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Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2007 5:48 am
by Mister_Wimple
I'm just finishing up the 1998 book Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman. It's great, I'm enjoying it more than I expected. The whole reason I picked it up is because I thought Nachman's most recent book, Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s was sensational and informative. Raised on Radio is almost a prequel in the sense it gives the same informative treatment, highlighting subversive methodolgy, of old time comics 1930-1950. A bit of a shame to find out what assholes Red Skelton and Eddie Cantor seem to have been in real life, though.

But all in all, highly recommended.

Re: Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman

Posted: Fri May 28, 2010 7:22 pm
by Monsterwax
Yeah, big stars are more often jerks than not. They figure they have so many fans, they don't need to polite or patient with anyone. If they lose one friend, there's millions of others to replace them.

I've been reading this "Raised on Radio" book also, and admire the writing style. Especially the chapter, "Radio Noir-- Cops and Grave Robbers". I laughed out loud with the humor he used to describe Dragnet. However, I have found a couple of what I believe to be mistakes when he got to Lights Out, and when it comes to OTR books, one mistake often gets sited and repeated until it becomes a "fact". So in the interest of trying to prevent this, here are those two points I dispute. (Feel free to chime in if you have evidence to support or contradict these corrections):

page 313 (near end of 2nd paragraph, talking about Arch Oboler's plays): "Some were hideous even by today's gory standards, such as a Hannibal Lecter-like tale in which Peter Loree plays a man feasting on a brain."

I believe this is incorrect. That's not Peter Lorre. In fact, there's a good chance that skit never aired originally, but was written specifically for Oboler's 1970s record, "Drop Dead". (But with many missing Lights Out recordings, who can be certain if Oboler didn't use a bit sometime before, even though it's hard to imagine how it would have been worked into a play. It's a monologue that ends with the character saying "I like to eat brains!" That's a bit over the top for the 1940s, even by Light's Out standards.) The Drop Dead segment used someone who sounded a lot like Lorre, but you can tell it's not quite him. More importantly, the Lorre estate heard about it and complained. I can't remember my source, but I remember reading it and thinking, "I KNEW that wasn't Lorre!" You can hear it yourself here (under the heading "I'm hungry"):

page 314 (3rd paragraph) "King heard Lights Out reruns in the 1960s on Dimension X, recalling especially Ray Bradbury's 'Mars Is Heaven!'

This can't be correct. King may recall it that way, but Lights Out was never played on Dimension X, and Ray Bradbury was never played on Lights Out, especially something as recognizable as "Mars Is Heaven".

But these are very minor details, and don't subtract from the overall enjoyment of the book. It's a fun read and I enjoyed it!

Re: Raised on Radio by Gerald Nachman

Posted: Sat May 29, 2010 6:12 pm
by Monsterwax
Oops, found another. Page 314, 2nd paragraph: "(Oboler's) star briefly twinkled once more with 'The House of Wax', the first 3-D movie."

Oboler had nothing to do with the making of "The House of Wax", nor was it the first 3D movie. Oboler directed the first feature length 3-D movie earlier, called "Bwana Devil" and made a good deal of money off of it. He thought he had an exclusive deal to use 3D, but the owner didn't honor the agreement, and let someone else (I think it was Warner Brothers) use the process to do "House of Wax". Oboler sued, and may have won some money (not sure) but lost the overall goal. That is, many others used the 3D process thereafter, regardless of what deal Oboler thought he had.