Posted by: guinness222 | September 12, 2008

“Why are soapboxes so damn appealing?”

     As a kid, BTV (Before Television) there was an entire segment of the world who listened to the radio regularly,….including me! They were the first place that “soaps” began. (Now I was not there in the early years, but got in around 1948-1950) Soaps were, for the most part, little 15 minute radio dramas which told stories. The acting was BAD, the story lines weak, but they were the BTV era entertainment. All afternoon there were “real soaps” (“The Guiding light”, “As the World Turns”, “Brenda Starr”, “Ma Perkins”, “Perry Mason” etc.), then around suppertime it switched to “kid’s soaps” (“The Lone Ranger”, “Bobby Benson and the B bar B”, “Sargent Preston of the Yukon”, “Sky King”, “Red Rider”, Etc.) and after supper to the “Adult Soaps” (“Boston Blackie”, The Green Hornet”, etc.

       I know, you say “Eeeeew! How could that be fun?” You would not believe! YOU had to imagine what “Sky King” looked like, what “Brenda Starr” looked like (1950’s Hottie in my perverted mind!), because the only time you MIGHT actually see them is in a magazine or book ad. That was the foundation of most of the avid readers of my generation. We learned to use our imagination to “see” these people, we painted their images in out heads. Now with Television there came some severe disappointments. The biggest one for me was Matt Dillion, the macho, soft spoken “don’t even mess with me” U.S. Marshall of “Gunsmoke” a long run western radio soap. The guy on radio doing the part was outstanding, he made it easy to envision him, 6’6″, built like a tank, tough as nails, women would swoon over him, and he would tip his hat as one passed by. THEN I found out he was played by a guy called William Conrad! Conrad was about 5″6″, pushed 300 pounds, was bald and it was like “Oh yuk! That can’t be Matt Dillion!” But it was. From there my mind went crazy and in a short period of time I gave up the radio soaps.

       To  think that sexy, hour glass shaped, flaming red haired, mistress of seduction “Brenda Starr” could look like my MOM! YUK! I am a perv! Besides the TV moguls figured out early on that sex sells, a sexy,sexy chick like Gale Storm became “My Little Margie” , a drop dead gorgeous blonde showed up as “Sky King’s” Niece “Penny” , and some male “Hunk” his nephew “Clipper.

       (Oh-oh, too many fifty-five year old memory synapses clicking “on” this morning. I’ll get a McDonalds Egg McMuffin on the way to work, that will stop it cold!)

       Anyway, as a kid I enjoyed them. I learned to “imagine”, to “see”, to “interpret” all by myself in my very own personal and totally private mind! I did not need a “screen” to tell me what characters looked like in someone else’s “mind”, I learned to put a “comment” from one character together with other “Characters” comments and “see” a plot forming, ….it was a fundamental awakening in my own character development and exploration of the world. For years and years, and to this very day in fact, my concept of Paris, is still the concept I imagined when “Brenda Starr” went there and described iton the radio. Sure I’ve seen TV documentaries, pictures from the books and travel channel,……but I still like the romantic edge some actress I’ve never seen put on it in my mind fifty-five years ago.

      Some day , if you are looking for a real “hoot” go pick up some of the audio tapes of “soaps” from some of these “Nostalgia” stores that are around, get into your “comfies”, get some snacks, maybe a little cheese, a bottle of wine, and hell if you want to make it a party invite a few friends over. (Just the ones who already accept the fact that you are “certifiably whacko”. Get everyone settled, tell them close their eyes, and just listen, without comment,….and turn on one of the tapes.

        When it’s all over go around and ask each person to “describe” what the characters looked like, or what they would want them to look like. Have fun! Another low price fun thing to do with people that already accept you and know you are “challenged” in so many ways already! 🙂

        Do any of you remeber these days? Oh well I do and they were my treasured memories of growing up. Not all of them, but some of the mre iportant “trivial” ones

-30-


Responses

  1. I’ve actually listened to quite a few of those on Sirius radio. Red Ryder is always on during lunchtime and there’s one on after work that’s about murder mysteries and stuff. Can’t think of the name right now. I enjoy listening to stuff like that. I like being able to make up my own images in my mind of how everything looks. That’s always my biggest problem with books that are made into movies. They never look how they should. My grandmother used to tell me stories at bedtime and now that I’m older I’m writing them down and making new adventures for my friends in hopes of putting them out as childrens books. This is a fun thing to do because then I can make them look how I want them to or I could go the audio book way and let the children imagine them themselves. Imaginations are way under-used in todays youth.


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