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]

Stopping the Unstoppable

Another installment of peeking behind the curtain, and glimpsing behind the scenes of the podcast.

Environment is so important. Sometimes there isn’t any control, and when there’s work to be done, mental preparation can make the difference. Bad weather, noisy room, the need to leave that comfortable chair and desk, working on the road, off the grid, without tools, or very few of them. Creativity is still locked in the head, but it takes more effort to pry it out.

Not that creativity can’t be expressed. It just takes conscious effort and well… creativity to get it out in the open.,

For example, today I’m not at home. I’ve had to be on the road to take care of business. Going to the city to accompany a relative at a doctor appointment. continuing the day’s adventure 80 miles down the road to my house that I’ve been trying to sell. We have renters instead, and lease agreements to look over, sign, and arrange for them to take possession. While my wife shows them the property once again, I take a break, squeezing in a few moments to crack open the laptop, connecting to the world using a hotspot, and at least take time in writing a few lines for the Retro Radio Blog. It isn’t my usual work space. I’m out of the office, out of my creative comfort zone, but if I can’t record a podcast, or even listen to anything, or work on my line up for the upcoming weeks, at least I can write.

I’d rather be in my office chair, with the nice back support. I’d rather be able to finish that editing project I started on the weekend, but had to put on hold for the moment. I’d rather have access to my home network, and the archive of stuff I have there for resources. I’d rather be able to do some audio editing on the software I have on my home work station, than the set up on my portable environment.

I could do some of those. I try to be prepared. Instead, I write. I need the practice. And now you know a little more about the behind the scenes of what happens at the podcast.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll be unstoppable, and crank the creative juice to full impact. I love the time I spend in my little Church House Studio. But maybe life will sneak in with lawn mowers that need fixing, backyard jungles to weed whack, laundry to do. and other demands on time management. Then I’ll slip upstairs, put on the headphones, fire up the microphone, and slice and dice audio files until the evening grows late.

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

[categories Inbox, Writing]

Featuring: Our Miss Brooks – Weekend At Crystal Lake. ep7, 480919

Rewritten show notes, thanks to #everydayinspiration

Download the audio.

There’s something peaceful about a lake. On the surface, clean, shimmering water, with wind kicking up little ripples on the surface. Ducks swimming, or waddling near the shoreline. A row boat quietly heading to a shady fishing hole. Couples holding hands as they walk the path to stroll the circumference.

How could such an idyllic seen, on a late Summer day, hold anything but rest and relaxation.

As we examine one of the couples more closely, we find they are a pair of high school teachers, invited by the principle and his wife to their lakeside cottage for the weekend. The situation has overtones of tragedy and jealousy, like a torrid romance novel. Will the wonderful weekend to the wild woods end in worry?

The optimism of Connie Brooks is challenged at every turn. The power of suggestion plants seeds of stress in the mind. It would certainly be an American tragedy, if all the plot points in that age old novel were set into play. The dreams of private seclusion with her love interest, Philip Boynton are shattered. But wait! Will he have passionate interests in Connie for once? Has love finally won the day in their hearts?

Someone needs to tell those around them that the silly comparison to the tragic love tale is only in the mind. The stodgy principle, Mr Conklin, takes a heroic step. His efforts are noble indeed. However, the misguided helper soon reverses the tender moment, snatching cupids aero from its target, and sending our lovers into an order of life or death, of being lost at sea… or at lost in the lake.

Salvation comes with Mrs Conklin, and the rays of truth shining through the clouds of mental anguish.

Poets, Prophets, And Madmen

Some say only thin lines separate poetry, prophecy, and madness –Miriam Webster Word of the Day, vatic

Though the folks at Miriam Webster admit they don’t know whether that quote is entirely true, they seem to be the primary source of this quote. Regardless, it got my curiosity going.

What kind of evidence is there in the world of classic radio dramas relating to prophets?

I won’t say my notes are accurate, and they only cover shows I currently have posted on Retro Radio Podcast as of today. Here’s a sampling of those madmen.

