A Little Known OTR Gem – Mama Bloom

Though the entire series has now been posted on the site, Keith finally takes time to talk about this show. This short run, 25 episode soap opera is in mostly good quality, with some speed variation from show to show.

The Blooms are Jake and Becky, or papa and mama as they’re called by their teenage girls Sara and Yetta. The parents are immigrants from Poland, speak with heavy Yiddish accents, and find it a challenge to move out of their old world traditions. Meanwhile, the girls embrace the sophisticated life in the big city.

The story is one of culture shock, the clash between old world tradition, customs, and style to that of the modern city and the new technologies the 20th century ushered in. The clash is a soft one, with Becky Bloom at the center of it all, playing advocate, and dispensing wisdom to soothe all the troubles that come their way.

Jake is a tailor, and a business man who has sunk deep into his comfortable ways. To hear him complain about his life, his aching feet, being tired, and Becky’s relatives, you might think he was either just a grumpy old man, or an overgrown spoiled boy. OK, maybe he is. He has his tender side. He thinks Becky has grown more beautiful with age, regardless of her few added pounds since they met 23 years earlier. He lavishes gifts on his girls, including a new car as a wedding gift. He complains over the checks he has to write when mama goes overboard in planning Sara’s wedding, but he writes them anyway. Even his attitude towards Sidney, his future son in-law, is like a roller coaster. Jake is aggravated that Sidney might never ask Sara to marry him, he’s upset that Sidney has moved into the business and made changes, spent lavish amounts of money, and added new products to the inventory than just boy’s knee pants. His comfortable life keeps getting out of his control.

We don’t learn a lot about Yetta, the younger sister. She’s always going out on a date, doesn’t seem to have a steady boyfriend, but along with Sara, they wear makeup, and have high maintenance tastes in style. The girls hate their names, and would prefer to be known as Sally and Yvette. They are a little spoiled, they worry over their mom’s lack of clothes in the closet, and the drab colors their mom chooses for herself. They’d like for their mom to join in with their taste in style, loosen up a little and have fun with them, but mama is comfortable in who she has become over the years. Like any teenager, they’re a little embarrassed of their parents, mostly with mama, and the way she is constantly misusing and mispronouncing words.

The focal point in the story becomes Sara and her engagement to Sidney. Jake has his world shaken up with delight over his daughter, and the wedding, but Sidney is proving too much for him. Jake may be OK with Sidney marrying Sara, but he hates the changes in the store, he can’t see why they need to expand the inventory into providing military uniforms to South American countries. Granted, the new insurgence in business has easily tripled the entire net worth of the store in one sale, making Jake happy and proud, but also frustrated at the decisions and changes that Sidney makes. Sidney’s wheeling and dealing ways are more than Jake can comprehend. Mama isn’t the only one who can dispense wisdom, or get a figure of speech a little mangled. In his own way, I think Jake likes Sidney, and he even teaches Sidney a lesson on how to keep shop secrets around the women folk. There’s an episode, <a href="http://retro-otr.com/2014/05/mama-blooms-brood-sidneys-visit-at-night-ep19/">Sidney’s Visit At Night</a> where Sidney spills the beans to tell that Jake was goofing off at work, playing cards. The table is turned when Jake gets Sidney in trouble with Sara, by spilling the beans on a late night game of craps.

Mama seems to be a bottomless pit of insights and wise sayings. There never seems to be a situation that she can’t see through, and cut to the source of the trouble. No smoke screen is too thick to throw her for a loop, no emotional drama too serious that she doesn’t know how to stabilize it. You’d think she was super human, and came out of the womb that way. To hear her butcher the English language, and get figures of speech a little mixed up, you might fall into the trap of thinking she was less smart than she really is.

We learn that despite any perceived old world stodginess, that Becky and Jake weren’t beneath playing at kissing games when they were young. Becky tells Sara that she didn’t know it all, and her calm relationships with her in-laws didn’t come without battle scars. Did you ever look back and think of all the things you wished somebody could have taught you as a young person? Becky does just that, as she tells Sara about being even less educated about life when she was Sara’s age.

