February 27, 2013
Gimme that old-time radio
February 27, 2013 at 12:01 AM | Permalink
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LOL Ron, that was great!
Posted by: joepeach | Mar 3, 2013 1:49:00 AM
I love old radio shows. Mostly thriller shows -- Suspense!, Inner Sanctum, The Whistler, Lights Out! And scifi shows like X Minus One. They strongly influenced the creation of tv shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Of course, today, most people do not remember radio shows. They might think that something vaudeville became movies, and then there was I Love Lucy and here we are. Truth is, TV was radio with a camera, using radio's corporate framework, monetization systems and advertiser network. And it developed slowly, using radio's top talent. I Love Lucy started as a radio show called My Favorite Husband.
There's no real reason people should know this today, though I'm not sure why sources like Wikipedia wholly ignore radio. They'll only list films and TV show credits of stars, ignoring large swaths of years when the star did heavy radio work, making millions doing so. This makes it seem like the star popped onto the scene with a lead role in a big movie or their own tv show, which isn't true, Wikipedia won't include starring radio vehicles that can still be found today but will include the most obscure, short lived TV failures (think "I Married a..."). That's weird.
Something else that's weird: should I mention to someone for some odd reason that I like old radio shows, on occasion, a person will furl their brow in thought for a moment and then say, "do you mean, like, 'The Shadow'?"
Now, The Shadow was an OK show, but how it became the ONLY show that scantly survives in societal memory today I will never know. Maybe it has something to do with the announcer saying that line at the beginning of the shell ("Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows! [Maniacal laughing.]" If so, fair enough.
But to me, It's a bit like one person saying to another person 70 years from now, "they're used to be these things called TV sitcoms," and the person saying "...You mean like 'Perfect Strangers'?" And the first person replying, "Yes, like 'Perfect Strangers", which is the one people remember for some reason. But there were actually a lot of these sitcom-y things than 'Perfect Strangers', and while I find it to be a fairly entertaining program whenever I came across it, what with the funny foreign guy and the guy with curly hair who was always getting mad at him, it was actually not the most popular show of all time. Or even, like, in the top 10. Maybe not even in the top 100. So it's kinda weird that it's the only one people know today." And then the second person sorta shrugs and says "Well, I've heard of 'Perfect Strangers' so it must have been popular to some people." And the first saying, "I was born 50 years after it was on the televisions so maybe it was...maybe the whole country was captivated by it, I don't really know." And then some 98 year-old woman who had heard part of the conversation interrupts and says, "Are you talking about 'Perfect Strangers'? Oh, we all would rush home to see it. I think it was on Tuesday nights. The whole family, rushing home, and then people on the street would hear it when they were passing by and they'd ask if the could just watch it from the window, even just through the window. Soon there would be a dozen of these poor souls at the window, all crowding in, and you'd get to know some faces because they'd come back every week. But they never bothered anybody. And we didn't mind them because we were happy to share--that's how people were then. But nobody could say a word during the show, even during the advertisements--we had the advertisements on the televisions then--because you might miss something. And then you'd have to wait until 'Imperfect Strangers' was all done, all over, and father would put on his reading glasses and start fussing with the old recording machine and try to work it back to whatever part we missed, which took him forever, bless him. And If he found it, and he didn't find it half the time, poor soul, he'd make the machine work that part back on the televisions and, bless us, we would yell and make all kinds of commotion and make father let us watch it a hundred times, a hundred times, and we would laugh just as loud every time. With his glasses on. You know what we did? We would make poor father work back that poor recording machine a hundred times. And the after 100 times he would finally get mad and turn to us with that face and say "now that is enough." And we thought we would all get lickings. But then he'd always smile a little bit and we would know and he would work back that old machine just one more time and, oh, how we would cheer. That was how father was. He worked with numbers and it ruined his eyes. But remember, Bob Saget was just everything to us. You really had to see him then to understand. He started on that wonderful show 9-0-1-7, caused he had to work his way up. And boy he did. He was on every night of the week and twic on Saturday and Sunday. They made you crawl like a dog. His show was on Tuesday nights, for a loooong time. And the funny butler! The butler, oh my, now he had presence. You can't find that anymore. Not like him. With just a look in his eye, jut that one look, what that man could do. You don't have that today. Some people think they do but they don't. Not even close. People would dress up like him on Halloween, you'd have five people showing up dressed like him the same party! How mad they would all be! So we made a contest just for the Bob Saget people, and they would all feel better. Every year. So many years. I'm sorry, but it's true. All true. So. God help us all today. Right? But tell me why you two young people were talking about 'Webster'?"
Posted by: Ron | Mar 2, 2013 2:48:41 AM
Tonight I will open a bottle of vintage,
turn the lights low,
and visit the days of yesteryear.
Posted by: joepeach | Feb 27, 2013 8:48:02 PM
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