The Making of Season 1
S1: Hi, I’m Chata and welcome to the Slate Plus recap episode for the first season of one year. Today I’m going to be chatting with host Josh Levin and producer Evan Chang about the making of this season. Hi there. You, too.
S2: Hi, Joe.
S3: Hey, how’s it going? Good.
S1: OK, so we already chatted a bit about your first episode on Anita Bryant. But one thing we that we didn’t discuss was the end of the episode where you talked with Anita Bryant son and granddaughter. So I just want to hear more about what it was like to reach out to them and about how you found out about the granddaughter’s story.
S2: Yes. So we reached out to Robert Green, Anita Bryant son. I think fairly early in the process, he had done an interview with Kate Sosin of the Windy City Times back in 2012. That was on the occasion of his father’s death. That’s Anita Bryant’s husband, Bob Greene. But we hadn’t really seen anything else that he had done. And so we weren’t sure how that request would be received. But he was open. And I think with a lot of these things, it’s a question less about us. You know, you’d like to think that, oh, people will want to speak to us because our show is great. But this is the new shows. How could they possibly know? But I think he was ready to talk. And I think we found him in a moment when he was feeling contemplative. And as I said in that episode, if you heard it, he sent us back recordings of him answering my questions.
S1: And and that’s not traditional.
S2: No, it’s not. It was kind of a compromise because we wanted to get him on tape and he wasn’t super comfortable with like just a back and forth interview. But his perspective was so valuable that we were trying to figure out a way to make it work. And the fact that he was willing to send us back recordings, I think it was honestly less about wanting to exert control over the process and more because he was so contemplative, like he really wanted to make sure that he said exactly what he meant and wanted to say and was very open within those parameters. And I don’t want to get into too many details because of sourcing agreements, but it was just through kind of those conversations that we ended up speaking with his daughter, Anita’s granddaughter, Sarah, and kind of similarly, she was just in a place in her life when she was up for for talking, talking about herself, talking about her grandmother, talking about her experience. And so just really grateful to them for being willing to share with us. And, you know, having their voices both allowed us to connect the 1977 story to 2021. But also, it’s just like a really close up view that hasn’t really been present in a lot of the coverage of the Anita Bryant story. So it’s something that we were able to hopefully add to people’s understanding of who Anita Bryant was and what that experience was like for her family.
S1: Yeah, I guess I wonder, just like how do you know when you want to make something a little bit more personal and how do you like kind of gauge these interviews and how do you decide that’s the direction that you’d want to take in this story and making this episode?
S2: Yeah, it’s a good question because. This episode really wasn’t about Anita Bryant. Full stop, it’s not her biography, although we get into kind of who she was and where she came from. It’s about this moment in time and why events transpired the way that they did. Like, why was it that Anita Bryant was able to kind of instigate this hateful movement? And I think the reason to have those voices and to have that sort of personal element to the story is it really allows you to understand the effect of this movement on all sorts of different levels. You kind of hear in the absurd about it from like the 30000 foot level and like what it meant nationally, both in 1977 in the future about anti-gay rhetoric and anti-gay legislation. You hear about it locally in terms of what the effect was, again, in terms of legislation. But also, you know, you hear about the violence that was perpetrated, that both rhetorical violence and physical violence and the effect that that had on the people that were present in Miami at the time. And then I think just drilling down a little bit deeper into the family, you get to hear about the effect that this had on multiple generations of this family. And I don’t know, it was very powerful to me to listen to them kind of grapple with that and reckon with it and try to make sense of it. You know, all these decades later, I think it’s still really raw. And I think people can maybe some listeners can relate to that in their own families, even if your mother or grandmother is a Anita Bryant. I think there is something powerful and relatable in hearing about these dynamics in the relationship.
S1: Yeah, definitely. Another episode I felt got really personal was the later one, which was hosted by Evan. So again, that story had a lot of twists and turns. And to me, I thought hearing from Chad Green’s mother was really powerful. And then at the end, we hear her and Dr. Truman talking as well. And you would mention that they obviously hadn’t spoken in a long time. So how did that all come about?
