Photo: anankkml /

Today in Mailbox: Ways to listen to Radio Prague; Radio Prague's tribute to film director Věra Chytilová who passed away in March; traditional musical instruments of the Czech Republic. Listeners/readers quoted: Satto Okayasu, Siddhartha Bhattacharyya, Hans Verner Lollike, Valery Lugovski, Bibi Z.Shah, Sri Debaki Ranjan Biswas, Ian Morrison, Colin Law, Mary Lou Krenek.

Photo: anankkml /
Hello and welcome to Mailbox, Radio Prague’s listeners’ letters programme.

Thank you so much for all your feedback, including reception reports. As our regular listeners will know, our broadcasts are available on the internet where you can either listen to our whole half hour transmissions or you can choose individual programmes. Radio Prague also broadcasts via satellite. Our programmes can be picked up in Europe, in Africa and in Asia and the Pacific on the WRN English channel five times a day. You can look up the current broadcasting schedule on our website. And last but not least, Radio Prague’s transmissions are also rebroadcast by a number of shortwave stations. Just a reminder that you can listen to our English half hour on Radio Miami International every day between 8 and 8:30 am local time on 9955 kHz.

Whichever way you prefer to listen to Radio Prague we accept your reception reports and will send you one of our eight 2014 QSL cards featuring natural monuments of the Czech Republic. So please keep those reports coming.

Thank you also for following Radio Prague’s Facebook page where we feature our top stories.

Satto Okayasu from Japan commented on our tribute to film director Věra Chytilová who passed away last week.

“R.I.P. Before she died, it had been announced that ‘Sedmikrásky’ would be screened again in Japan. It will be shown in six cities in May-June. Her works have been attracting Japanese fans even now.”

We are also glad to answer your questions about life in the Czech Republic.

Siddhartha Bhattacharyya from India would like to know:

“Does you country have a traditional musical instrument?”

Cimbalom,  photo: archive of Radio Prague
Different parts of the country have different musical traditions. While Bohemia is more associated with brass music, folk music in Moravia – notably its southern part – usually features the cimbalom. In some parts of South Bohemia, the traditional instrument is bagpipes. The town of Strakonice holds a bi-annual international bagpipe festival in the summer.

Now onto our monthly quiz. As usual our e-mail inbox was flooded by your answers, all of them correct this time. This is what Hans Verner Lollike from Denmark wrote:

“The person you are looking for is no more a mystery: He is František Kardaus, who was born on March 25, 1908 in Hořesedly, Bohemia, and died on February 20, 1986 in Velká Chuchle near Prague. He was a renowned Czech industrial designer and graphic artist. He studied in Prague, Berlin and Paris and after the war worked for nationalized car and tram factories.”

Valery Lugovski from Belarus writes:

“Long ago, my classmate and friend, even during lessons, constantly drew cars of the most fantastic forms. Later, he worked as the head of one of Moscow's auto enterprises.

“And František Kardaus not only drew the shapes of cars, but reached the embodiment of his artistic automotive design ideas in real vehicles. This is the testimony of a person's energy, of the force of his talent, and a keen sense of the trends of the time.”

Bibi Z.Shah from Pakistan wrote:

“Kardaus attended school in Kolešovice, Bohemia. Later he studied in the studio of Alois Mudruňka, Professor at Uměleckoprůmyslová škola in Prague. In 1927 he worked for Eduard Böhm & Co., in Berlin. Between 1928 and 1930 he studied graphic art and industrial design at Academie de la Grande Chaumiére in Paris.”

Tatra 87 | Photo: Vít Pohanka,  Czech Radio
Sri Debaki Ranjan Biswas from India adds:

“He designed a good number of car models for Škoda, Tatra, Tesla, Motokov and other Czech automobile giants. But he will be best remembered for his remarkable and enormous academic contributions in the fields of graphic art and industrial designing for many, many years to come.”

This answer came from Ian Morrison from China:

“In addition to his work for Tatra and Škoda, Kardaus also designed movie posters and worked with companies including Motokov, Strojexport, Mototechna and Staropramen as a graphic designer.”

Colin Law from New Zealand found some fascinating details from František Kardaus’ life:

“In 1941 he was pursued by the German authorities and drafted into the Wehrmacht army and sent to the Eastern Front where he was captured by guerrillas who released him after he drew their portraits. The Wehrmacht then stationed him at an Austrian weather station as a draughtsman. In 1945 he went with some pilots on vacation to Italy and deserted.

“After World War II František returned to his graphic art work and worked for nationalized companies Tatra and Tesla where he took part in design of Tatra 87, Tatra 600 and Tatra 603 cars as well as trolley buses and trams. He also worked on many movie posters, among them the 1956 ‘Godzilla, King of the Monsters!’ poster which includes the symbol of the atom, the modern menace for mankind. Kardaus also produced graphic designs for Staropramen, Motokov, Strojexport, and Mototechna companies.

“One of the most famous of František Kardaus’ designs was the Tatra T3 tram which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2012. The T3 began operation in Prague in 1962 and they were still running when I last visited in 2006. These trams have operated in 47 cities and over 13,000 of them were produced in Smíchov, many for export to Russia and several other places beyond their Czechoslovakian birthplace. The credit for the T3 belongs to designer František Kardaus and chief engine designer Antonín Honzík. Together they created a legend which in 1988 saw the T3 trams listed as ‘the most numerous type of tram in the world’ in the Guinness Book of Records.”

And Mary Lou Krenek from the United States wrote:

Tatra T3,  photo: Jan Groh,  CC BY-SA 3.0
“František Kardaus had an illustrious career in Prague after studying in Prague and Paris and working in Berlin and Paris in his younger years. In 1934, he returned to Prague as an independent designer earning a number of prizes for his poster designs. After the war in 1947, he was a graphic artist for B and R and worked again for the nationalized Tatra, Tesla, and other state enterprises.”

Thank you very much indeed for your answers and the time you devoted to research. This time our prize goes to Mrs. Saraswathi Madugula from India. Congratulations! If you haven’t been lucky this time, why not give it another try.

We are looking for the name of the Bohemian journalist, born in 1825, who became the Paris correspondent of The Times and achieved his biggest journalistic success at the time of the Congress of Berlin in 1878.

Please send us your answers as usual to [email protected] by April 16th. It is also the address for your questions, comments and reception reports. Please keep them coming. Until next time happy listening and take care.