Behind the Scenes: Committed to the Show Notes

Or: The Sausage Grinder of Show Notes
Or: Today’s Brain Dump, Getting Distracted by My Background Mood Music

Trying to stay committed to writing to the blog, getting some writing done for ongoing show notes, and keeping up on outside projects. Well, they’re outside as far as the activities of the Retro Radio Podcast are concerned. First of all, let’s cue up some tunes to set the mood and play in the background. Ah, here we go, my Marian Hutton collection. What a nice voice, and a cute blonde. Getting immersed in recordings from the era, it’s easy to forget these stars are long gone. well, I was actually around during the time she was still alive. She just wasn’t performing much in the years I have memories of.

In her later years, Marian Hutton became a rehab counselor, helping others with alcohol problems, but once in a while still sane on occasion with the old band. Tex Beneke had taken over to lead the Glenn Miller band, complete with the Modernaires.

She could sing songs from novelty kiddie songs like, Mutiny in the Nursery, to fun boogie songs, to ballads, and in her later career, Who Stole The Jam. A song that a mom might sing to find out which of her kids ate up all the jam. Nothing left but the empty jar, and a trail of bread crumbs. If she finds out, she’ll kick your teeth in… huh? I have to laugh. Isn’t that just the kind of thing a loving mom might say to her kids? Of course, as an empty threat, but one that conveys mom’s frustration.

I wonder what kind of mom she was. I’m sure she had her troubles with success and substance abuse, but she didn’t seem as volatile as her little sister, Betty.

Wow, I’m getting too side tracked, listening to the tunes, and not getting show notes written. Here we go. This is how I do it.

Play the show, and listen for names, places, and what’s happening. Why names? They’re just fictional, right? It’s easier to refer to the people in the show by name than saying: That one guy shot the lady in the red coat. Then the second guy got into a fight with the bartender, and the first guy ran out before the other one could get him.

See? Confusing, boring, and too many pronouns to keep straight. Writing the names as I hear them, plus place names almost write the notes by themselves. Jotting down some connecting details like what Sam did at the waterfront ties it all up pretty neatly. I try not to add dialog, unless a particular quote stands out, or a figure of speech adds some color to the notes. My big goal is to summarize the action, not transcribe it.

If people are familiar with the show, maybe just the title is enough. If not, a summary might entice a reader to click the button to play the show.

I listen to the episode just one time through, taking notes as it plays. I avoid rewinding, or listening to it again. If the notes need cleared up, other than grammar or spelling, I might skim through to a particular spot to get a name right, or a song title.

Then it’s off to the next show. So it takes me however long the show is, more or less, to do each one. I can knock out a solid four hours when I’m on a roll, maybe as long as five or six. By then a either a stomach is empty, or a bladder is full, and its time to call it quits.

I got sidetracked again. Gotta laugh. My music played to a v-disk that also featured Dinah shore singing Betty Huttons hit. Murder he says. She just can’t do it justice. A nice, sweet, evenly modulated version, but not like bettye stylized way of screaming it out.

OK, back to writing show notes. Where do I go from here. After writing down as many shows as I can I give my fingers a rest. I often binge on a single show, like lining up all the Jack Benny episodes for the month, or more, and knocking them all out at once. Other times, I just go down the big file of stuff for the month. I use various index marks to let me find which shows still need notes, which are done and in need of posting, and a mark to let me know which ones are done.

Along the way, I make sure the files are uploaded, and grab the ftp links for the shows. By that, I mean I copy them from my ftp client, and when I paste them in, the text for the ftp path is inserted. At that point, I need to change the ftp link to http so the links work right.

Yeah, boring tech stuff, but who ever said podcasting was all thrills and chills?

Now my listings are all set to copy and paste them into the dashboard when the time comes. I just don’t worry about the tags until time to post. I decide on the fly what to put down, after the writing process has cooled down. What else do I do? What else? Oh yeah, I give a final proof read when I actually post stuff, so my archives of each month’s shows are pretty messy. Usually the first, or second draft.

