Raised on Radio (1998)

Raised on Radio

For everybody "raised on radio" -- and that's everybody brought up in the thirties, forties, and early fifties -- this is the ultimate book, combining nostalgia, history, judgment, and fun, as it reminds us of just how wonderful (and sometimes just how silly) this vanished medium was. Of course, radio still exists -- but not the radio of The Lone Ranger and One Man's Family, of Our Gal Sunday and Life Can Be Beautiful, of The Goldbergs and Amos 'n' Andy, of Easy Aces, Vic and Sade, and Bob and Ray, of The Shadow and The Green Hornet, of Bing Crosby, Kate Smith, and Baby Snooks, of the great comics, announcers, sound-effects men, sponsors, and tycoons.

In the late 1920s radio exploded almost overnight into being America's dominant entertainment, just as television would do twenty-five years later. Gerald Nachman, himself a product of the radio years -- as a boy he did his homework to the sound of Jack Benny and Our Miss Brooks -- takes us back to the heyday of radio, bringing to life the great performers and shows, as well as the not-so-great and not-great-at-all. Nachman analyzes the many genres that radio deployed or invented, from the soap opera to the sitcom to the quiz show, zooming in to study closely key performers like Benny, Bob Hope, and Fred Allen, while pulling back to an overview that manages to be both comprehensive and seductively specific.

Here is a book that is generous, instructive, and sinfully readable -- and that brings an era alive as it salutes an extraordinary American phenomenon.

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Raised on Radio


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