Mama can be manipulative at times, but not often to be self-serving. She teaches her girls lessons in getting what they want tactfully, how to get the best bargains shopping, how to play detective, judge, and understand all sides of an argument. Mama is observant and a good judge of character. She can read between the lines, and find the solution from unexpected sources. Mama can be frugal, and budget conscious, but when there’s a wedding, she knows when to lavishly dish out the money. When there’s family crisis or conflict, mama is there, and knows the right way to fix the problem. Who wouldn’t like to have a mama like that?

Just to help out, here’s the link to grab all 25 installments: Mama Bloom – Retro Radio.com

What’s the Retro Radio Podcast, and what makes it different?

The majority of podcasts out there seem to revolve around a host and co-hosts talking about their topic of interest. Some are produced by big name companies, and have a staff to produce the show. Most are hobbyists who just have something to say, and a microphone to say it into.

The Retro Radio Podcast is about discovering entertainment that still has value, and is an alternate to what’s produced today. Because of the morality of times in the early 20th century, it’s mostly family friendly. No swearing, sexual situations are hinted at with veiled euphemisms, instead of being blatantly displayed. There’s violence, and murder runs rampant in detective mysteries and dramas. Comedies are clean, sometimes quaint, but sometimes edgy enough to hold up in today’s pop culture. Topical humor and references might make more sense if you’re up on your history, but even without that, you’ll find that although times change, pop culture changes, technology changes, but people, and human nature doesn’t.

Consider that the era of old radio shows is when your grandparents were young, maybe even kids, you just might discover how cool they once were. Or maybe I should say they were swell. It could even give some insights to why they say and do the things they do.

Background Stuff

The audio dramas that I first came across turned out to be called Old Time Radio. Research turned up forums of fans, archives of audio files, but not much in knowing what the shows were all about. Archives were just a list of show names, dates, and episode titles. It was about as thrilling as reading a phone book. Which were the good shows? Which genres did the shows fall into? Than others.

Forums were better at discovering the premise, and personality of a show. However, the participants all had a lifelong knowledge of that show, and it could be hard to pick up on the inside jokes that tend to permeate the conversation. It was a matter of getting into an active forum, and asking questions.

I know there’s some databases of old radio shows, and short synopsis out there, but I decided that I’d write my own show notes. Not a word for word script, not a detailed retelling of the show, but a brief overview. Kind of like a mini book report. Enough to tell the action in the story, but hopefully interesting enough to make you want to listen to the story for yourself. I also figured that original and descriptive show notes would also get the attention of search engines. I attribute that fact to the bulk of how listeners find me. I also use questions a lot, partly because of the writing style, but also in hopes it might get readers on the site to leave comments.

At first I recorded comments about the show, then played it, and still do, but not on every show that gets posted. I might do more, but I struggle with not having a quality mike, and a reliably quiet place to record. However, I’m experimenting with a new format that I call the OTR Diary. It’s a return to talking about what I find significant in a show.

Old radio shows run the gamut from excellent to poor. Great audio quality to terrible. Timeless stories to ones that make you say, ? What were they thinking?" There are social issues that were offensive to people then that are acceptable today, and those we find offensive that weren’t noticed then. Sometimes I wish the good things, and advancements of today could blend with the best of the ethics and attitudes of the earlier generation. Family and social relationships could be in a much better place.

Sorry Wrong Email… orMaybe, Wrong SMS?

I have this posted on the podcast, and it keeps popping up on my list of popular shows.

Suspense 430525 Sorry Wrong Number (East Coast)

Can you imagine if this premise could happen in today’s world? I imagine it might be called, "Sorry, Wrong Email."

I love the suspenseful aspect of the unfolding drama. The crossed wires that caused our main character to hear a plan of murder. Of course, that in itself is pretty amateuristic. I’d bet that even the old time gangsters didn’t use such things as easy to monitor as telephone lines to plan their dastardly deeds. A private consultation in a dark and seedy room seems the most timeless, and secure way of planning evil.

Getting back to my idea about email, I suppose it might as easily be through Facebook, or Twitter, or some other social media platform where people communicate these days, but there’s no privacy in that. People may forget how open, and public those places are, and publish things that ought not be said or seen in public. Keep your naked body parts and illicit bedroom life to yourself please. Again, what criminal in their right mind would post on Facebook to all their friends about their upcoming underworld activities?

I still don’t see email as being a hotbed of idea exchanges between thugs, but it’s still cutting edge enough, and widely used among people of all ages and social groups. It’s mostly private, and somewhat easy to get a "crossed wire" from somebody. All it might take is sending a message to a wrong person by a simple slip of the typing finger.

