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Sunday, September 04, 2011

New Bolton Center: "The Rest of the Story" with Radio Legend Paul Harvey

The University of Pennsylvania built a world-class equine hospital and research center outside Philadelphia in the 1950s. So what else is new? New Bolton Center is a household word to Hoofcare and Lameness readers, but it was Big News when the clinic opened back then. It was such big news that legendary radio commentator Paul Harvey had to tell America "the rest of the story". Enjoy this classic radio broadcast!

It seems like a long time ago, but as soon as I hear the voice, I'm taken back in time. At our house, there was a radio on the kitchen counter. It came on when a blizzard or a hailstorm was predicted. It came on when Something Big happened in the news. It told me that Martin Luther King had been assassinated, that Nixon had resigned, that Secretariat had been syndicated and retired to stud. That radio played right through mealtimes and while our bodies were fueled, our brains were bombarded with the news of the world. It came on at breakfast, lunch and dinner: and especially lunch.

Lunchtime was especially important. My father came home from his office to check the farm every day at noon, and lunch was on the table at exactly 12. We might talk right through the news but a few minutes after noon, the room went silent and we listened for about four minutes. A man's voice filled the kitchen and he told us a story.

Paul Harvey 1918-2009
Radio storyteller Paul Harvey
It wasn't the stories he told, but how he told them. Many of the stories were about everyday things. He had a sing-songy voice, though, and the story was always a puzzle. He'd talk in a staccato rhythm that almost hypnotized you. On and on he rambled and then, bam! He'd hit you with an ending you weren't expecting. And every day's story ended the same way: " the REST of the story..."

We'd look at each other. Usually, none of us had any inkling what the rest of the story was until Paul Harvey let the storyteller's cat out of his bag.

How did he come up with those stories, day in and day out? I don't know, but if he was writing now, he'd surely be a blogger.

I didn't grow up with the tradition of radio as my primary source of news and entertainment; I was a product of television (Thanks, Bullwinkle! Thanks, Mr. Ed!), to be sure, but I think there must have been such magic to gather around the radio in the days before television and be carried away by the talented people who finessed that medium.

There's a little of it left today, and you can hear it on Christmas when NPR broadcasts the radio play of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, or on some of the great NPR, APR and BBC radio shows like This American Life.

Here's even more of the story of New Bolton Center. This short documentary-style film was made a while ago but it will show you how this great center works. Many of the people you see in this video will be involved in the upcoming Sixth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot in West Palm Beach, Florida next month. The Hoof Blog will be featuring speakers at the conference over the next month. Note: this film was made before farrier Rob Sigafoos retired.
I experienced what I call one of my "Paul Harvey moments" when I listened to a radio documentary tribute to John Lennon on the anniversary of his death last December. I was driving through New Jersey on my way home from the AAEP Convention, serenaded by song after song by John Lennon. It took a while before I realized that what I was listening to was actually a documentary. As I continued to listen, the documentary ended and the broadcast went live.

I started to listen a little more closely.

Then it happened. At precisely the moment when John Lennon had been shot outside his Manhattan apartment 30 years earlier, I realized I was leaving New Jersey and climbing up the ramp onto the George Washington Bridge. I'd be driving over the Hudson River, with the lights of all of New York and New Jersey twinkling as far as the eye could see.

George Washington Bridge
New York's George Washington Bridge
I knew that people would be gathering in Central Park's Strawberry Fields far below me. I didn't know, though, that Yoko Ono would light two candles on the windowsill of the dark apartment where she and Lennon had lived, as a signal to the fans standing vigil in the park. But I do believe that at just that moment, when the radio played Give Peace a Chance and I was crossing the middle of the span, all the lights of Manhattan below me blinked off and then came back on.

I had to keep driving. You don't take your eyes off the road for more than a second on the George Washington Bridge. You can't stop and ask the guy in the toll booth, "Did that really happen?"

A minute later I was in the Bronx, rocketing toward Connecticut and home.

RADIO ONLINE I don't know what will happen one week from today, on September 11, to mark the tenth anniversary of the World Trade Towers attack and disaster. But I wish I had the bird's eye view from the top of that bridge, and I wish Paul Harvey was still alive to talk to me from that little radio, so he could tell me the rest of the story.

I think I'll turn off the television that day, and turn on the radio, so I can really hear what someone has to say. Radio has a power all its own, as I've known all my life but just realized now.

Paul Harvey's obituary in TIME Magazine
University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center web site
2011 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot (Oct 29-31)

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to  
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1 comment:

Gina Keesling said...

Good work, Fran, I always loved Paul Harvey, too. And never knew some of the details about New Bolton that he mentioned. Thanks for sharing.