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AMERICAN MOSAIC - January 10, 2003: Mystery Writer Patricia Cornwell on Jack the Ripper / Question About Golden Globe Awards / Music from the Film 'Standing in the Shadows of Motown' - 2003-01-09


Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play some American rock and roll music ...

Answer a question about show business awards ...

And tell about a new book that claims to solve an old murder mystery.

Jack The Ripper Book


A murderer walked the nighttime streets of London, England, in eighteen-eighty-eight. He killed at least five women. Newspapers called him Jack the Ripper. He was never caught. And he wrote letters to the London newspapers and police in which he laughed at their efforts to catch him.

Many people have tried to discover who Jack the Ripper was. They have written books about the murders, and offered many ideas about the killer. But no one has been able to prove their claims. Now, an American writer has used modern methods to investigate the crimes. Shep O’Neal has more.


Patricia Cornwell writes best-selling mystery books. She has also worked with scientists who investigate evidence from real crimes. Mizz Cornwell says she has found the evidence to prove who Jack the Ripper was.

Patricia Cornwell spent several million dollars of her own money in the effort to discover who committed the murders claimed by Jack the Ripper. She hired scientists, hand-writing experts, art experts, history experts and criminal investigators. She scientifically examined the letters Jack the Ripper sent to newspapers and police. And, she examined hundreds of letters written by the man she claims to have been Jack the Ripper.

Patricia Cornwell says she is one-hundred percent sure that Jack the Ripper was a famous British artist named Walter Sickert. She claims to have found enough evidence to prove it. She has detailed all of this evidence in a new book, “Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed.”

The book tells the life story of Walter Sickert, and shows why he could have been Jack the Ripper. A top investigator for Britain’s Scotland Yard police organization said Mizz Cornwell’s evidence would be good enough to try Mister Sickert for the murders if he were still alive.

Critics have commented on her work. Some say it is possible that she has discovered the real Jack the Ripper. Others disagree. They say the evidence is still not complete. They say her work only places Walter Sickert among a group of suspects.

Experts say the question may never really be answered to satisfy everyone interested in the Jack the Ripper murders. But they also say Patricia Cornwell’s new book creates more interesting questions about a very old mystery.

Golden Globe Awards


Our VOA listener question this week comes from China. Joseph asks about the Golden Globe Awards that are given to the best movies and television programs.

The members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association present the Golden Globe Awards every year. The Foreign Press Association is a group of international reporters who work in Hollywood, California. They broadcast and write about American entertainment for their home countries.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association presented the first Golden Globes in nineteen-forty-four. The group decided to give the awards every year before the Academy Awards ceremony so the awards would not be influenced by the Academy winners.

The Golden Globe award is a statue of a golden world circled by a piece of motion picture film. At first, the association gave awards for best motion picture, leading actor, leading actress, supporting actor, supporting actress and director. Later, it added other awards, such as best screenplay, best music and best foreign language film. It also increased the number of awards by giving separate ones for dramatic movies and for comedies or musicals.

In nineteen-fifty-five, the Golden Globes expanded to include awards for television. They honored best television drama shows, comedy shows, actors, actresses, and directors. American television began broadcasting the Golden Globe awards ceremony in nineteen-sixty-two.

Today, about ninety members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association vote to decide the Golden Globe winners. Show business experts say the Golden Globe awards influence the motion picture Academy Awards each year. The Academy Award nominations are announced after the Golden Globe winners have been chosen.

The Golden Globe Award nominees were announced last month. The awards will be presented at a ceremony in Los Angeles on January nineteenth. The ceremony will be broadcast on television in one-hundred-twenty-five countries.

'Standing In The Shadows of Motown'


You probably have never heard of a group of musicians called the Funk Brothers. Yet they played on more hit records than the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys and Elvis Presley combined. Mary Tillotson tells us about them.


The Funk Brothers were the musicians who played rhythm and blues music of the nineteen-sixties that was called Motown. They played on hundreds of recordings by singers like Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Supremes, the Four Tops and Stevie Wonder.

A new movie tells about the Funk Brothers. It is called “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.” The group has also released an album of music from the movie. The Funk Brothers play while young singers perform several famous Motown songs, like this one, “Heat Wave,” by Joan Osborne.


Six of the Funk Brothers have died. But in the movie, seven remaining musicians tell about their lives and how they created the famous Motown sounds. Ben Harper sings this famous Motown song, “I Heard it Through the Grapevine.”


We leave you know with another song from “Standing in the Shadows of Motown.” Here is Chaka Khan and Montell Jordan singing “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”



This is Doug Johnson. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC -- VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.

This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Shelley Gollust, Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Glen Matlock. And our producer was Paul Thompson.