The comforts afforded by fame were forever clouded for Duncan by an ongoing series of tragedies, leading right up to the famous – and horrifying – way her life ended.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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I have to make a life for herself, her mother and her siblings. That was less defined by financial instability. and she sort of succeeded money would remain a problem for her for the rest of her life. This episode picks up right after is it triumphant engagement in Budapest, where she sold out a month worth of shows finally found fame because Europe really embraced her, but the comforts sorted by? These things was forever clouded by an ongoing series of tragedies, and this episode will feature those more happy times, and the affairs that dominated the last decade of her life and yes, we will of course cover the famous and tragic end of her life, but we're gonna while she is still in Europe enjoying her acclaim and her new fortune Turning her sites on the country that she had long revered and imagined
it is really no surprise that a woman who founded her entire style of dance on the ideas she had read as a young girl about the aesthetics of ancient Greece, but want to make her way to those ideas, birthplace, her sibling once again joined her and DORA as they made their way to Greece should discuss. them all as being quote half mad with joy when they arrived there quote, we ask ourselves why We should ever leave Greece since we found in Athens everything which satisfies our aesthetic sense. When is it worth other Augustine missed his wife and daughter is who, at this point, was in a much better place financially. Thanks to her success in Hungary and Germany Array, for them to join the rest of the family, yeah she's. So matter of fact, when she writes about it, should I go into court, I just sent for them. She just threw money at problems The family also took to wear
close in the style of the ancient Greeks, quote much to the astonishment of the modern Greeks themselves. That's according to Duncan the family also fell in love with attractive land atop, a hill which afforded them a view of the Acropolis and they re to purchase it at a fairly steep price, from the five families who all had a stake in this property. Like there properties all met kind of on top of this hill, plan was the Duncan for going to build a home there, which Raymond designed, despite having who architectural help and it was based on the palace of Agamemnon, so ready, sounds a little dicey in the manner of tourists taking on it. Culture like play acting in that kind of crime, Worthy aspect is echoed in Duncans own writing about the family temple but they were building and their release. Ship with the country quote, we were completely self sufficient and our clan we did
mingle, at all, with the inhabitants of Athens, even one, heard. One day from the peasants that the king of Greece had ridden out to sea. ample. We remained unimpressed forward, living under the reign of other kings, Agamemnon men, Elias and Prime Soon I realise that they had started building their home there, sort of temple of the arts on land that had no water. So, in spite of that the family spend a whole year in Greece before they headed back to Vienna. love, Slash, hey two but it aiming to me leg. Just the hubris of Lake Ontario by this land, Edward creating. Should Greece we wanna talk to locals. We just want aware Togo and dance around in this Alice all fell. we didn't whether there was water now I did try to see if they can dig wealth, but that the land was a super dry
I do wonder if the locals were snickering off somewhere else like yet we drove up there, I saw that when they both it and now they came, We live there. However, in nineteen o five is a door. I decided to open her first true dance school. This was a far cry from the crumbling castle mansion that we mention in part one and she open school in Berlin. This was the of many school. She would have an students were nicknamed the is adorable by the press. That name persists even to this day she started the school initially with a co educational model with both boys and girls enrolled. But over time to minimal interest. She started taking only female students, also in nineteen o five I've Isidora met. A man named Gordon Craig. While she was performing in Berlin, Craig with assent. We English theatre royalty, he was the son of
aim Ellen Terry, who was one of England's most famous stage actresses, he had become a theatre. Designer and Isidora fell deeply in love with him From the night she met him. She stayed with him for two weeks: her mother actually thought she had gone missing Duncan described. Craig ass quote one of the most The ordinary geniuses of our epoch, creature like Shelly made of fire and lightning yeah he's often described as that. Like the great love of her life, Craig and Duncan had a daughter, together in nineteen o, six named Deirdre Beatrice whom they have not got married. Gordon Craig was actually already married, He also already had a number of children out of wedlock, with other women would go on to have even more their Roma ended after a few years, but the two of them stayed lifelong friends, but This really is significantly strained Isidora relationship to her mother, who had been horrified by Craig
