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The Golden Age of Radio

By Stephanie Ciccarelli

March 10, 2006

Comments (7)

Poster boy Orson Welles and my personal fave... you'll have to read to find out!

Greetings,

There is nothing more glorious in the history of broadcast than the Golden Age of Radio.

Orson Welles was radio's poster boy, basking in the glow of studio lights while thrilling and enchanting the American public over the airwaves. Most famous for his rendition of "The War of the Worlds" on October 31, 1938, Orson succeeded in fueling mass pandemonium with his all too literal way with words.

"War of the Worlds" was the vehicle that rocketed Orson Welles' career sky high, aided by the support of a new sponsor, Campbell's Soup, a company whose patronage was instrumental in ferrying Orson's genius to epic heights and a career in the movies spanning several decades in Hollywood.

Is there anyone who you think should be honored with a mention from the Golden Age of Radio? If so, please leave a comment :)

Best,

Stephanie

P.S. There is nothing more electric than listening to old recordings of Foster Hewitt broadcasting from Maple Leaf Gardens on Hockey Night in Canada. There, now you know my pick :)

Related Topics: broadcasting, Hollywood, radio


Comments


    Eve Arden in Our Miss Brooks. She's amazing all around but she was made famous in the 40's with her wisecracking remarks on that radio show. shes a legend in my world.

    Posted by:
    • Yasamin
    • June 22, 2006 1:35 PM

      There are so many GREATS! who started on radio and moved over to TV:
      Milton Berle
      Bob Hope
      George and Gracie Allen
      It gives me a thrill just to be living on the same planet where they all were!
      Jennifer

      Posted by:
      • Jennifer Mims
      • June 22, 2006 1:36 PM

        Jack Benny and his entire cast, Fred Allen, Willard Waterman (The Great Gildersleeve), and a short run in the late 50s by one of the greatest satirists of all time, Stan Freberg!
        -Ron-

        Posted by:
        • Ron Altman
        • June 22, 2006 1:36 PM

          There are many great performers conected with old time radio. Give a listen to Phil Harris & alice faye, Jack Benny, Gunsmoke just to name a few. Check them out at WWW.alltimeoldies.com the radio theater channel.

          Posted by:

            Every year in Elmira, NY, a retired history professor named Gary Yoggy produces "A Visit to the Golden Age of Radio" live on stage in the Clemens Center for the Performing Arts. An evening of archived radio scripts is presented live, with sound effects, theme music, and guest stars like Gale Storm, Will Hutchins, and Arthur Anderson (voice of Lucky the leprechaun). It's great fun and a unique chance to build versatility as a voice actor. We've done everything from Abbot and Costello to Blondie, and many of the best western, detective and suspense shows.

            See also: http://www.oldradioworld.com/
            Mr.Mike

            Posted by:

              The fifties BBC radio series Journey Into Space, written and directed by Charles Chilton, was a mighty thriller.
              Writing often finished minutes before the great tapes rolled, so there was a genuine tension and sense of 'what next' among the actors that really came across!
              Sound effects were simple and spare: looped bleeping with a bit of echo suggested infinite travel; when the airlock whirred you were hearing a vacuum cleaner; collisions with rogue spaceships were in reality the closing of a lift gate in Broadcasting House!
              Of course, none of this was suspected by a ten year old sitting entranced beneath Dad's big and very loud AM radio. It was magic. Less is more.

              Posted by:

                The contribution of Wayne & Shuster to the Golden Age of Radio can not be understated. Johnny & Frank were masters of words, timing, and delivery. There's a reason they transitioned to television and that they were Ed Sullivan's most frequent guests.
                As a recovering ventriloquist I must mention Edgar Bergan. His ability to bring his characters, like Charlie McCarthy, to life illustrates what voice actors can do when they study and practise. (His was the only show giving Welles a run for its money on Oct. 31st.) Fibber McGee & Molly were also stellar vocal performers.
                Across the pond they produced shows like the Goon Show, I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again (which morphed into I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and is still running today), and many others. The tradition of spoken word radio continues on BBC Radio 4.
                Thanks for the fun trip down memory lane, Stephanie.

                Posted by:

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