At 2:00 pm on Tuesday, October 30, 1973, WBAI 99.5 FM host Paul Gorman broadcast, unedited, George Carlinâ€™s â€œFilthy Wordsâ€ monologue, and Pacifica Radio listeners in New York City were treated that autumn day to a bold and controversial test of the First Amendment. Rich- very rich- with expletives, that first unedited public broadcast of â€œFilthy Wordsâ€ would be become the genesis for one of the most important landmark Supreme Court decisions on free speech in the last 30 years. The fallout from that historic broadcast, as documented and preserved in the vault of the Pacifica Radio Archives, provides the inspiration for episode of From the Vault.
In the first half hour, weâ€™ll dig through the vault and explore our wonderful collection of â€˜Carlin Caseâ€™ interviews, produced for WBAI in 1978 by Joe Cuomo and Mickey Waldman. The interviews are with host Paul Gorman, former FCC Commissioners, a lawyer for the National Association of Broadcasters, and a minister. Then, weâ€™ll hear a reading of the letter that started it all, followed by a healthy dose of Carlinâ€™s â€œFilthy Wordsâ€ (edited for language, of course!).
In the second half hour we will hear from George Carlin himself, in excerpts from two wonderful interviews he gave â€“ one in 1970 before his â€œFilthy Wordsâ€ routine was broadcast on WBAI, and the other conducted by Larry Bensky at KPFA in June 1997, nearly 30 years later. Together, they provide an interesting time-lapse perspective of one of the more controversial and brilliant comedians alive today.