#49 : January 10, 1997


Stories about the animalness of animals, the irreducible ways in which they are not human.

#48 : January 3, 1997


Kitty Felde shows a side of the Yugoslav War Crimes Trials that hasn't been discussed anywhere: a portrait of Americans at the International Tribunal. And other stories.

#47 : December 20, 1996

Christmas and Commerce

Stories about the intersection of Christmas and retail, including David Sedaris's story "Santaland Diaries," which was first broadcast on NPR's Morning Edition many years ago in a much shorter version.

#46 : December 13, 1996


Though being gay no longer has much of a stigma in some parts of the country, being a sissy still does — even among gay men. In this show we have a number of surprising and unusual stories of sissies, their families, and why people still get so upset about them.

#45 : December 6, 1996

Media Fringe

Four stories about people struggling at the fringes of our nation's media/music/infotainment industry.

#44 : November 29, 1996

Poultry Slam 1996

In the midst of the five biggest poultry-consumption weeks of the year—the five weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when Americans consume one-fourth of all the turkey they eat in a year—This American Life presents stories about turkeys, chickens, ducks, and fowl of all kinds.

#43 : November 22, 1996

Faustian Bargains

Inspired by a spate of new Chicago stage adaptations of the Faust story, This American Life brings you stories of people who made a deal with the devil.

#42 : November 15, 1996

Get Over It!

Three stories of people trying to forget the past and move on.

#41 : November 8, 1996


More stories of the election you can't hear anywhere else.

#40 : November 1, 1996


Stories from acclaimed storyteller Spalding Gray and others.

#39 : October 25, 1996


This week: A show for Halloween. Stories of things that are supposed to be scary, but aren't.

#38 : October 11, 1996

Simulated Worlds

Simulated worlds, Civil war reenactments, wax museums, simulated coal mines, fake ethnic restaurants, an ersatz Medieval castle and other re-created worlds that thrive all across America. (4 minutes)

#37 : September 27, 1996

The Job That Takes Over Your Life

Radio producer Scott Carrier quit his job at a low moment in his life. His wife left him and took the kids. And he got a job interviewing schizophrenics for some medical researchers. After doing it a while, he began to wonder if he was a schizophrenic himself. And more stories.

#36 : September 20, 1996


Host Ira Glass and playwright David Hauptschein took out advertisements in Chicago inviting people to come to a small theater with letters they've received, sent or found.

#35 : September 6, 1996

Fall Clearance Sale

Evocative, funny, emotional stories collected over the last few months that haven't fit into any of our regular "theme" shows.

#34 : August 30, 1996

Democratic Convention

Unusual stories from the 1996 Democratic Convention in Chicago, with scenes and moments not documented elsewhere.

#33 : August 23, 1996

A Night at the Wiener Circle

Host Ira Glass spent a Saturday night — from 9:00 p.m. until dawn the next morning — at one of the most frenetic, joyous, efficient, angry, boisterous hot dog stands in the nation: Chicago's own Wiener Circle.

#32 : August 16, 1996

Republican Convention

Unusual stories about day-to-day life at the Republican Convention.

#31 : August 9, 1996

When You Talk About Music

Stories of people whose lives are transformed by music.

#30 : July 26, 1996


Stories of obsession and compulsion. What happens when a little idea starts to control you. Co-hosted by Paul Tough.

#29 : July 19, 1996

Bob Dole

Unusual perspectives on the presumptive Republican nominee.

#28 : July 12, 1996


Writer David Sedaris recalls the days when his mother and sister played armchair detective — until a very odd crime wave hit within their own home. Plus, host Ira Glass goes out on surveillance with a real-life private eye.

#27 : June 21, 1996

The Cruelty of Children

Stories about kids being mean to each other... including a mysterious handbook for bullies, a surprising experiment conducted by a teacher who wants to make kids be nice, and a story of youthful backstabbing told by David Sedaris.

#26 : June 14, 1996

Father's Day '96

Ira's own father Barry Glass co-hosts this special father's day edition of the show.

#25 : June 7, 1996


A set of documentary stories, radio essays and monologues about basketball, the Chicago Bulls, and their grip on Chicagoans' hearts and lives during the NBA Playoffs.

#24 : May 24, 1996

Teenaged Girls

Stories of girls who have to figure out how they're going to act when the ground rules are constantly shifting.

#23 : May 10, 1996

Drama Bug

Stories of the people who fall for a life in the theater.

#22 : May 3, 1996

Adult Children

Stories of the difficult relationships between parents and their grown children, including two long stories from Sandra Tsing Loh about her father.

#21 : April 26, 1996


A show about something most people have gone through. Friends get together to start a business, start a church, do political action together. And after a while, they start fighting and split up. We hear three true stories.

#20 : April 19, 1996

From A Distance

Stories of hero worship, of people admiring someone from afar, and trying to get closer to them.