Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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April 2008
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The Takeaway, or wasn’t Hockenberry once a Respected Journalist?

Filed under: News, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 10:08 am


Sorry, after re-listening to the first few Million-Dollar President productions from PRI, which is the pilot-set for PRI’s new morning news The Takeaway, airing now on a precious few PRI stations, I am writing this so I don’t become so depressed I slit my wrists after listening to the hosts of this program joking their way through an interview on The Bob Edwards Show. Just like NPR’s Trailer- Bryant Park Project, these guys have clearly used focus groups composed of children with the IQ of a turnip. Seriously, I know a whole lot of 20-somethings, and none of them are so brain-damaged as to listen to this nonsense.

Let me ignore NPR’s entry into the dumned-down-news category and focus on PRI’s as demonstrated in the Billion-Dollar President disaster, hosted by Adaora Udoji and John Hockenberry. The first episode/pilot aired a few months ago, and began with the formerly-respected Hockenberry telling an outright lie. No, you read that right, a news program starting out running a phony news story delivered with the somberness of legitimate news. I honestly was so stunned by the utter stupidity of such an act I was unable to move…what the hell happened to a formerly-respected journalist who is remembered for his solid reportage on NPR by those of us who grew up with the public radio system? A guy who goes off to the major networks and performs solid reporting there? What deadly trauma could possibly have changed him into a wanna-be standup comedian and…well…a liar?

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Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 6:04 pm

This is going to be an odd post…an old guy promoting an over-priced object for a gaming system only kids should by rights have any interest in.

We have a PlayStation2. We specifically bought the PlayStation2 because the old man (yes, me) wanted to play one game, which he received as a gift - 24: The Game. Since it was only available on PS2 (co-produced by Sony), I had to have one. Fortunately, through my wife we have “a guy” so we got a great deal on a mildly-used one. Of course, since we’ve owned it we’ve acquired more games than you can shake a stick at (just today I was laughing at my nine-year-old playing Sitting Ducks, an old PS2 game given to Katie by a friend of Annie’s that is so cute and silly it had all of us crying with laughter), but it’s 24: The Game that gets the Friday-night weekly workout.

A while back, a glitch in the save mode had me literally lose the entire first half of the game, as if I had never played it. I had to do some research on the Net, and find the built-in “cheat code” that allowed me to play all missions so I could reclaim my scores on those (there’s still one I haven’t re-done). Then my daughter lost a game save for one of her games, to much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and I decided something needed to be done. (More after the jump…)

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This Is Edward R. Murrow - CBS Radio, April 30, 1965

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 12:27 am

I knew I needed something to commemorate the 100th birthday anniversary of Edward R. Murrow, and spent quite a while going through his various reports…but I consistently came back to this program, broadcast on CBS after Murrow’s death on April 27, 1965. I am, honestly, unclear on the broadcast date, as most references list it as being broadcast on April 30, 1965, but at the University of Texas, the Joseph and Shirley Wershba Papers list the date of their recording, on seven-inch reel, as April 29th. This discrepancy may come from there being a version of this documentary broadcast on CBS television. It was also released as a record album on Columbia Special.

No matter, it seemed a little odd to play a tribute after death on the centennial of his birth…yet there isn’t really any other single broadcast to so throughly review his broadcasting career, with obvious respect and affection. The program is narrated by Robert Trout, a legend in his own right, and contains sections from all of the most famous broadcasts; D-Dog, Buchenwald, the case of Milo Radulovich, Senator Joseph McCarthy, and many many more.

We originally received this program from our friend Terry Salomonson of Audio Classics - there are thousands of programs like this one in his catalog. This one is to celebrate the career of the most important broadcast journalist in the history of the medium.

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc.) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  This Is Edward R. Murrow - CBS Radio, April 30, 1965 [45:43m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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The Cinnamon Bear - Episode 1

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 10:52 pm

This episode of the podcast is a personal indulgence. Jack French reported to the Internet OTR Digest this morning that Dennis Crow, the best friend a four-inch-high stuffed bear ever had, and a good friend to the Digest and to my daughter as well, passed away suddenly yesterday, April 20, 2008. Certainly Dennis will be missed by his family, and those of us in the hobby who knew him, but he will be missed most of all right around Thanksgiving, when he gently reminded everyone to begin listening to the story of The Cinnamon Bear, so it would properly end on Christmas Eve. Each year he provided many handouts for devotees of Paddy O’Cinnamon, including maps, lyric sheets, even sheet music.

