Saturday, April 19, 2014

Behind the Mike and the Finished Story

As you might know (I know it is presumptuous that you might have read my blog before), I really love Old Time Radio shows lately, either from the Internet Archive or via Sirius/XM Radio Channel 82.

Behind the Mike is an interesting series that takes you (as you might imagine) behind the mike to meet the people that make these shows possible. In many ways, these are shows that go in all different directions and can be quite fun to listen to.

The reason I came to this show on this day is through the generosity of Greg Bell, Host of Radio Classics on XM channel 82. On Friday November 14th, I was driving home from Traverse City, Michigan after attending the Michigan Library Conference. I was driving along the beautiful Lake Michigan lakeshore and I visited the Frankfort & Point Betsie lighthouses.

Frankfort Lighthouse During Autumn Morning (Frankfort, Michigan)

Point Betsie Lighthouse During Autumn Morning (Frankfort, Michigan)

As I turned east and headed toward 127 and points south, I was driving through some heavily wooded areas. In these areas, I get XM in my car most of the time, but it does cut in and out. And it was in one of these areas when I was listening to Classic Radio on XM. And as I sometimes do, I was flipping between different channels when I started hearing the story about a shipwreck. It was told in the first person with some scenes acted out. What I remembered most of all was that he was talking about how they discovered that turtle meat and turtle blood was one of the food that kept them all alive. The story went on and on, as the the conditions were harder and harder.

It was riveting, and I was literally at the edge of my seat. Then all of a sudden, XM cut out...I was sitting there thinking "NO!" I was anxious to find out what happened and how they got off the island. Then, after about a minute or two, it came back on...and this is what I heard: "And we sailed for home that night".


So on and off, since that November morning, I have been wondering what story that was. I searched Internet Archive and old time radio sites about shipwreck stories...ones with turtles...ones with Islands. NOTHING.

After reaching out to Greg Bell, he kindly send me the play list for that day. I kinda knew what time it was. I started looking for all the shows. When I first listened to Behind the Mike, I found the episode that day (Feb 16, 1941) called Character Actors. I listened to the start of it, but it did not seem like it was the one. I tried again and went to the end...paydirt.

Go to Behind the Mike, and choose the episode Character Actors. After around 18 minutes or so, they start telling the story that I was looking for. It was from the old Eveready Hour and was the true life story of Red Christianson, boiled down to 10 minutes. The story was about the time when he and his fellow crew mates were shipwrecked in the Galapagos Islands in 1906. He recounted his story on the Eveready Hour five times. In this show, they only had 10 minutes, so they abbreviated the story. I will not go over the details (you need to do that), but it was very satisfying to know how it was that they were rescued after all these months.

"And we sailed for home that night"

A very happy ending...indeed.