Monday, April 14, 2014

DORIS DAY IS 90

Another Doris Day film I must see again. "The Glass bottom boat." Arthur Godfrey was her father. Like many broadcasters of my era, I was a huge Godfrey fan and admirer. Once a powerful radio and TV performer, so popular that he could have been elected to high political office if he had chosen to go that way, he became a victim of cultural and media change when folksiness no longer worked.

Friday, March 21, 2014

NIGHT VALE

Have I yet popped off about the quirky town  of Night Vale and its community radio station? At my age, who can remember what got me sufficiently excited to write about it.  But oh there is excitement of a strange, peculiar and weird kind in that town.  It ain't Lake Wobegon, Minnesota.  Nobody, including the people who live there, whether above or under the streets, knows just where it is.  Or if it is.  Attempting to describe  it is pointless.  You must experience Night Vale in a way that only a podcast can do for you.  You will love it  or scratch your head and mumble "What IS this?  Night Vale is for persons of some perspicacity.  Are you perspicacious  enough?  Did I spell that right?

 Just enter "Night Vale.  You will be taken there.  Oh, one more thing.  You might not return.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

NANCY LAMOTT

I guess I should start a blog or sub-blog called "How could I not know."  How could I not know about Nancy Lamott.  I discovered her on Jonathan Schwartz's wonderful Great American Songbook channel on WNYC on the internet. Nancy, from Midland in my home state of Michigan, was called the greatest cabaret singer since Sinatra.  I can't listen to her recordings and think of her story without getting goosebumps, chills, a tear or two and all kinds of strange feelings. She had terrible health problems,  had  an ostomy, continued to sing through it all, was told she needed a hysterectomy.  Put it off, died from cancer at 43.  From her deathbed she asked her boyfriend to marry herA priest performed the wedding 45 minutes before she died. That was ten years ago.  She is still revered by many.  Jonathan Schwartz ends his shows with one of her songs.  How could I not know.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

MARS IS HEAVEN

I listened to Ray Bradbury's old tale, "Mars is Heaven" on an episode of radio's "Escape" series.  Reminds me of the current books by people who say they went there (heaven) and came back to write about it.   According to news stories, it might not be terribly long before we will be shelling out big bucks to visit the red planet and find out for ourselves.
"Escape" especially interests me as one of the very few old radio dramas that has the music played on a pipe organ.  Being a Hammond Freak, in my head I hear organist Ivan Ditmars playing the same great dramatic stuff on a Hammond and it seems more satisfying.  You can say the Hammond was invented for corn and schmaltz, gospel or jazz.  But it also did a magnificent job of musically punctuating radio drama.  There's nothing quite like it.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Old radio well preserved

I keep getting surprised at the number of shows from radio's golden age that are available for listening today, considering the primitive recording methods they had at that time.  Shows were recorded on big, 16 inch platters called electrical transcriptions.  They could be worn, damaged or just destroyed because  they took up a lot of storage space. I find a new internet site almost daily that offers hundreds of  old radio shows, cleaned up and sounding like new. You can buy whole collections on CDs but there are so many free ones that I feel no need to buy anything. What a treasure from the days when radio was the major home entertainment medium.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

TELL ME A STORY, SHEP


 Buzzfeed has produced a video of clips from Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" with some digitally added things. I am totally surprised at the comments from the many who have not seen the film and who probably never heard of Shep, one of the very great storytellers of the past century. His stories began on radio, then books and in films, including this Christmas Classic.

 One of the splendid things about being quite terribly old is knowing about stuff like this.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Funny thing about old time radio

I know in my head that those old time radio dramas were done by actors standing at a microphone and a sound effects guy shooting guns, making horse noises and all sort of things.  But I get lost in the story a lot more than I do with TV.  Radio drama somehow become real.  You see the action and the people in your mind.  That's why OTR is called "Theater of the mind."  There could be no better description.  How sad that radio no longer does that except for a few groups and individuals who  understand that great medium and devote themselves to promoting, sharing and producing radio drama.