Buckminster Fuller was kicked out of college, and booted by Harvard not once, but twice. As a young man trying out jobs, he best liked working with his hands and was more at home with mill workers, meatpackers, and sailors, than professors.
Fuller’s most famous for his Geodesic Dome – think Disney’s Epcot Center. You could call him an inventor-philosopher-engineer-architect-artist – but he was outside category, really – and he wanted to ‘do a lot with a little.’ All to make the world a better place. The tape we found told us he also had his own deeper, more personal reasons for what he did.
Fuller spoke with Studs Terkel for Studs’ Chicago radio show twice. Once in the studio in 1970, and the other five years earlier. That’s when he and Studs rode around in a station wagon through the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood Lincoln Park – see if you can hear the hum of the moving car.
A conversation with Fuller was like running through a hedge maze – he spoke in fragments, these big ideas endlessly around the corner from others, warm and charismatic the whole way. Studs is firmly there, both holding the reigns and along for the ride – addressing him with all due respect. But as you’ll hear, Buckminster Fuller wasn’t too big on formalities.
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Executive Producer David Gerlach
Director Patrick Smith
Animator Jennifer Yoo
Series Producer Amy Drozdowska