Monday, March 9, 2009
Make Mine... Mystery Radio
by Anne Carter
I’m not quite old enough to have listened to 1930’s, 40’s or 50’s mystery radio programs. But now, through the miracle of the internet, these fabulous, classic shows are available again to mystery fans for as little as … free! I’ve been listening to RadioLovers.com for several years.
From Beyond Midnight to the Adventures of Philip Marlowe, one can listen in on any number of 30 minute stories from radio’s golden era. My personal favorite is Candy Matson. Some of the recordings are scratchy and difficult to comprehend, but most are reasonably clear. I like that I can play individual programs while I’m working on other things—things that don’t detract from my ability to listen to the story.
Some of these episodes are recorded with their sponsors’ commercials attached. Many have the leading actors reading the advertisement in between acts. Listening to commercials for long-forgotten soap products or snippets about war bonds is almost as interesting as the mystery itself.
Another thing I really like about mystery radio is that it engages the imagination more than its video cousins, TV and movies. Like an audio book, radio theater lets the listener imagine, with the help of a very few sound effects, the visual portion of the story as it unfolds. Sometimes, at the beginning, end or during a commercial, I visualize the actors standing before tall, floor microphones with scripts in their hands. How different from the mechanics of today’s entertainment.
By the way, a disclaimer on RadioLovers.com states that they believe that copyrights on any of the shows they offer are expired. See also Old Time Radio Fans.