With those logistics worked out, the annoyances kick in.

My biggest annoyance with this story is the frequency, and inconsiderate way the leading lady keeps calling the operator. With email as the medium though, there isn’t exactly an operator on duty, but can you imagine the helpdesk tech when he clocks in, and checks his email box to find hundreds of emails with the same subject line? "Help! Operator! Help!"

Just how many times does she jiggle that stupid phone reciever and scream out for the operator? Even when the operator is on the line? Why doesn’t she ask to be connected to a supervisor? Why aren’t any of the telephone operators versed in a little customer service, rather than giving her the brush off once they’ve reached the limit of their competency?

In today’s world, a helpdesk tech would look at those 100 emails in his inbox all with the same subject: "Help! Operator! Help!" spot check a couple to see if anything significant is bbing said, then delete them all. After that, a terse, one line email might be sent with a tidbit of some of the same lame advice the operators in the story gave before hanging up on our heroine. Or maybe it was all that continuous receiver jiggling that was breaking the connection.

If the main character had the luxury of an ISP with a tech support crew 24/7, she might be greeted with some of the same brush off answers. Techs are rated on job performance for having short call times, and as many as they can squweeze into an hour. Hey, it’s a tough job, don’t hate on them.

However, if a problem is beyond the prewritten script a tech has on their computer screen, they tell you that your call is being escalated. Then put you back in the phone queue, right at the back of the line. It’s not much different than the contact the telephone operators gave our leading lady when they realized that the service she needed was beyond their capabilities. The scene repeats until either the tech, or you, get the bright idea of actually escalating the call to a real team leader, or manager.

Believe it or not, Internet Service Providers do try to give classes to their techs on customer service. Too often though, people don’t always put it to good use. It takes a little listening, a lot of letting a frenzied customer’s comments roll off your back, sympathizing, and the goal is to get the person to calm down. Irrational people won’t listen or take the solution you have to offer, even if it will help, until they can calm down and see the tech as an authority figure.

As seen only from the vantage point of the helpdesk tech, the scene might go something like the following. The frustrated woman who is a shut in, disabled, and highly dependant on her husband gets a disturbing email in her inbox. Worried about the significance of the crime, and concerned for her safety, she can’t reach her husband at work.

What does she do? She gives her ISP a call. After all, the Internet Service Provider is responsible for everything that brings the Internet to your door, right?

Ring. Welcome to our service, your call is important to us, please holed. (repeat every 30 seconds for 5 minutes. Hey, she’s lucky and called during an off peak time.)

“Operator! Operator! I have a problem with my email. “

“Hi, this is Tom, can I get your name and street adress ma’am? “

“Operator! Operator! I have a problem with my email. “

“I understand that, but can I get your name and … “

“Operator! Why do you need that information from me? Don’t you understand? I have a serious problem with my email! “

“Ma’am, I need to use that information to look up your… “

“Operator! Operator! “

(with eye roll, and a sigh of exasperation) “ I need to escalate your call. Please hold while I get a supervisor on the line. “ (click.)

For the sake of brevity, mentally repeat the above a half dozen times or two. With the possible additions that a tech might actually get enough info to look upp her account in the database. And if enough look ups are successful, maybe 1 or 2 techs will actually make a note of the frantic, crazy woman with an email problem.

Ring. “ Hello, this is Dave, I’m the team leader. How can I help you? “

“Operator! I’ve been calling and calling, and nobody can help me. I can’t get my email, and I might die if I don’t. What I mean to say is… “

“Slow down a moment ma’am. I understand how that must make you feel. If I can get your name and account information, I can see what the problem may be in the server. “ (it’snever in the server, but it makes a frenzied customer think you’re on their side. Plus it can throw them for enough of a loop to actually give you the information you need to look up their account.)

