Muffin the Mule
with Annette Mills (who writes the songs) and Ann Hogarth (who pulls the strings).
is at Church End Farm with more usual and unusual pets.
An American Gentleman
by G.B. Stern.
In 1881, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote "Treasure Island" which he dedicated to his stepson, Lloyd Osbourne, in the following words - "an American gentleman in accordance with whose classical taste the following narrative has been designed..."
Robert Louis Stevenson spent the last years of his life in Samoa and this is the starting point for the story. The Samoans' name for Stevenson was 'Tusitala' - 'The Storyteller'. The action takes place in Samoa, Braemar, Scotland, and Davos, in Switzerland.
(Previously televised last Thursday)
(Arthur Lowe is appearing in "Call Me Madam" at the London Coliseum; John Gregson appears by permission of the J. Arthur Rank Organisation, Ltd.)
Presenter/Songwriter (Muffin the Mule):
Puppeteer (Muffin the Mule):
Presenter (Phil Drabble):
Writer (An American Gentleman:
Producer (An American Gentleman):
Settings (An American Gentleman):
Pola, a Samoan boy:
Lloyd Osbourne, as a man:
Lloyd Osbourne, as a boy:
Robert Louis Stevenson:
Scots business man:
Laura, an English girl:
A play by Gilbert Cesbron
Translated from the French by Basil Bartlett and Lothian Small
Adapted for television and produced by Rudolph Cartier
[Starring] Andre Morell, Greta Gynt and Reginald Tate
The action takes place at night at Dr. Schweitzer's hospital at Lambarene, in Gabon, French Equatorial Africa. The time: August 2, 1914, the twenty-four hours before the outbreak of the first world war.
The story of Dr. Schweitzer has caught the imagination of the world. At the age of seventy-eight, buried away in Lambarene, on the Ogowe river, in the heart of French Equatorial Africa, he is considered by many to be one of the greatest of living human beings. How has he come to achieve this tremendous reputation?
Albert Schweitzer was born in Upper Alsace, the son and grandson of Alsatian pastors. At that time Alsace was a German province, and Dr. Schweitzer was born a German subject. He is bilingual. His home letters are composed in French. He lectures and writes in German. He thinks and dreams in the Alsatian dialect.
While still in his twenties he proved himself a scholar of exceptional brilliance. Many and varied were his studies. Having great powers of work and of concentration he mastered a number of subjects: history, philosophy, theology, biblical criticism. His works on Christ and on St. Paul had a profound effect on theological thought. In addition, he was a fine organist and an authority on organ building, and wrote an important book on Bach. By the age of thirty he had already an international reputation. After studying in Paris and Berlin he had finally come to rest- in Strasbourg, for which city he has an abiding love, and there he held the post of principal of the College of St. Thomas. The worlds of music and of letters were at his feet.
Then came a change of heart. He had for some time been brooding on Western civilisation and on the seeds of decay which it contained. Seeing further ahead than most men, he saw also the possibility of ultimate redemption. He was happy in his work and felt that he must give something in exchange for this happiness. After deep reflection he came to the conclusion that his own personal contribution in life was 'to assume his share of the burden of the world's misery.' He decided to throw up everything and become a missionary.
There followed seven years of heart-breaking labour. During these years, in addition to preaching, teaching and lecturing, playing the organ and writing, he managed to achieve yet another doctorate, that of medicine.
Then and then only did he feel himself fully equipped for his self-appointed task. And, in 1913, to the consternation of his friends and colleagues, he left Europe with his wife for French Equatorial Africa to teach Christianity to the natives and to fight their diseases: malaria, sleeping sickness, elephantiasis and leprosy. And there, in Lambarene, with only minor breaks, he has remained ever since. In 1917 he was interned for a while by the French because he was a German subject and from time to time he visited Europe and the United States to raise money for his hospital by lecturing and by giving organ recitals. But the bulk of his life and the whole of his heart, soul, and genius have been dedicated to the primitive natives of the Gabon colony.
Great have been his labours and many his setbacks, but now, at the age of seventy-eight, he can rest contented. His hospital flourishes. He has at present forty buildings and five hundred beds, with two doctors, eight nurses and nineteen native helpers. A little deeper in the forest is his leper village, consisting of about two hundred men, women and children. The trees that he planted have grown to their full stature: oranges, guavas, mangoes, avocados, palm-oil trees, and bananas. And the hospital is self-supporting in manioc and rice, and in fresh vegetables. The animals, wild and domestic, are his friends. He is surrounded by children, whom he has cured and loves. He has his books and his music, and the affection of countless well-wishers all over the world. In his old age this great and humble man still holds aloft with firm hands the torch of humanity in a despairing age.
Gilbert Cesbron has not attempted to write the whole story of Schweitzer. In "It is midnight, Dr. Schweitzer" he has shown us instead twenty-four critical hours in his life. The period he has chosen is August 1914, and, with dramatic licence, he has asked us to assume that Dr. Schweitzer was arrested at the outbreak of the first world war, although he was not, in fact, interned until 1917. He has given Dr. Schweitzer two companions: Father Charles de Ferrier and Commandant Lieuvin, based on the great French Colonial administrator, Marechal Lyautey. Again, neither of these two was actually in the Gabon at the beginning of the first world war. As a foil to these three giants M. Cesbron has given us, as the fourth character in this five-handed play, Leblanc, governor of the Gabon, who is shown as an ordinary man, an honest, sensitive, perhaps unenterprising civil servant, to whom falls all the practical dirty work that the great ignore. 'It is thanks to people like me,' he says, 'that people like you are able to be great.' As a link between the giants and the ordinary man is Marie, a young French nurse. In the background hovers Joseph, a real native, incidentally, who was cured by Schweitzer and stayed on to serve him. This important play has the approval of Dr. Schweitzer himself.
It should be noted that the organ music played is taken from Dr. Schweitzer's own recordings.
Dr. Albert Schweitzer:
Father Charles de Ferrier:
Hospital orderlies, native soldiers, boatmen, patients, villagers and M'Fan warriors: