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Passings: Remembering Norman Corwin

Every year at precisely this time, readers of fine newspapers like Newsday come across these long lists of "notable passings" -- famous people who died in the year preceding. One name, however, was left off mine and I take this opportunity to correct the record: Norman Corwin.

Corwin, who died Oct. 19, at the age of 101, was a titan of radio during the Second World War. A CBS lifer, he was as big as Edward R. Murrow at the time, but is now largely forgotten, which is a genuine -- if understandable -- shame. I noted that he made few if any lists, by the way.

Let me quickly tell you about Corwin: Called the poet of the airwaves, he produced a radio program that aired just days after Pearl Harbor that was credited with galvanizing a nation while clarifying the terrible mission that lay ahead. Even FDR called on Corwin to  help him get this huge broadcast together (enlisting such voices as Orson Welles'). Another one followed D-Day ...

Why is it "understandable" that Corwin is no longer much remembered? Because the role of radio has diminished so profoundly -- as a medium to entertain, inform and arouse. Corwin's work did all off that,

There were some very good obits, and if you're still with me, check out Dennis McLellan's in the LA Times. 

  

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