Roy Underhill Reads ‘Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!’
For those of you that know me, I am a big fan of Roy Underhill of PBS’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” and have attended a few of his woodworking classes in NC – well, Roy has written what could be the world’s first-ever woodworking novel: “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” It’s a screwball comedy set in 1937 about a woodworker who heads the U.S. government’s agricultural “Broadcast Research” division.
Along with his staff of four women (all severely injured WWI volunteers), Calvin studies “broadcast seed, nutrient and amendment distribution technology and practice” – that is, what happens when the poop actually hits the fan.
But the four women are more interested in developing the world’s first supercomputer (using abandoned punch-card machines), and Calvin is more interested in woodworking…and in one particular woman: Kathryn Dale Harper, host of the radio program “Homemaker Chats.”
How best to woo her? Why, a radio show: “Grandpa Sam’s Woodshop of the Air!”
It’s an almost-overnight sensation (for measured drawings, write to “Grandpa Sam’s” and be sure to include a 3 cent stamp to cover the cost of duplication). But – as Calvin discovers – success breeds jealousy… a dangerous thing when one’s enemy has friends in high places.
Can Calvin and his friends save the world through woodworking, one listener at a time? Perhaps – but first, they’ll have to save themselves from Nazis, the clutches of the FBI, bureaucracy and wooden legs that break at inopportune times.
In this video – Roy reads from his book – there’s something about listening to a writer reading their own work…
This is going to be a fun read – The book can be purchased here