Thats about all there is to writing show notes. I try to use ass many literary techniques as I can to make them interesting.

Oops, had to stop for a second to restart iTunes. I don’t know why it stopped, I must have hit a hot key by accident as my fingers of fury knocked out all this junk.

Well, there’s really nothing more to add. A lot of listening, jotting down notes, using character names, and always pushing to see how much I can get done today. Working ahead buys me time to take time off when I need it, or to run those unexpected errands.


The Places of crime

Or: Dragnet 50-10-05 ep69, Big 38.

Robbery Detail. A burglar with a gun is described as being well dressed. Your job, find him. The air is hot on the night shift.
Footsteps echo in the cathedral, as organ music plays. Cops have come to find the choir loft, and bring somber news to match the tone of the music in the air. Joe Friday reports a death. In voiceover, he states that armed robbers always prove to be killers. The crime scene, a cash register, and a clerk in Disbelief. One moment life, and in the moment of a gunshot, death. The shooter is described. Thin, tall, blonde, nervous, twitching, and in a grreatcoat. The questions causer the crime to be relived. Emotions of surprise, cooperation. A gunshot. anger, and a get away in a cab, riding in the front seat.

Silent and cool, technology in the Police lab is applied. Ballistics, fingerprints, and results are tentative. Footsteps echo down the hall. More briefing. The common elements in the case review: Cabs, and 38 calibre slugs. What’s the word from the Crime lab. No luck, no matches.

On the Night watch routine the crime is unending.
Another store, connections to cabs. But with a Different 38. Checking with cab companies, for drivers with matching builds. Tall, and slim. Another crime scene that match the method of operation. Armed with a photo line up. A Face after face in pages of an album, crime personified and ugly. A match is made.

Clues lead to aAn apartment,, and an accomplice is found. Have a seat, calm your nerves, have a beer. Questions hit hard, and the search heats up. The trail leads to a neighborhood, with nice houses, beauty shops, and trees. Cornered and shielded by timid mother and crying baby, gunshots and fists land to end the crime spree.

Only one place remaibs to close the case. A Trial, and finally, the Gas chamber.

Download and listen now.

Behind the Scenes: Where the Podcasting Rubber Meets the Road

Or: Consciously Streaming a Rant

What’s on my plate today? First, let’s check my ongoing monthly line up, Search for the index mark for shows I need to write notes on today.

Wow, so far, so good. The rest of the month is written up, except for any stray Retro Original shows I decide to post. Those are done separately anyway. But I still need to check on shows I want to feature… a job for later. I don’t have time for it now.

Back to the monthly file. Search for my index mark of shows that need proofread, and posted. Uh-oh, good thing I checked. I gotta get a few out before tonight, or the podcast feed will come to a crashing halt in the morning. No problem. Here we go.

Fixing typos, fixing clunky wording, but it’s mostly OK. Fortunately, I already have the media links pasted into the notes, so away we go.

  • Open my WordPress dashboard. Getting logged in, of course.
  • Copy and paste the note from the file to the dashboard.
  • Put the title in the right place.
  • Put the body text in the right spot.
    • Oops, missed a typo or two.
    • Add line breaks for paragraphs.
  • Tick the category boxes.
    • One for the channel.
    • One for the show.
  • Drop in the tags.
    • The year.
    • The show title,
    • Pick keywords or themes from the show, based on the note.
    • Don’t overdo it.
  • Paste in the media link.
  • Give it a quick test to be sure the file is good. No errors.

Almost done.

This one is for tomorrow, so change the date to tomorrow. Let’s see, it aired in 1942, so set the time to 2 AM. Bump the minutes to 20-something. Hit Publish.

