Saturday, January 10, 2009

Old Time Radio

One of my favorite things to do is sit on the couch with my embroidery with a nice fire in the fireplace, and listen to some old time radio shows of the 1940s. So I put them on my old-fashioned-looking Crosley radio and steep myself in nostalgia. Thankfully, in this day of modern technology, we can download all the radio shows we want - and a lot of them are free. I've found a wonderful site for such shows - Old Time Radio Show Catalog. It's a virtual treasure trove of information and has a huge collection of downloadable shows, as well as shows you can buy on CD. It's fast becoming one of my favorite sites.

There were different kinds of radio shows - some of them were recorded live and featured a sort of variety-show format. Bing Crosy had numerous radio shows over the years
where he would sing on the air, have actors and actresses on the show, and engage in witty dialogue with everyone. They can't fail but bring a smile to your face.
Other types of radio programs were like television programs are today with numerous episodes. Comedy, mystery, horror, and drama were only a few of the genres you could listen to. I've really enjoyed listening to the adventures of Detective Phillip Marlowe as he tries to solve bizarre cases, District Attorney, about a female district attorney who gets involved with her clients' lives a little too much, and then there's the hilarious Lucille Ball in My Favorite Husband.

What amazes me about these shows is you don't need to watch anything to become totally immersed in the story. You have to use your imagination - something that you can't get by watching television shows - and it is such a treat.

And of course, back then, radio was about the only way you'd hear new music - unless you went to see the artist live. Frank Sinatra was just one of the artists that was played during this era. I love this picture of him.

Radio has enjoyed a resurgence with the Internet, I think, as more and more people can broadcast themselves on the air without worrying about having a bunch of equipment. But the early days of radio will forever be the golden days!


  1. Such a great, entertaining and relaxing way to spend an evening all curled up.

  2. It seems there's something here you can learn/apply to writing, too. When you talk about not watching anything to get immersed in the story. It's just the words drawing you in. So as a writer, it must be interesting to really listen and pay attention to how they do this.

    I saw Sinatra in concert in the late 70s, amazing. Even more than the music, I remember a few comments he made to the audience that were classic Frank.

  3. When I was a child, I had a big old radio of my Dad's on the table beside my bed. I remember listening to radio programs late into the night. You're right, it's amazing how one can become immersed in a story that they are listening to and not seeing - except in the mind's eye.


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