couldn't sing, dance, or tell jokes, but he was television's greatest impresario
. He was a stone-faced puritan -- America's arbiter of status quo --
but had a sly sense of humor
, and in the segregation-tainted 1950's, welcomed blacks to his stage, and in the 1960's showcased rock n' roll's most anti-establishment acts. His show
, the longest-running variety show
in history, ran from 1948 to 1971. [more inside]
Since the Middle Ages, German craftsmen have gone 'auf der Walz'
(taken to the road) as part of a kind of working-pilgrimage that artisans make after completing an apprenticeship with a master craftsman. These travels are meant to teach them about work and life and takes precisely three years and one day; they are not allowed to return home before this time. The trip can take these young craftsmen and women (all must be under the age of 30) halfway around the world (and often does
) and they are allowed only a small rucksack. Other than that, they can bring along their uniform (a simple black and white affair that almost defies description
), their tools, undergarments, a sleeping bag, a book and their trademark walking stick.
Although today this is a dying tradition, and is often more traditionally known as being a Journeyman
today, it still exists and has inspired some to write about the strage travellers they see on the road
. Indeed, perhaps the most famous work this tradition inspired is Australian poet Banjo Patterson
, whose work Walzing Matilda
is believed to have been inspired
by this fascinating yet waning custom.