Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Miscellaneous, Incorporated

Dan Hughes posted an addy on the OTR Digest which I read this morning that points to a report from his daughter Karen about the various going-ons and shenanigans at the Cincy OTR Convention this past weekend. (If you read it, and check out the pictures at Charlie Sommers’ website, it’s the next best thing to being there.)

I received a nice e-mail from Jack French, author of the new OTR reference book Private Eyelashes—which is a wonderful, eye-opening history of the female detectives and sleuths that populated the airwaves during the Golden Age of Radio. He thanked me for the kind words of praise that I had posted here and I wrote him back, offering a little more detailed admiration since I finally got an opportunity to sit down with it and enjoy it more thoroughly, as opposed to some earlier “skimming.” It is one heck of a page-turning read, meticulously detailed and infused with a sly, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor (nothing turns me off more than a dry, dusty, academic treatment, I can assure you). If you haven’t snatched up a copy of this book yet—and I have heard that it was the hit of Cincy, “selling like wildcakes,” as Ed Gardner once remarked on a Duffy’s Tavern episode—then you had best not let me know who you are because I will shame you relentlessly until you do.

The book is dedicated to his lovely wife Cathy, but Jack also thanks the various old-time radio historians/researchers who have devoted tireless effort to providing both modern-day and future OTR fans with the rich, detailed history of Radio’s Golden Age. (Among those mentioned: John Dunning, Jim Cox, Elizabeth McLeod, Jay Hickerson, Martin Grams, Jr. Thomas DeLong, Jim Harmon and Stewart Wright.) I would also lift a glass to these fine people as well; many of which have written books and articles that occupy essential space on shelves in my old-time radio library. (Let’s face it, without their contributions—this blog would pretty much be a big honkin' blank area, with a sign reading "Space For Rent.") Their work is the "nerve center" of old-time radio, and without them someone would be forced to pull the plug on its life-support system.

In e-mail correspondence, Martin once related an experience he once had at one of the OTR conventions in which a couple of individuals came by his table, picked up his book on Inner Sanctum, thumbed through it and then dismissed it with "all I need is an episode guide and I can get that off the web." In my opinion, that is very, very wrong—for me, learning about the history of these great programs provides the necessary fuel for my lifelong passion of The Hobby; it should, then, come as no surprise that whenever someone publishes a book that traces the origins and background of these series that I feast on it voraciously like buzzards on carrion.

So, please…as a favor to me, and Lord knows I don’t ask much…skate on over to Bear Manor Media and order a copy of this book. And speaking of the “prince among pandas,” check out this interesting article written about Bear Manor Media’s CEO, Ben Ohmart…

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