Old time radio blog.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Recent Listens

Downloaded the four-episode arc Vacation Troubles from Archive's tiny collection of Beulah shows and found them to be quite entertaining. Each one runs about 12 minutes and tells the title story of the housekeeper planning a vacation to an upstate lodge where her beau will be lifeguarding, while her employers plan one to Mexico. Starring Hattie McDaniel as Beulah, I detected very little in the way of racist stereotyping, even though the other black characters -- her friend Oriole, her beau, and possibly her male cousin -- were all played by white actors. The dialogue reminded me a lot of Beauty Shop, proving that little has changed in sixty years when it comes to comedy writing. Beulah and her employers, especially the lady of the house, Alice, get along like people in other housekeeper-centric sitcoms.

The 6/20/50 episode of Candy Matson, Symphony of Death was more revelatory in terms of mostly pretty unsavory social in-jokes . An obviously gay composer has flipped his lid after years of writing very popular music; his kid sister wants to have him committed so that he goes back to 'normal'. Unfortunately he winds up dead in his San Fran apartment, putting Candy on the case. There is use of slang in a 'creative' way that I found insulting, although the victim was somewhat balanced by Matson's probably gay and cool cohort, Rembrandt Wilson. Overall, not a high point in this otherwise classy series.

Ronald Colman added his own kind of style to the 7/10/45 episode of the Columbia Workshop's Daybreak. It's essentially a 24 hour look (in 25 minutes) at how the world wakes up in the morning, an appealing monologue for the time. I was less impressed by the Aussie import The Clock's episode, Island of Women, from 3/16/47 -- a date that surprises me because this silly Amazonian fantasy sounded more like some camp serialized thing from the 30's. Hopefully more of the shows I d/l'd will be better.

No comments:

Post a Comment