People who know me are in general agreement that a Big Ego isn’t one of my worst problems.
Still, every so often I catch my overly-humble self missing a real treat because I think “Oh, I already know all about that.” This turned out to be one of those treats. And if you think you already know all about “Old Radio”, or voice acting, or creating worlds with words and sounds and music, you need to re-think…and enjoy this book.
What I thought was just another book on Nostalgia turned out to have new insights and details on the era of network Radio which I had never encountered…and I’ve been collecting recordings and books on the subject for 40 years. If you have any interest at all in knowing how people discovered and developed the art of entertaining (and selling) through sound alone…in effect, how the business you as a voice talent proport to be part of came about, “Raised on Radio” should be on your reading list. This is the origin of your voiceover career, whether you acknowledge it or not!
Author Gerald Nachman goes far beyond the “gee whiz” nostalgic whitewash or dry academic catalogue of so many radio histories. His is a “warts and all” description of this Theatre of the Mind which still lets all the “beauty marks” show.
Newscasts, Sponsorships, Production and Sound Effects, Soaps, Dramas, Kiddie Shows, Quiz Programs, the relation to Vaudeville and later to TV, tie-ins to movies, music, and the history of the moment, even the development of what’s now known as the situation comedy – it’s all laid out here, in a personal, conversational tone still laced with authority. And while not a textbook on performance, I noted several sections that would serve as guidance on things like mic technique and character development. You may even take a fiendish glee in the section about the big movie stars who were absolutely no good in front of a microphone!
It’s a big story, in a big book. But if you enjoy it as much as I did, you’ll wonder at how fast it goes by.
I think I’ll have to keep it around for a re-run…just to remind myself every once in awhile how much fun it is not to “know it all”.
— over and out —