and called him a lot of bad names, being a seducer and also was probably pretty horrified that she was with someone who was cheating on his wife since that had broken up her marriage. And the whole having a child out of wedlock really upset her soon after the affair, with care and bid is it? started. A relationship with Paris singer the Son of SAM machine Mobile Isaac, singer, who we have talked about on the show before this was an interesting. Listen. Ship Isidora often found Paris to be a spoiled bull, headed man, and she was often frustrated that you seem to think himself above working P, all who were the very same people who had built his fortune, but she still loved him Duncan singer. Welcome to sun into the world in nineteen ten he was named Patrick their relationship is fascinating to me. Well, she was still pregnant. She toured the United States with german conductor
Walter, damn rash and her performance and the very filmy drapes a fabric which allowed her body to be seen beneath them considered a revelation by some and absolutely shocking and immoral by others. Remember she had tossed up, that ballet convention out of the window she really was like going. The grecian look, but in these very see, through filmy outfits press Theodore Roosevelt eventually offered his take, which quelled the detractors a good bit when he said quote DORA Duncan seems to me as innocent as a child dancing through the garden in the morning, sunshine and picking them. beautiful flowers of her fantasy Duncan had an experience during a performance in Paris at nineteen. Thirteen that really seems to have prophesied a great tragedy. She was dancing to show
hands Funeral March at the Trocadero when she had what she described as a sense of foreboding regarding her children and she smelled quote white to roses and funeral flowers. She later wrote quote: this was the first Faint and of the prelude of the tragedy which presently with to end all by her, of any natural joyous life for me forever. After several days later is Isidore parted ways with her children and their nannies that the kids could go home to rest after they had had lunch with Paris singer who she refers to in her writing as allowing grim after the vulgar opera is it or I had to go to rehersal for a show that she was contracted for and the nanny thought that the children were too tired to wait. Three were her soul on the way home. The car carrying the nanny and children stalled, and it was on a slope when the chauffeur got out to crank the engine. The car start but he could not get back in fast enough in the vehicle plummeted into the sin. All
Three of them died dunk, described the moment that she heard what happened from Paris himself. Writing quote I remember a strange stillness came upon me. Only in my throat. I felt a burning as if I had swallowed some live coals, but I could understand. So this was a just. imaginable loss and Duncan understandably thought she was never going to dance again or do much of anything but just ass. She always had she let her emotions fuel her work. She choreographed to pieces, reflecting her sorrow, they were mother and March few neighbour, there's to the point I know Sonata by Chopin of the same name. You can If we find videos of modern performances of those dances, if you want to see them, you Google literally Isidore Duncan mother, or is it her Duncan Marsh Unita and they will come right up?
next, we are going to delve into how Isidora tried to move on with her life. But before we tackle that, we will pause for a word from the sponsors that keep stuff you missed in history class. Going
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It's a new memories. Now's the time to escape to your happy place at Walt Disney World Resort visit Disney. Dot com, slash history for more Parents singer had wanted to marry Isidora Duncan and he knew no proclaimed this after the deaths of the children, but she refused to him. It was like I can set you up. You dont have to dance anymore. If you don't want to, I will take care of you, but she really really still hated the idea of marriage. The two of them struggled with their grief and their disagreement over where their relationship was going, things kind of fell apart after feeling that she either had to end her life or find some purpose to it is it It decided to spend some time in Albania where her brother Raymond was working with refugees. The balkan wars is it next went to ITALY. She spent some time with close friend an actress
