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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

"Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar!"

I have long been a fan of radio and continue listening to intelligent talk radio like the CBC and BBC and other International radio broadcasters in many countries. I particularly like
Radio Netherlands and Deutsche Welle, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

I am not a fan of all music and 24 hour news stations.

I love old time radio too. I have a small collection of old radio shows that you can purchase on cassettes, like my boxed set of "The Shadow".

Well a couple of months ago I found an old time radio gold mine and I have been mining it regularly. It is the Internet Archives. This is not only a resource to hear old time radio but also gives you access to millions of books, in both print and audio form, music, films, commercial and home movies, old Internet sites, and much more that is no longer protected by copyright. It is the old time radio that interests me the most.

I have listened to nearly all of the more than 500 espisodes of "Yours truly, Johnny Dollar." Those of you who remember this radio show may remember that it was broadcast each day for 15 minutes. Each week's five broadcasts made up an episode. The most popular actor who played Johnny Dollar, Bob Bailey, previously played in a similar show "Let George Do It". I did not remember this show but I am now listening to its episodes, not quite as gripping as Johnny Dollar.

Needless to say there are many other shows that I have dipped into, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, The Great Gildersleeve, Amos and Andy, Our Miss Brooks, The Lone Ranger, Phil Harris and Alice Faye, Jack Benny etc, etc ,etc. I obviously have too much time on my hands.

No wonder I am falling behind in my reading.

I am now working my way through the Lux Radio Theater shows. These radio dramas were read by the leading actors of the day and hosted in the early shows by no other than Cecil B. DeMille. I believe these shows even had audiences early on with leading hollywood people in attendance. After the drama the lead actors along with others who worked in the business were interviewed. Usually, the actors doing the radio drama had done the same part on the stage or in the movie. I think the radio shows were a kind of advertising for these other presentations.

Speaking of advertising, some of the most fun on listening to old time radio during the golden age of radio (before TV) is listening to the ads. Like when was the last time you heard an ad for coal, or the first refridgerators,to replace the ice box, or new automobiles for $500. The ads were worked into the show. On Lux Theater, they very cleverly worked in the ads for lux soap. There was none of this breaking for a commercial. The commercial was a part of the pre and post drama patter.

Now to get a little political, (my commerical.) I have been listening to the dramas during the second world war. There are ads to sell war bonds and stamps. It was a patriotic duty in the US and Canada ,I believe, to purchase these to fund the war effort, along with rationing and saving strategic materials to recycle. The target was 10% of your weekly pay to purchase war bonds. The entertainment industry was organized so that the heads of studios and actors down to lowly grips who fetch and carried on sets bought the bonds. I am sure all industies were so organized. It was a remarkable effort.

It was a different day and age with different values. People had just come out of the Great Depression. People wanted nothing more than to pay their way and not incur debt. They did that back before the 1929 Crash and look what that got them. So WW II was to be paid for by borrowing money from the people of the country. At least, this debt was to ourselves. There was no thought of borrowing from off shore sources, if there were any, for the wealthy countries of the world were busy paying for their own war efforts.

How different this was from the attitude toward the funding of the present wars by the US and Britain and even Canada in Afghanistan. The attitude is that if this is something you want and need now just put it on the credit card and pay for it later. The US has funded two very expensive wars on credit borrowing from China and Saudi Arabia. The people of the country have not been asked to make any financial sacrifice. They will be passing on this debt for their grandchildren and great grandchildren to pay. How values have changed.

In spite of my left wing political convictions, I am conservative enough to think that one should pay for what he needs and wants without incurring long term debt (except for a house mortgage). I do not have a credit card. I use the Queen's currency.(cash). When I did use a credit card I paid it off each month for years. Then, I thought I could finance a small business on it and had to learn my parent's lesson the hard way all over again. Keep within your means and pay as you go was a lesson I learned from my parents who lived through the Great Depression.

I have argued several times in blog entries and to friends who would listen that the US should do three things: 1. Have a law that when war is entered into, automatically, a war surtax goes on other taxes to pay for it. 2. Immediately, corporation's profits should be regulated so war profiteering by suppliers is prevented. 3. There should be a law that requires able-bodied men and women among the federal politicians and their direct family members down to their grand children, to be required to join one of the military services. That President Bush's two daughters did not sign up and do their patriotic duty after their father declared the country at risk and at war , ( a lie of exaggeration should be an embarassment to the US. (If the British Royal Family members can sign up as their duty, surely American "nobility" could also.) If these three things happened the country and politicians would be slower to agree to send other people's children off to die for their country, (usually it is the poor and immigrant community that do the dying). The sacrifice would be more evenly shared.

This is the end of the commercial. I slipped it in because the war bond ads of old time radio got me thinking about it again.

I recommend the Internet Archive to you for boundless access to interesting information and entertainment in many forms. "Yours truly, Philip Two Cents."


At 7:38 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

What a treasure trove you are. I checked out the radio archives--overwhelming all that old time material.

As for not paying for the war, of course, part of the funding of WW II was FDR's lend/lease program which he finessed as a way to provide assistance before the U.S. entered into the war.

You are right; we don't sacrifice and we have lived so far beyond our means. What infuriates me is that Republicans blame Democrats for being spend-thrift, yet it was Republicans who committed us to the war in Iraq (that expensive debacle) and in Afghanistan. When Pres. Clinton left office, he had balanced the budget--that is not the same as having no debt, but we were in much better fiscal shape than we had been for a long time. Along came Pres. Bush 2, and he promptly blew all the fiscal conservancy.

You have to be careful--when you hit a political note you get me reacting!

At 9:31 p.m., Blogger Cathy said...

Hello Philip
Haven't actually checked that site yet but will so when I have time. I'm sure there will be some of the post war English radio series there. Will pass it on to others who I now will be very interested
Radio Australia is the arm of the ABC that is responsible for world wide broadcasting. We would have ABC on most of the time, not a fan of commercial radio (or TV for that matter)
Thanks fro your email - yes we have been blessed with the funds to travel or should I say blessed with the wherewithall to balance the budget and save enough to travel - having to look at the what ifs of overseas travel now, problems with health that may arise and ease of getting treatment, all those pain in the a..... things that come with age - no not hemorrhoids lol
Take care and keep on writing
ps even tho' Aus is involved I'm not making any comment on your poiltical statements

At 1:15 p.m., Blogger possum said...

Ah, yes, once again, you are so absolutely right. I remember the bonds and buying stamps at school. I was raised by a grandmother who raised 4 little kids in the depression. So, I have been taught to be careful of every penny. I do use my credit cards, but I pay them off at the end of the month. I can honestly say I live below my means.
I really would like to see the younger Bush and Cheney's put on their uniforms and go eat some Iraqi dust or climb a few Afghan mts playing peekaboo with the Taliban. But I wonder if that would have changed anything? I think those 2 are beyond any reasoning or caring, even for their own.
It is sad the way things are... even sadder that our youth know no better.

Thanks for the link. If I ever have a minute to call my own - I will give it a try.

At 10:03 a.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

You reminded me of the deep voice on radio saying "Who knows? Only THE SHADOW knows!"
You are spot on about the funding of wars in the US. We, the public, really got sucked in to Iraq and all that funding was hidden by Bush and his Cronies. Now poor Obama is left with the mess.
BTW: my daughter and son-in-law say they wish they were near you... they would take your 2 sows in the blink of an eye!


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