O wait. “Why did you do that?” You ask. I use the second digit in the year to post the hour from 1AM to 10AM, with a few exceptions, like when more than one show might end with the same digit. I may alter the hour when that happens. “And the minutes, why specifically 20-something?” I can hear you ask. The era of radio shows that exist range from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. I divided the hour into three parts. One for each decade. “Then why not use the full third of an hour” I hear you ask. Some shows lingered, or were broadcast later. I’m a little more loose in the hour and minutes for those decades, but I fudge them in there to keep things spaced out a little.

Here comes the tedious part. It took just under ten minutes to do the copy, paste, link test, and date the shows. Wash, rince, repeat. If I can keep from being interrupted, I might be able to crunch out most of the rest of the month. Yeah, like that’ll happen. Likely, my browser will start bogging down, and take forever to load pages.

I wonder how to clear the cache. o I’m sure it needs, if I can’t remember how long it’s been, or how to do it. I’ll have to Google it… sometime later. Not right now.

For now it’s a matter of repeating all the above steps for the next few shows to see how far I can get. At least try to get stuff posted up to sometime next week. Yeah, that should do it to give me some cushion to work on other projects. t

Oh. You know what I forgot? I really need to start collecting stock images to insert in the posts. For now, i’ll grab my javascript form to insert an Amazon ad. Oh well, i’ll skip this one I’ve already got done, and do it for the ones coming up. No need to do every show. I already have ads on the Welcome page, and in the side bar, so it’s not like people don’t see them. They just don’t click and buy stuff. Oh well, maybe one of these days.

Well, there you have it. A typical, boring day of data processing, typing, and getting shows posted. It’s not the glamorous, glorious life, filled with exotic Retrobots like you thought it was… ain’t it.

But there’s more.
This has just been where the rubber hits the road in transferring raw notes into a finished post.

Keith Heltsley

The Colorful Days of Blowing Cigar Smoke

Here I sit, thinking it’s high time to challenge myself to write again,. Not that  I don’t write something, in some way, nearly every day. Sometimes enough to overflow to a few days running.

Third Lt Stanley is a baboon. Vic.

Before I stretch my imagination, I took time to browse my folder of junk where I’ve written things that never quite got posted. The colorful world of Paul Rhimer, and the good folks halfway up the next block came to mind.

Well here, you never heard such junk. Sade.

I found a few quotes I jotted down that seemed familiar. They’re from an episode where the very young principal of the high school wants to appear more mature to his supervisors in the school board.

Ish Russel, a person’s trying’ to say something. Sade.

When the actors changed for a while during World War 2, the script got a slight re-write, and was performed again.

He scratches a match and blows out a couple bushels of smoke. Russel.

Here’s some absurd quotations from the good old days… you know… back when smoking was just one of those things, and not a social stigma, or even bad

for your health.

O ish. Sade.

On top of that, enjoy the colorful colloquialisms of small town midwestern 1940’s lingo. Having relatives from this era, and location, I can vouch to you, people really did talk like this, and use this kind of mannerisms in their speech.

Maybe I’ll establish a cigar smoking college. Charge everybody forty dollars a semester. Vic.

And now get ready to smile again with America’s home folks, Vic and Sade.

  • Whip out big black cigars, and smoke away like a steam engine. Russel.
  • I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised Dr Sleach. Vic.
  • O such silliness. Sade.
  • He whips out a stogie as long as a baseball bat. Russel.

Listen to even more absurdities:  
Vic and Sade – Mr Chinbunny Wants To Smoke Cigars, Russell. 440602.

Compare it to the happenings where you’ll hear such things as:

  • I’ll bet 99 dollars the telephone rings in the next 10 minutes, Rush.
  • Puffing in bushels of smoke, and blowing it out like a furnace. Rush.
  • His idea is to whip out big black cigars, and smoke away like a steam engine, Rush.
  • He better take it easy the first 19 or 20 cigars, otherwise he’ll run the risk of getting sick. Rush.
  • Just sitting here with our teeth in our mouth. Vic.
  • you and your big ox of a husband. Vic
  • This is really on the level huh? Vic.
  • He whips out a stogie as big as your leg. Rush.