“Huh? O,my name is Jane, and I live at 123 Elm … “

“Is that Elm Street, or Avenue? “

“What? Oh, it’s Elm Street, not Avenue. Operator. I’m in so much trouble. I found this disturbing email… “

“And your last name is Wilson, right? “

“Huh? Yes, yes it is. How did you know… But never mind that! I checked my email, and there it was. somebody is going to kill somebody, and I’m… “

“Jane, I’m looking at your account information, and I see that you already talked to Kevin, and Matt. Have they already got your email working again? “

“No! It’s not that at all. My email has always worked. It’s just that I got… “

“Jane, let me try to understand this. Your email works fine? And I’m guessing that you can view web pages alright? Can you describe how I can help? “

“That’s what I’m trying to do! Won’t any body listen to me? I’m home alone. I’m disabled. My husband is late in getting home from work. I read this email that said someone is going to be killed. “

“I’m sorry to hear that ma’am. It must be frustrating to be left at home like that. “

“It is, and I’m so afraid. Can’t anybody help me? What’s the meaning behind that email? Who can I call? I can’t reach my husband on his office phone. He’s not responding to calls to his cell phone. What do I do? Who can… “

“Ma’am. Calm down. Do you also have your phone service through us? Maybe I can check on any connection outages there… “

“No. It’s not. The phones are thrugh … well… it’s another company but what does it matter? How is this helping? Why are you talking about phone service? Don’t you understand my problem? “

“Not entirely Jane, but that’s what I’m trying to get to the bottom of. It may be just as well that your phone carrier isn’t through Our company. Our phone department is in a totally different office, and I would have to transfer you if there was a… “

“Oh, no, don’t put me on hold again. I’ve waited on hold for half the night. I just want to get to the bottomof this disturbing email. You’re not helping. Nobody’s helping. “

“Ma’am. What can you tell me about this email trouble? Did it have a virus? Is it a spam message? “

“What? No, nothing like that. “

“Who is it from? “

“I don’t know. “

“Do you mean you can’t find the address of the person who sent it to you? Or that you don’t know the person? “

“I don’t know who it is. Why all these questions? Why is this taking so long? Why can’t you help me? “

“Jane, I’m just trying to narrow down some possibilities. Do you think the sender is trying to hurt you in some way? “

“Yes! I just know he is. I’m afraid, and nobody’s doing anything! “

“I’m not sure I can do much to help against that person. If you feel threatened, have you considered calling the police? “

“The police? What can they do? You’re the one in charge of the Internet. Do something to keep this murder from happening. “

“Wow, thank you for thinking that ma’am. I’d like to think that I was in charge of it. I’d be glad to push a button and make the world a better place, but that’s a little abouve what I’m actually in charge of. The police have ways of tracking down… “

“The police! Why do you keep bringing them up? You’re not going to help me are you? Nobody’s going to help! Why doesn’t anyone believe me? “

“I’d like to ma’am. Can I go over this one more time with you? I want to make sure I have this down right. “

“What’s writing it down going to do? I’ve been on this phone all night now, and nobody’s doing anything about it. Why won’t somebody believe me? “

“Jane, from what I understand, you don’t have an Internet connection problem. You don’t have trouble sending or receiving email. You’re upset because you rexcieved a troubling email from a stranger. You’re home alone, and need help. Is that about it in a nutshell? “

“Yes. “

“Now listen to me for a moment. I really do want to help you. Our company provides a service. You use our servers to connexct to the Internet, we provide email, and a little bit of storage space in the cloud to store a few of your files. We don’t restrict activity to our customers in our servers. You can get any web content you like, no questions asked. That also means… “

“Why are you saying all of this? “

“Ma’am. Please let me finish. That means that anybody on the web can also contact you. I can’t stop you, and I can’t stop them. Our company sees such restriction as taking away a right of freedom to our customers. “

“You’re not going to help me, are you? I’m going to die, and you’re just going to let it happen! “

“Jane, if you feel there’s a threat to your life, the police are the ones who you should call. If they feel that our company can help track down the routing of the email, they’ll have to follow the set legal procedures to obtain a copy of our log files. “

“Can you do that? Track down the killer? How is that possible? “

“It’s possible, but it’s a process the police need to handle. It’s not for you to worry about, or try to understand how it all works. For right now, we need to worry about your safety tonight. So give the police a call. “

“I can try and give them a call, but… OH no! “

“What’s the matter? “

“It’s too late! The email said the murder would go down at 10:15PM, and it’s 10:11 right now. There’s no way anybody will get here in time! “

“Ma’am. Can you try calling 911, and talk to the operator there? I’m sure they’d have better advice for you than I could give to… Ma’am? Jane, are you still there? Hello? “

Making the rounds to the techs on the floor, the team leader stops by Kevin, and Matt’s cubicles. "You guys got a call from a woman earlier who was keyed up about…"

"Yeah, wasn’t she a basket case? I never could figure her out." says Matt.

