Monday, November 17, 2014

Radio before TV, Great Days



It was a rainy, dreary slow moving day. No place to go. Nothing to do. He was looking out his window and his mind started to drift back to when he was a kid, radio was king and television existed with only a few stations  only for those that could afford it. When he could convince his mother he was really sick she'd let him stay home and he'd listen to the radio for stories, music and ideas that let him fly all over the world without ever leaving his room or opening his eyes if he so preferred.
At noon there was a story about a hotel that people came to stay at. It's theme song was "There's A Small Hotel", and it stared Kenny Baker. A funny little half hour show he couldn't listen to unless he stayed home from school. And it was well worth it.


A little later there was Gertrude Berg staring in "The Goldbergs" a delightful story about a Jewish family living in New York City. It eventually got to TV but it never was as popular as when it played Radio, with her husband, Uncle David, her son and daughter. He could close his eyes and live with them in their apartment as they went through their daily troubles which always turned out OK.
Around five or so Hop Harrigan  came on for a fifteen minute show based on a comic book character who flew planes. It started  with Hop to the tower saying "I'm coming in.". He had Smiling  Jack
And Terry and The Pirates
In the comics which were about Pilots also. Back then flying was a big fascination especially because the Air Force became such a big factor in WW II. But as far as he remembered only Hop made the Radio which was big time. Around six or so Martin Block came on with the "Make Believe Ballroom" which played music, had some inside chatter and on Saturdays played the top 10 or 20,  He forgot how many but it wasn't 40.
He just kept remembering all the great radio shows including some great newscasters.
Gabriel Heater came on about 9 or so and always led with "Ah there's good new tonight!" even if there wasn't. Radio was great. Radio took your mind to the top of the great hotels to listen and dance, had great stories like "The FBI in Peace and War!". Radio even brought Christ back to us in Fulton Oursler's  "Greatest Story Ever Told". All we had to do was turn on the power, close our eyes, lay back and let our imagination be spurred to visual brain impulses. Most stations signed off with the national anthem but WNEW had an all night music program call "The Milkman's Matinee', with Art Ford for those of us who couldn't sleep. Great days. Better than TV but never to be recaptured.
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