Woody Guthrie Arena


Woody Guthrie

First transmitted in 1988, Arena presents a documentary programme exploring the life of Woody Guthrie, the travelling American singer-songwriter.


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Transcript


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CRICKETS CHIRRUP

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GUITAR AND HARMONICA PLAY

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When he went to the hospital the first time,

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and my mom went to visit him...

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a big German doctor, psychologist type said,

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"Excuse me, Mrs Guthrie, your husband has delusions of grandeur."

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He says he's written a book. Ha-ha-ha.

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He says he's a singer. Ha-ha-ha.

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And my mom says, "No, he's really done all these things."

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And the guy couldn't believe it -

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thought he had a real case and...

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..he didn't.

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And as surprising as it was to the doctor,

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the world finds it surprising...

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..that he could be himself.

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That he could be the legend he'd created.

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-RECORDING:

-Woody Guthrie...

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..I guess about 30-years-old from the looks of him,

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but he's seen more in those 30 years than most men...

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see before they're 70.

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He's gone into the world,

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and he's looked at the faces of hungry men and women. He's been in hobo towns.

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He's performed on picket lines.

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He's sung his way through every bar and saloon between Oklahoma and California.

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Listen to that red-ball roll.

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Woody Guthrie was born into a family made rich by the Oklahoma oil boom.

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But by the time he was eight,

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his mother was in an insane asylum and his father had lost every penny he had.

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His personal life was a catalogue of tragedy and disease.

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Yet he had a vision that inspired two generations of Americans.

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The dustiest of the Dust Bowlers,

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Guthrie made his own life into a myth.

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He appointed himself spokesman for the poor and oppressed

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and through his songs, turned their life into his own.

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-INTERVIEWER:

-Woody, how long is it ago that you were born in Okemah?

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28 years. You wouldn't guess it. I was born there July 14th, 1912.

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All up and down the whole country.

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They got oil. They got some pretty nice oilfields around Okemah there.

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-Did any of the oil come in your family?

-No.

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No. We got the grease! WOODY LAUGHS

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Oh, he was just an ordinary kid.

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You couldn't tell...

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I never did hear him sing. He used to...

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We left there before he got...before he started on the road to singing.

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What was that song he made popular?

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This Is My Land, Is Your Land or something like that.

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HE PLAYS HARMONICA

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WOODY: The people down where I come from, they're lonesome for a job.

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Lonesome for...good times,

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pretty gals - wine, women and song.

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You know, down and out,

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and disgusted and busted and can't be trusted.

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Why, it gives you a lonesome feeling...

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We first discovered, Woody and I,

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that we could do a harmonica duet.

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We didn't play the fiddle and the banjo very good,

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but we could play the harmonica a little bit.

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And I played quite a while with Woody before I discovered he played a harmonica left-handed,

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if you can believe that.

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Instead of the bass notes down here on the left,

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he turned it over and maybe that helped him make some of those notes.

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You get a lot of low blues notes when you're playing...

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train pieces.

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-HE SPITS

-Sorry.

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I learned how to play a French harp off a boy that shines shoes.

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I was passing a barber's shop one day,

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when I was about 15 or 16-years-old,

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and there was a big bare-footed boy laying in there...

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..and had his feet turned up towards me...

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One more time.

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One more time.

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He was a-playing the er...

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Railroad Blues.

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"Boy," I said, "that's undoubtedly the lonesomest..."

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"..piece of music that I ever run onto in my life.

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"Where in the world did you learn it?"

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"Oh," he said, "I just..."

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"..lay and listen to the railroad whistle

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"and whatever it say, I say it too."

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TRAIN HORN BLARES

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HE PLAYS HARMONICA RHYTHMICALLY

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'This is March 22nd, 1940 and we're continuing with

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'Mr Woody Guthrie's records of Texas, Oklahoma...and California.'

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Guthrie's account of his own life was record by the great folklorist Alan Lomax.

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Woody was small,

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a combative, aggressive, little guy

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with a great wit

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and you could never get him in the corner

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cos he could always fight his way out with his tongue.

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If you listen to his consonants when he sings.

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He will sing a D after a long held vowel

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and he'll hit it like a boxer hits a bag.

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His enunciation is superb.

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Who gave him that idea, I don't know.

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So you understand every single syllable that he sings,

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which is more than you can say for the people who come after him.

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Only two fragments of film survive of Guthrie performing.

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One of them, lost in the archives for 40 years,

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has only just come to light.

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# But the rustlers broke on us

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# In the dead hours of night

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# She rose from her blanket

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# A battle to fight

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# She rose from her blanket

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# With a gun in each hand

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# Said, "Come all of, you cowboys

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# "Fight for your land." #

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I wasn't in the...

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class that John Steinbeck called the Okies, cos my dad...

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to start with, was worth about 35 or 40,000

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and he had everything hunky-dory.

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Then he started having a little bad luck.

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In fact, our whole family had a little bit of it.

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I don't know whether it's...

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..worth talking about or not. I never do talk it much, but then...

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all of my brothers and sisters.

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I got another sister and two brothers and...

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..they all felt pretty good until all these things happened

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and found theirselves scattered.

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All us kids had to scatter out and be adopted by different families.

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I am standing in what was the Woody Guthrie and my home place.

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I don't know. It's kind of hard to describe.

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The only thing that I learned to accept was...

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..Papa's gone, Momma's gone,

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Woody's gone, Clara's gone, Roy's gone.

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Why should the house not be gone?

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MAN PLAYS HARMONICA

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And this six-room house burned down, that I told you about.

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Right after that...

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..my 14-year-old sister...

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..either...

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set herself a-fire or caused a fire accidentally,

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there's two different stories got out about it...

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Anyway, she caught a-fire while she was doing some ironing that afternoon

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on the old kerosene stove.

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Run around the house about twice, before anyone could catch her.

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The next day she died.

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WOODY CLEARS HIS THROAT And my mother...

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That was a little bit too much... for her...

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nerves...

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..or something. I don't know exactly how it was. But anyway, my mother...

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died in the insane asylum at Norman, Oklahoma.

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She died of Huntington's chorea,

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a hereditary nervous disease that was to strike Guthrie himself, 20 years later.

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I feel like that Momma's actions were Huntington's then...

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was the reason that she forced Clara to stay home from school

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because she was not thinking rationally.

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And she was more or less punishing Clara.

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Clara said, "If you make me stay home from school, I'll kill myself."

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And she did.

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The meantime, someone saw my dad downtown and he said,

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"Charlie, there's a fire and I think it's at your house."

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He lived close enough. He just started running.

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He ran all the way to the house, and when he got there Clara was standing in the front yard

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and her clothes were all burned off her and Papa said her skin was hanging in big sheets,

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just hanging all over.