"Me either, something about email, or a virus, or something." said Kevin.

"Do you know who else talked to her tonight, or how long ago you talked to her?" asks Dave.

"Wow, that had to be an hour ago, at least since I had her on the phone." says Kevin, "And I know she made the rounds to a couple other guys before either of us tried to make sense of her. What a freak."

"That’s what I figured. That it was about that long." said Dave. "I hope she’s alright. If she hadn’t wasted so much time raving at each of you, and let somebody get her settled down, she could’ve had plenty of time to call the cops, or…"

"Dude! The cops! What was she into anyway?" Keven said, surprised.

"I don’t know. Probably nothing. She just needed somebody who could actually giver help. Not any of the geeks around this cubicle farm."

Bigots, Racists, and Sexists, Oh My

In recent days i had some feedback about the social climate of the era of old time radio. the feeling was that that generation was overly racist, bigoted, and sexist. Mostly in comedy genres, but across the board. I was reminded of a fellow podcaster who introduced an episode with words to the affect that he was warning the sensitive ears of todays listener of some infraction or other of political correctness. Sometimes I think warnings like that are unnecessary and actually a little petty. I’m not trying to defend any bad behavior. I want to take time to say that all generations have redeeming qualities as well as ugly qualities.

There’s a label that has been going around for the older generation, but though I will agree they were a great generation, they aren’t the greatest one. They have many qualities to be admired, an ethic of proper behavior, modesty, hard work and diligence to name a few. Qualities that seem to be lacking when compared to the current generation. That’s not entirely true, but a broad statement.

Our current version of pop culture has made huge strides in leveling the playing field, where it comes to giving a fair chance to people of color and for women. Sterotypical roles have become a thing of the past.

Briefly, one generation points to the future and wags their heads in shame at a loss in morality, for example, but doesn’t see the benefits that has come through technology or civil rights. The other generation looks back and takes offense at a double standard where women and ethnic groups were pushed aside.

I’m not trying to judge either as right or wrong, just making an observation. Challenge me if you like. I have a comments form.

Here’s where I’m going with this. Let’s project ourselves into the future of 50 years from now.

Think of what we think is the norm today. What’s so cool, and fashionable? What qualities do we hold most dear?

Now what if our next generation looks back at us and is horrified and offended at those ideals and standards that we don’t even think about. We just take it for granted that it’s just the way it is.

Fashions change so fast, that’s a given. It only takes looking at the cool hair styles and clothes of 5 to 10 years ago to see that they were dorky and uncool.

What is there in our culture that is the accepted thing to do? Same sex marriage? In the days of classic radio, that kind of thing was only the butt of jokes. A ridiculous thing that was a no brainer. It simply was not meant to be. It went against nature. Is it any more natural just because a few decades have passed? What if the cultural climate changes again, and it no longer is accepted? I’m not saying it is or isn’t. Not saying it will or it won’t. It’s just an example.

My point is that things change, some for the better, and some for the worse. What one generation values, another shuns.

I haven’t quite gotten around to bigotry. It’s a quality that’s best seen in others. But if you can see it in others, they’re probably seeing it in you. Ouch. Now I’m stepping on my own toes too.

I don’t know that I want to pursue this part of my rant, other than to take a long look at the things, people, or life circumstances that we really want to change the most. Try this mental exersize. Think of a thing, or type of person that you wish you could remove from the face of the earth. Oh, come on, admit it. There’s at least one type of person who you think the world would be a much better place without. You don’t have to share that information with me. The point is that everybody is bigotted about something, it’s not wise to point fingers without having some point back at you.

Nobody is perfect. Just realize that while you’re at liberty to be offended by somebody else, in a different culture, place, or time, they just might be equally offended at you. Accept the things that are for what they are. Old time radio and that version of pop culture is history. You can’t change it. It is what it is. Be annoyed by certain things, try to emmulate the good stuff, and maybe we can strive for a better future together.

Thanks for Following, Time to Interact

First of all, thanks goes out to some new followers of the blog. I hope you’ll also take time to hit my Like button.