S3: Yeah, I mean, this really gets back to that question of how do you tell the story that sort of broad without getting personal? And I think you have to for this. This was a story that even more so than the Anita Bryant story, was a really hard to wrangle Brod’s story that really was played out in every corner of the country. I mean, Anita Bryant, we at least had the benefit of being able to focus it on the one central battle over this ordinance in Miami. But Latrelle was something that showed up on the front page of every newspaper, of every city in every State of the Union. And that convinced us this is definitely a leading story of 1977, we had to tell. But it was very difficult to figure out how to wrangle that, because there are so many directions you can go down. You can tell the story of these individual state battles, the larger national battle. You can talk about the judicial fights over Latrelle. And I think it’s hard to stay at that high, high level and engage people. But that story, because that could be very dull. And also, I think you miss out if you’re just telling the story of Laetrile as kind of a phenomenon of mass hysteria. You lose sight then, of the fact that at the center of this story is really cancer patients, cancer patients who are contending with uncertainty and fear and having to make really difficult decisions. And so I was really fortunate to be able to find Diana Meier, the mother of Chad Greene. She had written a book in 2007 telling her story. And I’ve seen Chad come up in newspapers and Develin was interested in her story. And when I found her book, I read it. And her book is really well written. And what I love about it is that she’s clearly. Reflective and she’s been thinking about this for decades and she’s evolved and she just comes across as this really complex character. And so when I when I reached out to her, I was really fortunate that she was willing to really open up to me and speak at length about a story that obviously is incredibly traumatic. And I think people hear her voice really showed that, you know, the decisions she made, they can be really frustrating to hear and it can make you feel very sad about the decisions she made when you hear her full story. You start to get a better sense, I think, of how difficult the situation she was in was that there was all these swirling forces around her that complicated it. And I came away from speaking to her with a whole lot of empathy for her, even if I’m frustrated with some particular decisions. So, yeah, it was it was really fortunate to be able to get her to share her story. And, you know, that once we had her story that, you know, clearly became the driving narrative force of the story of Latrelle for us.
S2: Yeah. And Dr. Truman had a lot of empathy for her as well, even as you know, he said and the absurd like I didn’t know that that any people like this existed on Earth that would make these choices. It’s the kind of things that you would say about someone that you don’t have respect for. And yet he clearly does have respect for Diana. And so just like hearing that play out and then hearing the conversation that they were able to have at the end. Yeah, it’s very moving. And I think there are some cases where people that have like extreme disagreements are not going to have that level of respect for each other. And it probably doesn’t make sense to try to impose that. But this was just like a particular relationship, and I think it was important to Diana. Her views on her actions changed because I think that allowed them to have space to reflect on how those decisions were made and have a kind of empathy for each other if they’re in the same place that they were in the 70s. I’m not sure that could have happened. But based on where they are, you know, the way that you put the story together, even the sensitivity and that the care, I think they both ended up being really grateful to have the opportunity to share their experience and also connect again with each other.
S3: Yeah, I mean, speaking to them individually, it became very clear that they had deep mutual respect for each other and that if there was any animosity, it had sort of melted away over the last 40 some years. And so, you know, hearing that from each of them, that’s what gave me the idea that maybe it would be fruitful if they were willing to have a conversation together, which is what you hear at the end. And they’re both very game for it. And, you know, you only hear a tiny snippet of the conversation. But, you know, having been on that call, I can tell you is incredibly powerful, you know, because, you know, yet they were on opposite sides in a sense of this. But at the same time, they kind of shared a painful, traumatic experience together. So I think it was helpful for them to be able to sort of, you know, regroup and sort of relive it in some way together.
S1: I thought that was really powerful at the end, for sure. Josh, I know that you are a sports fan, obviously. But when did you first hear about Mary Shane? And like, why did you want to cover her? I think I personally also, as a sports fan, I wasn’t familiar with her story.
