Raised on Radio / Edition 1

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In the late 1920s radio exploded almost overnight into being America's dominant entertainment, just as television would do twenty-five years later. Gerald Nachman, himself a product of the radio years, takes us back to the heyday of radio, bringing to life the great performers and shows, as well as the not-so-great and not-great-at-all. Nachman analyzes the many genres that radio exploited or invented, from the soap opera to the sitcom to the quiz show, zooming in to study closely key performers like Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Fred Allen. Raised on Radio is a generous, instructive, and sinfully readable salute to an extraordinary American phenomenon.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520223035
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 8/23/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST PBK
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 544
  • Sales rank: 815,337
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Gerald Nachman has for thirty-eight years covered theater, movies, cabaret, and television for newspapers and magazines across the country. The author of three previous books, he lives in San Francisco.

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Table of Contents

Preface: Background Music vii
Introduction: Bedtime Stories 3
1 Radio-Free America 13
2 Vaudio 26
3 The Anticomedian 51
4 Nesting Instincts 73
5 Treadmill to Posterity 95
6 Wise Guys Finish First 119
7 Jokes, Inc. 139
8 For Your Listening and Dancing Pleasure 152
9 The Children's Hour 181
10 Saddle Sore 195
11 Valued Families 210
12 No WASPs Need Apply 237
13 We'll Be Back Right after These Words 257
14 A Voice of Another Color 271
15 Radio Noir--Cops and Grave Robbers 296
16 Minds over Matter 320
17 Just Folks 353
18 The Soap Factory 364
19 The Royal Family 388
20 Meet the Press 398
21 Best Seats in the House 430
22 Crunch, Creak, Crash, Whoosh, Wham, and Whoo-oooo 460
23 The Unseen Audience 470
24 We're a Little Late, Folks, So Good Night 485
Acknowledgments 503
Interviews 505
Bibliography 506
Index 510
Photo Credits 536
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2000

    Better Than Nostalgia

    RAISED ON RADIO Gerald Nachman needs an appreciator as eloquent as he is to praise his superb book 'Raised On Radio ' . Nachman not only lavishes appreciative praise where it is due among actors, writers, comedians -even sound-effects men- of radio' s golden years, he targets his remarks with a razor-sharp precision that transcends nostalgia and transmutes trivia into an art form. Some deft put-downs and sharp dismissals are part of the mix, so that fans who thought Red Skelton a lovable clown or Walter Winchell a first-class reporter will be offended. Still, Gerald Nachman is happiest and most fun to read when he is declaring his informed affection for a performer, like this paragraph on Jimmy Durante: 'Durante was pure, complete, unabashed entertainer, a man possessed with the desire to please at all costs; and he aged beautifully, unlike many entertainers, never wearing out his welcome. His dynamic presence and rumpled personality broke the sight barrier. The very idea of a man who sounded like Durante actually singing, in that ramshackle voice, was enough to make anybody laugh. As he used to say, `I got dat note from Bing-and boy, was he glad ta get rid of it!¿ ' 'Raised On Radio ' is, most of all, generous. The author ignores no aspect of radio, covering its evolution, its impact, and its demise while richly documenting everything from soap operas to quiz shows, not overlooking westerns, sports, and kiddie shows. And he flavors it all with nuggets of jokes, quotes, facts, and samples of dialog. The product is 500 pages of delight that seem to go by like a magazine article and leave you wishing that the book and the glory days of radio had never ended.

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