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It doesn't get much more American than a waitress in a diner taking your order. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, the diner. For some, like painter Edward Hopper, the diner is a muse. For others it's just a greasy spoon. But have we romanticized the endless cups of coffee and the sassy waitress?
Michael Witzel is the author of "The American Diner." He talks with Jim Fleming about the way Hollywood makes use of the diner, and we hear scenes from several movies set in diners, including "Pulp Fiction," "Diner," "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore" and "The Blob."
Andrew Hurley's book is "Diners, Bowling Alleys, and Trailer Parks: Chasing the American Dream in Postwar Consumer Culture." Hurley talks with Jim Fleming about the history of the diner. He says they were working class restaurants that developed their own outlaw chic while still appealing to the middle class. Also, Jason Pfaff wants to eat in every single Denny's. He's made it to a few hundred so far. He describes his quest for Anne Strainchamps, and reads an excerpt from his website dedicated to The Denny's Project.
Cassette copies are available at 1-800-747-7444. Ask for program number 02-05-26-B.
Mark Strand is the former Poet-Laureate of the United States, and the author of "Hopper." He talks with Steve Paulson about Edward's Hopper's classic painting, "Nighthawks." And, Greg Kot, rock critic for the Chicago Tribune and a regular contributor to Rolling Stone, tells Steve Paulson about Tom Waits' album "Nighthawks at the Diner." And we hear lots of music.
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