I almost forgot — one more thing I wanted to do was to plug RUSC.com. “R U Sitting Comfortably” is a web site that collects recordings of old-time (30s & 40s) radio shows. When I was growing up there was an AM radio station that would replay shows like Burns and Allen, The Life of Riley, The Jack Benny Program, You Bet Your Life, and the Green Hornet. All great fun.
So recently I got a bug up my ass (not sure why) to find one of those shows, and lo and behold there are websites that collect them! RUSC seems to be one of the most complete; they have some of all of the above shows and tons which I had no idea existed or had only heard mention of. (Did you know that Allen Funt did “Candid Microphone” before he went on TV for “Candid Camera”?) They’ve also got old time baseball and football broadcasts, as well as some historical stuff (news/NPR-type broadcasts from Europe during WWII).
I’m a bit of a history buff in that it can be interesting to find out what went on during a time period and who influenced what. I love James Burke’s show “Connections” which traces a thread of connection from one seemingly unrelated item to another and another. (I don’t like going to the extent of writing papers proving a theory, though.)
So it’s also interesting to see shows like “I was a Communist for the FBI” from the middle of the Red Scare, or “Boston Blackie” and “Charlie Chan”, presenting an oh-wow-that’s-really-bad stereotyped view of certain ethnic groups. The shows even have commercials from the time; it really is something of a look into people’s lives (okay, as much as radio reflected that) and society’s views and values from sixty to seventy years ago.
Anyway — the SO and I are having fun listening to shows from old time radio, and the subscription fee is pretty tiny for what it is (we’re paying about $6/month). They have a few samplers; I heartily recommend them.