introduce a who was nursing, her own broken heart over the end of her relationship with feminist playwright, Lena Poletti, there's been a lot of speculation about whether Duncan induce ever had a romantic relationship, but there's merrily anything definitive here there is the possible that Duncan had an affair with Mercedes to cost us several years later and possibly with other women as well, but it really does seem like a Leonora was more of a best friend and in her autobiography Duncan speaks of the closeness that she felt too Eleanora and specifically how Eleanor did the one thing that no one else was able to do for her during this time. she actually asked Isidora to talk about her children. She her friend, quote she never said cease to grieve, but she grieved with me for the first time since their death, I felt I was not alone, four Eleanor reduce it was a super being her heart was so great it could receive tragedy of the world. Her spirit
most radiant, that has ever shone through the dark sorrows of this earth. Why Italy she met Romano, Roman Ellie, who was a sculptor and even though she barreling knew him, she said to him quote: save me so if more than my life. My reason give me a child She told alien that she thought he was the next Michelangelo, of them did not start a relationship permanently. Gabe stand intended to marry his fiance and Duncan was not really bothered by this still get pregnant again and according to her, Well. From this moment I entered into a phase of intense mysticism. I thought that my children spirit, hovered mere me, but they would return to consult me on earth, but the who of new life was snuffed out pretty quickly. Her child, who was a sun, died early after being born in August of nineteen fourteen. She heard the military mobilization outside
yeah World WAR, one with starting. She had really believed that either Patrick or her dress was going to be reincarnated in this child that she had had conceived Romagnoli, sir. There was a lot going on. She clearly again was still working through a lot of very serious grief by the time The baby should move back to Paris that The urging of Paris singer, who was still back in your life and was rolling a new school for her in Bellevue does outside of Paris, but as Europe Missy progressed and she grew very, very tired, singer arranged for all of the students to travel to England for two months. That Duncan could rest in it and to a depression that seem to loom and her third trimester. The oven had led up to. We were too were playing out, and that made her feel even more melancholy. She describes the sense of sort of hopelessness with the world
School was also turned into a war hospital during this time, so they basically commandeered it brought in caught and set it up. In this way, the student that had travelled to England, were housed in singers home in Devon sure to wait out the conflict after the death of her third child Duncan travelled to D with her friend and she continued to be unwell. She had a brief affair with her doctor, but soon she left for New York in the hope of getting a truly fresh start away. from all of these memories and sorrows that affair with Doktor is very strange and also full of coincidence, where allegedly, he was also the doctor that tried to save her children after they had been brought into the hospital after they had their car had gone. into the sand. So there was just a weird dynamic at play between the two of them, so We started her school anew after reuniting with her siblings Augustine and Elizabeth in New York,
And she started performing again and at the end of a performance she gave at the man she improvised a dance to the Marseillaise while wearing a red shawl to honour the french troops in that it would rouse her. U S audience! She had found the United States to be shockingly indifferent to what was going on in Europe. She want to try to inspire them to take action and the Its cheered is, she finished, but it wasn't really what she was hoping for. She also book the century Theatre for a new production, but she wanted to transform it into a greek theatre for their performances. Her production of Oedipus, which her brother Augustine start in, was playing to a theatre where blue curtains had been hung over the boxes. And the orchestra seeding had been pulled out and replaced just with a blue carpet. This show is a critical success, but Duncan went bankrupt staging it.
Elsa grown completely disillusioned with american audiences. She was horrified that they wanted just to have a good time so many people were dying overseas thanks to the generosity of a Bennett, after she was able to book passage on a ship back to Europe's specifically to ITALY. Once she met up with many of our students there after grouping in Naples. They headed for Zurich and for the relative safety of Neutral Switzerland, but keeping school running in its nomadic state. Having too, new spaces. All the time was getting costly. So when a car frank to perform in South Amerika was offered Duncan, took it to keep the school going her boat, stop in New York on route to Buenos Aires and her brother Augustine joined her so that he can keep an eye on her while she was in Argentina. On her first night there she was persuaded to tango with some local students in it too now. This was a problem because it was technical breach of her contract.
