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|Released:||June 15th, 1994|
In an intimate hour-long performance, Salt Lake City radio personality Hans Petersen brings to life a celebrated figure from America's revolutionary period in KUED-Channel 7's production of Tom Paine.
Produced by KUED's Elizabeth Searles and directed by Ann Gallenson, the program is a dramatic exploration of English-born pamphleteer Thomas Paine, who was instrumental in the success of the American Revolution. His pamphlet, "Common Sense," published on January 10, 1776 approximately a year after his arrival in America, called upon the colonies to break with Great Britain. The pamphlet went through 25 editions and reached hundreds of thousands of people at a time when the typical pamphlet only reached several thousand.
Paine's vision and broad appeal, however, unnerved some American officials. His "The Age of Reason" published in 1794 after his participation in the French Revolution, destroyed his standing in America. Paine died in New York in 1809, impoverished and reviled as an atheist.
Petersen has been fascinated with Paine for over 20 years. "He's been a hero and an inspiration to me," he said. "I'm doing this show because I'd like him to get credit for the job he did for America during the Revolution, which, due to various circumstances, has been withheld. He has been discredited and shuttled into obscurity."
Petersen spent ten years researching Paine. "I found him fascinating because he was washed up in his late thirties in England--the country where he was born and raised. His first wife died when he was 22, his second wife separated from him, he was fired twice from his job, he was a bit of a drinker and very much in debt," Petersen said.
"At a point when a lot of other people might have quit, he picked himself up, came to the colonies and was very instrumental in the success of the American Revolution."
Tom Paine became an audience favorite after its first broadcast. Said one viewer: "It was a superb performance by Hans Petersen; there should be more fascinating programs like it. I learned more about Tom Paine's history than I ever knew." As part of KUED's commitment to respond to viewer feedback, the station is re-airing the program.
The program is made possible by The Herbert I. and Elsa B. Michael Foundation.
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