One World Flight consisted of 13 episodes which aired on CBS radio on Tuesday night from 14 Jan – 8 Apr 1947. The documentary series was produced by Norman Corwin who was the recipient of the first One World Award by the Wendell Willkie Memorial and the Common Council for American Unity. First prize was a round-the-world trip. According to Time Magazine article of Monday, 27 Jan 1947, Norman Corwin began his trip in Jun 1947. He took with him CBS Recorder Lee Bland and 225 pounds of magnetic wire-recording equipment. The trip lasted four months, covered 42,000 miles and they visited 16 countries which produced 100 hours of recorded interviews. He interviewed heads of state and common people, people of all types regardless status or walks of life. The transcript alone produced 3700 typed pages. Norman Corwin, four recording engineers and six typists took three months to develop this documentary series. Each program covered a portion of the trip and made an important contribution to the public perception of the rest of the world to help heal some of the wounds of World War II.
Brief History of the One World Award
Wendell Willkie was lawyer by trade and a Democrat; however, in 1940 Wendell ran for President on the Republican ticket, but lost to President Roosevelt. In 1942, after the United States entered World War II (which was heavily debated in America), Roosevelt sent Wendell on 50 day trip around the world to reassure our Allies of our commitment to freedom and the defeat of fascism. When Wendell returned he wrote “One World”, a travelogue of his journey and plea for international cooperation after the war. The book was published in 1943 and quickly become a best seller. Wendell Willkie passed away in 1944 from a heart attack and in 1945 the One World Award was established in his honor. The first winner was Norman Corwin in 1946. A few other notable winners of this award were Fiorello La Guardia (1947), Albert Einstein (1948), John Huston (1949), and Roger Nash Baldwin (1950).