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AMERICAN MOSAIC - September 27, 2002: George Catlin's Indian Paintings / Football Great Johnny Unitas Dies / Question About (and Music by) Pink Floyd - 2002-09-25


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


This is Doug Johnson. On our program today:

We play music by Pink Floyd ...

Report about the death of an American football hero.

And tell about an American artist who painted Native Americans of the Old West.

George Catlin Exhibit


The Smithsonian Institution’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C. has opened an exhibition of four-hundred paintings and other objects by American artist George Catlin. Shep O’Neal tells us about him.


George Catlin was born in the eastern state of Pennsylvania in seventeen-ninety-six. He went to school to learn to be a lawyer. But he always wanted to be an artist. He soon quit the legal profession and became a painter.

In the early eighteen-twenties, George Catlin saw a delegation of American Indians on their way to Washington, D.C. He was extremely interested in them. He decided to paint as many of the tribes of Native Americans as he could find.

From about eighteen-thirty to eighteen-thirty-six, George Catlin traveled deep into areas of the country where few white people had ever been. He traveled thousands of kilometers and painted almost everything he saw. He painted pictures of the land. He painted men, women, children, clothing and animals. He painted religious ceremonies, dances and ball games. He often painted as many as three pictures a day.

George Catlin visited as many as fifty different tribes of American Indians. His paintings show a people and culture that were very difficult for many white people of the time to accept. His paintings show an intelligent people who had a highly developed culture. Few white people understood this.

George Catlin displayed his paintings for several years. He took them to Britain and France. But he was never very successful. Late in his life he was forced to sell his Indian paintings. Later, they were given to the Smithsonian Institution.

Elizabeth Broun [pronounced brune] is the director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She says Catlin’s paintings add to our understanding of Native Americans. She also says they show Catlin’s deep feelings for the rich culture of the tribes he visited.

If you have a computer and can link with the Internet’s World Wide Web you can find more information about George Catlin and his paintings. Type the letters N-M-A-A in a search. Or type the letters C-A-T-L-I-N. Enjoy the paintings.

Johnny Unitas


One of the best American football players of all time died of a heart attack earlier this month in Baltimore, Maryland. He was sixty-nine years old. His name was Johnny Unitas. Mary Tillotson tells us about him.


Johnny Unitas was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He played football in college at the University of Louisville. The experts said he was too small to play the game professionally. But he proved them wrong. Johnny Unitas played professional football for eighteen years, seventeen of them with the Baltimore Colts.

Unitas was a quarterback. That is the leader of the team’s offense. The quarterback tells the other players what to do each time their team has the ball. He receives the ball as the two teams line up facing each other. Then the quarterback either hands the ball to another player, throws it to another player or runs with the ball himself.

Johnny Unitas was the first quarterback to throw the ball for more than forty-thousand yards. He set twenty-two National Football League records. These include most passes attempted and completed, most yards gained passing, most touchdown passes and most years leading the league in touchdown passes. He completed at least one touchdown pass in forty-seven games without interruption between nineteen-fifty-six and nineteen-sixty.

Johnny Unitas led the Baltimore Colts to the National Football League championship three times. He also led the team to a Super Bowl victory in nineteen-seventy-one. He was named most valuable player three times. Unitas also was chosen as a member of the Professional Football Hall of Fame. He retired from football after the nineteen-seventy-three season.

Johnny Unitas has been called the greatest quarterback of all time. But people said he was much more than that. More than two-thousand people attended his funeral in Baltimore, Maryland last week. Family members and friends talked about his life and his love of football. Football fans said they wanted to honor the man who brought sports excellence to their city and who always treated everyone like they were his friends.

Pink Floyd


Our VOA listener question this week comes from Iran. Arash Abedi asks about the rock group Pink Floyd.

Pink Floyd is a British rock band famous for its use of electronics and special effects. It began recording in the nineteen-sixties. Yet its music continues to be extremely popular all over the world.

The group took its name from the first names of two American blues musicians, Pink Anderson and Floyd Council. At first, the band played rock, and rhythm and blues music. But it quickly began to experiment with electronic sounds, and used lights in its stage performances.

Its first real international hit album was “Dark Side of the Moon” in nineteen-seventy-three. It is still one of the most popular rock albums around the world. Here is a song from that album, “Money.”


Another extremely popular album by Pink Floyd is “The Wall.” The songs are about the kinds of walls modern people build around themselves for survival. One of the hits from “The Wall” is this song, “Another Brick in the Wall.”


Pink Floyd was named to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in nineteen-ninety-six. The group released a greatest hits album last year called “Echoes: The Best of Pink Floyd.” We leave you now with the title song from that album, “Echoes.”



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 Nancy Steinbach and Paul Thompson. Our studio engineer was Audrius Reegus. And our producer was Caty Weaver.