Restoration Of 'Star Spangled Banner' Uncovers Horrifying New Verses
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Tags: Restoration Of 'Star Spangled Banner' Uncovers Horrifying New Verses
Added: 1 year ago
[scene opens with the camera focused on Tracy and Jim sitting in-studio]
TRACY: Later on in the hour, we're gonna show you how to spice up the kitchen by imagining hidden dangers. But first, we've got a special Fourth of July treat for you!
JIM: Oh, yes we do. Y'know, the original copy of the Star Spangled Banner goes on display this week at the National Archives.
[various still photos of the "Lost Verses: Francis Scott Key's Complete National Anthem" exhibition are shown, courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration]
JIM: Restoration of the original manuscript has revealed there are actually multiple new verses that have not been seen or heard in over 150 years!
TRACY: That's right, and joining us now is the director of the exhibit, Susan Eckman.
[camera pans over to show a middle-aged female archivist wearing glasses, as the onscreen graphic reads "History Now! Newly Discovered Verses of Star Spangled Banner Now on Display"]
TRACY: Hi, Susan!
JIM: Good morning. Now Susan, most of us of course know that the Star Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key during a battle in the War of 1812.
TRACY: That's how we got "rockets red glare" ...
[onscreen graphic reads "Susan Eckman, Chief of Exhibits, National Archives"]
SUSAN: Right, and the recently discovered verses go into a lot more description of that battle.
SUSAN: For instance, here's a clip from the sixth verse, recorded especially for our exhibit.
JIM: Oh, that's great! Well, let's take a listen.
[they watch the television monitor, which shows a woman in a recording studio]
WOMAN: [singing to the tune of the "Star Spangled Banner"] Tear the heads from our foes, let their hot blood gush forth. Chop their limbs from their trunks, drag their bodies from horses.
TRACY: Oh, very patriotic!
JIM: Wow, that's wonderful!
SUSAN: Yes, Key was clearly very affected by what he saw during that battle.
[onscreen graphic reads "Verses Showcase Key's Love of America, Dead Englishmen"]
SUSAN: For instance, the entire tenth verse is basically just a very detailed description of a bayonet wound.
[onscreen graphic reads "No such death will he find as my bayonet slices deep / The fools eyes bulged and rolled as I pierced his cold heart / The sound of flesh flayed and torn ... -- Tenth Verse"
JIM: Oh, very intense.
SUSAN: Yes, by that point, he'd been listening to the screams and cries of his dying friends for well over twelve hours.
JIM: Wow, now that's very neat! Let's listen to a little bit more.
[they watch more footage of the singer]
WOMAN: [singing to the tune of the "Star Spangled Banner"] So we beat them with chains, burned their eyes out with flames, and we laughed as they screamed, while we raped who remained.
TRACY: I like it! And how many new verses are there?
[onscreen graphic reads "Many Verses Written in Blood of Child Key Believed was King James III"]
SUSAN: Well, there are eighteen true verses. After that, something seems to have snapped in Key's mind, and it just turns into a series of drawings.
[various still photos are show of the original sheet music covered in barely legible drawings of dead bodies]
JIM: So, an artist as well as a patriot!
SUSAN: Yes, here he seems to be representing himself as the king of a family of rats that are spreading bubonic plague across England.
JIM: Oh, look at those!
TRACY: Ooh, very detailed!
JIM: Now, the original song's not the only thing that's on display in this new exhibit, is that right?
[onscreen graphic reads "Key's Kitchen Table Fashioned Entirely From British Spines and Ribcages Also On Display"]
SUSAN: Yes, that's right. We're also showing a very rare painting depicting Key meeting with John Adams.
[a still of the painting is shown, which depicts Key as a crippled madman]
JIM: Ooh, wow!
TRACY: Well, the display is on until the end of the month at the National Archives. Catch it while you can!
TRACY: Susan Eckman, thank you!
SUSAN: Thank you.
TRACY: Up next, could your teen be texting with the Devil?
Susan Eckman from The National Archives comes on Today Now! to share newly discovered National Anthem verses about brutally decapitating enemies during the War of 1812.
To further invoke the atmosphere of a 24-hour network, The Onion News Network video series includes items lifted from what are ostensibly ONN news shows and continuing reports:
* Today Now!: TN is a parody of morning lifestyle and news programs such as NBC's Today show and ABC's Good Morning America. Hosted by Jim Haggerty (in actuality, former New York City TV anchor Brad Holbrook) and Tracy Gill (portrayed by Tracy Toth), the style is typical of the breezy style often found in morning network television shows, with the presenters either uncritical or completely oblivious to the subject matter presented, regardless of the absurdity of the subject (e.g., Haggerty's earnest question about whether or not an omelet recipe strictly requires a metal shoe-horn to measure the butter into the pan).