Broadcast: May 14, 2004
Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC, in VOA Special English.
This is Doug Johnson.
On our show this week: a new album by Sam Phillips ... and the end of the popular television show “Friends.”
But first ... the story of Smarty Jones.
Smarty Jones is three years old, and a champion. This horse won the Kentucky Derby. But, as Gwen Outen reports, this is the story of a champion that might never have been.
Smarty Jones is from a farm in Pennsylvania, in the town of New Hope. His owners call it Someday Farm. Patricia and Roy Chapman hoped someday one of their horses would win a major race. They have raised horses for the past twenty years. But in two-thousand-one, the man who trained their horses was killed. His stepson faces murder charges.
The Chapmans were so saddened by the loss, they wanted to get out of the business. Their new trainer, though, got them to keep Smarty Jones and one of their other horses.
But then came an accident last year. Smarty was training. The young reddish brown horse was at the starting gate. Suddenly he jumped up. His head crashed into the heavy metal gate.He fell to the ground, and stayed there.
John Servis, the new trainer, says he thought the horse was dead. He says months passed before it was clear that Smarty was all better.
Smarty Jones raced only six times before the Kentucky Derby on May first. He won all six times. He became the first undefeated horse to win the Derby in almost thirty years. The last one was Seattle Slew in nineteen-seventy-seven.
Smarty Jones' rider, Stewart Elliott, has ridden in thousands of races. But he and his horse had something in common. Neither had competed in the Kentucky Derby before. The race was also new to the Chapmans and John Servis. Seventy-seven-year-old Roy Chapman watched from a wheelchair. He has emphysema and needs an oxygen tank to help him breathe.
Smarty Jones earned a record amount for a day in horse racing. The Chapmans received more than eight-hundred-fifty-thousand dollars from the Derby. But they also received five-million dollars. This was a one-hundredth anniversary bonus for any horse that won two races in Arkansas and the Kentucky Derby. Smarty Jones did exactly that.
But the Kentucky Derby is only the beginning of the Triple Crown of horse racing. Next is the Preakness Stakes in Pimlico, Maryland, on Saturday. Then comes the Belmont Stakes. No horse has won the Triple Crown since Affirmed in nineteen-seventy-eight.
End of "Friends"
A listener asks about the American television series "Friends." It ended last week after ten years, though the show will live on in repeats. Our friend Jing Lili, a Chinese college student of English education, asks if "Friends" truly represents American life. The answer is ... it depends.
Yes, many young adults do form a small group of close friends. And some of them may share a place to live. This is especially true in big cities like New York, just like on the show. They save money and might have a lot of fun together. Some might even fall in love. But, no, the situations on the show were not always realistic.
For example, in the first season, Rachel -- played by Jennifer Aniston -- is about to get married. But she runs away from her wedding. Yes, this does happen sometimes. But would someone still in her wedding clothes head for a coffee shop?
Later, the man Rachel was supposed to marry goes on their honeymoon trip anyway. But, instead of Rachel, he takes one of her wedding attendants!
“Friends” came on N.B.C. television in nineteen-ninety-four, starring six actors: three women and three men. The writers gave each friend something that the others could joke about. Monica, for example, had to have everything clean and organized. Joey was good looking, but not very smart. All the friends had one thing in common, though. They were are all looking for love.
Marta Kauffman and David Crane created "Friends." Their show was nominated for fifty-five Emmy awards. This year it won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series.
“Friends” became part of popular culture. Real-life friends would gather to watch the show. Nielsen Media Research says more than fifty-one-million people in the United States watched the final episode last week.
We leave you with a clip from that show. Monica and Chandler -- played by Courtney Cox Arquette and Matthew Perry -- have already gotten married. Now they are in a hospital. They are going to adopt a baby boy who has just been born. But they get some surprising news from the doctor:
MONICA: "I’m gonna love you so much that no woman is ever gonna be good enough for you ... "
BIRTH MOTHER: "I’m tired."
DOCTOR: "Ah, you don’t have that much time to relax, the other one will be along in a minute."
MONICA: "Uh, I’m sorry, who should be along in a minute?"
DOCTOR: "The next baby should be along in a minute."
MONICA: "Uhhh ... we only ordered one!"
Sam Phillips, the female singer and songwriter, has a new album. It is called “A Boot and a Shoe.” Here’s Faith Lapidus.
Billboard magazine says Sam Phillips sings a ray of light into the darkness on her new album. "A Boot and a Shoe" opens with a song called “How to Quit.”
This is the eighth album for Mizz Phillips ... under the name of Sam, at least. "Sam" is what she was called as a child. She used to sing Christian pop music. Back then she used her birth name, Leslie Phillips.
In the late nineteen-eighties, Mizz Phillips left the Christian recording industry. She wanted more artistic freedom.
Yet her music is still highly spiritual. She sings about human weaknesses and failings. But her songs are also about the possibility of renewal, as in this one, called “Love Changes Everything.”
Sam Phillips works all the time now with the famous music producer T-Bone Burnett. In nineteen-ninety-one, they got married.
We leave you with Sam Phillips and another song from her new album. This song is called "I Dreamed I Stopped Dreaming.”
This is Doug Johnson.
Our program was written and produced by Caty Weaver. And our engineer was Tony Pollack.
I hope you enjoyed AMERICAN MOSAIC. Join us again next week for VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.