Don’t believe it? Listen to the whole show here:
Vic and Sade – Mr Chinbunny Wants To Smoke Cigars (Rush). 400602

Retro OTRDiary 32 Lum and Abner – Movie Theater Comparison 1935-43. (retro586)

For the audio that accompanies this article: <a href=””>Download it here.</a>

The topic of starting a movie theater came up twice in existing recordings of the show. First from May through July of 1935, then 5 years later from September to the end of 1943. In the 1930’s, Chet Lauck and Tuffy Goff wrote all the shows. After their first movie in 1940, and their return to the air waves, they were joined by Roswell B Rogers. Extra characters began showing up, and the writing was a little more sophisticated. Also, after performing for the five years, their voice representation showed some development.

The story is largely the same. Sometimes moving a few jokes earlier or later in the telling. Sometimes dropping older humor for topical humor to fit in with the war years. The later telling of the story has a full week of shows added, presumably due to Tuffy Goff taking some time off. Chet Lauck carries the weight of the show with his characters of Lum, fgrandpap, and Cedric. He’s joined by a couple other character actors, including a final appearance by Lurene Tuttle, as her character of Mary Edwards, recently put under the guardianship of Lum and Abner… and Lizabeth too.

The story came on the heels of different ones, but ones that found Lum leaving town in despair, despondency, and fears from Abner that his friend would, “suicide himself.”

In May of 1935, there had been a chain letter that found Lum and Abner with a lot of hogs on their hands. Squire Skimp took them to sell in Chicago, and the gents dreamed of a monument in their honor. Well, mostly Lum. The small size of the monument is only a minor deterrent. All decked out in borrowed lodge regalia and even a borrowed white horse, a bar b cue is arranged. However, “Things Go Wrong At The Unveiling Ceremony.”

Poor Lum, In 1943, Lum left in despondency after losing face to Caleb Wehundt, and his trade school idea. It didn’t help that his own ward, Mary Edwards took the class of his rival. Mary will only make one more appearance on the show. This can be found in the episode, “Lum Will Teach a Class In Country Storekeeping.”

When Lum leaves in despair, in 1935, it was for one episode, but in 1943, the disappearance went on for most of a week. Winding up in Abner giving away all of Lum’s possessions. Once the widow Jessup, and her scary kids, are scared out of the house, the movie theater topic returns. They discuss the importance of having the right kind of building. Why do they need to have a slanting floor, and high ceiling? In the 1935 episode, “How To Operate A Picture Show,” Abner goes on a rant about shadow puppets, and that he can do it every bit as good as the kids can.

In 1943 Besides the same idea of shadow puppets, the Cotton warehouse is secured with a phone call to Dick Huddleston. With times changed as they were, with more sophisticated writing, and with a war on, jokes also change. Which explains this one about the OPA. An agency that set price limits,, and tried to prevent run away inflation during the war years.
“Discuss Opening A Movie Theater In Pine Ridge.” Both cover Abner wanting to jack up one side of the building for the slanted floor, the need for good seats, and getting grandpap’s player piano. Also a matter of confusion over which side is the front of the house in a theater, and which is the back. An example is found in the 1935 show, “Cotton Warehouse For The Theatre.” The later telling of the story expands into multiple episodes to tell about the jacked up floor , getting the piano, Abner’s confusion and acquiring the projector. Plus Cedric trying to learn how to use it.

Both tellings of the movie theater has grandpap getting the best of Lum in renting his player piano, As found in, “Lum And Abner Hire Grandpap.” But in 1943, a whole week of additions are inserted.
<ul><li>Lum Gives Free Passes To Everyone In Town. (A matter that worries Abner about how they’re going to make money. And some trouble Lum gets into with Henry Lunsford. In 1935, Henry was in town, but Abner was still town constable.)

