photo: Iolene Catalano [right] and David Isay]

All the Way Broken (1995)
The audio memoirs of Iolene Catalano, a former prostitute and heroin addict. [28:08]

[Photo: Times Square, New York City]

The Gods of Times Square (1994)
Photographer Richard Sandler's exploration of religion in the bustle of Times Square. [20:01]

[Photo: LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman]

Ghetto Life 101 (1993)
The audio diaries of LeAlan Jones and Lloyd Newman, two young boys living in one of the most notorious public housing projects in America. [30:16]

[Photo: Dewey Chafin, serpent handler]

They Shall Take Up Serpents (1992)
The story of fundamentalist Christians in the Appalachian hills who handle serpent as part of their religious services. [21:44]

[Photo: Cover of the Birmingham Quartet scrapbook]

Jefferson County Gospel Quartets (1992)
The story of the birth of a cappella gospel quartets from Alabama's steel mills, told by a founding member of the Four Eagles Gospel Singers. [25:17]

[Photo: ]

Ward 2-West (1991)
A profile of twenty-six men found not guilty by reason of insanity who live in the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center in New York City. [24:16]

[Photo: Louisiana State Penitentiary 'lifer' Maurice Bickham]

Tossing Away the Keys (1990)
Louisiana State Penitentiary inmate Wilbert Rideau's report on fellow inmates who are serving life terms without the possibility of parole. [25:25]

[Photo: Sylvia Rivera, Stonewall rioter]

Remembering Stonewall (1989)
The first documentary in any medium about the Stonewall Riots, the event that sparked the gay-rights movement in the United States. [23:03]



[Photo: ]

Kaleria Palchikoff Drago, Witness to the Atom Bomb (2005)
The only English-language interview with an eyewitness to the Hiroshima bombing.

[Photo: Jack Aeby]

Jack Aeby, Atom-Bomb Photographer (2005)
The amateur photographer tells about taking the only color photo of the first atom-bomb test. [2:36]

[Photo: Julius Howell]

Julius Howell, Civil War General (2005)
Julius Franklin Howell remembers his experience in a Union prison camp on the morning Abraham Lincoln died. [3:36]

[Photo: Band leader Mike Acampora]

Red Mike's Band (2004)
Recording of the last funeral played by Red Mike's Band before the death of the band's leader, Mike Acampora. [3:00]

[Photo: ]

Barbers of Belmont (2004)
Interviews with the barbers at the Belmont Park Racetrack. [3:18]

[Photo: Bruce Zaccagnino]

Northlandz (2004)
An interview with the creators of the world's largest model railroad. [3:36]

[Photo: George Stinney]

George Stinney, Youngest Executed (2004)
Interviews with the familes of the victim and convicted in the case of the youngest person executed in the US. [3:49]

[Photo: Carol Weihrer]

Paralyzed (2004)
Carol Weihrer tells about waking up from anesthesia during an eye operation. [3:50]

[Photo: Kitty Genovese]

Remembering Kitty Genovese (2004)
Mary Ann Zielonko remembers her partner, Kitty Genovese, on the 40th anniversary of Kitty's murder. [4:28]

[Photo: Joe Vitacco]

Joe Vitacco, Freelance Embalmer (2004)
Joe Vitacco leads us through one of the 40,000 embalmings he's performed. [3:14]

[Photo: ]

The Last Elevator (2003)
Three 9/11 survivors tell about riding down on the last elevator to descend from Windows on the World. [3:38]

[Photo: Bernie Barker]

Bernie Barker, Oldest Male Stripper (2003)
The story of a retired nuclear engineer turned stripper. [4:06]

[Photo: Robert Wesley Knighton]

Clemency (2003)
Sue Norton leads us through the clemency hearing of the man who murdered her father. [5:55]

[Photo: Yanier "Blak" Moore]

Blak's Story (2003)
The autobiography of poet, social worker, and former gang member Yanier "Blak" Moore [11:40]

[Photo: Delma Banks]

Parents at an Execution (2003)
As Texas prepared to execute its 300th inmate, parents of the murdered and convicted shared their story. [4:02]

[Photo: Willie Young, rabbit hunter]

Willie Young, Rabbit Hunter (2003)
A journey into Florida's sugar cane fields in search of rabbits. [2:01]

[Photo: Dr. George Knox]

George Knox, Hypnotherapist (2003)
An interview with the oldest practicing psychologist in the country. [4:13]

[Photo: ]

Strates Carnival (2002)
The voices of fortune tellers, burlesque dancers, and two-headed babies, recorded at a carnival in 1941. [4:50]

[Photo: Bergen-Belsen concentration camp]

Bergen-Belsen (2002)
A 1945 recording of a report on the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, a German concentration camp. [3:40]

[Photo: ]

William Feehan, Fire Chief (2001)
The words of New York City's legendary fire commissioner, who died in the line of duty in the collapse of the World Trade Center. [3:17]

[Photo: Mae Timpano]

Under the Roller Coaster (2001)
Mae Timpano remembers her forty years living under Coney Island's tallest roller coaster. [3:20]

[Photo: AIDS activist John Weir on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather]

