In the time before television, it was radio, and the dearly departed art form of radio drama, "The Theater Of The Mind", that held the public's affection. For the last year we've tried to pause every Sunday to tune in on old broadcasts from this older time, to reflect on the lessons these old shows may contain, hoping to hear stories with messages that can be of service to us, today.
"[O]ne must experience great sorrow before one can have great happiness"...
This is the theme explored in this week's program, an episode from a dramatic series that could never work as a television show, shaped as it was for fulfillment through the mind's eye of its audience: the historical biography series called Mr President.
The show's introduction was gently re-written each of its 6 seasons, between 1947 and 1953; I think the 1949 season offered the most wonderful description of the series' concept:
"The biography of responsibility".
Each week a little-known episode in the life of an American President would be dramatized, but the actual name of the President would be withheld from the audience until the final act (often the final words of the final act), inviting the audience to guess at the President's identity, in a fun test of the listener's knowledge of history.
We played an episode of the Mr President series last November, and I admit it was pretty easy to figure out the unnamed President in that one; this week's romantic example, also from 1948, will be much, much harder to guess correctly, I assure you..!
I hope it can bring some measure of comfort to those for whom Valentine's Day brings as much pain as it does joy to others around them. We can all use some reassurance that love lost can be found anew, in different form; that no matter how much things change, some things never change, and among these remains the continuing chance for renewed embrace of something bigger than ourselves, the ongoing opportunity to build a relationship, one soul healing another, each finding new reasons to live... and to love.
Previous 2010 Radio Memories posts:
For a list of our 2009 Radio Memories listings, go here.