S2: Yeah. I mean, so many people that I have spoken with had heard the episode, didn’t know anything about her story, and that includes people. There were like big baseball fans in 1977. Even people that were a big Chicago baseball fans in 1977. And so some of that, I think, comes down to memory. You know, it was a big story. It got a certain level of renown. She was covered on the national news. She was profiled in national magazines. But, you know, the way the media worked back then is different. Local stories were more local. And it is possible, I think, that if you’re a big sports fan, then then this might have not been on your radar. But to answer your question, I actually found the story for a previous project that I was working on that didn’t come together. And then it just so it turned out when we settled on 1977, I was looking back through some old notes and found that this actually happened in 1977. So this was a very happy coincidence to have a place to be able to tell this story. And as far as why her story isn’t better known, I think the fact that it wasn’t a success, this experiment, the so-called experiment, that it didn’t last beyond one season and I should put success in scare quotes, because I think, you know, she was successful in a lot of different ways, but it’s not a particularly happy story. You know, I don’t know if the White Sox would be incentivized to want to share it. It’s not a story about a pioneer that’s like, you know, a story of triumph. Then she goes on to have a long, successful career as a sportscaster. I think it is a story of triumph, but it’s a little messier than that. And I also just have this experience with a lot of different things that I’ve covered, where there’s this act of cultural forgetting that happens, where, you know, the next woman who was a baseball announcer, maybe it’s because it sounds more impressive. Maybe it’s because there’s just not good tracking of the stuff like other people subsequent to her will be called the first woman announcer. Just because I don’t know. It’s just this thing that we do as though we like build people up and then we pretend like they never existed. And so it’s a lot of kind of talking around the sort of central proposition, which is that if a story isn’t like super neat and clean, if it doesn’t end and what we’d think of as the traditional success, if it’s in Chicago as opposed to New York or L.A., she died young. So she’s not around to like tell this story herself or like be inducted into Hall of Fame or whatever it is that happened. It just feels a little bit maybe overdetermined that the story was going to fall through the cracks. And again, I think her family, you know, found it really gratifying and validating to like, you know, her story mattered, that what she did mattered. And so to the extent that we were able to, you know, give her a kind of moment where she centered as opposed to being like on a sports events, you know, 365 days calendar or something, to the extent that we were able to like give her, you know, 40 minutes or however long that episode was, that felt good.
S3: I should say that I am a huge diehard White Sox fan and have been my entire life was not around in 77, but I went to a game a couple of days ago to see them. But but I had never heard of it. And I think certainly, like you were saying, even within the Chicago White Sox fandom, she has been completely forgotten, which is a shame. But, you know, we were talking about whether we should look at it as a success or a failure or a traditional success. You know, we were telling the story ultimately of Mary Shein, the person, and not just the story of women in broadcasting. And, you know, if you look at from the perspective of women in broadcasting, the fact that her career in Major League Baseball came and went and did not yield immediately a bunch of more female commentators. I mean, you could see that as a failure. But you know what? The people we talked to said, the people who knew her, including her family members and her colleagues, they really want to emphasize that this was not a failure. You know, her career was not a failed career. This was kind of one bad job in a lifetime. And we’ve all had, you know, one year of a stressful job. But she went on and did some really important and really great work, and she’d done great work before that. So unfortunately, her life, you know, ended much sooner than anyone would like. But Mary Shane is not a failed broadcaster. She is a successful sports journalist, ultimately.
S1: Yeah, I mean, I think you did a great job of telling that story. You mentioned a little bit about the media, and that made me think about the episode, about these three stories in one day. So you linked Elvis’s death and the pledge and the wireless signal. And I know from behind the scenes you had originally planned for all these stories to be in one episode, but you did figure out at one point that this all took place over one day. So when did you figure that out? Was this about like thinking about the media, like seeing these stories kind of land on the front pages on the same day? Yeah. How did this come together?
S3: Well, we’d first found two of the stories we’ve been talking about it from early on in our planning for the season that we were interested in. One was Elvis’s death, which was definitely a huge media event that if you look at any list of top 10 events of 1977, that will show up on it. The tricky thing with that is, you know, so it’s a big event. That doesn’t mean that it makes for a good episode. You know, what is there to say about it? There’s lots of things that are important to the news, but we don’t necessarily have a unique perspective to bring to it. So for that, you know, when we were able to find out about this particular story about the National Enquirer and their sort of crazy caper of trying to pursue the photo of the coffin, that allowed us to find a way to tell the story that maybe many people have not heard or at least not heard and fall. And then the well saying that we were also talking about from the very beginning as well, because it’s just I mean, it’s just a wild story. I mean. Yeah. And the fact that it’s still unresolved about what this signal was was really tantalizing. And it doesn’t hurt that, you know, alien encounters are kind of in the same case right now. So we saw early on that they happened within 24 hours, but it just came to be that, you know, we felt like we wanted to tell sort of smaller versions of those stories as compared to the sort of full on takes on Anita Bryant or the Laetrile story that we’ve been doing for other episodes. And it just worked out that, you know, we thought we could package three stories in a single day and that are all wildly different from each other. And they would add up, we thought, to an interesting portrait of what America look like for 24 hours.
