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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Radio plays - a lost art

 

I consider myself lucky because much of my childhood predated the television age. Even when television arrived in the early 50s, it transmitted for no more than a few hours a day.

Our television set - a chunky piece of furniture on four legs - had a lockable 'roll-a-door' in front of the tiny screen, and our father, as keeper of the key, controlled what and how much we were watching --- not that there was much to watch anyway.

Those were the early-to-bed-and-early-to-rise days of the 50-hour-plus six-day working week and if there was any time left after dinner for "entertainment", we would play a board-game or sit around the radio in the evening, with the magic dial glowing in the dark, listening to a radio play.

You can relive those precious memories by listening to Lux Radio Theatre, named after the famous Lux soap because it was sponsored by Unilever. Many of their 926 episodes are archived on this website which allows you to download them in mp3 format.

I'm downloading Lost Horizon to send to an Austrian friend who's found his own Shangri-La, far away from television, on a small tropical island in the Kingdom of Tonga. I am sure he'll enjoy the radio play as well as the book as he lies in his hammock shaded by a swaying palm-tree.

And there are so many more: The Third Man; For Whom the Bell Tolls; Goodbye, Mr Chips; A Farewell to Arms; Casablanca; The African Queen; etc.