Friday, August 27, 2010

OTR Friday - Vic & Sade and The Black Hood!

It's time to smile again with radio's "home folks", Vic and Sade!

It's a glorious thing, this Interwebs technology. People often think of me as an old fashioned kind of guy and stuck in the past, never wanting what's new. I beg to differ. I say I just like what's GOOD and am not affected by what era it might be from.

I latched on to all the present digital technology like a shot, not because I was infatuated with trendy little gadgets, but because of what it could allow me to research and see and own copies of of things I already like. My music collection has never been more organized and compact OR more listened to, as these handy dandy little mp3's allow. Stacks and stacks of books (and comic books) scanned down to a device the size of a pack of cigarettes, instead of mouldering and decaying in dank boxes. As recently as the 1970's, only the wealthy could have a film library or could afford a home projection room to view them. Now I have these slick little digital video discs...and a screen size which rivals that of the smallest in the local multi-plex.

And, ohhhhhhh that wonderful medium of radio. So relegated to the passing ether of the past except in warbly cassette tapes traded or sold by collectors...never enough time or space or finances to listen to cohesive chunks of this entertainment giant.

Now it's like I have my own ticket to sit in the audience.


Our first Vic & Sade show is from March 8, 1939. This one has some muted qualities to the sound, but with this show it's always worth the extra effort to adjust your ears. This show mentions Mr. Gumpoc the trash man in passing and a couple of hilarious telephone calls between Rush and Blue-Tooth (digital-era enough for ya?) Johnson but mainly highlights a discussion Sade has had with their landlord, Mr. Erickson.

This one has a sprinkling of the "Vic&Sadiesms" (my own word?) which make this show come alive for me. I can very much hear my parents or older relatives from my childhood using expressions like Sades, "When I tell you what he (Mr. Erickson) had up his sleeve, you'll sell your Grandmother's shoes!". I think younger listeners may think these things are catch phrases of the day, but this is Paul Rhymer fleshing out these people with a nimble hand.

The other phrase that caught my ear in this episode was one of which Rhymer used many variations. When Rush pleads to go off to the Bijou (pronounced by'-joo) with Blue-Tooth Johnson, Sade's remark is, "You'd think this family had enough 15 centses to choke Billy Patterson." In other episodes the twist is, when something is remarkable "You'd think it was the thing that choked Billy Patterson" or is something being discussed is large "It's big enough to choke Billy Patterson.".

I'm going to start working this into my own conversations.

Enough of me yammering...enjoy!

The second half of our Vic & Sade double feature today is from April 3, 1939. This one has a wonderful double plot line which twist and turn through each other in the dialogue. In one storyline, Rush is vexed by his arch rival Nicer Scott's accounting of the number of speaking acquaintances he enjoys and Rush takes pen to paper to itemize his own. Meanwhile Sade is flabbergasted to find that two of her closest friends, Ruthie Stembottom and Miss Harris have never met. And Vic is funny just listening to them both and parrying the conversation back and forth.

Favorite "Vic&Sadeisms" (I like it...maybe I've heard someone use it before?) in this episode...there's a bunch:

Sade asking if Vic wants to hear something amazing..."Want to hear something that'll make your shoes jump off and hit the ceiling?", "You want your undershirt to explode into a million pieces?" and "You want to hear something that'll make your Sunday hat turn green?"

Sade remarking at her own astonishment at the news..."You could've run over my big toe with a coal wagon!", "You could've chopped off my nose with a pound of butter!", "You could've taken a dish mop and elected me 'King of Peoria'!" and "You could've put my leg in the tea kettle!"

I've never heard any of these phrases in my life outside of this show and probably no one else did either, but Rhymer pegged the kinds of things I did hear with every one of them! Satire at it's finest. Poking fun at the eccentricities of these people of the Midwest (of which I consider myself one) while never making them the butt of the joke.
Sade does utter one that I heard my father use the meaning of plenty. Sternly warning Rush to not ignore his homework with foolishness and remarking on the folly of his list of "speaking acquaintances" she warns him, "You're going to enjoy a speaking acquaintance with something you don't like if that report card don't show better marks next time!".

I hear ya Dad.

I'll have more Vic & Sade here next week, but now let's jump to the juvenile afternoon adventure serials. With the success of pulp based shows like "The Green Hornet" and comic strip adventures from the likes of "Little Orphan Annie", comic books were making their mark in radio with "Superman" and "The Blue Beetle". There were of course other attempts at these cross overs, and one came from MLJ comics. Most readers of the day know MLJ as their later incarnation as "Archie Comics" and the typical American teen-ager whose everyday adventures are chronicled there, but when the company first began in the 1940's, they were a super hero churning out house like all the others.

Their character "The Black Hood" made the jump to radio on the Mutual Broadcasting Network as a sustaining program for about a year before it went the way of the dodo. "Sustaining Program" meant a network or station would produce a show themselves without sponsorship, hoping to find an audience and then would sell that audience and the show to an advertiser. Vic & Sade started this way in 1934 and ran for almost 2 years until Crisco picked them up.

The Black Hood was not as fortunate, and after a year of being sustained by the network, no sponsor was found. There are no existing shows from the first year, only this pilot episode was preserved on disc to be listened to and enjoyed by you here today.

Man. Even the failed shows are good to hear. I was born too late.

Or maybe just in time, to hear them all with Interwebs technology!

Talk to you soon!


Lysdexicuss said...

Ahhh. Living in the lap of luxury, Unca Jeffy~! Today is my 1st full day off in a month & a half and I refuse to budge from my tv, laptop, AC, and Spunky the Cat. The Black Hood radio show was okay, but the Vic & Sade stuff is really a hoot~! I can listen to these divshare broadcasts while typing my screenplay. Wonderful~! ;~j

Jeff Overturf said...

Rock on Lys...lap of luxury indeed!!!

Keep that screenplay going brother...we want to hear all about it!

Search This Blog