My Century And My Many Lives, by Frank Munk
Frank Munk, my grandfather, wrote this autobiography to record his memories
from 1901 onwards. This history and its postscript are available on our family website in his
memory as they tell a complete story of the 20th century. These memoirs may be referenced as
long as proper attribution is made; our family retains ownership and copyright. We have one
request: if you reference this material in any way, please send us email at
firstname.lastname@example.org and a copy of the paper, if possible, as we would
like to know when this material is of interest and we are curious as to how it is being used.
We'd like to hear from you.
© Copyright 1993, 1994, The Munk/Ragen Families
FROM SILVER BELL TO
As a boy I was
fascinated by books, which in effect preceded science fiction, mainly Jules
Verne and H.G. Wells. I was particularly keen on dirigibles, more particularly
German Zeppelins, but also on planes. My favorite book was Wells's "War of the
Worlds," a preview of WWII.
I was also very
interested in world exploration, especially of what was then called darkest
Africa and, perhaps even more, in the reaching of the two poles--North and
South. I was very familiar with the latest exploits of explorers like Nansen,
Amundsen, Sverdrup, Shackleton, and Scott. I always loved maps and atlases;
still do. During my youth the world was largely unexplored, unlike today. It
seemed to be much larger than it seems today and more exciting, since there were
many empty spots on maps.
In the twenties,
while I was serving as a director of the Prague International Fair, I felt that
the newly invented ability to broadcast programs around the world offered
unprecedented opportunities and challenges. At a time when a radio set was still
a rarity in Czechoslovakia I initiated a bi-annual Radio Fair, which became the
starting point of a new radio industry in that country.
I was, of course,
asked from time to time to speak on radio, and later to appear on television,
and I liked these experiences, which became particularly frequent after I came
to the United States in 1939. I would have welcomed an opportunity to try my
hand especially in television and that opportunity came in 1962 when a Portland
television station, KOIN, a CBS affiliate, asked me to do a regular weekly
program of my own. I continued the program weekly for the next five years, until
the station adopted a new format. In addition to the weekly broadcasts, called
WORLD ACCENT (a play on my accent in English), I was on call to appear on the
regular daily news hour.
I enjoyed these
programs, especially experimenting with different techniques, such as clips and
visuals, often inviting others for debates or testimonies. I recall one
particularly challenging experiment, when I traveled to Mexico City to interview
Ramón Beteta, the former Minister of Finance of President Miguel Alemán, who is
famous for having brought Mexico into the modern age. I particularly enjoyed
working with the crew of Televisión Mexicana, who spoke only Spanish. I could
use their facilities thanks to Beteta. The program, dealing with contemporary
Mexico, was generally regarded as successful. I was particularly glad to be able
to experience Mexico not as a tourist, but in a workaday capacity.
After I gave up the
program with KOIN, I was approached by the Oregon Public Broadcasting Service in
1975 to do a program for them, this time under the title of TOMORROW'S
HEADLINES. I continued it for some time. Attached is a copy of the official
announcement of the series.
Being a television
personality was a new experience -- I could not go anywhere in the Portland
station's viewing area without being recognized. It would have been extremely
difficult to maintain one's incognito. I still am recognized on occasion,
although I have to admit these occasions are becoming rarer and rarer.
Finally, I ought to
mention that I am a devotee of the shortwave radio--in fact it goes with me
wherever I go. I possess three world band radios -- and am about to get another,
still better one.
Oregon Educational and Public Broadcasting Service
November 20, 1975
Munk, one of Oregon's foremost analysts of the international scene,
returns to Oregon television this season.
program in the Oregon Educational and Public Broadcasting Service series,
TOMORROW'S HEADLINES, will be seen at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 25, on KOAP-TV,
Channel 10, Portland, and KOAC-TV, Channel 7, Corvallis.
Dr. Munk will
discuss the European dilemma, which he describes this way: "Europe,
already divided between East and West, now shows new cracks; a soft
underbelly threatens to collapse while Britain is slowly sinking and the
European Community hovers uneasily between success and failure."
from the Washington, D.C. office of the European Community will be
interviewed by Dr. Munk. They will examine current activities, conflicts
and goals of the European Economic Community.
HEADLINES, broadcast monthly and produced in cooperation with the World
Affairs Council of Oregon, presents expert analysis of current trends and
events in world politics that will effect significant changes in
international power alignments.
professor of Political Science at Portland State University, came to this
country as a result of Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia. He joined the
Reed College faculty in 1939, soon after his arrival in the U.S. and has
taught at a number of other institutions. He was a Portland television
commentator on world affairs from 1962-67. His professional and personal
interest in world politics combine to make him a dynamic personality
committed to communicate candidly about significant and often unpublicized
HEADLINES is broadcast the fourth Tuesday of each month on KOAP-TV,
Portland and KOAC-TV, Corvallis, at 7 p.m.
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