Doctor Delwin Dusenbury

Dr. Delwin Dusenbury

Retired SCAT Professor

Delwin Dusenbury in center giving the cue

The following is written by Gerry Wilkinson.... On Friday, April 24, 1998, I again spoke to Mrs. Dusenbury. Good news. She reports that our professor from years ago, is doing better. He received a new hearing aid and, she says, it's made a big difference. He's now out and about much more often. in fact when I called, they were getting ready to have a luncheon with some old friends.

Jerry Klein had mailed the Dusenburys some items from our web site, and Mrs. D said that it was really appreciated. She said that she and Dr. Dusenbury would be coming to our BBQ/Reunion on 5/24/98. Stating that the only thing that would keep them away would be if Dr. D's health started to fail, she mentioned she thought visiting with his old students would do him a world of good. She especially liked the idea that we are planning to videotape a short radio drama, an updated version from our PLAYHOUSE 90.1 series. Of course, we all know how much Dr. Dusenbury loves radio drama. It's an art form that still lives today. Leonard Nimoy and his production company are actually recording new versions of radio dramas for commercial sale. The Sci-Fi TV Channel currently produces at least 12 new radio dramas for their web site each year. It's an art form that simply won't die.

The following is written by Gerry Wilkinson.... On December 26, 1913, a baby was born named Delwin Dusenbury. Actually, I think his first name is Doctor and Delwin is his middle name. He probably always felt a little cheated because his birthday was the day after Christmas. You know he didn't get another whole batch of presents the day after Xmas. Usually people in this situation celebrate both occasions on one day, or at least the gifts only come on one day. "He got robbed." But Dr. D. has many other gifts. He had the ability to be a top teacher, a mentor and a leader. He was able to take an average student and make him or her excel. The top students he would push from top to superior to outstanding. Dusenbury demanded 110% and you gave it to him. You better.

Did you know there are TWO Dr. Dusenburys? Delwin's wife also has her doctorate. In fact, they met when Dr. Dusenbury, Delwin that is, was the Head of Theater in Florida. There, all the students loved him. One, the future Mrs. Dusenbury loved him a little more. She's now 77 and says that their son Thomas may want to get in touch with us. He would be quite welcomed.

Dr. Dusenbury has had some health problems lately. He is blind and hears almost nothing. However, with some electronic enhancement, he can now hear but cassette players, radios and such must have the volume almost all the way up.

Mike Biel had asked me to get the Dusenburys address so he could write. Mrs. D. said that would be fine, but that she would have to read him the letter. I suggested that maybe Mike could, instead, record a cassette. She said that would be perfect. She suggests that anyone wanting to write to him, instead record a cassette. He would like that so much more. Also, she said that it would bring much pleasure to his heart if Bill Stock could dub off an extra copy of the cassette of WFIL Studio Schoolhouse presentations. She said he would kill to have the tape. I don't think we would require that.

Temple University forced Dr. D. to retire at the age of 67 in December of 1980. They wouldn't even let him finished the school year. They said he was too old. But they would let him teach at Amber or Center City. He said no. She said that he left the campus that day in tears. They were turning him out like an old horse into the pasture. They told him he was too old to teach. A real Christmas present.

Mrs. D. said that she still runs into Mrs. Blenheim and Mrs. Carter, wives of Professors Laurence Blenheim and Joseph Carter. They are both well. For awhile, Mrs. Blenheim' son and grandson lived with her but now she lives alone. A little while ago, Mrs. D. was in the hospital and the Dusenbury's son, Thomas came to stay with them.

Dr. D. was also very upset with the situation at WRTI. He didn't like AM being turned off. And he certainly was quite upset when WRTI-FM went all jazz and no students. Why have the station at all? The administration wanted to turn the station over to the community. Delwin thought this was wrong. Mrs. D. said that the order came down from the very top and that none of the professors liked the idea. Dr. Blenheim, Mrs. Dusenbury said, thought the change what just crazy. They are teachers and they were being denied a tool, a real live radio station. Nobody, it seemed, liked the idea. But they were just following orders. Bad orders.

