Sunday, April 23, 2006
Old Time Radio
Over at Booksteve's Library he has been talking about his love of old time radio and his experiences at the old time radio convention that comes to the Cincinnati area every spring. I too have a love for that era of entertainment. For me it began in the 70's. Well ,considering how my Mom and Dad would sometimes talk about their favorite shows or use the slang of that era that started from old time radio, it actually may have started earlier. I might have had a drawer full of stuff and Mom would say it looked like Fibber McGee's closet. I had no idea who Fibber McGee was or what his closet looked like but that was the beginning of my old time radio education. I loved watching the old comidies of Abbott and Costello. I knew they had a radio show before but could never listen to it since it was off the air but I could watch those movies everytime they were on tv. Then one night I had the radio on and came across the "CBS Radio Mystery Theatre." I was hooked. A friend of mine, Wayne Davis, said that he liked the show too. Eventually I found that my cousins Steve and Randy liked old time radio too. Randy's love for Edger Bergen led him to become a part time ventriloquist and helped him make some money. We all were going to record stores and finding albums of old radio shows like the one shown above. Suddenly the door to Fibber McGee's closet was opened up to me and out came a whole gang of wonderful people. Edger Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Jack Benny, The Shadow, Dick Tracy, Abbott and Costello, Superman, The Six Shooter, X-Minus One etc. Time passed and my love of radio grew enough that I got a Bachelor of Arts degree in radio, television and film communications. My cousin Steve told me of the OTR conventions that were in Cincinnati and one day when my college buddy Chuck and I wanted something to do we stopped in at the convention. The dealers room seem incredible and it was like a dream for people like me. Chuck and I both stocked up on some old time radio cassettes and listened to them on the drive home. Chuck has moved to Florida so he has stopped coming but I have been almost every year since. I missed one time as I went to Tampa that weekend to vist Chuck. I got to try out for roles usually being cast as the announcer. During the trip to Florida Chuck and I went to Disney and while there they were showing what went on behind the scenes of movies to make up the sound effects. They asked if anyone wanted to help out. I volunteered. They were going to show a film that had Martin Short and Chevy Chase in it and they asked me to voice the character that Mr. Short was playing. I couldn't believe it but here I was miles from the convention and I still got a part. When I was at one of the conventions I got the announcers job while Steve and his wife Rene also got roles. After we rehearsed I was sitting there waiting for the show to start. I looked at our cast of six and suddenly realized that half the cast was my family. It was a funny but proud feeling. Over the years I have stopped trying for roles but I still attend the convention and get tapes or CD's of OTR shows. The dealers room seems smaller every year now. Perhaps the audience for that brand of entertainment is dying off but my personal love for it never will.