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And he couldn't touch her. She was burned so bad.

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But he fell down on the ground in front of her and just started...

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just went to pieces.

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She says, "Papa, don't cry. I'm not hurt."

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And she didn't live through the night.

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Then about that same time...

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..my father...

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..mysteriously, for some reason or other, caught a-fire.

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There's a lot of people say he set himself a-fire,

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others say... that he caught a-fire accidentally.

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I always will think that he done it on purpose.

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He told me that he was working on a car

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and he got gasoline all over him,

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and when he got out from under the car and stood up,

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he lit a cigarette and it exploded.

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Had that happened like Papa said it would,

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it would've burned him here real bad.

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Here. Papa didn't have any scars anywhere, except right here.

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So that tells me

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that she did pour the stuff and ignite it while he was lying down.

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He was burned lying down.

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And he would never admit it, cos he'd never say anything against our mother.

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Never.

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And I think that's nice.

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UPBEAT COUNTRY TUNE

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In 1936, Guthrie joined the Pampa Junior Chamber Of Commerce Band.

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He was its leading light.

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If I had never spoken to this little guy in the 10th grade,

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and asked him to draw a picture of a cowboy on a bucking horse,

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I wouldn't have been out here polishing the windows this morning.

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Another member of the band was his future brother-in-law, Matt Jennings.

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He was a regular clown.

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He would play...

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Sometimes he would take hatpins.

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We don't even see hatpins any more.

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And Jeff or somebody would be playing the violin

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and he would beat on the strings with them.

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So you get a secondary effect there.

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Besides the bow that's striking the strings,

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you get another... spook in the background there.

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I had very long blonde hair...

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natural blonde hair.

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And the remark he put in one of his books was

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that when he saw me walking down the street, before he met me,

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that he said he was going to marry me.

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Now that was kids' stuff.

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They got married in a little Catholic church there,

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in Pampa, Texas.

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I don't know if that was the first time Woody went to church or not.

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-Pretty bad haircut.

-THEY LAUGH

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He told Matt that his mother was in the insane asylum.

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He never did tell me that.

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He never did.

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And of course, they did not know what was wrong for many years.

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Not until Woody was sick.

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# She rose from her blanket

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# A battle to fight... #

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I think the first time that he ever mentioned his mom,

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we'd had a very lively night and before we went to sleep,

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he started to talk about his mom.

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First time.

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# "..all of, you cowboys

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# "Fight for your land..." #

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He said, "She died last week. I had a letter from Oklahoma and my mother's dead."

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And that got my attention pretty good.

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And, eh...

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And he went on to tell how he'd visited this insane asylum

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before he left Oklahoma.

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And he was there the longest time.

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And she couldn't recognise him.

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But I believe just before he left,

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that she called him over to the bed and said, "You're Woodrow."

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That was a pretty bad afternoon for the little guy,

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he was maybe nine years old or so.

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But he told me that Huntington's Disease could come from

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father to daughter or mother to son.

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That's the only way it could be transmitted so it made him

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some sort of a candidate - about a 50-50 chance that he would get it.

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But, erm...

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We were, like, 19 years old, I guess.

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There was no way in the world anything could go wrong for us.

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You never know. That's the way it is.

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Erm...

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Huh.

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# This dusty old dust is a-blowin' me home

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# I've got to be rollin' along... #

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WOODY: Some of the worst dust storms...

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..in the history of the whole world, I guess,

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broke loose - that was the big middle of the Dust Bowl.

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# I'll sing this song But I'll sing it again

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# Of the place that I lived on the West Texas plains

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# In the city of Pampa The county of Gray

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# Here's what all of the people there say

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# This dusty old dust is a-blowin' me home

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# I've got to be driftin' along... #

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The first song that he ever wrote

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that was played all over the country was, So Long, It's Been Good To Know You

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and this was the Dust Bowl ballad about how bad the Dust Bowl was.

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The dust was blowin' so bad

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that the preacher had called them all in to repent of their sins, you know,

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the world was comin' to an end and all that.

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And he said the dust was so black that the preacher couldn't read his text.

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So he folded his specs and took up a collection!

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And said, "So long, it's good to know you," you know!

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Characters like that that make up lines like that,

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you get a chuckle out of them.

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# The church houses were jammed And packed

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# People was sittin' From front to the back

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# It was so dusty The preacher couldn't read his text

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# So he folded his specs And he took up collections

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# So long, it's been good to know ya

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# This dusty old dust is a-rollin' me home

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# I've got to be driftin' along. #

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In 1936, without compunction,

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Guthrie left his young wife and family

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and embarked on 25 years of rambling.

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He joined the migrants fleeing the Dust Bowl

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and travelled west to California.

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He was never to settle again.

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The Carter family, at that time, were broadcasting from Del Rio, Mexico.

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Now, the Carter family had developed a new guitar style,

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which was based on the banjo and had rhythmic action in both hands.

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Hammering on, pulling off, sliding, mixed with...

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..contrastive runs from the thumb and then playing the melody at the same time.

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It was a...

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It sounds simple, but it takes a long time to learn

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and Woody had been working on the Carter Family lick

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for years and years.

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And he put that together

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with the harmonica style that he learned from a black man.

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And with a kind of a frailing technique with his right hand

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so that his guitar buzzes and rumbles

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and bounces and jumps and skitters

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and sings all at the same time.

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It's a unique sound that Woody has.

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If you go back, if you listen to it, it's really like,

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I dunno, it's like being in a big truck

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and hearing a song sung at the same time

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because Woody was riding those trucks.

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And the sound of trucks - and he was riding the trains.

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So you hear the pulse of the drive wheel and the whistle of the locomotive

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and all the racket of the wheels, the regular racket of the wheels.

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It's all going on with that guitar style of Woody's.

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# I ain't got no home I'm just a-ramblin' round

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# I work when I can get it I go from town to town

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# Can't feel a fool No matter where I go

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# Cos I ain't got no home In this world anymore. #

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WOODY: After I was on the highway to California,

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I made about three trips back to Texas

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and back to Oklahoma and back to California again by freight train.

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And every time, I saw...

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..100s and 100s and 100s and 1,000s of families

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of people living around under railroad bridges.

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# I'm stranded on that road That goes from sea to sea

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# A hundred thousand others Are stranded same as me

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# A hundred thousand, yes A hundred thousand more

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# And I ain't got no home In this world anymore. #

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-INTERVIEWER:

-Did they welcome you

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with bands and banners and everything, or what?

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WOODY: No, they didn't greet us with bands or nothin',

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they asked us questions when we come across the line.

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They tried to turn a lot of us back - the hobos that didn't have any money. We knew.

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We remembered the old tractor sitting back down there,

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covered up with dust, the cows standing up on top of the barn

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and looking out across that dead sea of dust.

