Sunday, January 14, 2018

Your World Adventure Awaits On Old Time Radio: Visiting India with Ports of Call (1936)

For the fourth entry in my series of Old Time Radio programs that feature adventure, lets head back to 1936 and get on a grand voyage to exotic ports of call.  And the program is... Ports of CallThis is a cool series that I first learned about only last year as I wanted to see how the world was depicted on Old Time Radio during the 30s, 40s, and 50s.  This is a great way to keep our voyage going.

Visit to the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India (November 19, 2017)

Visit to the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India (November 19, 2017)
Here are all my pictures from that day at the Ashram

My second entry is this series featured World Adventurer's Club (1932), a 15 minute program from a company called Transco (or Transcription Company of America).  Another program they are responsible for is what we are featuring today.  Ports of Call was a series of transcribed 30 minute programs produced in 1935 or 1936 that took the listener to all the corners of the globe.  From the Digital Deli article:

Ports of Call was a Transco-produced 30-minute 'musical travelogue' of sorts. Often billed in the newspaper listings of California as either 'musical' or 'drama', the fifty-two Ports of Call programs were more a combination of travelogue, geography lesson, World Music, and docudrama.
The program was likely first aired in California and ran periodically through 1937.  Also from that article on the Digital Deli: "The subject forty-three countries we can currently account for represented every predominant ethnicity, language and region of the modern world of the era. The pure escapism that the series provided, as well as an undoubted element of nostalgia for the various ethnicities that comprised the great melting pot of our post-Depression nation, were an equally compelling attraction for West Coast listeners."

The episode that I want to feature today was the voyage to India.  The program takes you on a dramatized voyage into the history of India with an interesting twist.  I was fortunate to visit India this November, so the country is often on my mind.  This program provides a very Western-focused approach to the history, starting with the British East India Company and its role in governing the colony of India.  We also learn about the building of the Taj Mahal and the 1756 episode that would be known as the Black Hole of Calcutta.  But what I am most interested in is the portrait and treatment of Mahatma Gandhi and his rise to prominence in 1920.

In my travels to India, I visited Ahmedabad and was able to visit the Ashram where he lived and where his movement that lead to Indian independence in the 1920s.  That brings us back to this program.  From the world view of 1936, his work was a failure.  Mahatma Gandhi was not able to deliver on his promise of independence that lead him to fame in the teens and 20s  However, it did lead him to prison.  That is where this story left him.  While no program can know the future, it is very interesting to see how he was identified as one of the figures they wanted to showcase and how much more important he was to become..  Move forward Learn more about Gandhi from the Wikipedia.

There are lots of country in this excellent series and I will revisit this again.  I hope you enjoy these episodes.

Here are some links to Ports of Call:
Your World Adventure Awaits On Old Time Radio

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