Remember radio plays? Probably not. Most of us denizens of the Internet are way too young. Most of us probably don’t even remember the early days of TV, let alone the heyday of radio. Somehow, though, I’m sure we’re all aware of those old-time soaps. There’s way too many “Shadow knows” jokes going around. Woody Allen gave us Radio Days and Garrison Keillor gives us the Prairie Home Companion. The references are all over the place.
I, for one, think radio plays are cool. More dynamic than simple audio books and more imaginative than live author readings, they’re sort of a cross between listening to a story being read and watching a movie based on a book. There’s a lot of action, but a lot left to the imagination as well.
So who’s doing old-timey radio soaps? newfiction.com. It’s a new website that brings the feel of radio days back. They’re offering up soap opera radio plays free. Free for the moment, anyway. Just by making the effort to register at their site you can follow along with Word Lotto (future world where there are limits to the amount of words you may speak), Jake and the Jamokies (ex-con in Hollywood), Venus De Milo Murders (just like the name says), Fat Cowboy (corruption in the fur trade), I Betcha (Wall Street broker turned gangsta rapper), or Senate Parking (car action in the capitol). More serials are scheduled to come.
These quirky plays are not the squeaky clean precursors to TV’s early days which gave us The Beave, Donna Reed, and I Love Lucy. As we’ve matured as an audience, so has our radio content. Check your modesty at the threshold please.
That’s not the only thing that’s modern about the new radio plays. Another update is that they’re only served via the jet-paced new medium called the Internet. You will not hear these stories over the air waves. But that only makes sense, doesn’t it? I doubt anything fresh could possibly get heard over the blathering of the well-funded and doddering talk show hosts that have overrun “the wireless.” You need a connection, an mp3 player, or a cell phone for these gems.
If you’re thinking free and fresh means low, zine-type quality, think again. Despite the fact that this content is available only through the impudent Internet, newfiction offers high quality recordings. No pops and squeaks with these folks and the acting is great. These are studio recordings all the way. The results are easy to listen to, tasty in fact with lots of fun sound effects. Just like what grandma used to get when she tuned in to The Lone Ranger only better. The hoof beats are digitized these days. You know what that means: totally fake but realer.
So roll up your ciggies in your t-shirt sleeve and return to the days of radio when things were better. In other words: when nobody was talking about sex, but everybody was gettin’ some.
Sue’s Bookshelf at BVC