Found: Manuscript For A Rare Patriotic Song Some of the most e-mailed, viewed and commented on stories on the Web, including word of a flea market shopper who discovered a handwritten copy of the "America" lyrics behind a $10 picture of flowers.
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Found: Manuscript For A Rare Patriotic Song

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Found: Manuscript For A Rare Patriotic Song

Found: Manuscript For A Rare Patriotic Song

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Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're always online at The Internet does not take any time off, even on a three-day weekend. It's humming and buzzing with the most-emailed, the most-commented, the most-blogged, the most-decried stories in the known universe. All we at the Bryant Park Project do is bag them, tag them, and call them The Most.

(Soundbite of music)

PESCA: And I shall start with the Mostest story, or I think the third most, on the Denver Post. And the reason I like to get stories from the Denver Post for The Most is that it rhymes. "Youngest 'Brady' interview unflattering." The youngest Brady is Cindy Brady. She was doing a spot with a local radio station and ah, she was a little sick.

(Soundbite of interview)

Ms. SUSAN OLSEN (Actress): Chris got me wasted last night, and I'm so ready to vomit on the microphone.

Mr. DARREN MCKEE (DJ, Jet 107.9): Yeah.

PESCA: Well, it didn't - she didn't vomit on the microphone or on the video that they posted online, but I think she lost it a little later. It seemed like she had it together there for awhile, but it turned out she was all alone. I have lyrics. You ready?

Let's do it.

PESCA: (Singing) 'Til the one day when the vodka met her stomach, and...

Wait, where are my lyrics?

(Singing) And she knew that it was much more than a hunch.

LAURA SILVER: Much more than a punch.

PESCA: (Singing) Than a punch, that the former child-star-turned-standup-comic would go on the radio and loose her lunch.

PESCA and SILVER and PATRICIA MCKINNEY and DAN PASHMAN and IAN CHILLAG: (Together) (Singing) She lost her lunch, she lost lunch...

MCKINNEY: Oh, you guys.

PESCA: (Singing) Right after she left the studio, she lost her lunch.

Ian, what do you got?

CHILLAG: Wow, that was beautiful.

PESCA: Yeah, I try.

CHILLAG: I have a story, a most-viewed from the Las Cruces Sun News.

PESCA: The crosses?

CHILLAG: Yes, indeed. So, last Thursday, this guy goes to the cops. He's got a bruise on his face. He's covered in transmission fluid. He tells them, you know, he was kidnapped. They drove him around in his own car, then they bound and tied him. They threw him in the trunk. And then they abandoned the car, with him in the trunk...

PESCA: Yeah.

CHILLAG: Under a bridge near San Miguel, Mexico.

PESCA: All right.

CHILLAG: But it turns out he had been out on the town with three friends, two of them female, and he just woke up under the bridge the next day.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHILLAG: He made up the entire story to avoid getting in trouble with his wife, going so far as banging his own head on the side of his car, to create the bruise I mentioned, and pouring transmission fluid all over himself.

PESCA: Yeah...

MCKINNEY: Ouch I mean.

PESCA: The transmission fluid in the trunk, I don't think it leaks back into the trunk.


CHILLAG: I know. I don't know, I mean, maybe he was trying to cover up the smell of whiskey or something.

MCKINNEY: How did this come to light? The truth.

CHILLAG: Well, apparently...

PESCA: Because it seems to be the perfect crime.

CHILLAG: Yeah, it does.

(Soundbite of laughter)

CHILLAG: The investigators to whom he had reported the story apparently saw some inconsistencies in there. They aren't covered here in the Last Cruses Sun News. The transmission fluid may have been a giveaway.

(Soundbite of laughter)


CHILLAG: He's now facing charges of filing a false kidnapping report, and he may have to pay costs incurred with the investigators.


PESCA: And perhaps one of the investigators fell over laughing and hurt himself.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MCKINNEY: I see this will be in next month's Ladies Home Journal, Can This Marriage Be Saved column.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Can this hoax be perpetrated? Laura.

SILVER: Hey. This morning you were talking about George Washington in labor.

PESCA: Yeah.

SILVER: And we have a real-life story that's kind of like that. You may remember...

PESCA: Really?

SILVER: The famous Mr. The Pregnant Man.

PESCA: Yeah.