If you’re also on Twitter, Google+, or Facebook, look for me there too, and feel free to talk to me. I have to admit that I’m not always active on Facebook, and I don’t fully understand Google+, I try to respond to mentions I get there. I’m a little more active on Twitter, and you can chat with me there as @RetroKeith.

I have a chat server, and have plans for some live chat sessions and roundtables. I’ve been slow about starting it because at the moment, I seldom have a quiet time or place to record. And I’m looking seriously at the possibility of doing a live OTR podcast at some point So stay tuned.

I’ve also got a few ideas for articles to post here, and just need to iron out all my dumb, rambling thoughts.

Thanks again for the follows here, and those who have found me on Twitter and Facebook. Lurking is cool, but I like it when people drop me a line. Interact, engage, I really do love to hear from you.

What Do You People Want from Me?

It’s just a question I forget to ask sometimes. Sometimes listeners of the podcast write and comment, and sometimes there’s a slump between the feedback. I love the feedback. It lets me know what you like.

Don’t be shy. leave a comment on any of the shows you like. There’s handy sharing links to post to your Twitter, Facebook, or other social media accounts. Click and share. You’ll especially get my attention if you hit the Facebook like button for the site, or the other like button, which posts the like on WordPress.com.

Do you want to follow me, or just get my attention on Twitter? Just mention @RetroKeith in a tweet if you don’t want to follow me. You’ll still get my attention, and maybe we can connect there sometime.

Of course my good old email form to contact me is also an option. Find it on the Contact page. Ask me a question. Tell me your favorite radio shows. Do you like something that you just can’t find on the site? I may already have it in my collection, but just never got around to posting it. If that’s the case, and you can’t wait for me, ask about getting it mailed to you.

It’s not my intention to be in the business of selling classic radio shows. I’d prefer you to click one of my banners and order something from OTRCat. They do a great job, their prices are reasonable, they have a massive collection, and by clicking through on my banner, I get a little support from you. If you just want to pay top dollar for your OTR, there’s Radio Spirits. I don’t have any connection with them, but their CD’s are produced in high quality audio.

I’ve done it for a couple people who ask, and sent them collections of shows. I’m trying to figure out a way to develop some "Buy It Now" buttons for a selected collection or two of radio shows. Which ones? Well duh. Contact me and it’ll be the one, or ones you want. Pricing is subject to change, but at the time of this writing I’m figuring on $10 for a 4GB USB flash drive, $15 for an 8GB drive, and$20 for a 16GB drive chock full of your requested shows, and whatever bonus material I can round up for you. Shipping depends on the going rate from the USPS, but right now it’s just under $6.

Couldn’t I just burn CD’s? I could, it would be a little cheaper with the dollars to Gigabytes, but dealing with the USB flash drives is so much easier, and just between you and me, we can consider it a sale of the flash media, and incidentally it just happens to be preloaded with media. Once you get the flash drive, you can do whatever you like with it. Move the audio to your hard drive, and use the flash drive to store your own data on it. With the CD’s, once they’re burned, that’s it. You won’t be able to rewrite on them or use them for storage for anything else.

Bottom line. I’m open to improve the web site and podcast to make it the most enjoyable experience for you. I’d like you to share the pages you like, to help spread the word to your friends, and even to a new generation of fans. If you find a mistake in my show notes, or have information to fill in gaps or make them better, tell me. Do it right now! Go!

Lum and Abner Comic – Authentic and Historic

Here’s a personal message fromDonald Pitchford, President of the National Lum and Abner Society, Cartoonist and creater of this ground breaking comic strip. I can’t say it any better, so here’s Uncle Donnie in his own words.

The first "Lum and Abner" Comic Strip of the new year presents an important message to adults. I invite you to visit the home page and read, plus listen to this production.

The strip stars two characters from Lum and Abner’s first movie,"Dreaming Out Loud" – Jimmy and Washington – two precocious children. They are portrayed in our audio production by Daron McDaniel and Kyle Cage of Carthage, Texas.

Also in the audio is a performance by legendary Ouachita Mountain fiddler Ruel Bain (recorded in 1985 in the REAL Pine Ridge, Arkansas). Mr. Bain was part of the real Dick Huddleston’s touring show in the 1930s.

I will have some unique and exciting news about the "Lum and Abner" comic strip project soon. I promise it will be something that has never happened in the history of this comic strip!

