Sunday, October 30, 2011

1939 "War Of the Worlds" Article

Astounding Outcome Of The "Martian Scare"!

This is an article from the February 1939 issue of Radio Mirror about the effects of Orson Welles' phenomenal WOTW broadcast!

I love the way they use a photo of actor Bill Johnstone as The Shadow here...

Don't you all remember how you used to sneak spoonfuls of tasty, delicious Fletcher's Castoria castor oil when mom and dad weren't looking? Mmmmm...

Although mostly fluff (and surpisingly devoid of anger), the ending of the article does mention the "radio censorship ghost", a new awareness for this country to prepare against war, a change in news broadcasts, and radio's exodus from Hollywood. Interesting and insightful points, given that this story was probably written only about two months after the WOTW broadcast!

Maybe THIS picture should have been in the article (the REAL Orson Welles as the Shadow!) -

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Little TOTM'ers

SO - after months of no posts (sorry!)...

My previous post was regarding some work we did at a local middle school, getting some of the youths a bit acquainted with a nearly-extinct artform: "Old Time Radio".

During the summer, we did another OTR class/demonstration for students who were lucky enough to be taking summer classes - and again, as before, almost none of youths knew what on earth Old Time Radio was. Well, as it turned out, there actually WAS one kid there who knew about OTR, and was a pretty big fan. But as for the rest of the class...absolutely no idea. Well, we fixed that! Now they know a Radio Orphan Annie decoder from a hole in the ground (which is where you can find ROA decoders, if you dig in the right places!).

Well, long story longer, I'd carted my equipment (microphones and scripts and sound effects and decoders and so on) home, and didn't quite get to putting it all away immediately. And one Friday night, when my nieces and nephew dropped over to the house for a sleep-over, that "pile of stuff" got some interested looks...

Talk about different art projects to keep the kids busy!

They enjoyed digging through the mountain of sound effects objects (trying all of them along the way, of course), and picking out the ones that would be used in the goofy horror show we'd picked out - "The Strange Doctor Weird - The Voice Of Death!". After I did a little coaching about using different voices, turning pages quietly, and microphone technique, we picked out roles, highlighted the scripts, did a single read-through, and then recorded this (which includes editing and added music and extra pre-recorded sound effects):

WOW! I actually got the kids to read! And act! And learn a handful of new vocabulary words! And have fun! And they even helped me put away my sound effects stuff, too! What a bunch of good kids.

There's no reason for OTR to ever die. It just needs to keep being introduced.