More things in running a picture show are addressed in the 1943 shows , such as…
<ul><li>Abner Will Go To Mena
<li>Abner Packs For Trip To Mena
<li>Motion Picture Salesman Arrives
<li>The Vulture’s Revenge
<li>Film Company President Pays A Visit To Lum

As if to remember they have a child in their guardianship, Lum gets a phone call from school. And in this stand alone episode, Mary makes probably her last appearance to get a talking to from Lum about the cause of her falling grades… boys. “Mary is Having Problems In School” also finds Lum in an awkward situation of having to tell Mary… um, you know… the facts of life… but not exactly.

After a week of training, “Abner Returns From the Lyric Theater In Mena” and he’s all trained to run the movie projector.

The stories match up a little closer again wen they name the theater. Though the name they settle on in 1935’s “Trying To Name The New Theater,” is different from the 1943 episode “Vote On The Name Of The Theater.” Clearly a vote is involved in one, but not in the other.

The stories parallel pretty closely. Squire wants to be a partner, but you know it’s not going to happen. Squire starts a rival theater, and he draws away resources, including employees who leave to work for Squire’s better wages. Legal charges are brought against Squire, and he has to shut down.

But wait, there’s more. The plot thickens.

Squire is injured, and a new legal battle begins. Without giving away any spoilers, or the points in the plot line, things end well, then they don’t, and a disagreement between Lum and Abner leads into the next story. In 1935 it was a silver mine in Arizona, but in 1943, it goes a different direction. In fact, though the courtroom ordeal ends before the end of the year, the fall out that leads into the next story takes place just after the new year.

Bonus Tracks

Besides a show full of clips from Lum and Abner, our usual opening theme is…
<ul><li>The Tune Wranglers – They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree
<li>W. Lee O’Daniel and his Hillbilly Boys – Devilish Mary

Town Held Hostage Gets a Super Rescue

Revisit the year 1940. A time when heroes were super, and villains were just men, and the only one in spandex was the good guy. Be sure to click the links to either download and listen, or to read my original show summaries. Here’s a n even shorter summary of the summarized story of a mystery of the #panicked town of Direville.

Superman – Wolfe VS Yellow Mask. 400322.


Sometimes titled, “The Mystery of Dyerville Part 1”

As one mystery is solved, another begins. Still in pursuit of the evasive evil mastermind, the Yellow Mask, Unknown to Clark Kent and Lois Lane, their evil counterparts, and henchman of the Yellow Mask begin their next mission of terror, but not without some distrust in the ranks. .

Racing through the night, a mysterious, disappearing black car is the first encounter that Lois and Clark have to signal more with danger to come.

Personal conflicts between the famous reporters melt away when our heroes have to deal with a police barricade, and a bomb that blows up the bridge out from under their car. This looks like a job for SUPERMAN!

Superman – Superman Saves Jefferson Bridge. 400325.


Sometimes titled: “The Mystery of Dyerville Part 2”

What? a flying man in a red and blue suit? That’s crazy talk! There is no such man. He doesn’t exist. At least that’s the common logic, not only in the first half of the 20th century, but for the first half of the 21st century. It’s reality.

Local police tell about the town threatened by terrorists, and more threats and strange events emerge that require super intervention.

A ransom demand, and time limit of 36 hours are announced by a #panicked citizen. Is it possible to wipe the entire town of Direville off the face of the map?

Superman – Yellow Mask Will Blow Up Harley Dam. 400327.


Sometimes titled: “The Mystery of Dyerville Part 3”

The people of Direville are right to be #panicked. If the dam should be blown up, flood waters would cover the town within minutes. It doesn’t take a word from the Yellow Mask to figure it out, and Lois Lane is joined by Clark Kent to go investigate.

The Yellow Mask is a step ahead, and already has a trap for the rival reporters who have thwarted him in the past.

