Friday, August 20, 2010

OldTime Radio Friday - Vic & Sade and The Batman Mystery Club!

Whew!...after a week of modem troubles, we're back on track with our weekly appreciation of OldTime Radio, more specifically a "big picture" look at Vic & Sade and little forays to the land of afternoon juvenile adventure serials.

The more I listen to Vic & Sade the more amazed I am to think that these were all (5 days a week for 12 years) written single-handedly by one man, Paul Rhymer.

The solidity of the characters, represented by individual characteristics in speech and personalities is incredible. Just take a listen to this batch of episodes from 1939 and see if you don't agree. The naturalness of the dialogue is also outstanding, if it weren't for the irony hidden subtlety behind every phrase, you'd swear this real-life-like dialogue was the real-life banality we all listen to every day in the real world. Such a light touch to bring laugh-out loud moments.

From January 2, 1939, we hear a stern Vic in a tight situation. He is short on time to get to a lodge meeting and finds his lodge regalia has been lent out all over town. His real consternation is in that, Sade and Rush fail to see the dire seriousness of all things lodge. Vic knows the importance of his family and his job...but when it comes to the pomp and circumstance of his lodge or proper parade etiquette, well THAT's important!

From January 16, 1939, a bursting with pride Sade boasts of the compliments she's earned in her gardening. That could be all you'd need to describe the plot of this episode and most episodes can be described in a single banal line like that, but the rich interaction between Vic, Sade and Rush over the most trivial of things is thick and meaty as it plays out on your listening pallet.

Bonus OTR time!

Last time we heard the pilot for the "Superman" radio show. While Supey's stalwart costumed buddy Batman and his boy sidekick Robin made plenty of guest appearances on Superman's show, the dynamic duo never graduated to a radio show of their own.

Batman and Robin did make it to the big screen in a couple of Columbia serials and eventually they found home entertainment ground with the 1966 television series (not to mention innumerable animated shows from the 1970's to the present) but never a regular place on the airwaves of radio.

But NOT for lack of trying. In 1955, long into televisions stranglehold on the life of radio, a pilot was made for a proposed Batman radio show. The show was never picked up for network or syndication, besides the kiddie set was tuned into "Howdy Doody", "Time for Beany" and their like and staring at the radio for their after school entertainment was a thing of the past, but the pilot lives on with us.

Take a listen. Every incarnation of a character like Batman who survives decades of fictional daring-do and crosses media barriers, has a unique spin on them. This radio trial is no different. Enjoy the Batman Mystery Club as the solve the mystery of "The Monster or Dumphry Hall"!

Mmmmmmmm the crackle of ozone as the tubes heat up and the speeding up of our hearts as magical adventure comes through the thin air into our living rooms...God I love radio!

Talk to you later!


Chris Riesbeck said...

Rhymer's quantity, quality, subtlety, and timelessness are indeed amazing and way too little appreciated. During my annual physical a few years ago, the topic of old-time radio came up and my doctor (another boomer) floored me as he not only knew about Vic and Sade, but was able to rattle off half a dozen of those hilarious book and movie titles that Rhymer would throw in (nice list at

Have you ever read the scripts, particularly for episodes you've not heard? I found them quite effective that way too.

Jeff Overturf said...

I have thought of listing the great books, movie titles, cities and names here as I post what I have. They are truly hollarious. I hope you kept that doctor...sounds like one I could trust.

I have not read the scripts as yet, but I am happy to know so many are available and happier still that, even though not widely available there is an archive containing so many more for preservation. I am going to find some and read them though as I'm sure the clarity of character that Rhymer wrote and the actors perfect reading of these parts will come bouncing off the written page wonderfully!

Thanks for checking in Chris! More to come!

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