KNOW YOUR RADIO TERMS
OTR- old time radio.
SUSTAINING or SUSTAINED
means that alas, there is no sponsor for that episode.
The radio network sustains the show budgetarily, until a sponsor is found.
Since there are no ads to run, the commercial breaks
are filled with public service messages or music.
The saddest is when the program pauses for a break in the middle
and... identifies itself.
TRANSCRIBED means recorded, "transcription" means 'recording.'
SOUND PATTERNS was that time's equivalent of 'sound effects.'
AFRS- a significant number of Gunsmoke episodes
would be lost to us, were it not for the the Armed Forces Radio Service,
which recorded--or rather, 'transcribed'--an incredible number
of the radio shows of that time into discs, which they sent overseas
to entertain and keep up the morale of our troops.
What's with that organ constantly grinding in the background?
It permeates the intro, outro, and incidental music
of many an old time radio show.
Generally, organ music is a good indication that a
radio program aired in the Thirties and Forties.
Its use had dwindled down by the Gunsmoke era of the early Fifties.
To the modern ear, the organ is fun and annoying,
like the harmonium and accordion.
In old time radio, organ music could indeed be cheesy,
over-dramatic, and overbearing; but used judiciously,
it could summon up emotion, atmosphere, and tension.
At that time, radio shows did not necessarily have titles for each episode.
Most that do survive were only meant to be working titles.
Dealers of otr mp3s will sometimes make up a title if there isn't one;
consequently, you will sometimes find as many as six different titles
for a single episode.
For these reasons, some old-time-radio fans feel the air dates
are more dependable labels.
The adaptation of a good number of Gunsmoke's radio episodes to tv
solidified the titles of the stories whose titles were kept.
However, it only further confused the issue for those
whose titles were changed or modified.
The changes were not for artistic purposes but based
on the assumption (later proven by the success of the color era)
that television audiences are unable to grasp any form of complexity.
Thus, Smoking out the Beadles was reduced to Smoking Out the Nolans.
Additionally, the article "the" was dropped from a lot of radio titles--
e.g. The Reed Survives became Reed Survives--
to differentiate them from the radio episodes,
but it only added to the confusion.
Copyright © 2005-2016 E. A. Villafranca, Jr.
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