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Who needed TV when you had...

Old 07-04-24, 09:09 PM
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Who needed TV when you had...

...RADIO!

Old radio shows still work incredibly well for long car trips, and a lot of those shows really hold up well when it comes to the writing and acting.

I've been a huge fan of Radio Drama (and, to a lesser degree, radio comedy) since the mid 70's. My dad had recorded dozens of radio shows on reel to reel tapes in the early 70's (on rebroadcasts/re-runs), so I was exposed to this stuff when most people weren't.

Let me tell you something, in the 50's Radio Drama was far superior to Television Drama of the same era when it came to the writing. It wasn't even close. Radio seemed to have less censorship than TV, and TV was aimed at a less intelligent audience, so they dumbed it down to make it appealing to kids and stupid people. Now, that's a generalization, and a bit of hyperbole, but a lot of TV was really dumbed down when it came to the writing. (There are always exceptions.)

Radio drama had some amazing writing. Dragnet, Richard Diamond Private Detective, Philip Marlowe, The Six Shooter, Tales Of The Texas Rangers, etc, all featured outstanding writing. But the best written show was unquestionably Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar from 1955 to 1956 while the show was actually run 5 days per week, 15 minutes per day (so a 70 minute story, more or less). That format let them flesh out the main plot, add subplots, add more characters, and actually have character development. It was brilliant. Jack Johnstone was the Producer/Director of the revamped Johnny Dollar, and he ended up writing a lot of the episodes as well. He hired a new actor to play Johnny Dollar, Bob Bailey, who became the definitive Dollar (there were 4 other actors who played Johnny Doller, two before, and two after), and everything clicked with this show.

Here are two of my favorite episodes





There were some great Science Fiction shows, too, like Dimension X and X Minus One. Here's a great story, decades before Back To The Future and Jurassic Park...


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Old 07-04-24, 09:38 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

As someone who would listen to the old radio shows on one of our local AM stations (they came on after the hockey game) while working late into the night, I concur. Fantastic writing and incredible voice actors. A bygone era in which one had to be talented to break into showbiz. See also: Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin.
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Old 07-04-24, 11:08 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

I can listen to talk shows and music but unless I had no other option I refuse to listen to a game on the radio and will always watch it on TV.
Old 07-05-24, 09:19 AM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

The BBC series Annika was based on the BBC Radio 4 audio drama Annika Standed and starred Nicola Walker as Annika in both shows.

There were six series (31 episodes, 2013 to 2020) of the radio show to the two series (12 episodes, 2021 and 2023) of the TV show.

I enjoyed both immensely.
Old 07-05-24, 10:19 AM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

I'll usually fall asleep to talk radio (using the old school clock radio on my nightstand).

I don't have a TV in my master bedroom.
Old 07-05-24, 10:39 AM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

I did that before but now podcasts replaced radio with less ads

You can get a 65" TV for under 1K these days if you decide to add a TV.
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Old 07-05-24, 11:18 AM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

Yea, podcasts would probably be better. Sometimes I can't get a station to come through and get static

I think I want to avoid a TV in the master bedroom, to avoid staying in bed and watching tv all the time. However, I do have a TV in my home office bedroom.
Old 07-05-24, 02:07 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

There have been a few Batman related "audio adventures" recently. I know MAX has one.



Old 07-05-24, 05:19 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

Originally Posted by Toby Dramit
See also: Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin.
I've never listened to a radio show, but I watched the hell out of these guys since I was a kid (plus Laurel and Hardy, Harry Langdon, and the Marx Brothers. Still love that stuff!
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Old 07-05-24, 05:39 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

Big name movie stars never did regular TV series, but they'd gladly do radio series. Humprhey Bogart and Lauren Bacall had Bold Venture. Alan Ladd had Box 13. Jimmy Stewart had The Six Shooter, and so on.
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Old 07-05-24, 06:39 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

Big Finish make audio dramas like these for Doctor Who and other properties. They release about one per week and use the original actors when available.

https://www.bigfinish.com/

Be warned, they've been doing this for a long, and their catalog is enormous. So if you're looking to dip in, you might want to research and see which ones are considered to be the best, as the quality can vary a lot and these aren't cheap.
Old 07-05-24, 08:23 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
Big Finish make audio dramas like these for Doctor Who and other properties. They release about one per week and use the original actors when available.

https://www.bigfinish.com/

Be warned, they've been doing this for a long, and their catalog is enormous. So if you're looking to dip in, you might want to research and see which ones are considered to be the best, as the quality can vary a lot and these aren't cheap.
I got several of their Stargate shows. I don't think they're available anymore, but they're great!
Old 07-05-24, 08:32 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

I own the Twilight Zone DVD set and they had the radio shows as part of the bonus features narrated by Stacey Keach
Old 07-05-24, 09:32 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

When I was a kid, my grandfather used to keep the radio on while he slept, and at night one of these programs would come on. His bedroom was across from mine, and we usually kept both doors open in the winter and summer so heat and cool could circulate. It was either mystery or horror-themed, and it opened with a creaking door that kind of freaked me out at first, but later found sort of comforting. I think it was called "The Inner Sanctum."

A while back I was looking for some of these old radio programs online, and discovered that a lot of them were never preserved or archived, and are now lost. Sort of like 1960s episodes of Doctor Who.
Old 07-08-24, 06:49 PM
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Re: Who needed TV when you had...

I'd rather listen to Gunsmoke with William Conrad than watch Gunsmoke with James Arness.

The radio adaptations of Star Wars & The Empire Strikes Back were a pretty big deal to me as a kid - back when you couldn't watch almost any movie you wanted at any time.

When I was a teen, I discovered old time radio thanks to WRVO, a New York public radio station. They used to run 4 hours a night of classic radio shows, always ending with an episode of Suspense. I think they still run a scaled back version. Besides Suspense, I loved Jack Benny, The Great Gildersleeve, The Six-Shooter, You Bet Your Life, The Campbell Playhouse with Orson Welles. The CBS Radio Mystery Theater from the 70s is kind of fun if you can find it with the original commercials. There was also a Fantastic Four show with Bill Murray as the Human Torch.
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