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And we said, "No, Mr!"

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# Now listen here, friends I wanna tell you

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# About a brand new dance That you gotta learn to do

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# Called the Oakie Boogie

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# You do it Oakie-style

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# Now the mean old Oakie Boogie Is bound to drive you wild

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# When you get started It's hard to stop

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# If you don't look out You're gonna blow your top

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# When you do the Oakie Boogie And do it Oakie-style

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# Well, the mean old Oakie Boogie Is sure to drive you wild. #

0:24:440:24:49

Guthrie joined his cousin, Jack, on a radio station in Los Angeles.

0:24:490:24:53

Thanks a lot, Jack, sure glad you dropped around.

0:24:530:24:56

The nostalgic sounds of Oklahoma were popular among the newly-arrived migrants.

0:24:560:25:00

But by this time, Guthrie had developed a style of his own,

0:25:000:25:03

turning one man's experience

0:25:030:25:05

into the story of all the Dust Bowl refugees.

0:25:050:25:07

# Back in 1927

0:25:100:25:12

# I had a little farm And I called it Heaven

0:25:120:25:15

# Prices up and the rain come down

0:25:150:25:18

# And I hauled my crops all into town

0:25:180:25:20

# I got the money

0:25:200:25:22

# Bought clothes and groceries

0:25:230:25:25

# Fed the kids

0:25:260:25:28

# Took it easy

0:25:290:25:30

# But the rain it quit And the wind got high

0:25:310:25:34

# And the black old dust storms Filled the sky

0:25:340:25:36

# And I swapped my farm For a Ford machine

0:25:360:25:39

# And I filled it full Of this gas-o-line

0:25:390:25:41

# And started

0:25:410:25:43

# Ro-lling on and on...

0:25:450:25:48

# Driftin' to California

0:25:490:25:51

# Way up yonder on a mountain road

0:25:530:25:55

# I had a hot motor and a heavy load

0:25:550:25:58

# I was going pretty fast I wasn't even stoppin'

0:25:580:26:01

# I's a-bouncin' up and down Like popcorn a-poppin'

0:26:010:26:03

# Had a breakdown

0:26:030:26:05

# Sort of a nervous bust-down of the, eh...

0:26:050:26:10

# Mechanism there Some kind of engine trouble

0:26:100:26:14

# Yes, away up yonder On a mountain road

0:26:170:26:20

# I wasn't feeling so very good

0:26:200:26:22

# And I give this rollin' Ford a shove

0:26:220:26:25

# And I's a-gonna coast as far as I could

0:26:250:26:27

# Commenced a-rollin'

0:26:290:26:31

# Pickin' up speed And there was a hairpin turn

0:26:310:26:34

# And I couldn't make it

0:26:340:26:36

# Man alive, I'm a-tellin' you

0:26:380:26:40

# The fiddles and the guitars Really flew

0:26:400:26:42

# That Ford took off Like a flying squirrel

0:26:440:26:47

# And it flew halfway Around the world

0:26:470:26:49

# Scattered wives and children All over the side of that mountain

0:26:500:26:54

# We got to old Los Angeles broke

0:27:050:27:08

# So dad-gum hungry We thought we'd choke

0:27:080:27:10

# And I bummed up a spud or two And my wife cooked up a tater stew

0:27:100:27:15

# Fed the kids a big bite of it

0:27:180:27:21

# But that was mighty thin stew

0:27:230:27:25

# So dad-gum thin you could near Read a magazine through it

0:27:260:27:30

# Hey, if it had been Just a little bit thinner

0:27:300:27:32

# I've always believed

0:27:320:27:34

# If that stew had been Just a little bit thinner

0:27:340:27:38

# Some of our senators Could have seen through it. #

0:27:380:27:43

The migrants that Guthrie travelled with

0:27:490:27:52

had not wanted to leave their homes.

0:27:520:27:53

They'd left because their land had literally turned to dust.

0:27:550:27:58

They were the first Americans

0:27:590:28:01

to spectacularly suffer a major disaster

0:28:010:28:06

in public vision

0:28:060:28:08

and gradually, the country began to acquire its conscience

0:28:080:28:13

by regarding the fate of the Okies and the Arkies.

0:28:130:28:18

Steinbeck, of course, did a great job and other writers,

0:28:200:28:24

but I think Woody did a job that was just as important as theirs

0:28:240:28:28

and has lasted, really, longer.

0:28:280:28:30

Well, the native Californian sons and daughters, I'll admit,

0:28:320:28:36

had a lot to be proud of.

0:28:360:28:37

They had built up, in California...

0:28:370:28:40

..a wonderful empire.

0:28:420:28:45

Then they hadn't built up quite a wonderful enough empire.

0:28:460:28:51

GUNSHOTS

0:28:540:28:56

What they needed in California

0:28:560:28:59

was more and more people to pick their fruit

0:28:590:29:03

to gather in their peaches,

0:29:030:29:05

to pick their select apricots,

0:29:050:29:09

but at the same time, they looked down, for some reason or other,

0:29:090:29:12

on the people that come in there from other states

0:29:120:29:16

to do that kind of work.

0:29:160:29:17

He was their spokesman.

0:29:190:29:21

He was to tell their story.

0:29:210:29:24

He believed every word he was saying.

0:29:240:29:27

He was as devoted to that

0:29:270:29:29

as any minister that feels he has a call to be a minister.

0:29:290:29:34

He considered himself a spokesman for the downtrodden

0:29:350:29:39

and the people that don't have a voice...

0:29:390:29:41

..and I think the reason he could do that

0:29:420:29:45

was because Woody had suffered in his life.

0:29:450:29:48

TRAIN RATTLES

0:29:480:29:51

TRAIN WHEELS SCREECH

0:30:070:30:10

# It's a mighty hard road

0:30:290:30:31

# That my poor hand has hoed

0:30:310:30:35

# My poor feet has travelled

0:30:350:30:38

# A hot, dusty road

0:30:380:30:43

# Out of your Dust Bowl And Westward we rode

0:30:430:30:47

# And your mountains are hot

0:30:470:30:49

# Your deserts are cold

0:30:490:30:53

# California and Arizona

0:30:560:30:59

# I make all your crops

0:30:590:31:01

# Well, it's north up to Oregon

0:31:010:31:04

# To gather your hops

0:31:040:31:08

# Dig the beets from your ground

0:31:080:31:10

# Cut the grape from your vine

0:31:100:31:13

# To set on your table Your light, sparkling wine

0:31:130:31:17

# Green pastures of plenty

0:31:230:31:26

# From dry desert ground

0:31:260:31:29

# From the Grand Coulee Dam

0:31:290:31:31

# Where the waters run down

0:31:310:31:34

# Every state in this Union Us migrants has been

0:31:340:31:39

# We'll work in your fight And we'll fight till we win... #

0:31:390:31:43

Back in the '30s, used to have the coal trains, you know?

