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Early Radio – Memories

“Radio Watching”

This was a special project conceived by Marty Crull. Marty sent out a request for radio memories to the Jersey County and nearby counties’ Rootsweb lists.

My first memory of Radio Watching was at Gramma Amy’s home, sitting on the floor next to the large radio with the big speaker. As a little girl of 4 to 6 years old, I liked the commercial jingles which were played for all advertising and loved singing along with them. I still recall being mystified as to WHAT was behind that cloth screen over the speaker, had to be some people back in there. When older, our radio was up on the kitchen fridge and I sat next to it on a chair and listened for hours to all the old serial stories of the time. The tele-vision was our own imaginations and when the story of “Only the Shadow Knows” played, I was a bit frightened and afraid to go to bed, he might appear at my house! Carolyn

Now you are going way back!! We did not have electricity in the country and we had the old battery radio. But I still hear the country western songs grandpa loved to listen too – Minnie Pearl – and the news. Grandma had to have her “Ma Perkins” on every day. Having a battery radio you did not let the radio go all day but had your special programs and grandpas was the “Grand ole Opry.” Sometimes he would play the fiddle along with them. When I got older and married we had the electricity in town and Joe and I would listen to the “Shadow” and the “Green Hornet” to mention just a couple. Kate Smith, your old comedy shows like “Amos and Andy”, “Burns and Allen” They just don’t make shows like that anymore. Your Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke were favorites here too. The radio made you use your imagination and that was good – now with TV children do not have that experience and it is a shame. I can still close my eyes and see those characters of my imagination. Now those were the good old days!! Take care, Delores

Marty, one of my memories of “watching the radio” was listening to “My Friend, Irma” and “Inner Sanctum.” No matter how graphic the TV programs are today (and they really are!), nothing quite beats ones own imagination. Tales from the old west….”The Lone Ranger”…..”Hill Top House,” a daytime soap opera, a great mystery program….”The Shadow.” You’ve made me recall some great old memories and feelings. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Sharon

“Watching the Radio!” A unique way of putting it! As a young girl growing up with two older brothers, we all watched the clock and could hardly wait for the next episode of “Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy”, “Captain Midnight”, “Tom Mix” along with his horse Tony and I even had the privilege of seeing them in person, thanks to my Grandfather who took us to the Tom Mix Circus when it came through the Tri Cities. We ate the cereal, begged for the Ovaltine, but couldn’t have, because it was too expensive, collected the cards, secret rings, other code devices, and whatever else was offered by the respective sponsors, sent off for all of it and then had to share if we didn’t have enough box tops for each of us to cash in on those wonder of wonders. These programs came on between 5 and 6 o’clock each day and conversation at the supper table was limited to what would happen next. The weekly serials were just as dear to us – “The Lone Ranger” with Tonto, “The Green Hornet” with Cato, “The Phantom” with Margo, “The Inner Sanctum” and its squeaky door – all great for our imagination then and the smiles of remembrances that still happen when “us kids” get together and are joined by our spouses with those same memories. We broadened the serial listening with the rest of the radio program favorites – “Fibber McGee and Molly,” “Jack Benny,” “Phil Harris,” “Red Skelton,” “Lum and Abner,” Amos and Andy,” “The Life of Riley” and some of the characters that graced those shows. How can you help but smile now in recalling the same lines that would be a part of the weekly show. You knew they would be worked in somehow, someway and you were never disappointed. Television is awesome by comparison, but those old radio shows will always be right up there at the top of the list for those of us who were most fortunate to have them as a part of our growing up days. Jennur Clendenny

I remember listening to the radio (it was brought into MY room) when I was home from school sick. I remember listening to the Arthur Godfrey show, in particular and the soaps in the afternoon, although I don’t think I knew what was going on. I also liked to listen to Red Skleton and “The Mean Wittle Kid,” The Lone Ranger, Our Miss Brooks, The Shadow, The Gene Autry Show, Roy Rogers, Sergeant King of the Yukon, Ozzie and Harriet and others. I also remember a quiz show that I enjoyed – not the Quiz Kids. Thanks for reviving some
memories that had long been buried!!! Suzanne Cade Crawford

I remember that when we listened to the old battery radio, some times it would fade out, so we would go outside and it had a ground wire runing from the battery out the window and on a metal rod stuck into the ground. We threw water on the metal rod and ground and the radio came on louder. Crazy, but it worked!! Always listened to radio shows like “Gang Busters,” “Mr Keen, tracer of lost Persons,” “Lux Theater,” The Lone Ranger,” “Lets Pretend,” The Squeaking Door,” and a lot of others that I can’t think of right now. When we went to see Grandma, she always listened to the soap opers. She had a friend named Mrs Fouse, and she came over to listen with Grandma, then they would discuss the story. Great fun to just listen to them. Of course Saturday night was GRAND OLD OPERY!!! Couldn’t miss that. Daddy liked that, and he could jig too. Saturday was kids shows. The Buster Brown Show, don’t remember what it was but remember Buster Brown and his dog Tide. He always said “My name is Buster Brown, I live in a shoe, this is my dog Tide, he lives in there too.” Superman, Green Hornet, and a lot of police stories, can’t remember the names.
Then when I became a teenager I listened to HILLBILLY MUSIC!! Great stuff. Aunt Jo

Marty, How about “The Shadow Knows” and “Amos & Andy,” Jack Benny, etc. I remember so many radio shows we listened to, especially on Sunday night. My dad always had the radio on and I remember him laughing at the Amos & Andy and Jack Benny’s shows. The squeaky door on The Shadow was always scary. My grandmother, Pearl Davenport, would “watch the radio” while she did her house work. I can clearly remember her favorites were “Helen Trent” (I think it may have been called “The Many Loves of Helen Trent,” “Our Gal Sunday,” “I Remember Mamma” and “Yound Doctor Malone.” I wish I could remember the story lines! I recall that I Remember Mamma and Young Dr Malone both made it to TV.

