MAY 9, 1958
NEW YORK—Some time ago I received a letter telling me about a book called "The Modern Dilemma in Art," which was written in 1944 by I.J. Belmont, who won fame as a color-music painter.
In the letter his wife pointed out to me that suggestions Mr. Belmont made long ago are only today being pointed up as being necessary, but that like so many people, he was ahead of his time. For instance, one of the things he said was:
"Should young children be bothered with school books? I sometimes feel like advocating that children should first of all be given exercises for the mind, by playing games like checkers and chess.
"The good that physical exercise in the form of games like baseball, football and basketball accomplish for the bodies of children could be duplicated for the minds of children by the enjoyment of chess and checkers and other mental games. In this way the child would acquire the mental agility and resourcefulness to attack with benefit the problem of book learning."
I am not sure that such games could be substituted at an early enough age, but it is amusing to have this suggestion at a time when we are preoccupied with Soviet education, for the Soviet Union as a nation, and particularly its men, enjoys chess as a pastime far more generally than it is enjoyed in this country.
Then, in his book, Mr. Belmont indulges in the hope that there will come a day when the newspaper headline "Boston Braves Leading in the Fifth" will be balanced by another, "Boston Symphony Scores with the Fifth (Beethoven)."
Will that day come, I wonder?
I saw a preview the other night of the movie, "Proud Rebel," in which Olivia de Havilland and Alan Ladd star. It has nothing to do with the problems of the world. In fact, the story takes place in the period after our Civil War.
It is simply a charming and delightful story, with enough excitement in action and a tender theme of the love of a father for his small son. It will almost bring tears to your eyes here and there but they are tender, gentle tears.
Altogether, I feel sure when this film is really out, many of you will have a very pleasant evening.
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UNESCO and the U.N. radio have been producing since February, on Thursdays from 9:30 to 9:55 p.m., and in New York on Sundays from 11:30 to 11:55 p.m., a program designed to promote international understanding through the arts and using a novel technique.
This series is called "Easy as ABC," and the UNESCO representatives as well as the U.N. radio feel that they are gaining a wide public acceptance. I listened the other day to the program on tolerance, which was listed under "N is for Name Calling." Marlon Brando narrated it and Sir Lawrence Olivier played Shylock. I found it very interesting. I am sure that if you make it a point to listen, you will enjoy it, too.