Once again a month has passed and it's time to reveal the identity of our September mystery Czech and announce the names of four of you who will receive small prizes from Radio Prague. Listeners quoted: Teodor Shepertycki, Keith A. Simmonds, Pier Carlo Acchino, Harold Yeglin, Helmut Matt, Colin Law, Charles Konecny, David Eldridge, Christine Takaguchi-Coates.
Teodor Shepertycki follows Radio Prague in Ottawa, Canada:
"Ivan Jandl was his name. He was born on 24 January 1937 to Klement Jandl and his wife Bozena. He was awarded the above-mentioned award for his appearance in the movie 'The Search'. Following this initial success, he appeared in only three other films... two in 1949 and one in 1950. He ended his professional career in radio with a short stint as a theatre stage manager. He died in 1987 at the age of 50 of diabetic complications in his apartment in Prague."
Keith A. Simmonds listens in turns in France and Trinidad and Tobago.
"Our mystery Czech for the month is none other than Ivan Jandl, a child actor, who was awarded the Academy Juvenile Award in 1948 'for outstanding juvenile performance' in 'The Search'. He won the award, but was not allowed to travel to the USA to receive it."
Qiu Lei tunes in to Radio Prague in China:
Pier Carlo Acchino listens in Italy:
"I believe the name of the child actor awarded in 1948 is Ivan Jandl. In my opinion, his career was destroyed in its beginning when they didn't allow him to go to USA to get the award."
Harold Yeglin from the United States finds an interesting coincidence:
"According to my research source, Jandl was not permitted to travel to the USA to accept the award. The source does not say why, but the obvious reason is that by then the Communists had taken control of the government and refused permission for Jandl to travel to the West. It is somewhat of a paradox that the first winner, in 1935, of the Academy Juvenile Award was the great American child actress Shirley Temple who years later served in Prague as U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia at the time in 1989 that Communist rule over the nation collapsed. Jandl did not live to see that historic Velvet Revolution. He died in 1987 at age 50."
Helmut Matt listens in Germany:
"To be honest, I didn't know Ivan Jandl before but anyway I think it's a sad story that the communist government did not allow the boy to travel to the USA to accept the prize - one out of an uncountable number of sad stories from that time."
Sadness was what struck Colin Law from New Zealand about Ivan Jandl's life:
"This month's question involves double sadness. The first sadness is the 1948 film 'The Search'. Ivan Jandl played the part of a child, Karel Malik, separated from his family and lost in Germany in the aftermath of World War II. Karel survived Auschwitz and because of his traumatic experiences had amnesia and was rendered almost mute. When questioned about his family he answered only 'I don't know' in Czech. The second sadness is that in his real life, because of his having appeared in an American movie, Ivan Jandl was persecuted by the communist government of Czechoslovakia and suffered rejection numerous times."
Charles Konecny from the USA develops that thought:
"Such a wonderful moment it must have been for him and his family to win an Academy Award at such an early age. Too bad he wasn't allowed to come to the U.S. to receive it. There is no telling how far he could have gone in films since his problem was that he won the award just as the communists were taking over the country. I understand his award winning film ('The Search') was banned from showing in the country for the whole 40 years they were in power. But that is the communists for you... they hear a pin drop and they think it is a 'bourgeois' plot."
David Eldridge from England summarised the plot of 'The Search' for us:
"The film was to a large part made in the ruined German cities of Ingolstadt, Nuremberg and Wurzburg and depicts the psychological trauma of the era in which Karel is having to fend for himself. [...] Eventually an American army engineer, Steve (Montgomery Clift), finds the boy and takes care of him. Because Karel cannot speak after his experiences in the war, the engineer starts teaching him English and names him 'Jimmy'. Cutting a long story short, Karel is eventually reunited with his mother even though the American engineer had thought his mother was dead."
Christine Takaguchi-Coates from Japan wrote a long answer full of interesting details:
"Both Fred Zinnemann and Montgomery Clift (who played the part of the American soldier who befriended Karel) were nominated for Oscars, but it was Jandl who won a special Juvenile Oscar for his convincing and moving portrayal of the little boy. After graduating from high school, Jandl wanted to study at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, but he was told that he should not have accepted an award from the American film industry and was thus turned down."
Some of the answers were so well-researched and full of information that it would be worth reading them whole but unfortunately we haven't got enough time for that. This time the lucky four who will receive small gifts from Radio Prague are: Hisanobu Ota from Hokkaido from Japan, Chinenye Scholar Ozoemena from Anambra State in Nigeria, Helena Borska from Poznan in Poland and Sabiha Mubeen from the Sultanate of Oman. Congratulations and thank you very much everyone for taking part in our competition and taking the time to do the research. Of course, our competition continues again this month:
Our mystery man was born in Prague on October 5th, 1781. He was a learned man, a Catholic priest but also a mathematician, theologian, philosopher and logician. As a lecturer at Prague University he was known for his antimilitaristic views. His views were seen as too liberal by the authorities and he was dismissed from the university and exiled to the countryside. His works had not been fully published until the middle of the 20th century.
Please send us your suggestions to [email protected] or Radio Prague, 12099, Prague by the end of October. We are looking forward to your answers. In the meantime, your reception reports, questions and comments are all welcomed at the same address. Thanks for listening and till next week bye-bye.