Monday, August 13, 2012
Those thrilling days of yesteryear.
I squarely lay the blame on my dad's shoulders. It's totally all his fault. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't be in the mindset that I'm in today.
What am I talking about, exactly?
I'm talking about my love for "old time" radio. You know...The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Nero Wolfe, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve, Burns and Allen, Jack Benny...and the list goes on. Radio dramas and variety type shows that dominated the airwaves before the advent of that little thing we know as 'television'.
You see, when I was younger my dad gave me this little transistor radio. I'm not sure just where he got it at and, for all I know, it could have been fairly state of the art. It wasn't given as a gift or anything, more like a 'hey I had this sitting around the workshop....you want it?' sort of thing.
It would be about ten or twelve years before we'd hear about anything as handy as a 'walkman', so I had to make due. I had a little ear bud (singular) that plugged into the side and I used the cord to fasten the radio, itself, onto my belt loop. I remember going on bike rides around the neighborhood and listening to all sorts of music, but mainly country. Hey, don't laugh, it's what I grew up on and it was Kentucky, after all.
When the sun went down, though, that's when the good stuff came on the air. I forget which channel it was, some A.M. station, I'm sure, but they'd have different shows on each night of the week. Of course, all these came on after my bedtime but, thanks to that transistor radio which I would put in my pillowcase and lay my head next to, I could still tune in while my parents thought I was turning in.
They had The Shadow, The Lone Ranger, and The Green Hornet in rotation, mixed in with some variety shows and on Saturday, if I remember correctly, they'd have The Grand Old Opry. Like I said, it was Kentucky.
I think I always "got" how the medium of radio could be so popular back before the days of television....it stimulated the imagination.
I mean, if you let it.
I was constantly picturing the scenes in my head. The Lone Ranger capturing a group of cattle rustlers, The Shadow bringing down shady mobsters, even such shows as The Great Gildersleeve had me picturing a laughing audience in response to the character's expressions that I made up as they delivered their lines.
I think that might be a part of why I enjoy writing. It's one of the few outlets that you can really let your imagination go with, anymore. It seems that all our 'entertainment' is prepackaged for us...t.v., the internet, video games. They all take us for a ride, in certain instances, but it's their ride. We don't have much input besides, maybe, some commentary or discussion. Now, I do recognize that it took people with imagination (somewhat) to create those shows, games, content, etc., but I don't feel it, necessarily, drives their target audience to use their imagination.
Anyway, I still love old radio shows to this day....really. Just ask my wife what we listen to on long car trips and she'll tell you, while rolling her eyes...
"Mark's old time radio cds."
So, thanks dad, for that little transistor radio. Not only was it a music device, but also a key to a wondrous land of imagination.
Oh, by the way, if you want to check out some old time radio head over to http://www.radiolovers.com/ . They have tons of old shows....for free (my favorite price) You can download or just listen online. Give it a shot, you never know what you may find in those 'thrilling days of yesteryear'.