Here is the link for this week’s strip:

http://www.lumandabnersociety.org/Comic-Strip-Home.html

Thank you all so much, and I wish for everyone a blessed new year!

Donnie Pitchford,
"Lum and Abner" Cartoonist
sCarthage, Texas

Horlicks Update Lum and Abner’s Old Sponsor is Still Around

what is this Horlicks stuff that sponsored the Lum and Abner show? The commercials always make it sound like the miracle food stuff of the ages. It makes sick babies well, It makes fat people thin, thin people fat, it gives you energy, and it helps you sleep. How can it do all that?

Believe it or not, Horlicks is still around, although not marketed to the American public. It is used in industrial food use. When you see food that claims to be malt flavored, or a shake machine with the name Horlicks stamped on it, you’re probably consuming the very same kind of Horlicks. You just can’t buy it over the counter.

In Brittain, and various countries around the world who either are, or had recently been part of the colonies of the UK, Horlicks can still be bought over the counter in it’s powdered form. No, it’s not touted as a miracle food, just a dietary aid sort of like what Slim Fast is. The powder is mixed with milk, and is supposed to help provide nutrition, an dbe filling, yet not add in excessive calories. Though it was originally developed as a baby food, and for those recovering from illness, the Horlicks company only recommends it for babies who are old enough to be weaned, or about a year old or so. They no longer claim it to be an energy food, or one to help you sleep at night, although some people claim it can help to drink before going to bed.

Introducing My New Logo, the Mighty Retrobot

After doing a podcast for a few years now, one are I’ve really dropped the ball is in producing an original logo. It makes iTunes happy, it makes Blubrry happy, and it hopefully makes listeners to the podcast happy.

I’d like to say I did it myself, but people around here know better than to put things in the hands of the blind man that could be potentially dangerous. Among them are guns, steering wheels, and crayons. Amazingly they give me sharp pointy things once in a while, and hammers, I can’t forget hammers. Hey, it’s only my thumb on the line here, and little dents all around the nail.

But I digress.

The image was concocted in about 30 minutes, and I’ll bet it looks like it. It’s all I got, I like it, and I’m keeping it.

However, if you think you can do better, I have a prize to give away to any of you artistically gifted people. Here’s the deal.

Send me an image in a jpg or png format. You can draw it then scan it into your computer if you like. If you snail mail me original artwork, you’ll have to pay the postage, and entries become the property of the Retro Radio Podcast. That means me, but if you really want them back I’ll see what I can do.

The image needs to be up to the standards to post on iTunes. 1400 by 1400 pixels.

Draw me a picture of what you think my Retrobots look like. The whole gang includes:

David, not my first Retrobot, but the one I’ve had around the longest. He can be pretty ornery, and likes to tease people.

Callie, his sister who is a no nonsense kind of announcer. Loud and even tempered, but don’t rock her boat, because she knows how to sass back.

Dunkin, their slow talking Scottish uncle. He doesn’t talk much, but when he’s not announcing, he can put the unruly bots in their place.

Anna, the genii in my computer’s lamp. OK, she’s just the Microsoft Anna voice that comes built in, but she managed to bail me out of a tight spot when all the bots went on strike. She can be a little naive, and I think she has a crush on somebody in the crew.

Lee, he kind of showed up when Jill came back after the Retrobot walk out. I haven’t found a role for him yet, but he has a nice voice for announcing the shows.

Jill, yeah, what ever happened to Jill? She came back, then disappeared on me again. I hope she just didn’t get tired of Lee, and dumped him for some other bot. She could be counted on for just about any hosting job I could throw at her. Maybe she left me for more money somewhere else.

Tom. A no nonsense kind of guy. A little dense, but he could read a line and make it sound good. He just never came back after the big Retrobot uprising and walk out. I hear he has a job working for the weather alert channel on my cable company.

There were a few other early Retrobots, but they just never had names, and the technology to power them is a thing of the past. They’ve had to retire to that big Retrobot graveyard in the… um… where ever it is, they’re there.

So, there you have it. A brief profile on who the bots are. Will you do it? Will you draw me a picture to enter into a contest?

The prize.

I have a boxed set of old time radio shows. If you listen to Dennis Humphrey, and the many shows he posts in the Radio Memories Network, you may know he offered this set from his podcast a couple years ago. It is no longer available, and Dennis now offers other products.