You can bet that each year, when my family gathers around to listen to the adventures of Judy, Jimmy, Paddy, the Crazy Quilt Dragon, and all of the amazing characters who populate Maybeland, we’ll think of Dennis, and be much obliged to him for everything he’s done over the years to promote the gentle magic of this timeless story.

So please indulge me; even though it’s nowhere near Christmas time, listen with me to the opening story of The Cinnamon Bear, and munch a cinnamon bun in honor of a man who always carried the wonder and joy in his heart.

icon for podpress  The Cinnamon Bear - Episode 1 [16:29m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Farewell, Dennis.

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 12:05 pm

Jack French of the Metro Washington OTR Club posted a note to the Internet OTR Digest this morning announcing the passing of Dennis Crow, who died suddenly yesterday, April 20. Dennis was a member of the Metro Washington group, as well as SPERDVAC, and was the best friend a four-inch-high brown stuffed bear ever had, bar none.

Not only was Dennis a friend to the Digest, he was a good friend to my daughter as well. Each year, a little before Judy and Jimmy woke up, he would send her something related to The Cinnamon Bear - last year, he sent her a beautiful stuffed Crazy Quilt Dragon she was holding when I checked in on her as she slept Christmas Eve.

Dennis, thank you. I’m going to miss your gentle reminders about when to start The Cinnamon Bear next year, but where ever you are, know that every year when we listen, we’ll be “much obliged to you” for everything you’ve done.

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Blondie - Dagwood Buys A New Suit

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 2:32 pm

This is specifically for those of us who, because of circumstances, cannot be attending this weekend’s Cincinnati Old-Time Radio and Nostalgia Convention…after all, we should have a little fun, too, shouldn’t we?

I got an early Christmas present not long ago from Jerry Haendiges, of The Vintage Radio Place. He sent some programs, suggesting I “broadcast” some here…thing is, many of the programs he sent I’d never heard, and some I’ve never heard of, even as long as I’ve been in the hobby. So over the next several months I’m going to run some of the shows he sent in low-bandwidth MP3 format - even at 32kbps mono, these shows are some of the best-sounding shows you’ll hear. But remember for even better sound, these shows (and a few bazillion others) may be purchased from Jerry in either audio CD format, or ultra-high-quality MP3 format.

This time we have an episode of Blondie from 1939 - this summer replacement for Eddie Cantor starred Penny Singleton and Arthur Lake as Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead, with Bill Goodwin announcing. I chose this as the latest in the “Haendiges Series” because our friend Will Hutchins was television’s Dagwood on the CBS series back in 1968, and Tommy Cook, with whom I appeared in Paul Reversky at 2002’s FOTR Convention (he, he…I always wanted to say something like that!) played Alexander in a much later incarnation of the radio program.

In this episode in the life of Dagwood Bumstead, he disregards the sage advice of his wife Blondie and is talked into purchasing an over-priced, ill-fitting suit. And, of course, every attempt to fix things results in his problems getting worse…until Blondie takes a hand.

You may stream the show using the player below, or download it with the link. Remember, by subscribing to this blog with any podcasting client (Juice, iTunes, etc.) the shows will be automatically downloaded to your computer or MP3 player!

icon for podpress  Blondie - Dagwood Buys A New Suit [32:15m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Les Paul

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 9:39 am

Today on The Bob Edwards Show is a fascinating interview with Les Paul - you can listen to the show with a free three-day sample-subscription to XM Satellite Radio’s online service at, and you’ll be able to hear the weekend version of this interview (edited for time) at the website in the Bob Edwards Weekend forum. Now everyone who’s met Mr. Paul has a story to tell about it…this is mine.

A few years ago, Mr. Paul was a guest of the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention at one of the more…er…eclectic closing performances. He spoke for a bit, answered some pre-set questions, and accepted our applause. After the evening’s performances finally ended, I sought him out…I didn’t take anything for him to sign, I just wanted to thank him for taking the time out of his schedule to visit with us, and frankly I wanted to meet the guy, someone I’d appreciated for pretty much my entire lifetime, and particularly since I learned to play guitar after losing a finger on my left hand. I found him, and did so…while shaking his hand across a table, I held it for just a moment longer than customary (men know what I’m talking about), looked him in the eye and said, “I wonder if a lick will rub off?”

He got a huge grin on his face, grabbed my hand between both of his (they seemed so large to create such a delicate sound), rubbed it between them so I could feel friction heat, and with a soft laugh said, “I sure hope so!”

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