as it was written in the papers as a performance. This put her in violation of an exclusivity clause. So her tour was basically over before it started, and she had received word in the meantime that the money that she had already sent to Switzerland, keep the school going had been held up because of the war she sent Augusta. Head to Geneva with what money she had to try to save the students from eviction while she and her pianist tried to rum up some additional money by booking gigs should not any of this. when they moved on the Montevideo. They have greater success and then at Rio. Her pianist was so popular that he decided to stay when Duncan decided the heads in New York, he was links The Erika loves me Mister ground, I think he was probably also reluctant to return to Europe, because it was in the middle of a war by Please coincidence,
Paris, singer was also in New York and when he heard that Isidora was at the docks by herself with no money, he immediately went to help her. She described at this time as being, in quote one of his kindest and most generous moods and they ve went to lunch with the friend and they drink champagne, and after that, singer book, the metropolitan Opera House, and he arranged for all of their friends in the art community of New York to attend a free gala performance by Isidore that nine. Singer, also wired money to Switzerland for Duncan students, but at that point they had all left and gone home. Their parents had come to collect them her school was over, at least for the time being we We cannot overstate her attachment to the school. She really considered her students to be her daughters. And a lot of them, even if the last named Duncan and used it for the rest of their lives. She had students that stayed with her for decades and then taught the younger students
there was a school, but it was also more than that and to lose the school after using Deirdre and Patrick was just one more heartache. Again, with singers generosity, Isidora, rented, a studio and she in Paris and Augustine and Augustine children spent the days together. She would later right quote in fact The time being, life became wonderful through the magic power of money. Soon as her health faltered in the face of the New York winter singer, arranged for her to travel to Cuba with his secretary is her escort The time in Havana really did her good and from mere she travelled a palm beach Florida where singer met her, but she was. Dell grieving really heavily through. All of this to outsiders, she's to have regained at least some of the Spirit that she had lost when our children died, but she wrote a feeling extraordinary pain any time she saw a child with its mother and how this
disparity between her continuing grief versus people, believing she was over it like that with its own kind of pain, simultaneously. Things were once again turning sour between her and Paris singer He started to have jealous outbursts when she spoke with other men. The she describes this evening in her book where she was teaching a much younger man had a tango and singer grabbed her by the arm and spun her around and started yelling at her about it. So he left her rather abruptly. He did not give her a warning any stopped paying for her hotel and her school, and so she soon found herself broke in New York with no way to get anywhere she paused some of the gifts the singer had given her to get by for a while, and then she took a contract that brought her back to California First time in more than two decades, She also reunited with her mother who had moved back to California because she did not like staying in Europe and from whom she had been somewhat estranged for some time.
Due to her unconventional lifestyle, California had its own surprises. in its own doses of disillusionment waiting for Duncan. We will get to that after we take one more sponsor break. Hey it's crazy. Everybody grubbing. A lot of time on video conference calls these days, but during those long calls there's someone else. You'd, probably rather be connecting with you. Wanna be online with your fiends. That's right beams Brands, because best beams of the game that every one is completely obsessed with download best beams for free from Appstore or Google play and boom you'll be hooked on the Superfund five STAR rated puzzle game. Once you open the app you enter an amazing world with so much to do. If you want to collect hugh characters, go at it. There are tons of them ready for some brain busting puzzle challenges buckler, because best beans have more than five thousand levels. That will put you to the test. The steering all this talk about,
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is it or I was welcomed us something about hometown hero in San Francisco on this tour, gave her the idea that it might be a great pity. Is this to her to school in Rome town, but a problem because by that point there were already multiple dance schools that taught her more modern, less structured style of damp. They were kind of copycats of the schools that she had set up with her MR years and years before, so she once again found disillusionment chief but the dance that she had envision to truly express the american spirit. Have been watered down as it had spread and popularity and to make matters worse. No one was interested in backing a school, even if it was run by the originator of the form so annoying in twenty one. She set out with a very new purpose. She wanted to open a dance school in Moscow. The rush
Revolution of nineteen. Seventeen had captured her imagination and she was convinced that she would fit right in and this newly formed The republic she envision, something bigger than she had ever been able to put together on her own, with thousands of students to teach According to her memoir, she had been sent a telegram in the spring of nineteen twenty one, which read quote the russian government alone can understand. You come to us, We will make your school and she, that she would indeed teach Russia's children to dance so long as they provided her with a school and quote the wherewithal to work to a new job, with only one of her students turns teachers which was Arma Duncan and Isidore. It did worship, Moscow. She choreographed new works, including the rest. Miss Mary and nineteen twenty two and she did indeed teach I also met a young man named Sergei you sent in and they got married, which surprises me.
