Weekend Edition Sunday

Conceived as a cross between a Sunday newspaper and CBS' Sunday Morning with Charles KuraltWeekend Edition Sunday features interviews with newsmakers, artists, scientists, politicians, musicians, writers, theologians and historians. The program has covered news events from Nelson Mandela's 1990 release from a South African prison to the capture of Saddam Hussein.

Weekend Edition Sunday debuted on January 18, 1987, with host Susan Stamberg. Two years later, Liane Hansen took over the host chair, a position she held for 22 years. In that time, Hansen interviewed movers and shakers in politics, science, business and the arts. Her reporting travels took her from the slums of Cairo to the iron mines of Michigan's Upper Peninsula; from the oyster beds on the bayou in Houma, La., to Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park; and from the kitchens of Colonial Williamsburg, Va., to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. In the fall of 2011, NPR National Desk Reporter Audie Cornish began hosting the show.

Every week listeners tune in to hear a unique blend of news, features and the regularly scheduled puzzle segment with Puzzlemaster Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times.

Weekend Edition Sunday is heard on NPR Member stations across the United States and around the globe via NPR Worldwide. The conversation between the audience and the program staff continues throughout the social media world.

Orson Welles takes the lead role in his film Citizen Kane, the 1941 film tha...
Citizen Kane by Orson Welles was inspired by media mogul William Randolph Hearst, who hated it with a passion. But this weekend, the film was finally shown at Hearst's legendary California castle.

Citizen Kane has been called the best film ever made. It was also at the center an epic battle of egos.

The main character was modeled after media titan William Randolph Hearst, who in real life tried ruthlessly to keep the movie from being released.

Almost 75 years later, the family has called a truce, of sorts: This weekend, Citizen Kane was screened for the first time inside the millionaire's legendary home, the Hearst Castle.

Back in 1941, the "boy wonder" Orson Welles was about to release his first feature film. RKO Pictures had given the 26-year-old director the cinematic keys to the castle: complete creative control to make whatever movie he wanted. The movie was Citizen Kane, the story of power-hungry and tragic Charles Foster Kane and his castle on the hill, Xanadu.

Everyone knew that Charles Foster Kane was a stand-in for William Randolph Hearst, and Xanadu for Hearst's Castle in San Simeon, on the California coast. It was a place that defined the word decadent: 165 rooms, a quarter-million acres.

Hearst had entire 15th-century ceilings imported from Europe. He packed the mansion with art and turned part of the property into the world's largest private zoo. Wild zebras still roam the grounds.

Hearst was America's first media mogul, dominating newspapers, magazines, newsreels and movies. While he started his career on the left, by the 1930s Hearst had hired Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler as paid columnists, and he tried to destroy the New Deal. He became a villain to a new generation of lefties, including Orson Welles.

When word got out that Welles had taken aim at Hearst, Hearst fired right back, first threatening an advertising blackout. Then, in an era long before TMZ, Hearst threatened worse than a blackout: bad publicity for the movie stars of RKO Pictures.

"They said look, if you show this film, we are going to tell the life stories of lots of RKO people," says David Nasaw, author of The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst. "And we're going to take the same liberties when we tell those stories as Welles has taken with Hearst."

Yet after all of that, the studio still took the plunge and released Citizen Kane. It was a hit with critics, but bombed at the box office. The movie was most definitely not shown inside Hearst's lush, private theater.

A few years ago, however, Citizen Kane was played at the Hearst visitor center, down the hill from the castle.

Then this year, Hearst's great-grandson Stephen, a vice president for the Hearst Corporation, gave the thumbs-up to a screening in the mansion, for the San Luis Obispo Film Festival — raising eyebrows and questions among people who knew about the famous feud.

"One of them hit me straight on," Stephen Hearst recalls, "and said, 'Do you think your great-grandfather would be rolling in his grave?' And I let him know that, based on my current responsibilities, I also have control of the mausoleum, and if necessary, I can check."

Hearst's descendants still get to use the castle, with its Roman pool and tennis courts. They also have the name — still at number six on the Forbes list of America's most wealthy families.

But the estate is now, of all things, a state park, and about 750,000 non-Hearsts come to ogle it every year. Not surprisingly, the mansion takes a lot of resources to maintain; the party's $1,000-a-pop tickets will help.

