Radio Plays

Radio was pronounced dead long before 1971 but that was the year Frank found out they were accepting scripts for one of radio's oldest-running drama shows, the Ave Maria Hour. The Hour was a generally sentimental and pious Catholic program sponsored by the Graymoor Friars of Garrison, New York. As a boy Frank had listened to the show and secretly wondered if they would accept something that had a little more bite. So while he had his hands full with a new wife, a new baby boy, a fistful of unfinished stage plays, teaching courses in English lit and theater, as well as delivering milk, he decided to test the waters.

Well, what do you know: they accepted the first one, an arid, hard-boiled, unadorned tale called Death in the Desert. Thrilled, Frank got progressively more daring, focusing on some non-saints, a Protestant martyr, Diedrich Bonhoeffer, a Hindu called Mohandas Gandhi, even a poet-priest unappreciated by the Church and his own order who turned out to be the greatest poet of his time and the doorway into modern poetry. He wrote nine all told, and dang if all of them weren't accepted, not only accepted but given good productions with some good actors. Life is bulging and brimming-over with surprises!

Though he was "paid a pittance," as he puts it, he climbed up a mountain in Jersey called High Point to hear the plays broadcast. He confesses, "I was tickled to hear my words scattered broad cast over the landscape." Wouldn't you be?

Damien and His Demon: The Passion of Father Damien - by Frank Crocitto

In the summer of '71 Frank flew to Molokai. He took a cab from the airport to the top of the pali, which is what the Hawaiians call a cliff, and he carefully descended the zigzag walkway cut into the cliff side, through the swaying tropical vegetation, the sweet sleepy smell of wild guava fruit, and the rolling boom of the surf, down to the infamous leper colony. Here, safely quarantined from the rest of the island, is the beach where the hopelessly incurable lepers from the rest of the Hawaiian Islands were shipped and dumped and left to fend for themselves.

One Little Man of India: The Might of Mahatma Gandhi - by Frank Crocitto

One skinny little man can certainly make a lot of trouble. Here's Frank's version of that little Mahatma (an uncanonized saint yet a saint nonetheless—and one of Frank's heroes) who caused such a lot of trouble for the fat-arsed British empire. A gentle man unafraid to stand up for what was right. A Mahatma, a "Great Soul", whose embrace encompassed not only India's Hindu millions but India's Muslim population as well. Even—as he contended with them—India's enemies, the British.

The Handsome Heart: Gerard Manly Hopkins - by Frank Crocitto

Hopkins has a lot of secret admirers, even though he was a Catholic, and a Jesuit priest to boot, and an unabashed lover of God and His beauteous, bountiful creation.

Gerard Manley Hopkins was not only "the great Catholic poet" he was the unsung and unpublished hero-poet who grappled with the great twisting python of the English language and ultimately freed it from the conventionalism, shallow sentiment and pallid versifying of the Victorian era.