Acting Up (2001)
An AIDS activist talks about getting the attention of the nation and, finally, his father. [7:40]

[Photo: Weather historian Steven Fybish]

Stephen Fybish, Weather Historian (2001)
A profile of a man who has studied, catalogued, and memorized 130 years of New York City weather conditions. [3:34]

[Photo: Poster by the U.S. Office of War Information, circa 1942]

The Day after Pearl Harbor (2000)
Man-on-the-street interviews conducted the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. [2:12]

[Photo: Arthur 'Weegee' Fellig with his Speed Graphic camera, c. 1944 (WEEGEE/ICP/LIASON AGENCY)]

Weegee (2000)
A rare interview with renowned news photographer, recorded in 1945. [6:35]

[Photo: ]

Marine Valentines (2000)
Valentines recorded in 1945 by marines stationed in the South Pacific to their mothers, wives, and sweethearts back home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [6:31]

[Photo: Charles Geter in the Palace Hotel]

Charlie's Story (1998)
The story of Charlie Geter, who has lived on New York City's Bowery for twenty-five years. [10:48]

[Photo: Miguel Algarín]

Miguel Algarín, Nuyorican Poet (1998)
Nuyorican Poet's Café co-founder Miguel Algarín remembers his friend and colleague's funeral on Manhattan's Lower East Side. [2:35]

[Photo: Jackie Sullivan]

A Letter to Butchie (1997)
A mother's audio letters to the son she abandoned as an infant. [5:45]

[Photo: Fountain Hughes, former slave]

Fountain Hughes, Former Slave (1997)
The memories of ex-slave Fountain Hughes, recorded in 1949, when he was 101 years old. [2:41]

[Photo: Zypora Spaisman, actress]

Folksbiene Yiddish Theater (1996)
Two veteran actors remember their time with the longest-running Yiddish theater in the world. [3:10]

[Photo: ]

Woody Guthrie (1996)
The first recorded interview with the legendary folk balladeer. [11:22]

[Photo: Harold C. Cotton]

Harold Cotton, Hat Blocker (1996)
Harold C. Cotton recalls his fifty plus years working in his shop in Greensboro, NC. [2:53]

[Photo: Reggie Jones]

Reggie Jones, Lifeguard (1996)
A Jones Beach lifeguard recalls some of his summers by the ocean. [3:45]

[Photo: Virginia Belle Brewer and her bells]

Brewer Bell Museum (1992)
A profile of Virginia Brewer, founder of a museum of bells that she spent her life savings to create. [4:07]

[Photo: ]

Last Day at the Automat (1991)
The closing of the last Horn & Hardart Automat, with its rows of coin-operated compartments dispensing macaroni and cheese, baked beans, and coconut cream pies. [4:25]



[Photo: Jim Bishop]

Jim Bishop, Castle Builder (1994)
A profile of a man who has spent the past 25 years building a medieval castle in the Colorado Rockies. [3:42]

[Photo: Robert Shields]

Robert Shields, World's Longest Diary (1994)
A profile of a man with a 35-million-word diary. [6:14]

[Photo: Geneva Tisdale]

Woolworth's Lunch-Counter Waitress (1993)
Geneva Tisdale, a waitress at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, NC, was also the first African-American to be served there. [4:58]

[Photo: Miles Mahan, creator of Hula Ville]

Hula Ville (1993)
A visit to this roadside desert park and its enormous billboard of a girl in a hula skirt. [5:46]

[Photo: Donald Bean in the Dinosaur Gardens]

Dinosaur Gardens (1993)
A profile of the founder of a theme park that features "prehistoric animals in their natural habitat." [6:23]

[Photo: Ted Kipperman in front of his pawnshop/wedding chapel]

Kipperman's Pawnshop (1993)
A profile of the country's only pawnshop/wedding chapel. [7:56]

[Photo: Hinkel Schillings, Shade Pate, and their hounds]

Foxhunters (1993)
A night of foxhunting on the Texas-Louisiana border. [7:10]

[Photo: ]

High-School Moms (1992)
A visit to a high school for teenage mothers by the real-life hero of the movie Riding in Cars with Boys. [12:41]

[Photo: David, owner of the Hunan Chef]

Hunan Chef (1992)
The closing day at producer David Isay's favorite Chinese restaurant in New York City. [4:09]

[Photo: Leslie Kornfeld and Joe Erber in the Ahavath Rayim Synagogue in Greenwood, Mississippi]

Mississippi Jews (1991)
The story of the last orthodox temple in Mississippi. [12:14]

[Photo: Joe Franklin in his studio]

Joe Franklin (1991)
A profile of the legendary talk-show host and spiritual guide to Sound Portraits Productions. [8:06]

[Photo: Cynical Santa]

Cynical Santa (1990)
Meet Eddie Surwinski, a sidewalk Santa who prefers to be known as Cynical Santa. [5:56]

[Photo: The Cyclone rollercoaster at Coney Island]

Coney Island (1990)
The story of Coney Island, its characters, and its amusements. [17:40]

[Photo: Dan Field]

Dan Field, Marriage Broker (1990)
The story of one of the country's last "old-school" matchmakers. [3:22]

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