Thursday, May 14

Turn The Radio On

In 1939 there were 44 million radios in the U.S.A. Back in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, chances are there was a radio in the living room. If you were in a good location or you had a good antennae wire on the roof you could get WHAS in Louisville, WSM in Nashville or the strongest radio station in the world, WLW in Cincinnati. It was probably a Philco, Emerson, RCA or a Zenith. Some were still battery powered. After dinner we would find our favorite places to sit and enjoy the entertainment for the rest of the evening. My best place was on the rug, head propped up on my elbows right down front. During the late 30's Radio was Big Time. There were a whole variety of programs to listen to. Something for everybody. News, adventure, mysteries, comedy, soap operas, and music, both popular and country. We were entertained by Jack Benny, The Lone Ranger, Phil Spitalny's All-Girl Orchestra, Franklin D. Roosevelt Fireside Chats, and Amos & Andy. Day time Soaps included: The Guiding Light, Stella Dallas, One Man's Family, Our Gal Sunday, and The Romance of Helen Trent. I don't think Granma ever missed one episode. Yes, they were called "Soap Operas" because they were sponsored by Oxydol, Ivory soap and Ivory flakes, Rinso, Palmolive, Camay, and the heavy duty favorite: Old Dutch Cleanser. Although, Wheaties, Crisco, Ovaltine, and Quaker Puffed Wheat were big too.The big heavyweights were on in the evening. Our favorites were: Fibber McGee & Molly, Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy, Gang Busters, Green Hornet and: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows...Big Band Music ran rampant over the airways. Glenn miller, Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey, Sammy Kae, Benny Goodman and Harry James just hired a new singer by the name of Frank Sinatra. They played: Deep Purple, Three Little Fishes, Penny Serenade, In the Mood and the list goes on forever. And don't forget on Saturday night when all us hillbillies tuned in to The Grand Ole Opry. Those were the good ole days and I don't know what we would have done without our Radio. You remember what a radio was. You've got one in your car...

1 comment:

  1. Well, that surely does take me back. I listened to those same stations and some of the same programs. That was during the war years. Our antennae wasn't much, so we mainly listened after the sun when down. Reception was better then.

    However, after the war, something big happened. Hazard got a radio station. We had hit the big time. It was WKIC with the Singing Miner, and state basketball tournaments all the way from Lexington. Sometimes Hazard's team would be there and it got pretty darned exciting.

    Before WKIC, we would all go downtown where a loud speaker had been set up and an account of the tournament came to Hazard by telephone. I remember when they lost the connection with about a minute to go. I expected a riot, but folks mostly just grumbled a bit and went home.