Friday, July 23, 2010

Audiophile Audio File Friday - "Vic &Sade"

Ah, the golden age of radio.

Don't let anyone fool you by talking about wireless technology being the newest and most cutting edge thing. Wireless technology has been around a lonnnnnnnnnnnnnng time.

And in common usage in American homes for 85 years, when regularly scheduled radio transmissions began.

It may be hard for us to comprehend now, but until these invisible waves traveling along the Van Allen belt transmitted news and information and more to anyone with a receiving set, it took weeks and even months for news to travel, and then only 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. hand. Now the average person in the most rural reaches of the country could be as informed as someone right in the thick of the matter.

Even more hard for us to understand, may be the entertainment content this shimmering, buzzing contraption brought to the world. In the world today of television, Internet, podcasts and the once was the king.

Forget about the canned, computerized 24 hour music (and muzak) stations of today. Forget BS talk radio and all of it's contrivances. Forget the wacky morning zoo crews out there chattering through your morning drive time. Forget the Howard Stern quotient.

There used to be entertainment there instead!

I've always wanted to talk more about radio's golden age on my blog, but only recently understood how to link audio files now it's time.


Well sir,

One of my favorite radio programs is "Vic & Sade". In fact it's in my top 2 rankings alongside "The Jack Benny Program".

"Vic & Sade" was a 15 minute show on 5 days a week (originally 6) and which told the goings on of the family in the little house half way up in the next block. Victor R. Gook (rhymes with cook) and his wife Sade Gook like in a little town (modeled on Bloomington, Illinois) in the mid west. The show was conceived of and every episode (an estimated 3500) written by Paul my opinion one of the great American humorists ever, right up there with Mark Twain and Garrison Keillor.

Vic is the chief accountant for the Consolidated Kitchen Ware plant number 14, the Grand Exalted Big Dipper in the Drowsy Venus chapter of the Sacred Stars of the Milky Way (his lodge) and is a man with a bent for big words in big sweeping phrases which show his real intelligence but only appear to show his grand sense of sarcasm and twisted sense of fun.

Sade is the perfect housewife. She's the sitting president of the towns "Thimble Club" and other than her exciting outings with neighbor Ruthie Stembottom for raids at Yatherton's Department Store for their seemingly perpetual wash rag sales, she enjoys nothing more than the fulfillment she feels from being a wife and mother. Keeping Vic from spending hard earned money (he likes wide brimmed hats, loaning his friend Charlie Guttsop money and making long Christmas gift lists of business acquaintances) and keeping the family well fed with plenty of brick-mush and beef punkles. Not concerned with the doings of the world outside her family's home, she seems dim...but she's not...just purposefully ignorant of all that talky talk of congress doing this thing and the other.

Rush Gook is their adopted son and is the average American adolescent. He enjoys reading about the adventures of Third Lieutenant Stanley and his battles against counterfeiting cannibals, going to see Gloria Golden and Four Fisted Frank Fuddleman pictures down at the Bijou and watching the fat men play handball down at the YMCA.

Oh...and one of his best friends was named "Blue Tooth" Johnson. NOW tell me wireless is new!!

I plan on discussing "Vic & Sade" a lot here on "Audiophile Audio File Fridays" so I shant yammer on much longer before presenting a couple of shows.

If you like the character driven comedy of "The Andy Griffith Show", the absurdity of the mundane of "News from Lake Wobegon" or "Seinfeld" and the pure musicality of well written dialogue and love of language of a Coen Brothers oughtta LOVE "Vic & Sade"!

Sit back. Listen good...these are a different set of ears you'll use for this...but you will be heartily rewarded. Have I ever lied to you?

In this episode, young Rush Gook tells father Vic about how he would throw a better party than the one Sade is planning

And here's one where Rush is sad over the death of a horse named Bernice.

An acquired taste...but like good olives...well worth it!

Talk to you soon!


Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I know this may be hard to believe, but there are a lot of OTR fans--some of which are true die-hards--who just don't understand the tremendous appeal of Vic & Sade. I think the show is a 24-karat gem--though I think longtime announcer Bob Brown said it best when he called the program "an island of delight in the sea of tears" (referring to the fact that it was scheduled in the daytime soap opera block).

Oh, well...stuff happens, as Rush was often fond of saying.

Chris Riesbeck said...

Couldn't agree more. Right up there with Benny, Twain and Keillor. I was amazed when I read a Q&A with Keillor who admitted never having heard or read Vic & Sade. One point where I disagree is with your characterization of Sade. Of the four main characters, she's probably the most complex. There's an often unsympathetic controlling edge to her that goes beyond reigning in Vic's impulses. And her musings on her relationship with Miss Scott aren't funny but they are marvelously revealing.

Chris Riesbeck said...

Fap! Please replace "reign" with "rein."

Jeff Overturf said...

Ivan: It's true OTR takes a different set of ears to enjoy than most folks are used to using and Vic & Sade takes an even more dicriminating set of muscles. But once you are in on the humor, you are rewarded over and over again!

Chris: Welcome, always nice to see a new face here. I'm sorry if I stated my opinion of Sade wrong...I find nothing flat or boring or simplistic about any of these characters, and with each new listen I find more folds of depth. It's difficult for me to pick a favorite of the main four, because each one is so fully formed and real, they each appeal to different sides of me in their own way.

For now I plan to alternate episodes of this show here and do some searching for even more feelings I have for each cast member as well as keeping a running tally of off-mic characters, interesting places and marvelous phrases used in the show. I hope you come along and join in with the converstaion. At least one Friday a month or maybe more often.

Mykal Banta said...

Man, what a great post. Radio is king for me always! Such a superior entertainment medium compared to - well, anything - the perfect blend of passive (listening) and interactive (listener's imagination) entertainment. I remember by grandparents had this humongous radio, and they never really gave up on the format. They listened to shows while a massive, color TV sat in their living room (I remember grandma used it to watch Lawrence Welk). I still listen to my news on radio (NPR). TV news is nothing but bullshit models spouting words without a glimmer of understanding.

Jeff Overturf said...

Radio is indeed king. I was fascinated by the old shows as a kid listening to older folks talk about them. As a kid in the 70's, I would occasionally find a cassette at the drug store with 2 episodes os a given show on it and would listen over and over, wishing there was a way to hear more, and even then I knew it was financially unsound for anyone to produce and distribute hundreds of cassettes of hundreds of episodes.

I am now the proud owner of over 10,000 itty bitty easy to store mp3's of gems plucked from the ether 60-80 years ago. I lovvvvvvvvve digital technology and the sharing of info that the Internet brings.

I've never listened to any episode of anys how that made me feel cheated out of the time I spent listening to it. Compare with hours of blather from my TV or from movies (should that be years instead of hours?? Yes I think so) that I'll never get back.

Something very visceral and personal with being absorbed by pure sound.

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