Philco 41-290X

This sturdy old beast of a radio — once it sparked and poured forth words and sounds and music and adventure — do these tired old vacuum tubes wait for electricity to surge again and carry voices from a world away back into this life?

If I turn the knob, will a forgotten announcer spring to being and it will be 1941 again, with the world in turmoil far off from this sunny place, people a half-world away injecting their terror into a summer of quiet?

Will the Shadow know what evil lurks? Will the Lone Ranger gallop to the rescue? Will the Gangbusters swoop in and bust the gangs? Will a dance band play into the night to soothe the savage breast?

Even by the time I became a radio announcer, these 50 years ago if you include my college years (and why would I not?), the grand old device had passed its prime as a source of entertainment. The electronics had advanced to broadcast pictures as well as words and music, and so radio drama was a quaint old phenomenon, much as silent movies gave way to talkies a generation earlier.

There is an intimacy to radio communication, one voice reaching out to another, or an ensemble of performers nestling an adventure, or a melody, between your ears only. The image your mind created is lost, or never conjured, when you can see the performers.

The advent of the podcast has brought some vitality back to the art of sound. I imagine it all harkens back to stories told around a campfire, and the electronics have enabled the storytelling on a grand and complex scale.

As long as there are voices, there will be stories. As long as there are stories, there will be humanity.

And for 80 years now, this handsome wooden sentinel has stood ready to share the stories.

Published by WarrenBluhm

Wordsmith and podcaster, Warren is a reporter, editor and storyteller who lives near the shores of Green Bay with his wife, two golden retrievers, Dejah and Summer, and Blackberry, an insistent cat. Author of Echoes of Freedom Past, Full, Refuse to be Afraid, Gladness is Infectious, 24 flashes, How to Play a Blue Guitar, Myke Phoenix: The Complete Novelettes, A Bridge at Crossroads, The Imaginary Bomb, A Scream of Consciousness, and The Imaginary Revolution.

3 thoughts on “Philco 41-290X

  1. “As long as there are voices, there will be stories. As long as there are stories, there will be humanity.”

    I love this wonderful and thoughtful line . I shared it yesterday with my sister who is a third grade reading and writing teacher. She loved it as well. Inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: