The way we listen to music, radio and news has changed drastically – Do you remember these days? [videos]

(When I listened to my transistor radio way back when, I thought I was being modern and never could have imagined the world of music we line in today. This contributing authors story takes us back even further… and I discovered an amazing interview when Arthur Godfrey discovered Patsy Cline on his show!)



Dorothy Graham Gast

Radio was an important part of our lives growing up in the ’40s and ’50s. Each school day morning we waked and dressed by the programs on the radio. Each school day the Rev. J. A. Pate, the preacher from West End Baptist Church, started us off. We knew by the time his daughters ended their closing song we needed to be dressed and at breakfast.

As we buttered our hot biscuits, Brother Simmons came on with music provided by Jack and Coolidge Ham. When they sang the theme song, Farther Along, We’ll Know All about It we believed they were singing “Father Alone Will know all about it” and were not quite sure what the It was.

After school and chores, we listened to the Lone Ranger and his faithful companion, Tonto, and “the thundering hoof-beats of the great horse, Silver”, anticipating the question ”Who was that masked man?” and knowing that once again the silver bullet would be left behind.

The Lone Ranger: 75th Anniversary – Seasons 1 and 2

On Monday night we heard popular movies enacted on the Campbell Soup Theatre. Later that week we might get to hear Dr. Christian heal the sick and give wise advice to the confused, or laugh with the canned laughter of You Bet Your Life with Groucho Marx.

Groucho Marx Collection: You Bet Your Life

On Saturday night when most of our friends were listening to the Grand Old Opry from historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, we listened to The Hit Parade.

Our friends at school might talk about Inner Sanctum Mysteries, but we knew that as soon as we heard the creaking door we had to turn to another station.

Inner Sanctum Mysteries

Inner Sanctum Mysteries: The Complete Movie Collection (Calling Dr. Death / Weird Woman / The Frozen Ghost / Pillow of Death / Dead Man’s Eyes / Strange Confession)

Fibber McGee and Molly always had the closet door open and everything fall out as the audience laughed. Fannie Bryce delighted us with the antics of Baby Snooks.

Fibber McGee and Molly 9/19/ 50

Fibber McGee & Molly (Old Time Radio)

Life was simpler in the postwar days and the jokes were gentler, lacking the sharp retorts and risqué remarks of later years.

Our Miss Brooks radio show 11/22/53


Our Miss Brooks was very different from the teachers we saw at school each day, but Lum and Abner might have come out of rural America.

Lum and Abner Thanksgiving 1945

Arthur Godfrey and Patsy Cline

Arthur Godfrey’s’ Talent Scouts and Queen For a Day made listeners feel that someday they, too, might be recognized publicly.

Sweet Dreams: Her Complete Decca Masters (1960-1963) [2 CD Limited Edition]

The voices of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were as familiar as our own pastor’s and we had confidence that they were in control and that God would bless America as Kate Smith sang.

God Bless America, First Radio performance, Armistice Day November 10, 1938, Kate Smith

Best Of Kate Smith: Arranged & Conducted By Nelson Riddle

I remember listening to the announcement that Pearl Harbor had been bombed in 1941 and the nomination of Strom Thurman by the Dixiecrats years later in 1948. On election night we were hugely disappointed as Democrats to hear that Thomas Dewey was to be our new president; when we woke the next morning radio told us Harry Truman had prevailed.

Radio allowed the imagination to flourish and each listener saw the characters in their own heads and were often disappointed when television portrayed them differently.

Radio could be enjoyed sitting with the family at night, or very quietly alone after others were asleep. It seemed a more personal medium that placed the listener in the center of the action, rather than the observer through television.

Radio helped to homogenize the speech of its listeners, allowing the Alabama farmer and the Italian-American in New York to understand each other, Dialects and sentence structure evolved into a more recognized standard speech. Regional and ethnic differences faded in the light of the common experiences from the radio.

See best-selling books by Donna R Causey

FreeHearts: 2nd edition A Novel of Colonial America Col. John Washington (ancestor of President George Washington), Randall Revell, Tom Cottingham, Edmund Beauchamp ward off Indian attacks and conquer the wilds of Maryland’s Eastern shore in 17th century colonial America in this historical novel, inspired by true events.

About Dorothy Graham Gast

Dorothy Gast lives in Romulus, Alabama on the Graham family farm. She taught in Tuscaloosa County Schools for nearly 30 years.
She has a ”Mine, yours, and Ours” family. She has volunteered in numerous organizations after her husband’s eight year struggle with Alzheimers’ ended.
She helped organize a volunteer fire department after she was 60 and served as board secretary and nationally certified firefighter after extensive training.
Her attempts to get the community reading failed, but she contributed books to the new Sipsey Valley high school from the library in her home friends helped her establish.

She is known locally by the silhouettes she cuts free hand of children. She began to write nostalgia stories after a grandson asked her to write down the stories often told at family events.

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