A Letter on Behalf of Admirers of Classic Radio

Dear Creators of Classic Radio,

After all this time, your shows still hold up. People still discover them, and take time to listen. The face of radio has changed, and all that we have left are those who tell us the news, or spin up a record. Well, they really aren’t records much any more.

Audio dramas are still around, but not on the air. Collectors have saved them on this thing called the Internet, and people with web sites make it easy for others to listen. To make it even easier, a technology called a podcast can share the shows, and deliver them right to anybody who subscribes to it.

How do I know this is true? Through the magic of a ‘Like’ button on my web site, I have the proof. People read my show notes, or they listen to your show. If they like it, they click a button. It’s a quick thumbs up, or a way to show they admire what you did. Fans are saying, “It’s good stuff.”

Though radio networks and sponsors have said your programming is dead, the thousands of visitors to my site have said how they still love the adventures of the Lone Ranger, as he upholds justice, fights with rustlers, and sends bad guys to jail. Kids of all ages still listen to the exploits of Little Orphan Annie, who is lost at sea. She becomes queen of an island, and showered with diamonds by the natives. With her friends and Daddy Warbucks, she’s always helping someone, or exposing scandals.

Thank you writers for characters in comedies, who relate to each other in a way that makes us say, “That could be me, or someone I know.” They remind us of the stories older relatives tell of times long past. Times of the war, or a general store, or when things were only a nickel. Simple folk like Lum and Abner, who somehow managed to run a store, while befriending people in their community. The enterprising old gents had some backwards views on what woman’s work was, but at various times they built a rocket to Mars; caught a counterfeiter, made movies, ran a circus, a library, a bakery, and more. Somehow, though they got themselves into trouble and debt, they always seemed to come out on top, or at worst, just barely scrape by. The craziness carried forward to shows like Father Knows Best, with the Anderson family, and their modern day teens. It was modern at the time, but though the fads have gone, the family unit, and the relationship remains pretty close to today. Kids still need money, or have fund raisers for school. Childish daughters who talk too much, teen age drama queens, and sons with concrete, literal ways of thinking. Does any of those sound like they still happen in families today? I think they do, and always will.

Speaking of the school experience, Our Miss Brooks may be a little type cast, but the situations set up some comedy that made her days as a high school English teacher seem real. Connie Brooks was the only sane person in the wacky people who surrounded her. A blustery boss, an absent minded landlady, a boyfriend who cared more for frogs, and students who tried their best to drag her into their pranks.

People of the radio era, you saw huge advancements in the marvels of technology, and the fears it presented were encapsulated in science fiction. If you think about it, sci-fi shows are still that way today. We still love and admire the way your writers push science to the limit in gadgets that you knew, and what they could become. Your view of science fiction addressed social norms and attitudes towards those technologies. How would the technology change us, and the life you once knew?

A milestone program, 2000 Plus dealt with machines, robots, and flying saucers that run amok. So creative, and interesting in how people imagined their uses would be. The science seemed limited, but the reaches of it more vast than its real capability. People and relationships are presented firmly entrenched in the times, as if to think that society would never change. Little could you know it would be the reverse of that. Robots and computers snuck into our lives, under the radar, unintrusively, and nearly invisible. Far from the in your face, hulking mechanical men that were envisioned. Rockets were built, and advancements into space, but not the reckless pioneering to far flung reaches that were imagined. The real topsy turvey advancements came with culture change. Revolutions in racial and sexual freedoms, and departures from doing things the same old way.

Though religion may have been seldom done, you weren’t afraid to have it flavor a show. I’m sure religious programming hasn’t changed much from on air preachers that you had back then. However, a unique drama existed back then, the Greatest Story Ever Told. Dramas that were fictional, but illustrated bible teaching.

Technology keeps advancing, and movies are more eye popping than ever, but there’s something elegant in those audio dramas. The actors read the line, and with a hint from the sound man, imagination paints a picture as vivid, hilarious, thrilling, or as spine chilling as the scene requires. The players are as beautiful or ugly, as young or old, as the part requires. Mental scenes are built in an instant that would require countless dollars and man hours to make.

These days radio is a source of information, but not much more than that. Actual programming isn’t done. The market has moved to the Internet, where fans can still find it. Podcasters share it, and a new generation of creators are producing it. You just have to be careful in the uncensored world out there.

So, dear producer of classic old shows, just know that your work is timeless, and people still admire it. The language is clean, the stories still good, and even where some social shifting has occurred, it let’s us see where we once were. I wonder where our future could be going.

Respectfully, and on behalf of others who agree with me by hitting my ‘Like’ button,

Keith H

Note: Inspired in part by #DailyPost
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/admire/

[categories Inbox, Writing]

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