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These essays came into being as postwar sedatives.

by Alan Scott

Before the war, Alan Scott was what is commonly called, a news commentator. However, it must be said that his was an uncommon technique. As in all things he has attempted, Scott defied the standards of conventional news analysis. His broadcasts were never pedantic; there was no suggestion of special sources or omniscience so characteristic of many of his contemporaries. His manner was rather that of a fellow who might be sitting next to you on the bus who, with a modicum of encouragement would tell you how issues current happened to strike him.

As a further anti to any toxins which may attach to the designation of news commentator, it should be noted that his syntax was at all times clean, without being unpleasantly precise; his rhetoric smartly cut, without being overtailored; his manner, amiable. If there is visible in the above paragraphs a disposition to an appraisal of Alan Scott, radio personality, and if that seems untoward in an introduction to a published volume of his essays, there is a defense. Until now, with minor exceptions, Scott’s journalistic efforts have been exclusively for radio. The challenge posed in writing for vocal delivery is different from that confronting the writer whose work will be set down in dumb print. There is, however, some feeling among contemporary critics that universal radio attendance has served to bring two techniques into more affable focus. It may well be that the preserved literature of the language will be affected. If that happens, there is more than a passing possibility that Alan Scott will be anointed as one of the earliest disciples of the new modus.

Certainly there are few, to date, who, in the field of radio writing have come up with anything worth putting under glass. For the most part, writing for radio has produced either a prose so outrageously blowsy as to be unable to stand up under second look or (as in the case of writers of stature who have been called in from time to time to minister to the ailing script) out-and-out orthodoxy in the classic pitch. The latter attempts when re-examined must be ticketed as homeless hybrid. The writing, while good enough has not been as frivolous as sound requires and just sits there like black print.

It is not my purpose to dissect or fix a price tag to the skill with which these essays are composed. The reader will, in fine, make that judgment for himself. Having charged Scott with being the Roger Bacon of the New Literature, I simply submit that the following essays will serve as exhibit en masse for the prosecution. It is my guess that this book will be read (A) by everyone who has heard Scott on the air and knows there IS a book; and (B) by those to whom it has been earnestly recommended by the “A”s. I, therefore, leave it to “A”s to effect the personal introduction. They will probably busy themselves trying to isolate that special ingredient of style which is both pepsin and clove. And they will probably despair of it as I do and end up by saying “Here, read and see for yourself.”

However, though I have (and rather nimbly, I think) ducked the major responsibility of introduction, I am obliged to mention the basic vital statistics. Alan Scott is a Philadelphian, He is thIrty-seven years old. His wife is Maralene. His son is Jeffery Joel, aged twenty months as this goes to press. He is best known to radio audiences in the Philadelphia and Chicago metropolitan areas. He has broadcast coast to coast.

A word about Murdoch. He is referred to from time to time in these essays. All that I know is that Scott has never suggested that Murdoch is a first or last name. only that it ends with an H and not a K and that Murdoch is rather fastidious about it.