Once upon a time, the radio was the centerpiece of many American living rooms. In fact, in the 1940’s and 50’s, radios were more than just devices for listening: they were pieces of furniture -- weighing well over 100lbs -- around which the entire family gathered for news, entertainment and escape. Because of radio, the world was brought into our homes: it gave Americans updates of the World War and our boys overseas; it gave us cultural events like live concerts at Carnegie Hall and speeches by FDR; it gave us original programs such as “Gunsmoke”, “The Jack Benny Show”, “The ”and “Dragnet” that would later be duplicated by television.
And, of course, there’s the day that radio made history: October 30th, 1938. That evening, Orson Welles and the Mercury Radio Theatre company performed their broadcast of H.G. Wells' “War of the Worlds” and actually convinced the nation that aliens had landed in Grover's Mill, New Jersey and were destroying everything in their paths. The front page of the New York Times the following day ran the story of how the nation had panicked,
But that was a long, long time ago and those old stories are no longer considered worthwhile by today's fast-paced standards... Or are they?
In 1998, Robin Jones had the absurd notion to find some of these old time radio scripts and perform them again: this time before a live audience with a cast full of his friends...who just happened to be up-and-coming comedians. They began performing their shows in a bookstore for a few patrons. Today, the show he founded has grown by leaps and bounds and now performs at Bang Comedy Theatre, one of Los Angeles oldest theatres for comedy and improvistaion. When you listen to some of our shows, you'll discover what Robin knew back then: that the great broadcasts of American radio history are still just as entertaining today as they were over fifty years ago... especially when we have a little bit of improvised fun with the old scripts!
Today, radio is far from being a quaint ‘ole slice of yesteryear: with the advent of satellite radio, America’s oldest broadcast medium will continue to be as powerful as ever, setting trends, entertaining the public and bringing us the immediacy of the world in which we live. Only, the commercials won’t be nearly as hokey...and for that, we’re truly sorry.
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