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My Century And My Many Lives, by Frank Munk
Memoirs, 1993
Postscript, 1994

Frank Munk, my grandfather, wrote this autobiography to record his memories from 1901 onwards. This history and its postscript are available on our family website in his memory as they tell a complete story of the 20th century. These memoirs may be referenced as long as proper attribution is made; our family retains ownership and copyright. We have one request: if you reference this material in any way, please send us email at and a copy of the paper, if possible, as we would like to know when this material is of interest and we are curious as to how it is being used. We'd like to hear from you.
© Copyright 1993, 1994, The Munk/Ragen Families


As a boy I was fascinated by books, which in effect preceded science fiction, mainly Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. I was particularly keen on dirigibles, more particularly German Zeppelins, but also on planes. My favorite book was Wells's "War of the Worlds," a preview of WWII.

I was also very interested in world exploration, especially of what was then called darkest Africa and, perhaps even more, in the reaching of the two poles--North and South. I was very familiar with the latest exploits of explorers like Nansen, Amundsen, Sverdrup, Shackleton, and Scott. I always loved maps and atlases; still do. During my youth the world was largely unexplored, unlike today. It seemed to be much larger than it seems today and more exciting, since there were many empty spots on maps.

In the twenties, while I was serving as a director of the Prague International Fair, I felt that the newly invented ability to broadcast programs around the world offered unprecedented opportunities and challenges. At a time when a radio set was still a rarity in Czechoslovakia I initiated a bi-annual Radio Fair, which became the starting point of a new radio industry in that country.

I was, of course, asked from time to time to speak on radio, and later to appear on television, and I liked these experiences, which became particularly frequent after I came to the United States in 1939. I would have welcomed an opportunity to try my hand especially in television and that opportunity came in 1962 when a Portland television station, KOIN, a CBS affiliate, asked me to do a regular weekly program of my own. I continued the program weekly for the next five years, until the station adopted a new format. In addition to the weekly broadcasts, called WORLD ACCENT (a play on my accent in English), I was on call to appear on the regular daily news hour.

I enjoyed these programs, especially experimenting with different techniques, such as clips and visuals, often inviting others for debates or testimonies. I recall one particularly challenging experiment, when I traveled to Mexico City to interview Ramón Beteta, the former Minister of Finance of President Miguel Alemán, who is famous for having brought Mexico into the modern age. I particularly enjoyed working with the crew of Televisión Mexicana, who spoke only Spanish. I could use their facilities thanks to Beteta. The program, dealing with contemporary Mexico, was generally regarded as successful. I was particularly glad to be able to experience Mexico not as a tourist, but in a workaday capacity.

After I gave up the program with KOIN, I was approached by the Oregon Public Broadcasting Service in 1975 to do a program for them, this time under the title of TOMORROW'S HEADLINES. I continued it for some time. Attached is a copy of the official announcement of the series.

Being a television personality was a new experience -- I could not go anywhere in the Portland station's viewing area without being recognized. It would have been extremely difficult to maintain one's incognito. I still am recognized on occasion, although I have to admit these occasions are becoming rarer and rarer.

Finally, I ought to mention that I am a devotee of the shortwave radio--in fact it goes with me wherever I go. I possess three world band radios -- and am about to get another, still better one.

Oregon Educational and Public Broadcasting Service
November 20, 1975


Dr. Frank Munk, one of Oregon's foremost analysts of the international scene, returns to Oregon television this season.

The second program in the Oregon Educational and Public Broadcasting Service series, TOMORROW'S HEADLINES, will be seen at 7 p.m. Tuesday, November 25, on KOAP-TV, Channel 10, Portland, and KOAC-TV, Channel 7, Corvallis.

Dr. Munk will discuss the European dilemma, which he describes this way: "Europe, already divided between East and West, now shows new cracks; a soft underbelly threatens to collapse while Britain is slowly sinking and the European Community hovers uneasily between success and failure."

Alf Johnson, from the Washington, D.C. office of the European Community will be interviewed by Dr. Munk. They will examine current activities, conflicts and goals of the European Economic Community.

TOMORROW'S HEADLINES, broadcast monthly and produced in cooperation with the World Affairs Council of Oregon, presents expert analysis of current trends and events in world politics that will effect significant changes in international power alignments.

Dr. Munk, professor of Political Science at Portland State University, came to this country as a result of Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia. He joined the Reed College faculty in 1939, soon after his arrival in the U.S. and has taught at a number of other institutions. He was a Portland television commentator on world affairs from 1962-67. His professional and personal interest in world politics combine to make him a dynamic personality committed to communicate candidly about significant and often unpublicized world events.

TOMORROW'S HEADLINES is broadcast the fourth Tuesday of each month on KOAP-TV, Portland and KOAC-TV, Corvallis, at 7 p.m.



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