0:31:430:31:48

-You were guaranteed...

-HE COUGHS

0:31:500:31:53

You were guaranteed they were going to stop.

0:31:530:31:55

From one town, they're going to stop at the next town.

0:31:560:31:59

But with these diesel engines,

0:31:590:32:02

they're going to go 300-400 miles before they stop.

0:32:020:32:05

When are you going to stop?

0:32:070:32:08

-Huh?

-When are you going to stop?

0:32:080:32:10

Probably when they bury me.

0:32:110:32:13

I ain't going to stop.

0:32:140:32:16

I'm going to keep moving till I drop dead.

0:32:170:32:20

# Well, it's always we've rambled That river and I

0:32:220:32:26

# All along your green valley I will work till I die

0:32:270:32:33

# My land, I'll defend With my life, if it be

0:32:330:32:38

# Because my pastures of plenty Must always be free. #

0:32:380:32:43

TRAIN'S WHISTLE TOOTS

0:32:430:32:45

PIANO PLAYS

0:32:510:32:53

ALL: # This land is your land This land is my land

0:32:540:32:58

# From California To New York Island

0:32:580:33:03

# From the redwood forests

0:33:030:33:05

# To the Gulf Stream waters

0:33:050:33:08

# This land was made for you and me... #

0:33:080:33:12

Guthrie's original title for This Land Is Your Land

0:33:120:33:15

was God Blessed America.

0:33:150:33:17

It was an answer to the Irvine Berlin anthem, which he hated,

0:33:170:33:21

and it expressed his own fierce brand of patriotism.

0:33:210:33:24

# ..A voice was chanting

0:33:240:33:27

# This land was made for you and me. #

0:33:270:33:30

Ah! I'm out again!

0:33:390:33:41

It became his most famous song and, ironically,

0:33:410:33:45

the second national anthem, though not with all the original verses.

0:33:450:33:48

It's sharp...

0:33:480:33:49

# In the squares of the city By the shadow of the steeple

0:33:510:33:56

# By the relief office I saw my people

0:33:560:34:01

# As they stood there hungry I stood there whistling... #

0:34:010:34:06

What did he whistle?

0:34:060:34:07

# This land was made For you and me

0:34:070:34:10

# Was a great high wall there

0:34:110:34:14

# Trying to stop me

0:34:140:34:16

# Was a great big sign there

0:34:160:34:18

# Said, private property

0:34:180:34:21

# But on the other side It didn't say nothing

0:34:210:34:25

# That side was made for you and me

0:34:270:34:30

# This land is your land

0:34:310:34:33

# This land is my land... #

0:34:330:34:35

Do you know, what gives me courage, is to think that this song

0:34:350:34:40

was never on the top 40, it was never on the top of the hit parade,

0:34:400:34:45

but hundreds of millions of people know the song now.

0:34:450:34:49

TRAIN BLOWS WHISTLE

0:34:490:34:51

GUITAR AND HARMONICA PLAY

0:35:010:35:03

Woody Guthrie is...

0:35:340:35:36

I guess about 30 years old from the looks of him,

0:35:360:35:39

but...he's seen more in those 30 years

0:35:390:35:43

than most men...

0:35:430:35:44

..see before they're 70.

0:35:450:35:48

He's looked at the faces of hungry men and women.

0:35:490:35:51

He's been in hobo towns.

0:35:510:35:53

He's performed on picket lines.

0:35:540:35:56

He's sung his way through every bar and saloon between Oklahoma and California.

0:35:560:36:00

And listen to that red-ball roll.

0:36:000:36:02

I met him at a benefit and Woody had just hit town from California

0:36:070:36:13

and someone invited him to sing and he stopped the show.

0:36:130:36:16

This little dusty-headed man.

0:36:180:36:21

Sometimes he couldn't finish his concerts in those days

0:36:210:36:24

because he would start talking, like Will Rogers,

0:36:240:36:27

who he adored,

0:36:270:36:29

and would keep on telling jokes for maybe an hour and a half,

0:36:290:36:32

maybe sing one song at the end.

0:36:320:36:34

Well, that sophisticated New York audience

0:36:340:36:38

had never heard anything like him. Nor had I.

0:36:380:36:40

In New York, Guthrie was adopted by a group of left-wing intellectuals

0:36:400:36:44

who believed that folk music was the true voice of the people.

0:36:440:36:48

In Guthrie, they found not only a man of the people

0:36:480:36:51

but one whose views were even more left-wing than their own.

0:36:510:36:54

He became the champion of a new musical movement.

0:36:540:36:57

Here we were, all trying to look like country, you know?

0:36:570:37:00

In our blue jeans and our work shirts.

0:37:000:37:03

Trying desperately to look like people from the country, so we had a right to sing these songs,

0:37:030:37:08

and here comes this guy from Oklahoma, the real thing, you know?

0:37:080:37:12

Erm, when I look back now, I wonder what Woody saw when he saw us all.

0:37:120:37:18

Nobody I knew literally slept in their clothes all the time.

0:37:180:37:21

Erm...

0:37:210:37:23

You really were afraid to...

0:37:250:37:27

I mean, nobody in their right mind would pat him on the head,

0:37:270:37:30

because he had... So much about Woody was proto.

0:37:300:37:33

He had proto-Afro hair-dos.

0:37:330:37:35

He had very wiry hair, it went out like this,

0:37:350:37:38

and you didn't dare touch it because you didn't know what would fly out.

0:37:380:37:41

Rats, mice, bats, birds? Dead birds?

0:37:410:37:43

He was generally filthy.

0:37:460:37:47

# John Henry when he was a baby

0:37:470:37:50

# Sittin' down on his mammy's knee

0:37:510:37:54

# Picked up a hammer in his little right hand

0:37:540:37:58

# That's gonna be the death of me

0:37:580:38:01

# That hammer'll be the death of me

0:38:020:38:06

-# Hammer'll be the death of me

-Oh, Lord

0:38:060:38:09

# Hammer'll be the death of me

0:38:090:38:13

# Well, the captain, He said to John Henry

0:38:130:38:16

# I'm gonna bring My steam drill around

0:38:160:38:19

# I'm gonna bring my steam drill Out on this job

0:38:190:38:24

# Whup that steel on down

0:38:240:38:27

# And I'm gonna whup That steel on down... #

0:38:270:38:30

You had a feeling of a sense of history when you were round him.

0:38:470:38:51

Cos we were both active Communists

0:38:540:38:57

and Communists have a strong sense of history too.

