Sun 19 Jan, 2003 07:08 pm
Not sure where this thread belongs. -
I grew up with radio. I was twelve years old before I got to watch a television program. After my mother would spend the day listening to country music (KRDU in Dinuba, CA; dj: Johnny Banks) and soap operas (Just Plain Bill, Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins), we would begin tuning in our favorite programs. My earliest memories were of Inner Sanctum, Gang Busters, Fibber McGee and Molly, Beaulah, The Great Gildersleve, The Life of Riley and Our Miss Brooks. Father Knows Best, Ozzie and Harriet, The FBI in Peace and War, Suspense, The Whistler, The Hermit's Cave, The Lux Video Theater, Jack Benny, Edgar Bergan and Charlie McCarthy, The Shadow. We didn't need pictures to see The Lone Ranger and the Cisco Kid. Or Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, Superman or the Green Hornet. There was Arthur Godfrey. Lum and Abner. The folks didn't seem to care for Amos 'N' Andy. I love a Mistery, Boston Blackie, Richard Diamond; that was our stuff. When Straight Arrow came out of his secret cave, screaming to his horse, "Ka-ne-wa Fury!" we were settled back to hear how he got the bad guys, then miraculously reverted to being this white rancher with his good buddy Packy. Red Ryder and Hopalong Cassidy; Tarzan and Dick Tracy.
I was 9 before I got to see my first TV show. I was so hooked on radio soap operas as a little kid, that my mother would open the window, and put the radio on the sill, so I could hear it. That was the only way that she could get me to go outside, and get some air!
The commercials made sure they really had the soap in the operas.
I started thinking of the old radio shows when I discovered that a local am station is rerunning many of them in a syndicated series with Stan Freburg and sometimes Fred Foy. Foy was the announcer who always said, "From out of the pass come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again."
Also came the sad knews that Richard Crenna died last night. On radio he was Walter Denton, a student of Our Miss Brooks and then he was a character named Bronco on the Great Gildersleve. He finally graduated from playing goofy kids when he signed on to The Real McCoys, a t.v. series.
edgarblythe- How sad about Richard Crenna. He could not have been THAT old!
I loved him as much as any actor in the business.
We went to the drive in movies about two or three times a month. I recall listening to SUSPENSE on the radio on the way over there. It was maddening to pass under the power lines and miss a good part of the story. Stories like Inner Sanctum were fun to listen to and the subject matter never made me nervous. However, there was a commercial that made me hide my head under the covers. This chorus of voices would whisper-chant "Bromo Seltzer, Bromo Seltzer, Bromo Seltzer." Terrifying.
Also recently deceased is the actor Richard Simmons, who played the title role in "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon".
His obit here:
Richard Simmons, Sergeant Preston of The Yukon
I thought I caught a mention of Sgt Preston's passing. He was one I listened to on a regular basis.
I wish I could contribute more to this post.....
What I can add, however, is that I used to love listening to my Dad talk about the radio shows he listened to as a kid.
His enthusiasm was so great, that I even took out a few radio shows on tape from our local library. Very nifty stuff!
It was not so different from early television. In fact, most t.v. shows owed much of their content to radio. I recall a time when Dragnet was so popular it was broadcast three times a week on radio and two times a week on t.v. In reruns it was known as BADGE 714
first t.v. i saw was in NYC in 1954 and i didn't like it but i had been used to radio, i dont think that i have ever really adjusted to t.v. 'cause it takes away your imagination.
The television wasn't prevalent when I was growing up in the sixties and seventies. Seemed like there was always something else to do ~ like Monopoly, listening to the newest Bay City Rollers album or learning new disco dances.....(shhhhhhhh!!!!!)
I remember looking forward to Friday nights for Carol Burnett, The Lawrence Welk show.....then on to The Sonny and Cher show, The Osmonds.....
'Entertainment'. That's what I miss about television.
I was raised on western movies and western radio shows. Naturally I watched the ones on television avidly. Sure, I knew as soon as the newcomer entered Southfork each week that the Rifleman, his son, or the town marshal were about to be terrorized and that the Rifleman would shoot the newcomer dead in the final scene - But it was a mythology and a rite that I still love.
The First Family Television was a huge piece of polished wood furniture which housed a tiny, round-edged screen, which resided behind a couple of doors. There was also a radio, with many bands and lots of buttons and a soft, warm amber-yellow glow.
A hinged lid lifted to reveal a mirrored undersurface, in which was reflected a record player with a tall spindle, a reddish brown felt turntable mat, and a substantial, sort of beige"Snakehead" tonearm. I wasn't allowed to play records, and there was only one television station to be received. Sergeant Preston, The Lone Ranger, Boston Blackie, Hopalong Cassidy ... so many ... so hazy ... I spent many afternoons, many evenings, many Saturday mornings on the carpet of the livingroom, my Lincoln Logs and tons of hard plastic, multi-colored cowboys and indians, soldiers and farm critters, cars and trucks and planes ... and the magic and wonder that flowed from the big, sparkly grill cloth of the icon in the livingroom. I made my own pictures, and I have them still.
Thanks for whisking me back there, edgar.
I've just had digital TV installed after much pressure from daughter who felt deprived of MTV, VH1, and all their variants. I now have over 100 TV channels and there is very little I'd make an effort to watch. Yawn, scratch, sigh and back to the PC and a little reality.
dyslexia- I think that you have made a very important point about Imagination. What was so wonderful about the radio shows was that WE were the producers and directors. We imagined what the characters looked like, how the setting of the show appeared. As children, listening to radio shows was a wonderful way to develop an imagination.
With TV, everything was handed to us on a silver platter, and in the end, I believe that something was lost.
I now have over 100 TV channels and there is very little I'd make an effort to watch.
We used to get one channel, an' there was nothin' worth watchin'. But technology, like time and tide, waits for no man--we can now get hundreds of channels not worth watching.
We used to listen to Inner Sanctum
(while "hiding" in my grandfather's room, believing my grandmother did not know), The Shadow
, The Lone Ranger
, and my favorite, The Lucky Strike Hit Parade
. When my grandmother got a television in 1956, she had a difficult time of it to get us to give up the radio shows we were hooked on. When we were able to watch The Lucky Strike Hit Parade
, the seduction had begun--however . . . she hit upon that idea, and tuned in The Lone Ranger
one weekday afternoon when i was not in school, and it backfired. I took one look at that clown in the Hollywood get-up, and said to myself: "That's not the Lone Ranger." Imagination is far more powerful than any image which can be conjured in the cathode ray tube. I watched tv thereafter, but i was just as likely to go read a book.
With all due respect to scenic designers, none ever equalled the tumbling out of everything every time Fibber Mcgee opened up his closet or the trip of Jack Benny down to his vault as created in my imagination.