Left alone, in a cabin in the woods, Clark easily escapes his bonds, and as Superman he flies the unconscious Lois Lane to the dam, where city officials soon arrive to investigate the possibility of sabotage.

Superman – Dam Waters Diverted From


I love this title, but it’s sometimes Also titled: “The Mystery of Dyerville Part 4”

The reality of the Yellow Mask’s threats prove out as Harley Dam is trembling and rumbling. The Dyerville City officials, Lois Lane and Clark Kent get a more urgent demand from their evil nemesis. Will he be crazy enough to blow the dam earlier than he promised?

Direville officials won’t cave in, and evacuation plans are put into affect. Lois helps direct the #panicked people flee, but where is Clark? Superman springs into action, but the dam has been blown early… water is rushing… people are fleeing… Can Superman stop the racing wall of water?

Check out this short, thrilling, serial from the early days of Superman. It only takes about an hour to hear the whole story.

Gene Autry’s #yarn of Hope

Music carries messages both liberating and free;
Wishes as big as the sky, of love, hope and dreams.

Friends enjoy their company, marked with signs from the heavens.
A gentle light, glimmering soft as a glow worm among friends.

A yarn is spun, like a thread of grace;
A robber is caught, with a boyish face.

Unseen potential, like a diamond in coal;
Matters of trust battle uphill as they go.

A moment of weakness, a temptation, a test;
Faith’s bubble is burst, but good wins out at last.

A hidden pearl, hope has been found.
A trail of victory closes this round.

PS: To download the full show for fun with Gene Autry, Pat Butram, and the gang, or read my original show notes, use one of the following links:


Gene Autry – Mike Carter – First Song – Out on The Texas Plain.

no #blanket for the Student Body

Boldly going to distant planets
Are a group of young Jacks and Janet’s. ,

Life and mission on the remote world where they will serve Means going low impact. They’re only to observe.

Aliens are detected, but seem harmless and small.
Self survival is the main problem. That’s all.

Needing a break, students fall on their backs
I’ts time to picnic, nap, and relax.

Kindred in confusion, but nobody knows
When they awake, What has happened to their clothes?

Evolving, life forms grow in size and in threat.
Just how fast, and big will these critters get?

Threat to survival could affect the universe.
This can’t get better, only get worse.

PS: Enjoy this audio production with the following links to either download it, or read my original show notes:

X Minus One – Student Body. 560731

Keith Heltsley

The #roots of Mousey #gray

Timid and soft spoken is his usual way,
Until love ignites his inner rage.
The surface calm that Mousey Gray had;
Belies the turmoil that makes him so mad.

One power punch is all he wrote;
To knockout his rivals, and elope.
Now Gussey is his, and shares his name,
but will Mousey continue on to fame?

In Pine Ridge Mousey has begun to prowl;
As the night watchman who likes poetry, and owls.
For him Lum and Abner are like no other.
To him they feel just like a mother.

PS: To listen to the events that introduced Llewelen Snavely Gray to the cast of characters with Lum and Abner in Pine Ridge, have a look at these shows from December 1941.

Poetic Notes: Fibber Needs Glasses.

In the perky little scene on Wistful Vista,
Fibber pulls pranks as people pop in.
It’s obvious that our fabulous Fibber needs an optician,
and the Old Timer and phone operator return pranks upon him.

Going to see Gildersleeves, the great doctor with vision,
Fibber’s favorite tiny tot, Teeny, is a frustration.
The doc does him good, and Fibber departs,
going home he eyes upscale, Abigail Uppington, looking so smart.
His glasses are groovy, but what does Molly think?
The jokes wrap up with a visit from Nick the Greek.

PS: Poetic license has been taken with this fun use of #Alliteration. For a download to enjoy the show, or read my original notes, click the following links.


Fibber McGee and Molly – Fibber Needs Glasses.

[tags, #introtopoetry, #Alliteration, Zip, Pep]