A few years ago, Mrs. Dusenbury talked Dr. D. into tossing 12 boxes of items from Temple into the so called circular file. God knows what was in those boxes. She thinks that they may have a few other things lying around, and if she finds them, she will call me so we can put them on this site.

The robe that Dr. Dusenbury wore to the commencements, he was a Marshall in most of them, is still hanging upstairs in his closet. Sometimes he will ask his wife to help him walk over to the closet to touch it. She says sometimes she'll see him holding back a tear. "Something got in my eye," he would utter. "Help me back to my chair."

Before losing his sight, Dr. D. would get very excited when he would see a former student's name on the credits of a TV show or movie. HE would say that's my Annie. "I taught her. She learned well. " She'll still see a name that she will recognize and tell "Delwin" what show and what job the person has. Someone asked, "How's his mental state?" He's still sharp as a tack, she says. You could hear the smile in her voice. The pride in her husband came though loud and clear. Just because you can't see, doesn't mean you can't think. He remembers us and we, certainly will always think of him fondly. We love you, Dr. Dusenbury. You will always be in our thoughts.

The following information was obtained from the Conwellana-Templana Collection in the Samuel Paley Library at Temple University....
Delwin B. Dusenbury.
Professor of Communications,
B.A., 1936, University of Wisconsin; M.A., 1937; Ph.D., 1947 University of Minnesota
Dissertation: "A Study of Comedy in the American Theater Represented in the Productions of Native Comedy in New York City from 1900 to 1920"
Previous teaching: University of Maine, University of Minnesota, University of Florida
Joined Temple faculty: 1955

In an University PR piece issued on October 19, 1978, it states...."Dr. Delwin B. Dusenbury, professor of communications and the second in seniority in the department, has his background in the theater. "I came to Temple in 1955 from the University of Florida where I was Director of Theater. One of the reasons for coming was that I was convinced that television was the next level for the theatrical art. Never since the beginning of the theater have we had the opportunity for such a wide spread of the threatrical arts," said Dr. Dusenbury. "Television performance is a unique art form with its roots in theater, but it is uniquely different. The primary problem is that of being able to compress and adapt to the camera lens. Film acting is not like television, because much of film acting is the result of editing. Editing is minimal in TV. TV acting is a continuous performance and editing is done not so much in aiding the performance but in meeting time requrements. In the early days of television, there was no attempt to differentiate theater acting from TV. Someone said, there's the camera, now ACT! But it was found that that just wouldn't work. The fundamental art didn't change, but the way it was done had to. Many professionals felt confined. I saw it the other way around, as a way of opening up. You had a wider audience and the freedom of camera movement. The scope of television is endless. ...TV can move you out of your home and bring the world to you...."

From John Delwin Dusenbury... I read with some interest, as you can imagine, your web page regarding my father, Dr Delwin B. Dusenbury. It is true that his sight is impaired (he has some peripheral vision, so he can get around on his own in familiar surroundings) and he uses a hearing aid, but his mind is as sharp as ever. He would love to get a phone call from anyone who had the time. The effort would be richly repaid with great stories from his Temple years.

Here are some additional facts about his life. He does have a middle name. It's "Bennett" (his mother's maiden name) not Delwin. Delwin is my middle name and my son's as well. He was born in Milwaukee, Wis. and got his BA from the University of Wisconsin; his MA from the University of Maine; and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He taught at the University of Florida from 1946 to 1955 and among his duties there were directing the Florida Players and running the Theater Department.

There are more than 2 "Dr. D's." His first wife, Winifred, was also a Ph.D. I have a JD and my brother Richard has 2 Ph.D's (history and taxation). He has a total of 4 sons (no daughters) and 6 grandchildren (2 boys, 4 girls). His son Tom is an actor living and working in New York. I am a cyber lawyer currently working at Netscape Communications (of course it had to be communications) in silicone valley and living in San Francisco. Richard is a professor of taxation teaching at Florida State, and David is a naturalist and horticulturist living with his family in Wellesly, Mass.

John Delwin Dusenbury

This is the WRTI Old Gang Web Site!