S2: Evans giving you the more positive version. I’ll give you the more negative version, which is that with wow and all this, we did explore making them full-length episodes like the others, and it just didn’t work. Like we couldn’t figure out how to blow those up and, you know, 40 minute shows like the ones we’ve been doing. But there is this unfortunate tendency, I’m thinking of print journalism now to think that stuff that’s longer is better. It’s like long form. Ooh, it’s it’s a long story. This must mean a good and classy. But I think in these cases, we made better versions of these stories by making them shorter instead of like trying to like torture it and tease it out and maybe, you know, vamp to make longer versions with material that wasn’t quite as fleshed out. We just really drilled down to the parts of those stories that fascinated us. And so we had to we had two segments that we were, I think, really psyched about. And then the pledge story came and much later and it was great and the absurd to hear her, Deborah, say like. And then I was on the front page of every newspaper with Elvis’s death. Really? Yes. We didn’t even prompt you to say that, because that is, I think, how I think you and Madeleine are. And producer both found it even just like looking around once we realized that the wow signal and Elvis run the same day, we’re like, well, maybe it would be cool to experiment. And this is like the first season of the show, like we’re interested and just like messing around with different formats. We don’t want to get stuck with the same format after like one episode. So just like thinking about, all right, maybe we can do like a three part thing. And and that was a story that you guys found and it was one that we could do with just like let’s see if we could pull off an episode or many absurd by just like doing an interview with one person. And she was great. And it came out really well, I think.
S3: Yeah, I love stories that have a single voice in them. I mean, it often depends on that single voice, how compelling they are and the kind of story they have to tell. But fortunately for us, Deborah is a great storyteller and she has very strong opinions about things. So she was very easy to condense into. A nice little story. And yeah, little stories are good. I come from public radio and watchout, you also worked in public radio where you know, you have a strict clock and often five to eight minutes. Is it? Yeah, eight minutes sometimes is a luxury. So you learn to tell a good story and that shorter often is better. Yeah, it’s
S2: really interesting to work with Evan on this season because he applied a really good sort of discipline on me, because I love to even in individual interviews, I probably like go on for too long just because I want to overreport over research. And there’s this tension right where I want to put these stories out in the world and have people who listen to them think like that felt really comprehensive, like I know everything that I need to know about this. And I just feel like super informed and like entertained, whatever. But you don’t need to hear from eight or 12 people in a story to feel like everything’s been covered. And you also don’t literally need to know everything to feel like you’ve gotten a really good sense of a topic or a story. And so thinking about how can we tell these stories in a way? That feels complete where we don’t like necessarily exhaust everyone who knows anything about this topic, like what’s a way to tell it with three people instead of five or a way to tell with five instead of 10. Like, I think that’s always a useful exercise to go through. And with the Deborah LePen Pledge of Allegiance story, it’s like, OK. Would it really add anything to hear from her? You know, people at her school or a teacher or whatever. And it’s like, no, actually, we can tell the story just from her point of view, and that’ll be grabby and compelling.
S1: Yeah, when you have a good interview, you have a good interview, right, like I think that does matter in podcasts and in audio. Like, you know, when you get that great quote and someone’s telling the story in a really engaging way. But that does remind me about the story of keeps dropping if you’re born from the marijuana episode. So I’m sure like that issue, whether or not this is going to pass and all that was something that caught your eye when you were originally researching this year. But when did you start hearing about kind of the Christmas party and all of that? And how much did you know about the relationship between strapon born before you were diving into this?
S2: Yeah, so I think Evan can attest I got like super obsessed with the story because it’s just so amazing. Like every thing that I would learn about it, I would just be slacking, Evan. And and maybe to their annoyance. But there’s a book called High in America by Patrick Anderson that came out, I think early 80s. That was basically like a biography of Keith Tropp and about the early days of normal, the national organization reform marijuana laws. And he tells a good chunk of that story in that book. And Emily Dufresne, who was kind of our expert interview in that episode, she tells a good chunk of it in her book, Grassroots. And she has a really good account of the parents movement, which we also included an episode. And so there are kind of accounts of that Christmas party out there that exist. There are contemporaneous accounts of it, obviously, because I made the news. But then it’s been written about in books and articles since then. But like to have both of these guys around and just like willing to get into it with us was pretty great. And I think we talked to both of them for about three hours. They’re both just super open. And they were not going to get on a zoom call with each other like Diana and Dr. Tremendo.
S1: Did you try?