We got our first TV in 1949 and I remember watching the test pattern waiting for the first programs to begin. My grandmother especially enjoyed the “wrestling matches.” I still remember her sitting in front of the little TV with two pair of glasses on! Upon reflection later in life, I found it odd considering she was a very mild mannered lady and these programs seemed out of character. By the way I still have that first TV. I think there were only two other TV’s in the area when we got ours. Steve Todd in Old Kane, Everett Turner in Kane and my family in the country east of Kane. My Dad was quite the “pack rat” and saved everything! (and I’d glad he did!) Bev Jones Gover

Maybe I didn’t watch the radio, but I would certainly would get close so I could hear it. My Mom listeded to the soaps, but I think of them I only paid attention to the ads (commercials), I liked the adventure stories. Was it Yukon King or Sky King? The Canadian Mounted Police, The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet. I don’t seem to remember The Shadow, but I do remember The Whistler. I remember the Fibber McGee’s Closet’s bit about opening the door and everything fell out. Would you believe, my folks did not have T.V. until about 1964, and I was already out on my own. I had watched it some in other people’s homes. Mom wouldn’t let us buy comic books either, but I would go to a neighbor’s place and read them there. We, as a family, did go to the movies a lot, sometimes twice a week; seeing as many as three movies a week. In a sense I grew up on war movies and WWII newsreels and one cartoon per trip to the movie house.

For years our radio was a tall one that we had to bring in the battery from the car to hook it up. Listened to all these, WOW what a time.

I grew up in St. Clair County and our radio sat on top of our “modern” Philco refrigerator. Mom listened to Arthur Godfrey in the mornings as she worked in the kitchen. Then for supper we ate in silence as we followed the adventures of The Lone Ranger and Sergeant Preston of the Yukon. I loved it when Sergeant Preston would leave a building. As the door opened one could hear the wind howling and the crunch of his steps in the snow. Then he would call to his lead dog King and the rest of the team with the shout of “On you huskies.” Sunday nights I remember listening to Corlis (?) Archer and Our Miss Brooks. Was the back stage wife Stella Dallas? Kay Morris

When I was about 6, living in Chicago, I was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. I never felt sick….but constantly heard from my family….”Get back in bed, your sick!!!” Well,…I missed first grade but this gave me lots of time in bed “watching” the old daytime soap operas – they were very clean in those days. One that I got hooked on was “Ma Perkins.” (seems like she had a problem daughter named Lollie). There was another entitled “?????? ??????, Backstage Wife” (some poor wife with a handsome, famous husband). Then there was Lorenzo Jones and his Wife Bell. There were others and the ones that I’ve mentioned were just shadowey memories. But thanks, Marty, for prompting the jog down memory lane. Annette

I remember the Shadow and also the soap – The Guiding Light before it hit the television. And I guess I did watch the radio – never thought about it before. Every Saturday an AM radio station in Tulsa plays the old radio shows from the mysteries to the comedies like Fibber McGee and Mollie. What a hoot. Trudy

Well we listened to the Shadow Knows, and all of those but we had to bring in the battery from the car to listen. We had to watch we didn’t run the battery down so we could start the car sounds like I am really old.

Grandma was blind but every Wed. evening she would listen to Lone Ranger. We (brothers) would always be at her house in time to listen with her. It was one of her favorite. We would also listen to Amos and Andy show with her but I don’t remember what nite it was on. She would always give us a glass of strong and sweet iced tea while we listened. nevada

Marty, As a kid, my family crowded around the radio to listen to “The Green Hornet.” We never missed. I was young and had to go to bed when it was over. I was scared by the story, but had to go to bed anyway. Regardless, we never missed the story and I sat on my Dad’s lap to listen to it.

My Dad never missed the St. Louis Cardinal’s baseball games. My sisters and I had to keep real quiet so that he heard every word. By 7th grade, I knew every Cardinal player, his number and everything about him. Ruth Martin Booker

Cream of Wheat is so good to eat, We have it every day…. We sing this song cause it makes us strong and it makes us shout “Hurrah”. It’s good for growing children and grown-ups too, to eat…. For all the families’ breakfast, you can’t beat Cream of Wheat! I can come up with lots of the advertisement songs. Annette

Brings back memories of sitting in the living room, at night, at my great Aunt and Uncle’s. My aunt’s maiden school teacher sister lived with them. They would take their baths, put on their gowns and robes, and the two woman would sit in their rocking chairs and rock back and forth reading. My Uncle Charlie, God bless him, would lean up close to the radio and listen to “Gang Busters” so that he wouldn’t disturb them. The scene, to this day, reminds me of a Norman Rockwell painting. The two great aunts were the daughters of Jersey County’s John Nelson Scott, son of William A. Scott and Jane Elizabeth Lurton. And great granddaughters of Nelson Reed Lurton and Sarah Adeline Sumner Lurton. Their names, Ada Maude Scott and Babe Gertrude Scott Wehrt. Correze Doyle Ray