0:38:570:39:00

He and I sang for the CIO Unions,

0:39:000:39:04

many of which had Communist organisers, back in 19...

0:39:040:39:09

The early '40s.

0:39:100:39:12

When he met with the Communist Party he said,

0:39:120:39:15

"There's guys doing something about it.

0:39:150:39:17

"I knew Jesus was talking about it

0:39:170:39:19

"but these guys are doing something!"

0:39:190:39:21

And now, friends, this meeting is called on the office of the American Workers Party,

0:39:210:39:25

an organisation dedicated to the organising of the working class of America

0:39:250:39:30

and the overthrow of Capitalism.

0:39:300:39:32

An organisation that...

0:39:320:39:34

# Jesus Christ was a man That travelled through the land

0:39:340:39:38

# Hard-working man and brave

0:39:380:39:42

# He said to the rich, "Give your goods to the poor"

0:39:420:39:45

# So they laid Jesus Christ In his grave

0:39:450:39:49

# This song was written In New York City

0:39:500:39:55

# Of rich men, preachers and slaves

0:39:550:39:58

# If Jesus was to preach Like he preached in Galilee

0:40:010:40:05

# They would lay Jesus Christ In his grave... #

0:40:050:40:10

The point is he believed the image.

0:40:110:40:13

I guess he believed his image, as much as Jesus believed his.

0:40:130:40:17

Erm... You could never have convinced Jesus that he was just another, erm...

0:40:180:40:23

..crack-pot Jewish radical, during the Roman Empire.

0:40:260:40:30

Guthrie's sense of his own destiny was confirmed

0:40:300:40:33

when he was invited to Oregon

0:40:330:40:35

to write a cycle of songs in praise of the Grand Coulee Dam.

0:40:350:40:38

This was to be the most productive month of his life.

0:40:380:40:41

In almost as many days, he wrote 26 songs,

0:40:410:40:44

all hymns to the American working man.

0:40:440:40:47

# I've been a-having Some hard travelling

0:40:470:40:50

# I thought you know'd

0:40:500:40:51

# I've been a-having Some hard travelling

0:40:510:40:54

# Way down the road

0:40:540:40:56

# I've been a-having Some hard travelling

0:40:560:40:58

# Hard rambling Hard gambling

0:40:580:41:00

# I've been having Some hard travelling, Lord. #

0:41:000:41:03

He was a little shrimp of a guy but he really...

0:41:030:41:08

..thought highly of the...

0:41:100:41:13

..man's way of doing things.

0:41:140:41:17

# I've been working At Pittsburgh Steel

0:41:170:41:20

# I thought you know'd

0:41:200:41:21

# I've been pouring red-hot slag Way down the road

0:41:210:41:25

# I've been blasting And I've been firing

0:41:250:41:27

# I've been pouring red-hot iron

0:41:270:41:29

# And I've been having Some hard travelling, Lord. #

0:41:290:41:31

Did you like Woody?

0:41:530:41:54

No.

0:41:550:41:57

Why not?

0:42:000:42:01

I found it difficult to like him.

0:42:030:42:05

I found I was afraid of him.

0:42:060:42:08

Erm, I was very young when I met him.

0:42:110:42:13

16, 18, 19... That time.

0:42:130:42:17

And then, a little bit later.

0:42:170:42:20

Erm, I didn't understand him.

0:42:200:42:22

I knew I was supposed to think he was marvellous.

0:42:240:42:27

I thought his songs were...

0:42:290:42:31

They were amazing,

0:42:320:42:34

but the man was frightening...

0:42:340:42:37

..to me.

0:42:390:42:40

And I was always very uncomfortable with him.

0:42:410:42:44

"What the hell are singing a whorehouse ballad for?

0:42:440:42:47

"You're nothing but a virgin. You're a small-town virgin.

0:42:470:42:50

"How can you sing a song like that? How can you dare sing the blues?"

0:42:500:42:53

As a matter of fact, Pete himself did the same blues for years,

0:42:530:42:56

because of that kind of onus that Woody put on to him.

0:42:560:43:00

So-and-so was "college-bred", therefore they didn't know "The People".

0:43:010:43:05

Capital T - The, capital P - People.

0:43:050:43:07

Erm...which may be true, but don't rub it in.

0:43:070:43:11

Oh, he'd occasionally needle me about my Eastern mannerisms.

0:43:110:43:17

Yeah, I think once I did get so mad at him, I stormed out of the house.

0:43:180:43:22

Maybe I admired him so much that I didn't care if he did insult me

0:43:240:43:29

from time to time.

0:43:290:43:31

The person was revolting, to me.

0:43:320:43:35

I don't know that anybody admired the person. He was offensive, he was insulting...

0:43:360:43:41

The artist was...incredible.

0:43:430:43:46

So, I think everybody put up with the shit of the personality

0:43:460:43:53

for the diamonds that came out of that mind.

0:43:530:43:59

I've tried to describe what Woody's voice did to me, just his voice,

0:43:590:44:02

and it was...

0:44:020:44:04

A knife is no good as an image.

0:44:070:44:10

A razor is better,

0:44:100:44:13

but a razor is too broad and has too much surface.

0:44:130:44:16

A stiletto, that's sharp all the way, went right in.

0:44:160:44:19

Right in, pierced you through and through and your hair stood on end.

0:44:190:44:23

It was a scream

0:44:240:44:26

or a sneer

0:44:260:44:29

of extraordinary power.

0:44:290:44:32

# Mighty hard road That my poor hands have hoed

0:44:410:44:45

# My poor feet have travelled That hot, dusty road

0:44:450:44:49

# Out of your Dust Bowl

0:44:520:44:54

# And westward we roam

0:44:540:44:56

# And your deserts was hot And your mountains was cold

0:44:560:45:02

# California, Arizona I make all your crops

0:45:140:45:18

# Then it's up to Oregon To gather your hops

0:45:190:45:24

# On the edge of your city You see us and then

0:45:240:45:29

# We come with the dust And we're gone with the wind

0:45:290:45:34

# It's always we rambled That river and I

0:45:460:45:50

# All along your green valley I'll work till I die

0:45:510:45:57

# My land, I'll defend With my life, if it be

0:45:580:46:03

# Cos my pastures of plenty Must always be free. #

0:46:040:46:11

"Dig the beet from the ground And the grape from the vine

0:46:180:46:21

"To set on your table Your light, sparkling wine."

0:46:210:46:25

I mean, that's genius!

0:46:250:46:27

There's a sweep of America.

0:46:270:46:30

Two classes in a short verse,

0:46:310:46:35

and that was Woody.

0:46:350:46:36

He had that kind of mind, that kind of imagination.

0:46:360:46:40

Nothing daunts him. That business about, "The car couldn't make it on the hairpin curve",

0:46:400:46:46

or, "The car, we just didn't make it,"

0:46:460:46:48

and the next verse is...