S2: I kind of felt like at the end of the interviews, it’s like, so would you be interested in talking to Keith? And was like, no, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. But that’s an example of a story. And we talked about this AVENNE where like you could just do Keith Strap and Peter Bourne, is that absurd? And I think this is partly because of Emily DuftonHave book, which is so good. She kind of convinced me in an interview, but also just reading her book that like the parents movement was a really important aspect of this story, and that while kind of Keith and Peter are fighting with each other, the parents movement is just sort of emerging. And neither of them really understand what it is or what’s happening. And, you know, as you heard in the episode, Keith, you heard the other Keith and Sue Ruchir, just incredible voices, incredible kind of I hate to say characters, because they’re real people, incredible people with an incredible story to tell. And so it’s just rare, I think, to find. And Evan did this with Latrelle to a story. This just like about this policy issue. And it’s a big policy issue and one that people are interested in and one that has ramifications to this day. But the personal stories are just so weird and interesting, and you just kind of can’t believe it when you’re hearing it. And that also I heard from a bunch of folks, listen, Abbasid, who are like, I can’t believe that I had never heard the story. And that’s like the exact response that I want to get. I want to get people who are like, this is amazing. How have I never heard of this before?
S3: Yeah. And it’s just another thing about the form of audio that just it’s really conducive for that. So I really do recommend Emily DuftonHave book, who appears in our Chau, which gives you, you know, a much broader understanding of everything that’s going on. It’s a very well reported, well researched book. But what’s great about audio is that you can really just sort of. Tell the same general story, but in a very different way through personality, through personal relationships, and that’s what you get from hearing the voices of Keith Strop and Peter Bourne, even though you can read them in an interview in a book. And that can be really helpful. But there’s just something magical about hearing their voices play off against each other that you really get a sense that this was not just a story about policy and D.C. lobbyists and wonks, which is not an inherently dramatic story. It wouldn’t necessarily make me want to click on it to download. But hearing them having these strong personalities and sort of being Foyles really makes it a richer experience. And I think only audio can really get that across in the same way.
S1: Yeah, definitely. For me, audio was another big part of the Roots episode because I feel like roots, you know, such a big cultural phenomenon. That year it seemed obvious to cover. But you had this part in your episode where you came across some tape that had never been there before. I’m not quite sure, but it was between Alex Haley and The Grio. And I feel like that was sort of interesting in like what you were trying to explore with this story. So how did you come across that and were you surprised by it?
S2: We think that it’s never been there before. We’re not like a million percent sure. Right, Levin.
S3: Yeah, but I’d say 99 percent sure that it’s not been aired before. So it had been donated to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, at some point after Alex Haley’s death, and he died in 1992. So long after 1977, long after the Roots controversy had kind of subsided. So when this was a big story in 1977, no one really knew about the existence of these tapes. Right. Unclear why. I don’t know if Alex Haley had forgotten about them, if he was intentionally hiding these tapes, but he had made a bunch of tapes while in Africa. And there was one journalist who wrote about it in the early 90s after they showed up in this special collections at the library in Tennessee and made reference to it. His piece was written as kind of this exposé of showing that Alex Haley was a fraud and it sort of verges on character assassination, which was something we were not trying to do in this story at all. We heard from many people that and agreed with them that Alex Haley is a much more complicated character than that. I mean, Josh, you can speak to this, too, but, you know, he even if he is flawed as a journalist because he wasn’t exactly a journalist or a researcher, he was an incredibly talented writer and performer and speaker who had, you know, untold influence on generations of Americans with what he accomplished, which was great, even if it was not entirely what he represented to be. But anyway, so in this article in The Village Voice, I’d seen reference to this recording that it existed. And so through the help of a wonderful librarian who was able to, after many months of try and track down the original recording, it was on a cassette that had been broken. He had to get, you know, the tiny screwdrivers to fix it. But one thing, as always, but especially during this pandemic, we have come to really, really love the great work of librarians at archives and special collections all over the world, because they do wonderful work that is very beneficial for our work.
