About Me

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I try to find enjoyment in life's simple things: friends & family, gardening, nature, home projects, etc. The television and radio are generally silent appliances in my home. But sometimes we all need a little help outside of ourselves to lift our hearts with laughter or a song. In my house, that often means switching on "Golden Age" radio shows, classic television or film, or simply turning to a good old-fashioned book.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Great Vintage Christmas/Holiday Radio

It's that time of year again. Time for old-time Christmas Radio. . .

I've listened to Ralphie's Radio every December for several years now. It has such fun selections! All with plenty of vintage charm.

Note: If it returns a message "VIP Only," it means the station currently has its full limit of non-member listeners. You can return again to try during a less-busy time.

For those moments when you need a more direct celebration of the magesty of the season, you could try some of the selctions I've collected at my blog post, Handel's Messiah Online.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Radio Reflected a Nation Back to Itself

Reflecting on the days when radio provided an on-air live radio format, Associate Professor Emeritus of Journalism Dave MacFarland said,
"Once, radio reflected a nation back to itself; it told stories. Now most days feel like a carbon copy of yesterday. Radio today is a utility, like cooking gas for your range -- you turn it on briefly when you need it."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Narrated Movies on Audio (Movies for the Blind)

I've been so busy with projects at home, that I haven't had time to sit down and watch movies. Sometimes while doing housework I try to play some light movie that might not be too engrossing, but I usually end up sitting and watching the video instead of doing my intended work. Today I found a great alternative: "Movies for the Blind: Enjoy Films without Looking at the Screen."

I browsed the comedies and selected "The Young in Heart" a 1938 feature film (Selznick International Pictures) with Janet Gaynor, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Minnie Dupree, Paulette Goddard, Roland Young, and Billie Burke.

If the name of Billie Burke seems familiar, it is perhaps because she is better known for her role as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, in "The Wizard of Oz." Here she plays the mother in a family of con artists who spend their time looking for ways to make their way in the world without actually working. It's a light-hearted movie that has touching but not overly-sentimental moments. . . which ended up being just the right sort of thing for me to listen to while doing some kitchen work this evening.

Scene from The Young at Heart - 1938 - playing cards

Scene from The Young in Heart - 1938

Scenes from "The Young at Heart" (1938)

No wonder I had been having such a hard time attending to my work while movies played in the background. Even for a movie like this with much dialog and only occasional action scenes, the narration added by "Movies for the Blind" points out to me just how much of these dramas is expressed visually on the big screen.

"Movies for the Blind" provides audio formats for direct mp3 download (which means it can be taken out for autotrips or gardenwork) or other formats or streaming via Internet Archive--as well as links to the original public domain film or television show video.

Narrated television audio to enjoy include some episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" and "The Dick Van Dyke Show."

I and my housework are looking forward to enjoying more of these narrated classics.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Handel's Messiah, Online

I was listening to a Vintage Christmas Music Station just a little while ago, and stopped to realize that I was listening to Neil Diamond singing words to Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus." Neil Diamond with a faint brush of disco in the instrumentals, singing "And He shall reign forever and ever. . . . King of Kings, and Lord of Lords." (Did he know something of the Mystery he sang?)

Ah, but Handel's lyrics are so wonderfully to the point, and not having my old cassette of the entire concert at hand, I went scrounging for a public domain version.

"And the Glory. . . " from "The Messiah" by George Friedrich Handel, The Choir of the King's College, Cambridge.

MIT Chamber Chorus

Royal Philharmonic Chorus and Orchestra, Sir Thomas Beecham, conducting. Recorded 1959.

Comfort Ye My People, Jon Vickers, RPO, Beecham. Recorded 1959.

The Entire Concert of Handel's Messiah as presented on "Friday Night at the Opera" on KXPR Capital Public Radio, Sacromento, 18 Dec 2009.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Radio Listening Log - Danny Kaye on The Jack Benny Show

The Jack Benny Show, "The Life Story of Jack Benny", May 28, 1944

Performers: Guest: Danny Kaye
Regulars: Jack Benny, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Mary Livingstone, Don Wilson, Phil Harris, Dennis Day
Content: Jack and Mary run into Danny Kaye when they go to Warner Brother's offices to talk about plans for a new motion picture on Jack's life. Danny Kaye explains what one learns about acting from the great "Stanislavsky."
Comments: This is Danny Kaye's first appearance on the Jack Benny Show. Writer Milt Josephberg later wrote about how highly Jack and Danny thought of each other. Benny Show writers often picked up on an exaggerated the truth such as this for the script.

A variation on the Warner Brother's Office skit was also performed by Jack, Danny, and Dinah Shore for the Armed Forces Radio Network's "Mail Call" on February 2, 1945 .

References: "Wilkie" - Wendell Wilkie withdrew from the 1944 presidential race on April 5, after being defeated in the Wisconsin Republican primary. Wilkie had been the Republican candidate who unsuccessfully ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940.

Paul Lukas won the 1943 Academy Award for best actor for his performance in Watch on the Rhine.

The Jack Benny Show, "The Kid from Brooklyn", April 28, 1946

Performers: Guest: Danny Kaye
Regulars: Jack Benny, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Mary Livingstone, Don Wilson, Phil Harris, Dennis Day, Mel Blanc
Content: The cast walks home after viewing Danny Kaye's latest motion picture, "The Kid from Brooklyn" and eventually run into Danny on the way. Later, at home, Jack is visited by four ghosts, including one from one of Danny's earlier pictures.
Comments: Listen closely to hear Jack having a hard time keeping from laughing when Danny Kaye performs. The two have a lot of fun doing this show. Danny performs "Concerto for Tongue and Orchestra." A good, solid Benny Show. (Sadly, a few lines appear to be missing, ostensibly in the transition between recording disks, and other static and additional recording problems mar the recording.)

References: "Mr. Miland" must refer to actor Ray Miland who earned an Academy Award earlier that year for his performance as an alcoholic in the movie The Lost Weekend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Radio Listening Log - The New Swan Show

The New Swan Show (Bob Hope), November 7, 1948
Performers: Bob Hope, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Les Brown and His Band
Content: Bob jokes; Doris does a nice rendition of "My Darling, My Darling" with Les Brown and His Band; Bob and Bing have fun trying to out-do each other with clever insults then with a skit with outlandish German accents.
Comments: I don't typically find it amusing to hear insults hurled back and forth, but here Bing and Bob are too busy laughing at the writers' attempts to come up with more and more outlandish digs back and forth. The "insults" land on the superficial and nonconsequential--and are too ridiculous to take seriously.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Radio Listening Log - Tovarich (Lux Radio Theater)

Lux Radio Theater presents Tovarich, May 15, 1939
Performers: William Powell, Miriam Hopkins, C Henry Gorden, Heather Thatcher, 
Content: Exiled Russian nobility face poverty with a charming mix of good humor and determination to earn and enjoy simple blessings.  
Comments: A slightly slow start, but the couple turns out to be a delightful pair sharing a worthy, happy hour with us.