Why I Love Old Radio Shows – Growing Up in Front of the Big Green Eye

I  love the great old radio shows.  I have since the time I was a kid in the 50’s.  In fact, I still remember my first encounter.

I was barely old enough to stand in my crib, but I can remember staring across the bedroom at the big, green hypnotic eye — and finding it staring right back at me.  The green eye was right above a big knob and both were located on the front of a large brown box.

The green eye glowed in the dark.

Much to my delight, whenever I could get my hands on the big knob and turn it, the big green eye would open wider and then partially shut again.

Wow!  I was fascinated with radios before I ever even heard any of the great old radio shows.

That memory goes back to the days when I was still in my parents’ bedroom.  Later, when I was old enough to have a room of my own, that radio went with me.

When Mom or Dad tucked me in at night, I always asked them to turn on the radio.  I was probably 5 or 6 years old.

I can remember laying in bed in the soft green glow of that radio, listening to The Lucky Lager Dance Party. They played songs by Patti Page and Perry Como, Theresa Brewer and Eddie Fisher, Rosemary Clooney and Frankie Laine. Oh, and they played the song “Dream” by Johnny Mercer at the end of every show.

The real magic started one night when, for whatever reason, I couldn’t sleep.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I stealthily climbed out of bed and tiptoed across the room to turn the big dial that made that magical green eye flicker.

With one turn of the knob, Artie Shaw’s orchestra was suddenly transformed into the sound of horse hooves clip-clopping at a gallop. I heard a cowboy on one of the horses yelling to another to stop! — or he’d shoot.

What was this?

Leaving the knob in the new position, I hurriedly scampered back into bed, pulling the covers up to my chin.

There in that semi-dark room, illuminated by the glow of my radio’s magical green eye, I clutched my covers to my chest and became totally mesmerized by the my first true old radio show.  I heard the voice of  Marshall Matt Dillon as he climbed down from his horse and ordered another cowboy, whose name was Raimey, not to draw his gun.

It got real silent –  except for the sound of the mean breathing.

The cowboy named Raimey said very slowly he wouldn’t be hanged.

Silence.

Suddenly Marshall Dillon was yelling:  “Don’t Do It, Raimey! Put down your gun!” but the sounds of gunfire exploded into the room.

Silence.

What happened?  Who was shot?

Next a man named Chester was running and yelling.   When he stopped, I could actually hear him looking down at the cowboy laying on the ground.

“You got him, Mr. Dillon.  He’s gone.”

Silence.

Wow! How great was this?!!

The very next year I saw my new friend, Matt Dillon, on television – obviously not the same Matt Dillon who was on my radio.  Radio Matt was the real Marshal Dillon.

As far as I’m concerned, he still is.

That was my first encounter with old radio shows — but it certainly would not be my last.  In fact, some of my fondest moments growing up were in front of my radio.

Bob Bro has a collection of over 7,000 old time radio shows. He shares his passion on his blog: http://theoldtimeradioshow.com, where he invites you to drop in anytime and listen to some of his favorite great old radio shows! You can also hear Bob on his daily one hour radio show on Yesterday USA the non profit internet radio station that has been playing commercial free old time radio shows 24 hours a day for over 25 years.

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