The Monkey Trial

Evolution and religion went head-to-head in a landmark case of 1925.

v Darwin, and it has turned into one of the first modern media circuses. Over 200 journalists have come to cover the story, filing over 165,000 words a day, dispatched to their papers by telegraph. It is the first trial to be broadcast on national radio in the US and film footage of it is also regularly being flown out. The competition to catch the public eye is feverish and, if a fatuous photograph might do that, then OK. William Jennings Bryan, three times a presidential candidate, a fervent presbyterian and leading for the prosecution, has condemned evolution for teaching that humans are merely one of 35,000 types of mammal, descended 'not even from American monkeys but from old world ones'. America's most famous journalist, H.L. Mencken, has christened this the Monkey Trial, so the obvious next move is to set up a shot of Jock, the monkey, listening to it on the radio.

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