I am going to write about a few different things related to Old Time Radio this year. I want to have a series on lighthouse-themed episodes. A good suggestion from a former colleague was to work on baseball-themed episodes. So that gives me a good deal to work on. And while people do a great job of highlighting performers when their birth anniversaries roll around, I thought I would do something a bit different. Maybe each month, I would pick a theme and see if I can get some entries to work with that.
So in thinking about what people are doing in January. Besides being bundled up - especially for those in the north where it is COLD outside, most people are working on their New Year's Resolutions. And that means, typically, weight loss and diet. What fun would it be to listen to some of these episodes while avoiding treats to fulfill our own resolutions. So my Old Time Radio Diet is not about only having Old Time Radio - but how diet and healthy eating was covered on these shows. It will be interesting in the context that it reflects the culture and health habits in the 1940s and 1950s. I will get new entries out every few days, so hopefully it will be fun for everyone. As for me, I get a diet helper. I have Wanda protecting me from the cookies.
Wanda - a diet's best friend! No Cookies for YOU! Picture from 2012
For my first entry, I thought I would pull out a good one from the Damon Runyon Theater. This entry from May 22, 1949 is called "A Piece Of Pie" based on the story of the same name. The Damon Runyon Theater is a great series and takes you right into the world of Damon Runyon. It was produced by the Mayfair Transcription Company and pretty much only ran in 1949. It was broadcast over many different stations, but not as a network program. The show starred John Brown as Broadway, who serves as the central figure and narrator of the stories. If you like Guys and Dolls, you will love these great dramatizations for radio. Watch for some entries soon about sports fans from this series.
Damon Runyon captures a romanticized version the charming lives of New York's gamblers and other rougher characters like Harry The Horse and Broadway. In this episode, Harry and Broadway decide to enter one of their pays, Nicely-Nicely Jones into an eating contest. When a person who they are holding a bet with wants them to produce Nicely-Nicely, they head off in search for him. What they find shocks them both. Nicely-Nicely....a man who can eat anyone, and we mean anyone, under the table is going to have no problem winning this bet from an eating champion. So what is the problem....love...
Turns out Nicely-Nicely is engaged to one Hilda Slocum, a writer who decided that having a fiance who stars in eating contests is not to her liking. In fact, Nicely-Nicely was being forced to live on a crash diet - a requirement for Hilda's hand in marriage. So she forbade her beloved Nicely-Nicely from participating. Realizing that his friends Harry The Horse and Broadway needed a replacement, Hilda provided them with a replacement. While they were picturing another very large man...they got instead one Miss Violette Shumberger. Turns out that she is more of a ringer and an underdog!
A Piece of Pie (May 22, 1949)
Here are some links to programs relating to Damon Runyon Theater:
- Damon Runyon Theater radio program episodes via the Internet Archive
- Damon Runyon Theater radio program episodes via the Internet Archive (alternative)
- Damon Runyon Theater on the Digital Deli
- Damon Runyon Theater on Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs
- Damon Runyon Theater from the RadioGOLDINdex
- Damon Runyon Omnibus (Project Guttenberg Australia)
- Find books by Damon Runyon via Worldcat (or visit your local library)
- Damon Runyon entry in the Wikipedia
- Greg Bell's Old time radio channel (#82)
- Here are all of my Old Time Radio Blog Entries
An Old Time Radio Diet - All Blog Entries