The DVD’s originally were sold for $12.95 apiece, and the 10 disks when purchaced together were $112.90. They come in boxes that, when lined up on a shelf make a nice picture. There’s about 6000 episodes, that’s 600 in each of the 10 genres that they represent.

I’d hate to break up the set. It’s still in close to new condition. That’s why I’ll give it away for the prize to the winning entry. It’ll be good for me, and good for you.

All it’ll take to win this prize is to send me your best drawing, or an image of whatever creative artwork you can take a picture of to illustrate the Retrobot hosts in the show.

I don’t know how many people might respond. I’ll keep the contest open at least until the end of the year, December 31, 2013, and see what happens. I hope I hear from you.

If you need to smail mail me something, you can get my mailing information from my podcast page.

http://retro-otr.com/contact

If you need to attach an entry to an email, you can send it to: keith.

New Memberships are Now Available Join Today

New Memberships are Now Available Join Today

Here’s the quickest way to get started, and with the least obligation on fans of the podcast, just go to the main page of the Retro Radio Podcast.
Click the piggy bank icon that looks like this: .

Piggy bank with a coin going in. Bonus 30 day membership for $5.payment

This piggy bank doesn’t work, so for more options see: Register.

If you’re already a member, then you’re still in. Thanks for being there for me already. If you like, you can choose one of the paid options on the register page, but you don’t have to upgrade unless you want.

Why am I doing this, charging money for a membership? Believe me, it’s not to make money. I really don’t want to put a price tag on what I do with the podcast, and web site. I’d still do it, even if nobody found the site. It’s fun and it keeps me busy. Writing the episode articles is a labor of love, and offering an archive of some of the shows I have is just a fun way to distribute this nearly forgotten form of entertainment to a future generation.

I believe that podcasting is the way to go, especially when accompanied with the notes I write up. Anybody can stumble on an archive of a particular show, but more often than not, all you get is a long list of dates, and titles that don’t describe the action in the show very well. You might as well just flip through a library card catelog. Boring. Sure, there are better, and more complete archives of radio logs out there, with the sentence or two long synopsis of what appeared in the limited space of the original newspaper, or radio guides. There are better reference resources if you want to know all the actors, engineers, writers an producers of a show. All I do is listen to the show, jot down a few tidbits to do a mini book report on what happened in the episode, and occasionally add in a few extra observations and notes. I’m definitely not the best writer around, and you’re sure to find plenty of typos, misspelled names, and grammar that needs work.

My real goal is to help the visitor find something interesting, and be tempted to be drawn in enough to get hooked on listening to the episode.

Back to my question. Why am I making people pay for a membership? It’s all about putting a throttle on malicious robot web crawlers.

On any given day I would have over a dozen new member sign ups, and sometimes 3 or 4 times that. A great deal were being filtered by email spam filters, and a lot of the rest were using a bogus email account. The result was me getting a lot of bounced back emails, a bloated database of fake users, and spam comments that I kept having to delete. I was putting in nearly half a working day just dealing with it.

I want people to sign up. I want people to be members. I want people to be active in leaving comments for me. Notice the glaring lack of the words “robot”, or “spam ads” in those statements? Unfortunately the spammers are in it to direct traffic to sell their junky products, and it leaves real people holding the bag if they want to participate. The only robots I even want anywhere around is my Retrobot show hosts.

I like this project, and building the web site that helps to deliver it. It would be nice to keep it clean, family friendly, and easy to use.

With all that said, I hope people will understand. By placing even a small dollar value on the membership, it hangs at least a little value on what I do. It offers a minimal amount to show that a real person agrees that there’s value in these old shows, and tidbits of pop culture and history of a time gone by.

Honestly, if you think I’m wrong, and think I shouldn’t be charging any money, drop me a line. You can find all my contact info on my contact page. I’ll gladly let you in, as long as you’re a human. I’d gladly refund your money if you don’t feel that the membership is worth it. However, due to the way Paypal makes their money, I’ll refund you back, less the charges they take out.

If you think it’s a great deal, then wonderful. You know what to do. You can also contact me to let me know what added features you’d like to see in a member area. If you have some files, pictures, ideas for growing the site, I definitely want to hear from you.

I hope that explains it all, but if it didn’t, feel free to leave a comment.