0:46:480:46:50

"Wives and children falling all over that mountain."

0:46:500:46:54

And even the humour of making wife plural,

0:46:540:46:57

because he knew his own sex life, was filled with wives in Brooklyn

0:46:570:47:01

and wives in Oklahoma, and wives all over...

0:47:010:47:03

And he married several of them.

0:47:030:47:05

Guthrie's second wife was Marjorie Mazia,

0:47:050:47:08

a ballet dancer from New York.

0:47:080:47:10

Married only two years, with a baby daughter, he was on the move again.

0:47:100:47:14

EXPLOSION

0:47:140:47:17

He joined the Merchant Navy with fellow folk-singer Cisco Houston

0:47:220:47:25

and a young Italian New Yorker, Jimmy Longhi.

0:47:250:47:29

First time I met Woody...

0:47:290:47:30

I wouldn't be here, sitting here in my beautiful apartment,

0:47:320:47:37

overlooking the East River...

0:47:370:47:39

..if it weren't for Woody.

0:47:400:47:42

Apart from the fact that he literally saved my life,

0:47:430:47:47

when we were torpedoed...

0:47:470:47:49

We were in the invasion of France, Normandy,

0:47:510:47:55

Woody was standing near the porthole,

0:47:550:47:58

Cisco was sitting in his bunk tying his shoe.

0:48:000:48:05

I was in my bunk directly above Cisco,

0:48:050:48:08

with a pillow behind my head, listening to Woody.

0:48:080:48:11

And Woody's saying to me...

0:48:110:48:13

"You've never seen Jane Dudley dance the Harmonica Breakdown?"

0:48:140:48:19

"No, Woody, I never saw Jane Dudley dance the Harmonica Breakdown."

0:48:200:48:24

He said, "Well, before you die...

0:48:240:48:27

"you're going to see Jane Dudley dance the Harmonica Breakdown."

0:48:270:48:32

Now, as he's saying this,

0:48:320:48:34

he is floating through the air, and I'm watching him.

0:48:340:48:39

And he hits the ceiling, the overhead.

0:48:390:48:43

What happened - we were hit by an enormous mine, an explosion.

0:48:430:48:47

My brain went berserk.

0:48:470:48:50

Everything became slow motion.

0:48:500:48:51

Woody's lips were moving thusly,

0:48:510:48:54

and as he was saying, "You must see Jane Dudley

0:48:540:48:57

"dance the Harmonica Breakdown before you die,"

0:48:570:49:00

I'm watching, and then "BANG!" I hear the noise,

0:49:000:49:04

and we all go boom, boom, the whole ship was flying up and down.

0:49:040:49:07

And I get thrown out of my bunk.

0:49:070:49:09

My bunk collapses. It skinned Cisco, it almost killed Cisco.

0:49:090:49:14

Steel bunker, I weighed 200lb, but it came down on me.

0:49:140:49:18

I get thrown to the steel deck,

0:49:180:49:21

and that's all I remember.

0:49:210:49:23

I was unconscious.

0:49:230:49:24

The ship was taking water.

0:49:250:49:27

Woody and Cisco, of course they were running out, they were up on deck,

0:49:270:49:31

you know, "Where the hell are we?"

0:49:310:49:33

Then they realise that I'm not with them.

0:49:330:49:35

Woody and Cisco came down below

0:49:370:49:40

to find me.

0:49:400:49:42

They picked me up and they took me out.

0:49:420:49:46

So I wouldn't be here if it weren't for them.

0:49:460:49:49

I never saw Woody laugh.

0:50:010:50:04

I never saw Woody smile,

0:50:060:50:08

just a flicker of a smile.

0:50:080:50:09

And I never saw Woody cry.

0:50:090:50:12

Cisco tells me once Woody cried,

0:50:140:50:16

when his child, five-year-old child Cathy was burnt to death

0:50:160:50:20

in his apartment.

0:50:200:50:22

Woody was stoical, there was no reaction from Woody for three days.

0:50:240:50:29

Then we were walking on the sands of Coney Island,

0:50:290:50:32

and suddenly Woody threw himself on the sand, on his back,

0:50:320:50:37

and put his feet up in the air,

0:50:370:50:39

and scre-e-e-e-a-amed...

0:50:390:50:42

..for three, four minutes.

0:50:440:50:45

And then got up, and never mentioned it again.

0:50:460:50:50

But on that half-Indian face,

0:50:500:50:53

not half, quarter-Indian,

0:50:530:50:54

the face of his stoicism, and a calm beauty.

0:50:540:50:59

-RADIO:

-Hello, children.

0:50:590:51:01

This afternoon we've got in the studio Woody Guthrie,

0:51:010:51:05

who's a very well-known singer of folk songs over here.

0:51:050:51:09

Though at the moment you're in the Merchant Navy, aren't you, Woody?

0:51:090:51:12

That's right. Washing dishes on a liberty ship.

0:51:120:51:15

-PRESENTER LAUGHS

-And during his leave, Woody has come in to make a programme for you.

0:51:150:51:21

Shall we have the first one, Woody? What was it going to be?

0:51:210:51:24

# Take me riding in the car, car Take me riding in the car, car

0:51:260:51:30

# Take you riding in my car, car I'll take you riding in my car

0:51:300:51:34

# Brrrr-brr-brr-brr-brr brr-brr Brrrr-brr-brr-brr-brr brr-brr

0:51:340:51:38

# Brr-brr-brr brr-brr-brr brr brr Brr-brr-brr-brr-brr-brr... #

0:51:380:51:41

Well, I really didn't know him then,

0:51:410:51:45

but the books have indicated the terrible tragedy...

0:51:450:51:48

..with the death of the daughter,

0:51:490:51:51

who was left in the house,

0:51:510:51:53

and Woody went downstairs to get some cigarettes.

0:51:530:51:57

When he came back, the poor girl was on fire.

0:51:570:51:59

They took her to the hospital and she died soon after.

0:51:590:52:03

# Click clack Open up the door, girls

0:52:030:52:05

# Click clack Open up the door, boys

0:52:050:52:07

# Front door, back door Clickety clack

0:52:070:52:09

# Take you riding in my car

0:52:090:52:11

# Brrrr-brr-brr-brr-brr brr-brr Brrrr-brr-brr-brr-brr brr-brr

0:52:110:52:14

# Brr-brr-brr brr-brr brr brr # Brr-brr-brr-brr-brr brr... #

0:52:140:52:18

SILENCE

0:52:180:52:19

# I'm gonna zoom you home again I'm gonna zoom you home again

0:52:190:52:22

# Brr-brr, brr-brr-brrm, roll home Take you riding in my car. #

0:52:220:52:26

SILENCE

0:52:260:52:27

# I'm gonna let you blow the horn I'm gonna let you blow the horn

0:52:270:52:31

# A-oorah, a-oorah, a-oorah, oorah I'll take you riding in my car. #

0:52:310:52:36

SILENCE

0:52:360:52:39

The late '20s, when his sister died,

0:52:430:52:47

a fire in the house, a lamp kind of spilt over

0:52:470:52:52

and Woody came in and found her running around in flames.

