Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Good Old Days

I have always been a fan of radio.  Since I can remember, I was fascinated with radio.  Not just your normal everyday music station either.  Oh, I love music and listen to it daily, but other types.  I would listen to my dad's shortwave radio, trying to tune in far off stations from around the world when I was merely 9 or 10.  I would try to find a station far away that was speaking English to see just how far away they were.  I got really excited when I would hear stations in Europe or Asia.  I was also a fan of radio theater.

I was introduced to radio theater when I was pretty young, listening to WCCO radio late on Saturday night and they would play the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.  The series ran from 1974 to 1982.  I suppose it was around 1977 or 78 when I found this genre.  If there was a reason for me to go to bed early on a Saturday night, this was it!  I could lay in bed and listen to the theater.  I always enjoyed it while I drifted off to sleep.

To this very day I enjoy listening to the radio.  Still as fascinated as I was back then to hear a station thousands of miles away coming in like it's right next door.  I also still enjoy radio theater.  It is a little harder to come by nowadays though.  Not enough visual stimuli for the modern age to not have 3D, much less no pictures at all!  So how do I feed that need for the stimuli I crave?  I found that the Internet is awash with what is called Old Time Radio (OTR).  So much so that I bought an "Internet Radio" to tune it in!  The Internet radio basically just uses your wifi and has a basic search engine to find Internet radio stations.

One thing that is kind of weird and fascinating all at the same time is that many of the stations playing the OTR programs will play them unedited.  This means that they play the commercials as well.  Most of the commercials are for soap, or cigarettes, or some other odd item, usually for the lone sponsor of the show.  You can probably guess what the Campbell Soup Theater program had for commercials.  It's funny how advertising has changed over the last 75 years.

I was sitting here listening to an old Red Skelton radio program tonight and it got me thinking.  Is today's generation "missing out", or am I just being old fashioned?  I hope we're not losing the ability to fantasize, needing constant visual stimuli.  It seems that every movie coming out today is in 3D.  What about story lines?  What about plots?  What about a screen presence carrying the scene?  Do we need the 3D and computer imaging?  Could you improve on many of the movies of old by 3D or computer imaging? 

We used to be entertained by simple things.  Now it seems we are only satisfied with awesome special effects rather than a good story line. 

I guess I'm getting old.  It's just that I feel I'm too young to long for the Good Old Days...

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