He was eighteen years younger than she was, and the marriage was so that he could travel to the United States on engagements right not been married. He would not have been allowed into the country and when she travelled to the U S, death He was a little bit surprised by the reception she received which was highly critical of her affinity for Russia and for Vladimir Lenin. Both dunk and her husband were accused of being bolshevik agents. They were apparently stopped in New York at the port of entry She responded to these criticisms by making the point that, though she was not particularly interested in the politics of her new home country. She felt it all artists are inherently revolutionary. So of course it makes perfect sense that she would be drawn to a revolutionary place during Our time in the you ass, the relationship between Duncan and her husband was reported widely when he got drunk at a party in the Bronx the papers. The next day,
The story is that he had become violent and had given his wife to black eyes she left the: U S, Isidora swore she would never return after the two of them return to Europe. He started to exhibit increasing. stability. Their relationship was deeply strained, and now team. Twenty three you sit and returned to the Soviet Union by himself and a nineteen twenty five. He was found dead, apparently by suicide after the split with the assent in Isidora lived in niece, she returned to France once again would claim to anyone who ass the Moscow had been too bourgeois for her. This not a glamorous time in her life, she was getting older. She recognized that she was not the useful beauty she had once been achieved, prone to drinking too much and her finances remained perpetually on the edge of ruin. In early nineteenth seven Duncan took on a project that had been brewing in her mind for quite some time. She wrote her autobiography when she started this memoir
she opened it. With quote, I confess that when it was first proposed to me, I had a terror of writing this book that. My wife has not been more interesting than any novel and more adventurous than any cinema, and, if really well written, would not be an epoch making recital. But there's the rub. The writing of it. Now she was not a writer up to this point, even though there were writers in her family am, I will say her: memoir is a really fun Reed Isidore Duncan may not have had formal schooling after she was quite young, which was a very smart woman. Writing style is filled with really wonderfully expressive turn of phrase. It is incredibly frank on topics of sex in love and she doesn't seem to really high Much of anything and as some of the quotes we have used here indicate it also reveals a person who, in some ways, was just incredibly ignorant for all of her world travels. What
things. It's really fascinating is how, even though it was written when she was done with her Moscow phase, the ending of this book really reads almost like bolshevik propaganda. For example, it ends arriving in Moscow, even though that means it omits several years. from her life. After that, the last two paragraphs, red quote when the At last arrived. My heart gave a great throb joy now for the beautiful new world that had been created now for the world of comrades the dream that had been conceived and the head of Buddha. The dream that had been resounded through the words of Christ The dream has been the ultimate hope of all great artists, the dream linen had by a great magic turned into reality. I was ended and now into this dream that my work and life might become a part of its glorious promise. Do you old world? I would
hail a new world yard that kind of Bolivia away like work in this way After she had already left the Soviet Union and had all kinds of trouble, because every time there she actually finished writing this book in late August of nineteen twenty seven, she turned in a manuscript that was entirely handwritten. Why She chose to ended in nineteen twenty one and ignore her marriage, Tee sudden and her return to France is just a mystery we dont now. She had also been port, it is having gotten engaged to Bob Chandler. He was a New York decorative artist and nineteen twenty seven, but she clay that had been a dinner party joke between friends that had somehow reached the press yard interesting when you read newspaper reports of of this last section of her life. Many of them do mention lake. Ah, if only she had been able to marry, Bob everything would have been different.
she gave a quote to an associated press reporter in September of nineteen twenty seven that is often mentioned as era prescient when talking about her autobiography, she said quote for the first time. I am writing for money. now. I am frightened that some quick accident might happen, and so that brings us now to her very famous and grisly death The details of this story have two different setups one is that why she was living, a niece and September of nineteen twenty seven is the door. I met a young man driving a bagasse convertible. She suggested at sea would love it if he would take her for a drive and he agreed and the other is that the car was hers, a new car and that her chauffeur was teaching her to drive it. According to some story, she turned to her friends of the cars ordered and said. I do miss unease. Cerveza go are switches goodbye, my friends. I am going to glory
but despite those inconsistency, is what is consistent is that at nine forty p m on September fourteen she was in the vehicle on the prominent days. Only when her law, scarf was picked up by the wind became, tangled in the rear wheel and her neck was broken. today is a door. Duncans works survives. Her choreography has been passed down through generations of her students, and you can see her work performed today. The isabel Duncan Dance Company and Isidora Duncan Foundation are both run by lorry belly love, whose a third generation Duncan dancer. This episode is kind of a bummer to end with. So I don't want to do that. Anybody sittin finish on a slightly more a beat note I thought it would be fun to end on a passage the just struck me from Duncans autobiography which one published shortly after her death obviously, because she had had died
Suddenly she was not able to make any revisions to it. So, most of its pretty pretty I entirely trains from her handwriting. The version I have has notes of when, like spellings were different, went not but other than that. It's pretty much word for word and I like passage because it it evidences that for all the flaws that she had, she was also very sharp and funny and aware she wrote quote, how can we write the truth about ourselves? Do we even know it's there the vision, our friends have of us. The vision we have of ourselves and the vision are lover has of Us Also, the vision are enemies have of us, and all these visions are different. I have good reason to know this because I have had served me with my morning. Coffee newspaper criticisms that declared I was beautiful as a goddess and that I, genius. hardly had I finished my wing contentedly over this. Then I picked up the net paper and read that I was without any talent, badly shaped in a perfect harpy.
