In 1925, history was made in Dayton, Tennessee. Clarence Darrow faced off against William Jennings Bryan in the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, pitting the theories of evolution and creationism against each other. The case was the basis of the play and film Inherit the Wind.

Besides the legal significance of the arguments and the outcome, there was also another historic element of the trail. WGN Radio was in the courtroom to provide the first ever live broadcast of a legal proceeding. Barely three years after signing on the air as WDAP, WGN brought the activities from the Rhea County Courthouse into homes throughout mid-America.

In 2000, this historic moment was commemorated with a recreation of the trial. And, WGN Radio was there again. John Williams broadcast live from the courthouse in Dayton on Friday, July 14 setting the scene and participating in the recreation itself, playing the role of Quin Ryan, the WGN Radio reporter who originally brought word pictures of the event to listeners back home.

Excerpts of John Williams live broadcast from Dayton, TN, July 14, 2000 featuring John talking with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ed Larson about Larson’s book, “Summer For The Gods,” John talking with Rick Dye, President of the Dayton, Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, John talking with T.J. Gill, the actor who portrayed William Jennings Bryan in the reenactment, and John playing a special Scopes edition of the True/False Game:

An excerpt from the reenactment of the trial – Clarence Darrow, for the defense, argues for the removal of the ‘Read Your Bible’ sign from outside the courthouse as well as battles to put Williams Jennings Bryan on the stand.

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