Death in Venice

Here’s another entry in our What NPR Was category: In the late 70s & early 80s Keith Talbot produced several series for NPR; among them was The Radio Experience. One episode, “Death in Venice” by Larry Massett, was mainly interviews with Venice FL retirees.

The half-hour is like a swim in the ocean, soothing, stimulating, but watch for the rocks and rip tides — it pulls you in. The piece told us then what non-fiction creative radio could be. Almost thirty years later, it still does.

Larry Massett wrote the narration, produced, and played his original music; Joe Frank narrated. From June 1981, “Death in Venice” (29:01 mp3):

Larry sez:

“I had no idea what was doing. And so I didn’t have any questions for anybody. I just stood on the beach in Venice with a microphone. If anybody asked I just said I was recording.

All I knew was is it was a retirement area, and there were a lot of fossils on the beach. Certain people saw the mic and came up and started talking. It was only after I got home and started to paw thru the tape that I realized what they had chose to talk about was the love of their life.”

The piece will be in an upcoming HV hour on Memory. Another Massett/Talbot experience, “Ocean Hour,” is up at Third Coast (with an KeithT interview on the NPR days of yore).

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