I soon gave a breeding criticisms of my work by could not stipulate that I should only be given the good ones and the bad were too pressing and provocatively homicidal. I love that quotes, what we can see funny and very interesting- and it does so to break my heart that when you say your name most people go, then she died a gross car accident which she did, but obviously she had a whole whole interesting, very fascinating life dear, I do highly recommend her her autobiography because it is a fun remnants. Pretty quick reed gives them listener mail for us, as we rap this up? I do I do. The first is from her listener Karla who. the dear Hawaiian Tracy. I just listen dear podcast on John Dalton. My dad is red. Green color deficient. I very distinctly remember learning this in the hardware store, we were state.
In front of a bunch of dowells that had been color coded in varying shades of green. My dad, who is a very even tempered man, grunted and said these idiots, which was about the harshest thing he had ever set in. My presence, he asked me if I could get the one that matched the size he needed here. explain to me why I was so bad to label stuff in only color coding, because people like him could not tell the difference, I am very happy to hear of the trend moving towards using the term color deficient vision, since it helps people understand, what's really happening in middle school. directed my science teacher when he said that color blind people only saw an shades of grey My dad wasn't colorblind as they used to say. I would have just believed my teacher. I ended up the class, a lecture on why color coding by itself is bad, just like my dad had done for me. My dad has always been pretty comfortable with his color deficiency. He'll make comments like heck, I'm colorblind, and even I can tell that, doesn't look good and they were
This thing he's done was paint the living room while purple thinking it was grey Ass, a huge free, forethoughtful biogas and shed light so many subjects every time it was near by guest. I feel a bit smarter, Karla, that's adorable. I e to the best of my oh, it's you not have coloration deficiency and still painted living room purple. I also wanted to mention quick emails Kathleen, who wrote ass. She also wrote. We mention it in the last episode about the new information about the de LA pass, but there's a SEC part of her email that I wanted to share cause. It's adorable the dog story. Second, I wanted to thank you for your help. Hounds episode as it provided a middle name for my newest dog, my first dog Mackey may body, but Grogan got his middle name because when he gets in the summer. He turns into a dalmatian under all his fur,
However, I had my second dog Miriam for months and still not been able to come up with a middle name for her. But after your hell hounds episode, her middle name simply had to be rude guru. She is black Four nickname is monster because she's, a high energy jerk, who gets into everything she and I say thanks. I hope these picture of the destruction she can cause and the videos There will be new turd, dragging my other talk around by his leash and running. carrying a log brighten, your twenty twenty one, all the best Katy she two videos Miss Miriam real Guru, Turkey, a mayor adorable. I haven't, crush on Miriam. It's exactly the cute flavour of dog. I love little black thing. Would perky poky fierce and she looks like she probably keeps you and your toes said. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, because that did make twenty twenty one great You can also write to us hat history by gas, to I hurt radio dot com. In fact,
everywhere and social media as missed in history, and if you would like a subscribe, you can do that on the heart radio out at Apple cod, gas or wherever it is useless and stuff. You must, in history the production of Iheart Radio, for more broadcasts for my heart radio visit by her radio Hap added my cans or wherever you listen to your favorite, shows. Your home is more connected than ever so when one kid is school in the competition and the other is getting schooled vital country, as does the powerhouse officer and your streaming a weapon for work, and the latest episode of your favorite show. At the same time, your wifi needs to be able to handle it. That's why extended he never stops working to bring you faster, more reliable wifi, so you can do it all all. At the same time, extremity the future of awesome learn more activity. Dot com
Learning from mistakes is important, but then you prefer to learn from the painful mistakes of others. TIM half a host of cautionary tales podcast looks of valuable lessons from great crimes and disasters of the past. You fly into doomed airliner, hijacked by idiots witness, the world's worst bank robbery. None cover the deeds of a doctor who paid friendly how schools to his patients are really planning their murders. Scribe head the eye heart radio, app.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-09.