0:52:520:52:56

Then after that, I think it was the death of his mother,

0:52:570:53:01

who died, I believe, somewhere in an asylum in Oklahoma.

0:53:010:53:05

Then you have here in New York, right on this street,

0:53:070:53:10

Woody's first daughter with Marjorie,

0:53:100:53:13

died in a fire.

0:53:130:53:16

She was maybe five or six years old.

0:53:160:53:19

Then you have almost a litany of tragedies.

0:53:210:53:25

His son from Mary, Bill Guthrie...

0:53:270:53:30

..perhaps he was in his twenties,

0:53:320:53:34

and he died in an automobile accident.

0:53:340:53:36

His car got stuck in the railroad tracks and a train hit him.

0:53:360:53:40

Then after that, his daughter Gwen, who was in her late thirties,

0:53:410:53:47

got Huntington's disease and died from it.

0:53:470:53:50

He had another daughter by his last marriage,

0:53:510:53:55

and she was again in her early twenties at that point,

0:53:550:53:58

and she was killed in an automobile accident in California.

0:53:580:54:02

And just last week I received a letter from Mary,

0:54:020:54:07

that Woody's and Mary's daughter...

0:54:070:54:10

..is dying from the disease.

0:54:140:54:16

I would say she's in her early forties.

0:54:160:54:19

Mid-forties.

0:54:190:54:21

And you have this whole litany of tragedies.

0:54:210:54:24

And then of course, Woody.

0:54:240:54:26

It is a disease that totally destroys the nervous system.

0:54:270:54:32

You cannot...

0:54:320:54:35

The nervous system and mental.

0:54:350:54:38

It can be both, or it can be one or the other.

0:54:380:54:41

But as far as any doctor's ever told me,

0:54:410:54:45

they will tell you it is both.

0:54:450:54:47

Some people are worse than others mentally,

0:54:470:54:50

but it does affect the brain also.

0:54:500:54:53

It slowly deteriorates the brain.

0:54:530:54:56

But you get to where you have no control over any of your muscles.

0:54:560:55:01

You can't walk, you can't talk, you can't eat, you can't swallow.

0:55:010:55:06

You're just...about a vegetable.

0:55:060:55:11

Now, this is after you've had it for quite some...

0:55:120:55:15

It can... It can take you...

0:55:150:55:18

Well, my other daughter lived ten years.

0:55:190:55:22

But she started out very bad at the beginning.

0:55:220:55:26

In the case of my younger daughter, she started out slowly.

0:55:260:55:30

And it's been 17 years now

0:55:300:55:33

that she's had Huntington's.

0:55:330:55:35

And I know Woody was in the hospital 15 years.

0:55:350:55:38

And I absolutely refuse to think about my grandchildren.

0:55:410:55:45

By the time they would get old enough, I'm not going to be around,

0:55:450:55:49

and I feel that I've got to put that out of my head.

0:55:490:55:52

I'm not going to let that get to me.

0:55:520:55:54

And maybe, maybe they'll have something, but I wouldn't bet on it.

0:55:560:56:01

See, some people see it as some kind of doom and gloom.

0:56:020:56:05

I don't see it that way.

0:56:050:56:07

I see it as just another...um...

0:56:070:56:11

..thing that you have to learn,

0:56:120:56:15

and you have to cope with, and you have to get over.

0:56:150:56:18

And the thing you have to get over is the idea that you are...

0:56:180:56:21

you know, just some kind of piece of meat walking around

0:56:210:56:25

that, you know, increases in volume and then turns to dust.

0:56:250:56:30

If that's all you think you are,

0:56:300:56:33

you're not going to have the opportunities

0:56:330:56:36

to move ahead philosophically,

0:56:360:56:40

or spiritually.

0:56:400:56:41

When I had a chance to go through some of his work,

0:56:450:56:49

I found out a little bit more with what he was struggling with,

0:56:490:56:52

struggling with questions like, "Why me? How come I got sick?

0:56:520:56:57

"Is God going to help me?

0:56:570:56:59

"Is there any help for me?

0:56:590:57:01

"Can man help me?

0:57:010:57:03

"How am I going to get out of this mess? Is there an out?"

0:57:030:57:06

And I think my dad's journey was a spiritual journey.

0:57:060:57:10

It was a mystical journey, his whole life.

0:57:100:57:12

# I've been havin' Some hard travellin'

0:57:130:57:15

# Way down the road

0:57:150:57:18

# I've been havin' Some hard travellin'

0:57:180:57:20

# Hard ramblin', hard gamblin'

0:57:200:57:22

# I've been havin' Some hard travellin', lord... #

0:57:220:57:26

This song was put together back in the 1930s,

0:57:260:57:30

by a fella some of you may know.

0:57:300:57:33

His name was Woody Guthrie.

0:57:330:57:34

Woody has been in a hospital now for ten years,

0:57:360:57:38

probably won't write another song.

0:57:380:57:41

But he was one of the greatest balladmakers I guess I'll ever know.

0:57:430:57:47

Wrote songs about the Dust Bowl, about the crops of California,

0:57:470:57:52

wrote songs for his children.

0:57:520:57:53

A lot of people have heard his songs.

0:57:530:57:56

They're getting more well known every year.

0:57:560:57:58

But I thought maybe right now you'd be interested to perhaps see him.

0:57:580:58:02

This is him.

0:58:020:58:04

# In the dead hours of night

0:58:040:58:09

# She rose from her blanket

0:58:090:58:14

# A battle to fight

0:58:140:58:19

# She rose from her blanket

0:58:210:58:27

# With a gun in each hand

0:58:280:58:32

# Said, "Come all of, you cowboys

0:58:320:58:38

# "Fight for your land." #

0:58:380:58:41

A new generation was now claiming Guthrie as its own.

0:58:430:58:46

Tom Paxton, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan,

0:58:460:58:48

Paul Simon, Joan Baez.

0:58:480:58:50

His canonisation had begun,

0:58:500:58:53

and his very first disciple was Ramblin' Jack Elliott,

0:58:530:58:56

seen here with a bearded Guthrie in Washington Square.

0:58:560:58:59

I watched him play really well for two years -

0:59:000:59:04

'51 and '52.

0:59:040:59:07

I guess it wasn't till about 1954

0:59:100:59:12

that he started kind of loose guitar picking into it.

