In the 1930’s people found an escape from their difficult times as they listened to the radio. Most families had radios and it was their favorite pastime. It became a family tradition for them to gather around the radio and enjoy their favorite shows. They used their imagination and entered a different world from the sadness of the Depression. Imagination can be a very powerful method to use your mind. You can see and hear things you might have missed if you only watch television. You can cry, laugh or smile as you return to a different time. Remember the days of old-time radio doesn’t mean you’re old.
These shows consisted of exciting adventures, comedies, and mysteries. A radio show “War of The Worlds” even caused panic in the nation. It sounded so real that people thought the world was invaded by aliens. That’s the power of the imagination.
The public’s favorites were: The Jack Benny Show, The Shadow, Flash Gordon, The Goldberg’s, The Marx Brothers, The Lucky Strike Radio, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland. Many performers started in Vaudeville, then radio and then some became popular on television and in movies.
Chuck Schaden, a broadcaster and old-time radio historian hosted the radio show Those Were The Days from 1974 to 2005 when he retired. Steve Darnell is the current host and publisher of the Golden Age of Radio. He also writes about his favorite subject Old-Time Radio in the Nostalgic Digest Magazine You can listen to Steve Darnell every Saturday live from 1 to 5 pm on WDCB 90.90 FM in Chicago and nationwide.
Some of these shows are available at your local library. If they don’t have them librarians may be able to order them through Inter-Library Loan. This is a service where libraries can search other libraries that might have what you want. Groups of performers entertain at libraries so you can listen to them read scripts of your best-loved shows. Today’s technology allows you to learn interesting facts about the programs and the performers on podcasts. Podcasts are like videos without the pictures. Some retail stores also sell Old Time Radio CD’s or cassette tapes. You can also purchase them online or on Ebay. If technology isn’t “your thing” that’s okay just listen to the radio show I mentioned.
So sit back and relive your memories. Introduce these shows to your children and grandchildren and share your life with them. Maybe they will enjoy this new form of entertainment and spend less time watching television or texting. You might be surprised children might even learn to enjoy the shows. If they don’t like them find joy in them yourself.