‘Those Were the Days’ special traces radio’s evolution
Since it began in 1970, Those Were the Days has always been something of a weekly time capsule, channeling the Golden Age of Radio for four hours every Saturday afternoon.
To celebrate the show’s 42nd anniversary, host and producer Steve Darnall is taking the time-capsule concept even further: During the course of this weekend’s show — airing from 1 to 5pm Saturday on College of DuPage’s WDCB-FM (90.9) and streaming online at wdcb.org — listeners will be transported from 1932 to 1962 five years at a time.
The special broadcast will feature historically significant programs from each half-decade, including the Columbia Workshop's groundbreaking production of Archibald MacLeish's The Fall of the City, starring Burgess Meredith, Orson Welles and a cast of 200; the very first pre-recorded network series, Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Time, taped at Hines Veterans Hospital in Chicago, and the first episode of Gunsmoke, starring William Conrad as Marshal Matt Dillon.
“I'm really excited about this show, as it will give listeners a chance to hear how radio evolved, how its palette expanded as the skill set increased and subsequently contracted as networks started funneling money to television,” Darnall said.
Here’s the complete lineup for the anniversary show:
- Redbook Magazine Dramas: Anything You Want is Yours (May 26, 1932, syndicated)
- Columbia Workshop: The Fall of the City (April 11, 1937, CBS)
- Clara, Lu and Em (June 8, 1942, CBS)
- Philco Radio Time (April 30, 1947, ABC)
- Gunsmoke: Billy the Kid (April 26, 1952, CBS
- X Minus One: Man’s Best Friend (April 24, 1957, NBC)
- Suspense: Blackbeard’s Ace (April 29, 1962, CBS)