Thursday, January 19, 2017

Lake Wobegon a satire?

Funny how we interpret things so differently. Somebody commented that Garrison Keillor's tales of the Town that Time Forgot were his  satirical pokes at his provincial,  fundamentalist upbringing in Minnesota.  I heard them as a loving, funny tribute to those days. Probably because I come from a town that was a whole lot like Lake Wobegon and I treasure the memories. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Fun with Father. Brown, that is...

Oh those Brits know how to do TV.  The Father Brown mysteries are a mix of good writing, casting and acting.  I haven't read enough of Chesterton's original tales to know how TV compares.  Nor have I got around to listening to the radio version. Will I see the TV characters when I listen?

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Girls in the Band

PBS ran a special about "The girls in the band."  Great female pop musicians past and present.  I caught only the last few minutes.  I hope they had something about Phil Spitalny and his all girl orchestra. Who can forget Evelyn and her magic violin.  Click on Phil.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016


Old deejays never die.  We just grumble about what happened to radio.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

When radio was all there was

I wonder if a person who grew up in the world of television and internet can ever fully appreciate the value of the spoken word as it was transmitted by radio in that medium's "golden era." A few podcasters  try, but the word "radio" has a different feeling, a totally different meaning for them than it does for one who experienced radio when that's all there was.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


One more reason to be glad I'm pretty old:  I listened to "Vic and Sade." It was one of the most popular radio shows back in the day.  It wasn't  a dramatic soap opera.  Just Mr. and Mrs. Victor Gook (rhymes with book)  and young son Rush talking about their daily lives and the colorful characters they knew.  Nothing of great consequence, no drama.  Brilliantly written with great humor,  perfectly cast and performed, it was wildly popular and got lots of awards. The estimated number of listeners in 1943 was seven million. The Gooks lived  in  "the small house half-way up the next block." That's how the show started each day.

Looking back, thinking about what made it such a big hit, maybe you would need to have lived during the 30s and 40s to understand why we loved it.  For escapism radio gave us the same fare we have on TV today.  Soap operas, crime show, drama, sports, music and variety.  But when we needed something we could relate to and laugh along with , Vic and Sade filled the bill.  It was a sweet, simple time for a great many Americans.  We really lived like that, sitting on the front porch and going over the day's events.

There are many old time radio fans not old enough to have experienced it as I did. I wonder what they have to say about Vic and Sade,
I am real pleased to find several online groups and blogs dedicated to Vic and Sade.  This is my favorite:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

 I have not listened to Garrison Keillor for quite a long time.
Maybe it's that there are so many great story tellers on the internet and a few on live radio there isn't time to hear all of them. 

Canadian story teller Stuart McLean is apparently as popular on Canadian Radio and in public appearances as Keillor is in the states, maybe even more so.  He's a good writer and his stories have more laugh-out-loud situations than Keillor's  Lake
Wobegon monologues.  Like Keillor's stories,  McLean's Canadian tales have a standard cast of characters. 

But I can't get used to his delivery.   He reads his stuff and sounds like he's projecting to the live audience.  Keillor knows how to romance a microphone and make it intimate. He is old enough to understand the power of radio as a spoken word medium.
                                          To find the Canadian Show google "The Vinyl Cafe."


Radio, the once great spoken word medium

I did a Facebook post about how I liked Steve Allen, a true wit and multi talented performer. I said  he's one of many TV greats who got their start in radio.  Johnny Carson, too.
Ask anyone age 75 or younger about a favorite radio station and they'll say it plays good songs. 

At 85, I have no common frame of reference with younger persons that lets me talk about radio as a great spoken word medium.  They do  podcasts and call it radio but it's not the real thing.