Before television was in every house, there was radio. Classic radio shows in the 1930s and 1940s opened up a whole new world of entertainment for folks. There were comedy skits, westerns, mysteries, and science fiction. People were mesmerized by this new invention. They listened as individuals, families, and neighbors. Some of the most popular shows were: The Shadow, Gunsmoke, The Adventures Of Sam Spade, Death Valley Days, Lux Radio Theatre, Whistler, Abbot And Costello, Batman, The Great Gildersleeve, Adventures Of Ozzie And Harriet, and Flash Gordon.
By the 1950s, most homes had television sets, and the popularity of radio dramas dwindled. There was still some interest, but most people switched over to TV for their dramas, and kept their radios mostly for music. In the 1970’s VCRs became common. This was followed by DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Now we have computers, tablets, and smart-phones that all allow us to watch streaming TV shows, which is where we mostly find our drama stories.
Despite all these options for shows, the radio drama format is not dead! You can still listen to the old classic shows on websites like oldworldradio.com. Some sites will even allow you to download files for the shows which are now public domain items, free to all.
In addition, a new version of the old radio drama has been developed: the audio drama podcast. It’s not surprising to see that a new generation of listeners is clamoring for good stories to listen to while driving or doing menial tasks, or when unwinding at the end of the day. It’s not quite the same as reading a book, but it’s still a way of listening to a story. From the beginning of time, people have loved stories, whether it was an oral tale, a printed book, an audiobook, a radio drama, or a drama podcast. If you have never tried listening to an audio drama podcast, check it out through the “podcast” app on your phone. You might end up loving it!