Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Dreaming of the stars

Ever wish there was something that existed and it eventually becomes a reality?

Tonight I heard a radio station promo about downloading the sports talk show as a podcast if you missed any of the live broadcast. Sports talk radio is hardly worth listening to live, let alone going to the trouble of downloading it, but I'm getting off track...

Yes, I know that previously recorded radio programming made available as podcasts are not anything new, but for whatever reason it hit me that we now have is what I wanted those many years ago when I couldn't hear a particular program.

I desired a radio version of the VCR. In other words, it would be a programmable device that could record a radio show at the appointed time. The instance I recall wanting it for the most was the airing of a Star Wars radio dramatization.

Like most boys my age I was into Star Wars big time. I collected the action figures and trading cards, read the picture books and novelizations, and even clipped the daily comic strip from the newspaper and glued each into a notebook. (It blew my mind to come across a site of someone who did the same thing and posted examples. Mine looked like that, bad cuts and all. I think I have that notebook somewhere. I really ought to try and find it.)

Going by the info on the Wikipedia page, it must have been 1981 or 1983--I'm betting it was the latter--that one of the radio programs was going to air on a local station. Keep in mind that home video was not the big business it is today. Seeing the films wasn't something you could do at a moment's notice. I wished we had one of the Star Wars Super 8 reels that were sold at Kmart so I could watch it on our home movie projector. Keeping all this in mind, just hearing the movies reenacted on the radio would have been a huge deal.

I don't know if it was an episode or the whole thing, but the program was scheduled for a night that we were going to help my grandmother look for a car. (Memories are notoriously unreliable when reaching back into childhood stories, so I'm going with the version of the story that feels true.)

I recall being none too pleased that I was going to miss part or all of the broadcast, although some time would be spent in the car going to the dealership in Arlington, Ohio. I'm sure I didn't miss everything. Memory tells me I heard some on the way home from the back seat of my grandma's brand new navy blue Buick, a car she bought in the early 1980s and owned until her death some twenty-odd years later.

Apparently those old radio productions are available on CD. The Star Wars dramatization was directed by John Madden. (Could this be the same guy who went on to make Shakespeare in Love, among other films?) I'm guessing The Empire Strikes Back was the one I longed to hear. Now I can check out an audio sample and get a sense of what it was that enthralled me as a kid. Maybe it wasn't such a bad thing that I didn't get to listen to it all then. Something tells me I wouldn't have remembered it quite as fondly as I have while writing this.

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At 7:42 AM, Anonymous LittleWit said...

I am really enjoying listening to some academic podcasts. It's kind of like getting to go to a lecture without having to leave my house. :)


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