SILVER: The transgender guy out in Bend, Oregon. Well, he gave birth. It wasn't today, though. And all these - all the reports I've been able to find link back to a story in People. Now, this was the most-emailed at Yahoo! News, or one of the most-emailed at Yahoo! News, but every story references People Magazine, which said that the guy, Thomas Beatie, gave birth on June 29th and it was a girl. And there's a little video online that...

PESCA: A caesarian, I guess.

SILVER: Well, that's...

PESCA: It would have to be, no?

SILVER: Yeah, that what it looks like.

PESCA: That's the most important detail, I think.

MCKINNEY: I don't - I thought that Thomas began life as a woman...

PESCA: He did.

MCKINNEY: And became a man...

SILVER: He did, so he didn't necessarily...

MCKINNEY: And my understanding of the story was that he kept certain parts.


MCKINNEY: In order to have the baby.

PESCA: Oh, that...

SILVER: Yeah, yeah, I mean, not necessary - I mean, there's not a lot of hard facts there, because they wanted this story to be, you know, safe from the press, but...

PESCA: Right. He didn't want all the attention.

SILVER: He didn't want the attention.

PESCA: That's why he went on "Oprah."

SILVER: Right, well...

PESCA: Yeah, yeah.

SILVER: He didn't want to disclose any more details, but apparently, it's a girl.

PESCA: OK. Who - the baby is?


PESCA: Yeah, OK.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Well, I was just wondering. All right. Here, I've got another big story. This is from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Cardiac - let's see, I think I'll bury the lead a little bit. So, Robert P. Farnam was eating at an Applebee's in the mall, up there in - near Milwaukee somewhere. He had a sirloin steak, salad, mashed potatoes, a soda, strawberry smoothie and a brownie. His bill came to $22.66. He has a heart attack! He goes to the hospital. You know, can't worry about paying the bill. The doctor at the hospital is, like, you know what? This is, like, the fourth time you've been in here once you've been presented with the bill, pretending to have a heart attack. In fact, on his way to the mall, he got out of paying the cab because he faked a heart attack.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: And he has faked heart attacks at strip clubs. He has faked heart attacks at movie theaters.

MCKINNEY: When he does it, does he go...

(As Fred G. Sanford) Elizabeth, I'm coming?

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: Whenever you present the guy with a bill, he has a heart attack. Now, I could understand Applebee's, they looked down at the brownie and the steak and the mashed potatoes and said, yeah, it makes sense.


PESCA: And maybe at the strip club, they looked over at Destiny and Aura and said, yeah, that could happen. But in, like, six cabs in a row? I don't think so. So, they're onto you, Robert P. Farnam.

CHILLAG: I've got to say, we should hook him up with my man in New Mexico.

PESCA: Yeah, you and your Las Cruces evil genius.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SILVER: Yeah, how's his transmission fluid?

PESCA: You could be dangerous together. Tricia?

MCKINNEY: I have one of the most-popular stories at, and it's a patriotic story. This is one of the most favorite kinds of stories - you know, someone went to a flea market and they bought a picture for ten bucks, and they found something behind the picture. Why do people stick things behind pictures? I don't know. It was a picture of a flower, and behind it was the hand-written manuscript of a song, a patriotic song, and let's play the song.

(Soundbite of song "America (My Country 'tis of Thee)"):

Unidentified Chorus: (Singing) My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing.

MCKINNEY: So, you know, that's the song "America (My Country 'tis of Thee)." It was written in 1831, the lyrics were. I mean, the tune predates that. It was actually "God Save the Queen."

PESCA: "God Save the Queen," right, yeah.

MCKINNEY: But Samuel Francis Smith wrote that - the lyrics to that song in 1831. And a handwriting expert who authenticates historical documents has said it's this guy's handwriting. So, we know he - whoever bought it at the flea market bought it for ten bucks, sold it to this handwriting expert. We don't know how much that person paid for it, but that person says it's worth tens of thousands now.

PESCA: Interesting. I don't know the - I didn't know the history of "My Country 'tis of Thee," and I was made to sing it every day in elementary school.

MCKINNEY: Yes, well...

PESCA: Was that your song?

MCKINNEY: There's a long story to it. We don't have time for it now but...

PESCA: Ugh, that's too bad.

MCKINNEY: We'll put it on the blog. When you click the link, you'll see this whole story.

PESCA: OK, cool, and that is The Most. Links to these stories and lots of 4th of July special stuff on our website,

(Soundbite of song "America (My Country 'tis of Thee)")

Unidentified Chorus: (Singing) Let all that breathe partake, let rocks their silence break, the sound prolong.

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