To start with, I found these that have nothing at all to do with prophets in the show. However the writers seem to have an uncanny knack at peering into the real life future of Dennis Day.

Dennis Day – Dennis Donates For A New Gym. ep83, 480630

As stated, the show itself has absolutely nothing to do with prophets. However, I suppose the zaniness of Dennis Day would qualify for the mad man part, and the lyrics of his songs would be poems.

Here’s how I recorded it in my original show notes:

Trivia Alert: In filling out a questionnaire for his school, Dennis is about to say he is married with 10 kids. Though he was married in the late 1940’s, he was prophetic in his statement. He eventually did have 10 kids.

The next Dennis Day prophecy comes a few years later with this gem.

Jack Benny – Show Not Being Broadcast. 540926

There isn’t anything out of the typical lunacy in the show. Mary doesn’t make an appearance to share a poem, Dennis has his moment of prophecywhen he claims he’s leaving the show, due to being married with nine kids. Though he admits that he’s neither, (he
time.

Inner Sanctum – Murder By Prophecy. 480927

A man in financial trouble, a library complete with and old librarian, and the eerie feeling that he’s having his spirit led to something big. It is big, a possible treasure. But there’s also a catch to the prophecy. How far will he go to claim the legacy? If its all prophesied, it’s a done deal… right? Be prepared to be spooked as problems go from bad to worse.

The Shadow – The Bride Of Death. 380306.

Real prophets need not apply. As Lamonte Cranston, the Shadow investigates a cult. Still, Margot Lane has vanished, and the pseudo psychic gives the Shadow a run for his money in matching him in the power to cloud men’s minds. Human sacrifices, panthers, and lots of creepy stuff stand in the way to expose the false prophet.


Casey, Crime Photographer – The Suicide. 500504

Detectives of all types battle bogus claims of false prophets, and the like. Charlatans who are out to scam the gullible out of their money.

This time though, Casey is confronted with what appears to be the anguished soul of a playwright who predicted his own death. The logical minded Casey isn’t having any of it, and chases the case from eerie prophecy, to planned suicide, to murder.

Is there a connection between Poets, Prophets, and Madmen? I’ll admit I don’t see much of it between Poets and Prophets, but there’s a little bit of mad man in both. Especially in the release of the inner demons of the poet, and the motives of the false prophet.

Behind the Podcast,By the Numbers 

  1. Listen to classic radio shows

    1. Those on this month’s line up.

    2. Those not on the list… just for fun.
  2. Write notes.
    1. What’s the beginning, middle, and end of the episode.

    2. What significant words or phrases were used in the episode.
    3. What did people do, not verbatim what they said.
    4. What was I thinking as the topic in the show was presented.
  3. Consider new shows to add to a line up for next month, or beyond.
    1. Shows to continue.

    2. New shows I haven’t heard before.
    3. Shows I’ve heard, but haven’t had time to include.
    4. Shows listeners recommend.
    5. Shows other podcasters do.
  4. What shows should be dropped?
    1. What shows am I running out of.

    2. What shows get the least downloads.
    3. What shows am I getting bored with.
    4. Eenie, meenie minie, mo, I need to make a place for a new show… NO! Not that one.
    5. Eenie, meenie minie, mo, I need to make a place for a new show… OK, that one will work.
  5. Grab a show to feature.
    1. A show from a genre that listeners like.

    2. A show I stumbled on in an archive of stuff that never got posted yet.
    3. Something with some history to comment about.
  6. Record.
    1. Don’t talk too much, stupid.

    2. Keep to the point.
    3. Stop saying ‘um’ all the time.
  7. Edit.
    1. Find gaps for the Retrobots to fill in, and save the day.

    2. Find a music selection from the same time, or with a theme that fits
    3. Maybe a comedy short, snipped from somewhere else.
    4. Make the opening different, with new sound bites.
    5. Grab the next musical intro in the folder to lay under the opening.
    6. Tack on a new closing.
  8. Upload.
  9. Post show notes. Tags, and category.
  10. Link the media file.
  11. Set the date.
  12. Publish.
  13. Let the world admire… or scoff at… your handiwork.