0:59:120:59:16

HE PLAYS A SHORT TUNE

0:59:160:59:18

He did some things on the guitar that I still cannot do,

0:59:190:59:24

while I could hear how it sounded.

0:59:240:59:26

One of them was...

0:59:260:59:27

HE PLAYS A COMPLICATED TUNE

0:59:270:59:29

I couldn't get him to teach it to me.

0:59:340:59:36

Somehow he would let me learn something.

0:59:360:59:39

I'd say, "Hey, how'd you do that?"

0:59:390:59:42

He'd say, "Just watch it and steal it. I ain't going to show it to you.

0:59:420:59:45

"Leadbelly, let me steal from him and you can steal from me.

0:59:450:59:48

"I ain't going to show you nothin'."

0:59:480:59:50

The last few years, he couldn't really speak at all.

0:59:520:59:55

Just a blur came out of his mouth.

0:59:550:59:57

Bob Dylan visited him, but I doubt they had much of a conversation.

1:00:001:00:03

He was just one more young fellow with a guitar.

1:00:051:00:08

When Woody got sick,

1:00:081:00:10

and I used to get his letters that he was writing to me,

1:00:101:00:13

they were so ineligible.

1:00:131:00:15

I could not read them.

1:00:151:00:17

I mean illegible. That's the word I needed.

1:00:171:00:19

When I got these letters that you couldn't read his writing,

1:00:221:00:25

I would just break down

1:00:251:00:27

and just boo-hoo, I mean just boo-hoo, just go all to pieces.

1:00:271:00:30

And then, I...

1:00:301:00:31

As I got them regularly, I got where I could get through them.

1:00:311:00:36

But that was the hardest thing for me to accept.

1:00:361:00:40

And then I went to visit Woody and then I saw him,

1:00:401:00:44

and the only way I was really sure that everything was OK mentally,

1:00:441:00:48

because he always liked to tell it in the hospital, he says...

1:00:481:00:53

He says, "I'm the one that looks the craziest."

1:00:531:00:58

He says, "And I'm the only one in here with a mind."

1:00:581:01:02

And so to check that out,

1:01:041:01:06

he's sitting there, you know, like this,

1:01:061:01:09

and I knew that he would be briefed, he knew I was coming,

1:01:091:01:13

and to expect me.

1:01:131:01:15

And I said... So I knew...

1:01:151:01:17

I thought, it's easy for him to say "Do you know me?" and he'd say, "Yeah, you're Mary Jo."

1:01:171:01:22

And I said, "OK, Woody, what do you call me?

1:01:221:01:25

"What is your nickname for me, you gave me?"

1:01:251:01:29

He says, "Tinken."

1:01:291:01:31

And I knew then everything was OK.

1:01:311:01:33

# If you gather round me, children

1:01:571:02:03

# A story I will tell about Pretty Boy Floyd, an outlaw

1:02:061:02:11

# Oklahoma knew him well

1:02:121:02:16

# It was in the town of Shawnee

1:02:191:02:24

# A Saturday afternoon His wife beside him in his wagon

1:02:261:02:30

# And into town they rode

1:02:331:02:36

# There a deputy sheriff Approached him

1:02:401:02:45

# A manner rather rude Using vulgar words of language

1:02:451:02:49

# And his wife, she overheard

1:02:511:02:54

# Pretty Boy grabbed a log chain The deputy grabbed his gun

1:02:561:03:01

# And then the fight that followed

1:03:011:03:04

# He laid that deputy down

1:03:061:03:09

# Now there's a many A starving farmer

1:03:291:03:33

# The same old story told How this outlaw paid their mortgage

1:03:331:03:37

# And saved their little homes

1:03:391:03:42

# Others tell you of a stranger That come to beg a meal

1:03:441:03:49

# Then underneath his napkin

1:03:491:03:52

# Left a thousand dollar bill... #

1:03:531:03:58

After going through all he went through,

1:04:141:04:18

to be cut down by Huntington's chorea at the age of 40...

1:04:181:04:22

It was...

1:04:241:04:26

Dignity, can't believe it.

1:04:261:04:28

Huntington's chorea, the mind is clear.

1:04:281:04:31

It's just that the nerves and the muscles don't function.

1:04:311:04:35

To see Woody light a cigarette...

1:04:361:04:39

He wouldn't let anybody else do it for him.

1:04:421:04:44

He'd try to strike the match.

1:04:521:04:55

You don't say, "Will you let me do it?"

1:04:561:04:58

You just sit there.

1:04:581:04:59

And finally, he'd get it and he'd look at you through his eyes.

1:05:011:05:05

He's talking to you but he can't speak.

1:05:051:05:07

The last time I saw him...

1:05:101:05:13

..I said..."Do you love me?"

1:05:191:05:22

He blinked.

1:05:261:05:27

And that was his way of saying yes.

1:05:291:05:32

We have to have a Woody.

1:05:391:05:41

You have to take him warts and all, like they say.

1:05:411:05:45

No, I knew Woody at the very best time in his life

1:05:471:05:51

when he was a young man with lots of ideals

1:05:511:05:54

and, I thought, a lot of talent.

1:05:541:05:57

And that's the Woody I centre on.

1:05:571:05:59

That's the one I come in on

1:05:591:06:01

and I'm not going to remember any other Woody.

1:06:011:06:03

# This land is your land

1:06:141:06:16

# And this land is my land

1:06:161:06:19

# From the California

1:06:191:06:21

# To the New York island

1:06:211:06:23

# And the Redwood Forest

1:06:231:06:26

# And the Gulf Stream waters

1:06:261:06:29

# This land was made for you and me

1:06:291:06:33

# As I went a-walking

1:06:341:06:37

# That ribbon of highway

1:06:371:06:39

# I saw above me

1:06:391:06:41

# That endless skyway

1:06:411:06:44

# Saw below me

1:06:441:06:46

# That golden valley

1:06:461:06:50

# This land was made for you and me

1:06:501:06:53

# When the sun comes shining

1:06:551:06:57

# And I was strolling

1:06:571:07:00

# And the wheat fields waving

1:07:001:07:02

# And the dust clouds rolling

1:07:021:07:05

# The voice was chatting

1:07:051:07:08

# And the fog was lifting

1:07:081:07:11

# This land was made For you and me. #

1:07:111:07:14

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

1:07:141:07:17

First transmitted in 1988, Arena presents a documentary programme exploring the life of Woody Guthrie, the travelling American singer-songwriter who paved the way for the likes of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Born in Okemah, Oklahoma in 1912, Guthrie became a spokesman for a whole generation of downtrodden Americans during the 1930s, with poignant songs like Vigilante Man, Pastures of Plenty and the anthemic, This Land is Your Land.


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