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Al Capp's political life


The Kaplans - Al Capp's family
Oliver Sacks Scientist
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So my grandfather’s sister, my great-aunt, came to America with her children, children who would then have been first cousins to my father. They in turn had children, and these children are first cousins once removed of mine, and I got to know one branch of them very well, the Kaplans, who became Capp – they changed their name. The eldest of them was Al Capp, the cartoonist. He had two younger brothers, one of whom was also a brilliant cartoonist.

Then there was Elliot, who was a playwright, and the youngest one was Madeline, a brilliant woman whom I loved and was really very close to, although her life was cut across by a stroke when she was about 50, which rendered her aphasic. But she was aphasic with such wit, and such brilliance, and such ingenuity, I... she gave aphasia a new meaning.

Oliver Sacks (1933-2015) was born in England. Having obtained his medical degree at Oxford University, he moved to the USA. There he worked as a consultant neurologist at Beth Abraham Hospital where in 1966, he encountered a group of survivors of the global sleepy sickness of 1916-1927. Sacks treated these patients with the then-experimental drug L-Dopa producing astounding results which he described in his book Awakenings. Further cases of neurological disorders were described by Sacks with exceptional sympathy in another major book entitled The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat which became an instant best seller on its publication in 1985. His other books drew on his rich experiences as a neurologist gleaned over almost five decades of professional practice. Sacks's work was recognized by prestigious institutions which awarded him numerous honours and prizes. These included the Lewis Thomas Prize given by Rockefeller University, which recognizes the scientist as poet. He was an honorary fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and held honorary degrees from many universities, including Oxford, the Karolinska Institute, Georgetown, Bard, Gallaudet, Tufts, and the Catholic University of Peru.

Listeners: Kate Edgar

Kate Edgar, previously Managing Editor at the Summit Books division of Simon and Schuster, began working with Oliver Sacks in 1983. She has served as editor and researcher on all of his books, and has been closely involved with various films and adaptations based on his work. As friend, assistant, and collaborator, she has accompanied Dr Sacks on many adventures around the world, clinical and otherwise.

Tags: Al Capp

Duration: 1 minute, 18 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2011

Date story went live: 02 October 2012