Remind me of a Sweetheart

Ask your podcaster anything. I’ve made that challenge before, with few takers. I thought I’d open it up to the wheel of randomness to spark some ideas. Here’s a simple question…

What things about old time radio remind you of anyone from your past,

That’s a big field. There are a lot of family members who I think about when I listen to the classic shows. Often I imagine how old they were when a show I’m listening to was aired, and them laughing along to it, or sitting on the edge of their chair in a suspenseful moment. I imagine what they were doing in their lives at that time in history, on their jobs, raising their kids, responding to the latest news headlines, and the like. Family members now long gone, old and wrinkled when I knew them in my younger days, but youthful and vibrant as those historic moments unfolded in a radio show.

I suppose the faces I most see in my mind are my grandparents. It would be so like my grandpa to come in from the fields, or after a long day at the factory, to collapse into his easy chair, and react to his bride and kids much like the folks in the Vic and Sade radio program, although it was a daytime show, and I’m sure he rarely heard it. I know my grandma would have listened, along with her friends. There was always someone in the kitchen making reference to Doctor Sleech, or throwing shoes over the bank building. I know my mom was not a fan of Superman, but her little brother was. I know her oldest brother was into Ellery Queen mysteries, and tried to have them solved as soon as Ellery did, and meet the challenge that was offered to the listener. I can picture the whole family sitting on pins and needles as Escape, or Suspense, brought hair raising adventure into the safety of their living room.

I think my grandpa could relate to the unlikely adventures that Ozzie Nelson found himself in every week. He liked Jack Benny, and marveled at how they could come up with funny situations from week to week. I had a relative, I don’t know if he was an uncle, or a cousin, removed by a number of steps, but everybody called him “Wimp,” or “Wimple.” I never knew why, until I heard Fibber McGee and Molly, with their endless stream of visiting neighbors, including Wallace Wimple. Maybe not an audio twin for my relative, but pretty close. He didn’t have a wife like Sweetie Face though.

Does that answer? Or did you mean something different?

Does anyone in old radio shows remind you of either past sweethearts or good friends?

Good friends? Lots of the characters in the shows seem like they would be great friends to have. Well, maybe not the Kingfish from Amos and Andy. If I had a friend like that… i think I’d have to shoot him. OK, maybe nothing that drastic, but we wouldn’t be friends for long.

I can’t say that any remind me of people I know in real life. Elliot Lewis comes close to sounding like a guy I know… wow, an unexpected pun from that catch phrase of his character,
Frank Remley on the Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show. No, I’m not trying to milk cash out of my pal Phil, or drag him into shady dealings.

For grins, I searched through my archives of shows I have on the web site for the word, “sweetheart” to see what came up. The results mostly contained a reference to a song with that word in the title.

Jack Benny always liked to let folks know that everybody loves him in St Joe. He even visited that town during World War 2, where he entertained troops, and used the local attractions to flavor his jokes. Local celebrities like Jane Wyman helped to link the town with Hollywood, and a more national appeal to those who can’t travel to the popular cattle town.

Could there be a more family oriented time of the year than Christmas? Though Jack Benny was Jewish, he rarely missed the chance to celebrate Christmas. In 1946 he brought the tree trimming fun to a hospital for veterans who were still in treatment after the war. A time for the show’s tenor, Dennis Day to tell about his fictional sweetheart, and a reunion of past singers on the show means a special trio of Dennis, Larry Stevens, and Kenny Baker. Others return in something of a family reunion of cast members on Jack’s show.

But wait, the moments of sweethearts and friends isn’t limited to Jack Benny. In the town of Summerfield, the daily routine is broken up by preparations for a big party for the young folk in town. Being a single parent, Throckmorton P Gildersleeve knows little about the moodiness of his niece Marjorie. He is fortunate enough to get feminine help from his own girlfriend, Leila Ransom. Romantic times aren’t just for the kids, and Gildersleeves finds time to croon to Leila.

Even in the daily serials, friends and romance can be found. Doc Adam’s was the wise old family doctor who could heal hurts of all kinds. Even when it was a conflict over playing parts in the town’s theater production. Pranksters could upset romance and matchmaking, by throwing jealousy into the mix. Play acting or not, in the theater production.

Those are just a few samples of finding friends and sweethearts in the familiar shows of old time radio, and maybe even one or two you may not have discovered yet.


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