Monday, January 23, 2012

On the Radio


Ron Scheer suggested that I ask if anyone remembers listening to westerns on the radio. I might expand that a bit to ask if anyone remembers listening to any dramas on the radios. I don't although I have heard an excerpt here on there. Anyone remember radio dramas?

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

It was definitely before my time. We were the first real television generation.

Jeff M.

James Reasoner said...

Not on their first run, but I listened faithfully to The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, and The Green Hornet when they were in syndicated reruns during the early Sixties. And I have a post on my blog today about the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, which I listened to during the Seventies.

le0pard13 said...

Sorry, but I'm happy to say I was too young for this.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder if they were in syndication everywhere. I think for most people. tv completely destroyed the experience of listening to a drama.

Deb said...

In England in the mid-1960s, television was only on for an hour in the midday (the children's hour) and then started up again around 5:00 PM, so radio played a larger role in my youth than I suspect it would have had I lived in America then. I remember my mother ironing while listening to soap operas such as "Mrs. Dale's Diary" and "The Archers."

Now we love to listen to old episodes of Suspense, The Whistler, Murder by Experts, Johnny Dollar, and other radio plays.

Naomi Johnson said...

I don't remember them in their heyday, but occasionally on a long drive I've listened to one on some unidentified radio station. There was one really eerie one I caught one time, The Whistler, maybe? I'm not sure, but it gave me the creeps.

Bill Crider said...

My family had the radio on all the time, so I heard some great drams in the late '40s and early '50s. Now I hear a lot of them again on XM.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Guess I need to get satellite radio.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, our radio blared out patriotic songs early in the morning and film songs throughout the day. I woke up listening to those. There were radio skits too but I remember nothing. BBC News was popular. People, especially in villages and small towns, still listen to Medium Wave and Short Wave on the radio, especially pencil-cell pocket transistors, the rest listen to FM.

Cap'n Bob said...

The only radio show I recall from my early years was Kate Smith, which my mother would tune in. Never heard a radio drama or comedy until I was middle-aged and caught one in rerun or played a tape.

Randy Johnson said...

Never listened on the radio. I've checked out a fair number on several sites since then though. Probably would have been a relentless listener if I'd lived in the heyday. I get like that on things that interest me.

Brian Busby said...

Though they are fewer in number, the CBC continues to produce radio dramas. My introduction came through the network's As It Happens, which in the mid-1970s would run old American and British shows from decades past. The Shadow and The Whistler were this schoolboy's favourites. I don't remember westerns being in the mix.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - I have to say that I didn't grow up listening to radio dramas. But I know people who did, and they really did capture the audience.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Seems like the BBC Radio and CBC has a commitment to continuing this-a historical if not esthetic one. I guess we are lucky satellite radio plays them. And that some are available on CDs.

Erik Donald France said...

My parents, both in their later 70s, have often talked about radio 'stories,' series, shows, dramas, etc. They also had records featuring these, which I listened to (especially as a kid) and really enjoyed. "The Shadow knows . . ."

Ron Scheer said...

I grew up on radio. Fred Allen, Jack Benny, Fibber McGee, The Great Guildersleeve, Our Miss Brooks, My Friend Irma, Henry Aldrich, The Halls of Ivy. Crime shows were Gangbusters, Dragnet. Lux Radio Theatre for drama (usually radio versions of current movies). Westerns, of course, Gene Autrey, Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke. Kids' shows: Big John and Sparky. Serials:

Todd Mason said...

Well, as James notes, radio drama hasn't ever died in the US, even if people (rather smugly, it seems to me) seem to think it has.

CBS and NPR particularly were supportive of new drama in the 1970s into the '80s, if considerably less so since, and such things as THE THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR continue apace to this day. And older drama is broadcast on terrestrial radio and the web by stations such as WAMU, the primary NPR station these days in DC, in a Sunday-night umbrella they've called THE BIG BROADCAST since the mid '60s.

The Thrilling Adventure Hour:
http://www.nerdist.com/2012/01/thrilling-adventure-hour-55-captain-laserbeam-even-bluebirds-get-the-blues/

And I quote myself about all the radio no one here is too young to have come across at least in home audio or repeats:

And all that (nostalgia) doesn't even take into account all the nationally-broadcast radio drama one could find in the US in the 1970s, I'd guess at least twice as much as in the '60s, when matters had dwindled to the last two CBS series, Suspense and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar ending in 1962, Bob and Ray continuing largely as a part of NBC's weekend Monitor umbrella, and some Pacifica Radio productions. While few series were consistently good among the new series from CBS and the new NPR, Pacifica (which shared the Firesign Theater with "underground"/free-form commercial rock stations at the turn of the '70s) and such projects as the ZBS production and syndication unit, there certainly was a ferment, ranging from such long-running series as the CBS Radio Mystery Theater and Earplay (and Christian radio's Unshackled) to a new series of full-length Bob & Ray shows and The National Lampoon Radio Hour, Rod Serling's Zero Hour through The Sears Radio Theater to The Fourth Tower of Inverness...and such British and Canadian imports as The Lord of the Rings, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, (1980's) Nightfall and such domestic kids' fare as The General Mills Adventure Theater and the NPR Star Wars adaptations.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I wonder if I could give up the visual and be satisfied with the audio. I like audio books but of course, that's adding a dimension to reading a book where as radio drama is taking one away. You might have to stick with it for a while to learn the skill.

Todd Mason said...

Well, I tend to think of them as less a matter of adding or subtracting so much as triggering different responses...the recorded (or "in concert") reading of a book might well limit the options of how characters sound, or even the flow of the language. Radio/audio drama doesn't not show you what's going on...it allows you to imagine the imagery for yourself, similarly.

Richard R. said...

Oh yes, I do. The Whistler, The Shadow, Sky King, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon (a real favorite) and others. Laying in bed at night in the dark, the radio dial glowing softly, it was great hearing those shows!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I envy that memory because I bet kids listening to radios were allowed to stay up later then TV watching kids.

Todd Mason said...

Easier to sneak it, too.

THE BIG BROADCAST this week offered an episode of another good, rather late radio western, too...CBS's FRONTIER GENTLEMAN (flourished about 1958).

http://wamu.org/programs/the_big_broadcast

Frances Thorsen said...

The Internet Archive, http://www.archive.org/is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. It is a huge resource of OTR (Old Time Radio) & other materials. You'll find Westerns, Mysteries, & Lux Radio Theatre recordings to name a few. All able to be downloaded or listened to from the site. It's worth listening top & viewing
F. Thorsen
owner, Chronicles of Crime, your mystery bookshop, Victoria, BC, Canada

pattinase (abbott) said...

Thanks so much for this information. I will check it out and post your comment on my blog so other can take advantage.