S2: Yeah, it’s really interesting. And we had these conversations as we were making this episode, because on the one hand, we have this tape, you know, even after figuring out where it was, as Ivan said, the archivist, the heroic archivist, still had to fix it with a screwdriver. And there’s a sense of like, we got this, it’s so awesome. We have to like maximize what it is that we do with this. And yet we don’t want to present it in the show like as this like enormous Gocha, like we’ve exposed Alex Haley through this tape. Like that’s not what we wanted to do. What the tape shows is that, you know, what happened so far as we can tell from this audio recording is different than how Alex Haley represented that event in his lectures. And we had Matthew Dormont, the amazing historian, kind of talk about how Haley would kind of change events around and change chronologies and like make the story better. So, you know, what should we conclude from that? It’s hard to argue with roots as a phenomenon and how it changed perceptions of slavery in America and how as we get into at the end of the episode, it comes into this world where gone with the wind and that sort of lost cause narrative is the dominant one in America. And so, you know, we don’t want to be saying like roots is bad or like totally discredit roots. What we’re trying to I think is. War is a kind of messier question, which is, you know, how should we think about work that is presented as non-fiction and marketed as nonfiction that speaks to a broader truth. But then in a lot of ways is actually fiction. And I feel like in this like 50 minutes that we had, we were able to answer that question with nuance and care rather than just saying it’s bad or it’s good.
S3: Yeah, if you look at radio and podcasting in general, a lot of what we do, it’s journalism, but it’s also oral history or journalism is based on oral history. And that just means having to rely on people’s memories and the way they tell stories. And we vigorously fact check that as much as we can. But, you know, when we when you say like, oh, that was a really great interview, what what a great voice to have on a show, that often means there they were really good storyteller. And everybody, I think, in the process of storytelling modifies the history slightly. You know, sometimes, whether intentional or not, things over time get changed around either in your memory or just in the way you tell the story. You know, chronology gets shifted around the quotes you give or not, maybe verbatim. They just sort of over time morph into a better and better story, which is great for radio. And, you know, when that happens, usually we’re really happy to have that kind of audio, that kind of storytelling. So, yeah, there’s a big question about Alex Haley is what he’s doing there by sort of turning the seemingly not that dramatic event of meaning Agrio into a really exciting cinematic even event as portrayed in his lectures and in his book? Is that an entirely bad thing? And I think that’s that’s kind of an open question.
S2: I mean, it’s something that we had to navigate with the Mary Shane episode, for instance. I mean, and you’ll remember we had three or four different accounts of how it was that she got hired. Like, who was responsible? What were the events that directly preceded it? What was the order of events? What were their intentions? And so you end up having to weigh like, all right, who should we trust here? Should we trust the written account? Should we trust this person’s memory? If somebody is memory conflicts with what was said publicly at the time, how should we wait? I mean, that’s a thing that you just have to deal with. And each individual story and with Alex Haley stuff, there’s the further question of like, OK, if the stuff is inaccurate, is he doing it intentionally or is that kind of unintentional, making the story better, more thrilling, more exciting, whatever?
S1: Yeah, that’s all really interesting. So I guess perspective plays a little bit into the last episode of the season and the last one that we’re going to talk about today, which was the Jesus on a tortilla story. And this one felt a little bit different rape, just because it sort of felt like a local news story that, you know, might have been forgotten a little bit over time. So how did the story pop up for you?
S2: That was, I think, a story that Evan found in one of our newspaper dragnets. Yeah, I think that’s right. And it’s the story that is last in our running order, but it’s the one that we made the first. And so it was actually an interesting exercise we’ve been going through the last couple of weeks to go back and look at some of the ways that that script was written that seemed kind of silly now that we’ve made the whole series. It’s like I had a little passage in there that was like, here’s what it all means. And we ended up not really taking that approach with any of these episodes. But I mean, I think so much of it actually did stand up when we looked at it months later because the interviews were so strong. And just having the Rubio family trust us to be able to tell the story when the entire kind of proposition of the episode is this was kind of covered his weird news, like, check out this wacky story. Some of that was just like kind of unthinking of like, all right, here’s a paragraph. This is wacky. Some of it was, I think, actually more weather conscious or unconscious was actually, you know, more ridiculing them and making them look foolish. So just having an opportunity for them to say like, all right, this is what it was like to live through that coverage, but actually live through this in this house in New Mexico, like what was going on. I mean, to have that story be told, you know, through their eyes and through their voices was just great. And, you know, thinking back on the season, what were my kind of favorite interviews or favorite moments? And I have to give props to heaven for figuring this out. But I mean, we had an amazing interpreter, Marcellus Ullman, who was also the voice of Maria and the episode. And just being able to have that conversation on them with Maria, where we’re just like talking for an hour and she’s able to like express herself fully with the help of Amerson, I’m able to ask her questions and we’re able to have this conversation, I think, in a way that didn’t happen in 1977. Hmm. For her was very cool, and it just felt like a good opportunity for them. But also just like a great story for us to tell and a great story for people to listen to. It just felt like all around, like a really great feeling to. This episode.
