Your Letters: The Hammersteins

Our conversation with Oscar Andrew Hammerstein drove many of you to your keyboards last week. Host Scott Simon reads listeners' letters about his interview last week with the author about the biography of his famous Broadway family.

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SCOTT SIMON, host:

Time now for your letters.

(Soundbite of music and typing)

SIMON: Our conversation with Oscar Andrew Hammerstein drove many of you to the keyboard last week. He's written a biography of his family, called "The Hammersteins: A Musical Theatre Family." Of course, we played lots of music.

Jean Torcom from Sacramento, California, had some questions: You identified Mary Martin singing from "Sound of Music" - the one I needed no help with - but omitted identifying the baritone singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning," and the baritone singing the "Soliloquy" from "Carousel."

(Soundbite of "Soliloquy")

Mr. JOHN RAITT: (Singing) I bet that he will turn out to be the spitting image of his dad...

SIMON: Im just sure that was not John Raitt's voice in the "Soliloquy," and he created that role. Likewise, Im sure it was not Alfred Drake from the original cast of "Oklahoma!" singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning."

(Soundbite of song, "Oh What a Beautiful Morning")

Mr. NELSON EDDY: (Singing) I got a beautiful feeling, everything's going my way...

SIMON: Please tell me who these voices belong to. Well, Ms. Torcom, thank you for playing "Name that Show Tune" today. I'm afraid you won't be taking home any of our prizes - which is good because we don't have any. In fact, it was John Raitt singing the "Soliloquy" from "Carousel," and it was Nelson Eddy singing "Oh What a Beautiful Morning." Please play again next week.

Victoria Posner from Rochester, New York, wrote in to thank us for including another song, "You've Got to be Carefully Taught" from "South Pacific."

(Soundbite of song, "You've Got to be Carefully Taught")

Unidentified Man: (Singing) You've got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made, and people whose skin is a different shade. You've got to be carefully taught...

SIMON: She writes: When Hammerstein died, the obituary in the now-defunct New York Herald Tribune included those lyrics. I was a teenager, and I cut them out and carried them in my wallet for years.

Finally, Joan Appleton Costanza from Manassas, Virginia, writes: Happy 25th anniversary, Scott Simon. I believe that your first Saturday broadcast was on Saturday, November 2, 1985. Why do I think this? Because I gave birth to my first child the Thursday before - yes, on Halloween - and I was still in the hospital. With all the transitions in my life at that point, an NPR show, even if new, was a comforting anchor. I thought your show was good that first day, and I haven't changed my mind. Congratulations.

Well, thanks so much. Yes, indeed, our show turns 25 next week but really, we don't feel a day over 12.

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