Jenkins ‘our gal sunday’ opinion cocktails with gin and vermouth

I grew up in a nostalgic household where old tins lined the top of kitchen cabinets and a miniature jukebox sat on a bookcase right outside my bedroom door for nearly fifteen years. As most children do, I inherited my parents’ habits and the tradition carries on with my own collection of retro ‘artifacts,’ including items varying from game consoles to vintage lady head vases — it’s a thing, look it up.

Now, my collection has grown to include old time radio programs. This past weekend, I stumbled across ‘our gal sunday’ on the youtube channel, A room with A view. The channel is dedicated to lovers of old time radio and contains hundreds of fascinating recordings of and related to old time radio programs such as ‘the baby snooks show’ and ‘inner sanctum mystery.’ these programs usually ran 20- to 40-minutes in length and featured professional voice actors, music and various sound effects to set the mood for an imaginative and memorable way of storytelling.Radio programs

I was immediately drawn to ‘our gal sunday’ by its unique name and I wasn’t disappointed when I listened to a sample episode from june 07, 1944, provided by otrcat.Com. The show aired every weekday at 12:45 p.M. On the columbia/CBS radio network for 22 years from 1934 to 1959. Adapted from the 1904 broadway play titled ‘sunday’ which starred ethel barrymore, ‘our gal sunday’ proved to be a very successful program.

The 1934 rags to riches classic begins with an introduction by announcer ed fleming: once again we present ‘our gal sunday,’ the story of an orphan girl named sunday from the little mining town of silver creek, colorado, who in young womanhood married england’s richest, most handsome lord, lord henry brinthrope.Radio programs the story that asks the question, can this girl, from a little mining town in the west, find happiness as the wife of a wealthy and titled englishmen?

The episode I listened to, titled ‘ambrose is in hiding at black swan hall until his face can heal,’ follows the usual format of the show with a threat to sunday’s marriage with lord brinthrope. These ‘threats’ usually present themselves in the form of rival women after lord brinthrope’s heart. However, the occasional murder, kidnapping, hit-and-run or family drama has also been known to stir up the hectic lives of lord and lady brinthrope. Much like modern soap operas or telanovelas today, ‘our gal sunday’ is filled with twists, turns and inexplicable tragedies, making for a very entertaining and plot-filled run.Radio programs

I also happened upon a 1965 interview which featured the late star of ‘our gal sunday," vivian smolen, reminiscing about her days in the old time radio spotlight. Even at that time, radio programs such as ‘our gal sunday’ had fallen from popularity due to the booming TV industry. Smolen expressed her belief that there was no possibility for old time radio to return as it was before it’s decline. The host of the interview, richard lamparski, discussed the results of a younger generation which had never been exposed to old time radio – a generation that preferred the visual entertainment of a television over the spoken stories of radio.

While it is historically true that ‘video (more or less) killed the radio star,’ I do believe that there is still a huge opportunity for old time radio programs to rise back to fame.Little mining similar types of entertainment have been successful in modern formats such as podcasts and audio books. Famous actor and director orson welles himself believed that radio was the most effective dramatic medium ever created. Welles’ own experience with old time radio was testament enough to the potential impact of the platform.

Most of us have heard of orson welles and the famous radio drama surrounding the 1938 broadcast, ‘the war of the worlds.’ if you haven’t, the story goes that welles directed and narrated an episode of the old time radio series, ‘the mercury theatre on the air.’ the episode was adapted from H.G. Well’s novel ‘the war of the worlds’ and gained notoriety upon its airing for allegedly having been so believable that it caused mass panic when listeners believed the show to be an actual news broadcast of an alien invasion.Little mining

Welles claimed that radio was the superior storytelling format because the action or story was staged in the mind of the audience, meaning it wasn’t subject to the restrictions of artificial limits that come with video or visual storytelling. The only limitation posed by an old time radio program was the imagination of the listeners themselves. Keeping that in mind, I would have to say that this makes old time radio shows one of the most fascinating forms of entertainment our modern society has to offer.

Old time radio programs are great to listen to while you’re at work, in the car or even falling asleep at night. If you’re interested in hidden gems of our past such as ‘our gal sunday,’ I recommend taking a look at archive.Org, a non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies and music, as well as 310 billion archived web pages.Radio programs