S3: Yeah, I mean, then, as in now, there’s always these stories that are, you know, billed as weird news that show up as, you know, a viral tweet these days. Yeah. You look at the headline and it’s like a thing we joke about for a couple of days and then it’s completely forgotten. And this just is a great example of that. If you actually take one of those stories and follow through with it, you see that there’s actually people at the center of the story. The story for them doesn’t end after two days. It actually in this case, carries with them. For generations. It’s been, you know, 40 plus years. And it still weighs heavily on the children in that family who are now grown up. And it was also really great for us to do a story. I think that was not a huge political event that had huge repercussions for the entire world or the entire country, because, you know, we’re trying to tell the story of a year. And that means the story of individuals and about families, even if they have an extraordinary event like this apparition in a tortilla. The story of a family in New Mexico is no less important than the story of some politicians in the Carter administration.
S2: Yeah, like we were talking about earlier, this is our first season. We don’t want to get ourselves in a situation where we’re constraining ourselves with format, like before we even really get this whole podcast going. And so it just I think for all of us, seemed like the season was an opportunity to tell stories about different types of people, different scales of story, and figure out different ways to tell them. And so if we’re going to confine ourselves to things that are only like the biggest stories of 1977 or things that like had massive policy implications, like, you know, like Evan said, that’s just like not the way that we kind of move through the world is like only caring about that stuff. But also, we just restrict us in a way that I think would take away a lot of the power in the like interest and intrigue in this format. It’s like 1977. Anything that you can like plausibly say has something to do with 1977. We’re like up for it as long as it’s a good story that like maybe tells you something a little bit bigger about the world, but maybe not even that. I think the story does, but I would not want to make a podcast where this story would not fit into it. Hmm.
S1: Yeah. OK, so we’re done with 1977. But you have another season and you just announced that you’re going to be covering 1995. So why 1985?
S3: I mean, 1995, I think, is really appealing. For me, it’s personally appealing because unlike 77, I lived through it and 95 is certainly a formative year for me. But I think one of the most interesting aspects of that year for me is that it’s really kind of the moments that the Internet really broke through and became on its way to what it is today. I mean, the Internet existed before 1995. But in terms of the way it exploded and the public consciousness and the way it really started to transform every aspect of the way we live our lives, I think you can point to 1995 as kind of the year when when that all begins. So I’m very excited about exploring that aspect of it.
S2: Yeah, totally. And I think that through line well, I think manifest itself and kind of unexpected ways in the season. It’s like you don’t need to tell a story that’s explicitly about, you know, a website or the Internet to really get the sense that this is something that’s just like percolating in the world, that there is this change happening. And that’s what I really loved about 1977, is that in so many different realms and so many different areas, there’s just like stuff is changing and there are people pushing back against that change. And to be able to relive that and dive back into that battle, it’s just really interesting when, you know, things are moving at an unpredictable pace in unpredictable ways.
S1: So any previews of any topics or you don’t know yet, you’re not quite there?
S2: We I think no, I don’t think we want to tip our hand. chÃo. What I will say is that we have a hotline and we got a bunch of great emails from people about 1977. We put a call out at the end of our episode that people should email. So one year at Slate dot com and we got some really interesting stories, both people talking about things that happen to them, but also people suggesting topics. And just the way that production works is like I would have been a cool thing to know about four months ago. And so if we put the call out now, we can reasonably say, if you have a great idea, maybe we could act on it. So people should email us at one year at Slocomb to send us story ideas. Or your memory is that may or may not be a story idea. We’d like to hear from you regardless. But we also have a hotline, which is a new thing. So we want people to call us again with those memories, story ideas. And the phone number is two zero three three four three zero seven seven seven. That’s two oh three three four three zero seven seven seven.
S1: Just like an old school radio host. Later she got it.
S2: Two oh three three four three zero seven seven seven. Thank you, Janet.
S1: Well, thank you to you, too. And congrats on the first season and we’ll talk again soon.
S2: Appreciate it.
S3: Looking forward to it.
S1: Thanks, as always, for being a slate plus member. We really appreciate your support and we couldn’t do it without you. So thanks for listening.