While he agrees the movie is a classic, Hearst biographer David Nasaw says that Charles Foster Kane and William Randolph Hearst shouldn't stay linked in the public imagination.

"One of the reasons why Citizen Kane is dreadful biography and dreadful history is that it presents Hearst as a failure, as a bitter, nasty old man," Nasaw says. "Hearst had a great life. I mean he made lots and lots of enemies. But along the way, he had a grand time!"

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Some dolls just don't seem quite right....
Some dolls don't look quite right. There's just something creepy about them. Turns out those dolls fetch a high price on eBay and Etsy.

Some childhood symbols straddle the line between adorable and terrifying. Like clowns. Or Furbys.

But some dolls fit the category, with spooky eyes that seem to move and the porcelain pallor. They're not all Chucky, but some of them just don't seem quite right.

Listener Anne McLaughlin grew up with a cabinet full of dolls — a pretty dancer doll, a set of wooden nesting dolls. But one, she says, stood out.

"One of the dolls in the cabinet was absolutely terrifying," she says. "Very tall, thin doll, and her face was not a doll face. It was a grown woman, so she didn't have big eyes she didn't have a smile. She had tiny little eyes. She always looked like she stepped out of one of those New Orleans ghost stories."

The lady doll was also a music box, and spun slowly to music when wound. The doll gave Anne the creeps.

So one night, when she was about 10, McLaughlin thought, " 'I'm going to take her out of the cabinet just to prove that I'm not scared of this doll,' even though I was very scared of the doll."

So she wound her up, left her on the bedside table and walked away. Suddenly there was a crash.

"And right when I turned around, she had just walked to the side of the bedside table, and fallen to the floor with a big crash, " McLaughlin can't even finish her sentence. "I went and slept with my parents."

The next morning, she crept back into her room and placed the doll back inside the cabinet.

"I was really sure to put her in the cabinet facing away from me ... so that she couldn't watch me," she remembers.

Many listeners have their own haunted-doll memories. That's not surprising, considering that haunted dolls are big business on sites like eBay and Etsy.

Jak Hutchcraft, who wrote about the phenomenon for Vice.com, says he stumbled upon the trade one night when he was surfing around the "Everything Else" section of eBay.

"There was an advert for something which was a sadistic, perverted, haunted doll," Hutchcraft says. "It was this little, menacing-looking sort of troll."

Intrigued, he noted that the bids kept going up, with 10 people in the running. That doll that looked like a possessed little troll sold for more than $1,400.

Hutchcraft did some reporting to find out why anyone would want a haunted doll — let alone pay for one.

"Some people want to connect solely with the spirit," he explains. "Some people buy them just for the doll because they're doll collectors and the spirited aspect of it is just a secondary thing. I thought it was baffling, really, because I can look past the ghost as long as it's a cute doll."

Hutchcraft met with a woman who is a major player in the world of haunted dolls, and he found to his surprise that he kind of liked her. He started out as a skeptic, but ultimately came to appreciate this seemingly bizarre subculture.

But when it comes to owning a haunted doll?

"I thought about it," he says. "But the thing is, the more it went on, the more it took over my life for about a year really ... and then I started to think, 'Will my brain trick me into thinking it is haunted? Or something will happen when I get it. And to be honest, I didn't have the money to fork out — and I was a little bit scared!"

Many years after McLaughlin's scary doll "walked" off the table, she got the courage to take the doll out of the cabinet again. She found, upon closer examination, that the music box was off balance — probably the reason the doll fell to the floor.

But I gotta admit, I liked the story better when the doll was possessed.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Sunday Puzzle....
"Yes" is supposed to be the most pleasing word in the English language. If that's true, today's puzzle will be very pleasing indeed. Each answer is an anagram of "yes" plus two or three other letters.

On-air challenge: "Yes" is supposed to be the most pleasing word in the English language. And if that's true, today's puzzle will be very pleasing indeed. Every answer is an anagram of "yes" plus two or three other letters.

Last week's challenge: Take a familiar phrase in the form "[blank] and [blank]." Put the second word in front of the first, and you'll name a common part of a large company. What is it?

Answer: "Room and board," boardroom

Winner: Vince Joy of Jamestown, New York

Next week's challenge: The challenge came from Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website mathpuzzle.com. Parables of Jesus is an old collection of stories. Remove three of the 15 letters in this phrase and rearrange the 12 letters that remain to get another old collection of stories. What is it?

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.