February 25th, 2009

krazy koati

Have faith in you and the things you do, you won't go wrong

To take a pause from the trip report because something came urgently to my mind: my normal old-time radio station had a service hiccup and the schedule didn't look all that good for today so I went to another one. This one doesn't have as much comedy (although it's fond of The Great Gildersleeve even if it's not the Harold Peary years) but it does strive to include stuff as close as possible to the anniversary of its actual air date so that it's much harder to feel like you've heard this already too recently. And since they draw from different collections of old-time radio recordings I run into more things that I haven't heard before.

Case in point: Family Theater, which I had otherwise not known about. John Dunning's On The Air reports it ran from 1947 through 1956 on the Mutual system and was ``created by Father Patrick Peyton of the Holy Cross Fathers in an effort to promote family unity and prayer'', with the specific technique chosen for this being the production of treacly stories about people discovering agonizingly plain morals, such as the catcher who decides not to blow a pop-up fly just to let his son-in-law break the National League record for consecutive hits at-bat, or the fellow who realizes in a dream that he never would have been successful if he hadn't been beaten up as a kid and had done nothing interesting whatsoever through his whole life.

The thing producing unintended amusement for me is they drag in celebrities to introduce the stories. Yet somehow I'm not reassured that ``a world at prayer is a world at peace'' when it's provided by Billie Burke, whose voice I really only know as Glinda the Good Witch of the North. She hasn't got the theological authority for me to do more than snicker. When they put out the message ``the family that prays together stays together'', given by Bing and Gary Crosby, well, perhaps I'm too cynical for this sort of programming.

Trivia: The stars of the first episode of Family Theater were Loretta Young and Don Ameche; they were introduced by Jimmy Stewart. Source: On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, John Dunning.

Currently Reading: The World Of Caffeine : The Science and Culture Of The World's Most Popular Drug, Bennett Alan Weinberg, Bonnie K Bealer.