Posted 8/25/19

THEN - Radio was one way that we could find entertainment if we could get anything worthwhile through the static. There were thousands of radio shows that came and went, but there were some that I …

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THEN - Radio was one way that we could find entertainment if we could get anything worthwhile through the static. There were thousands of radio shows that came and went, but there were some that I listened to and which I still remember For some strange reason, several of the names of those shows still linger in my mind, and as this writing is an attempt to drain my memory bank I am going to pull out as many of them that I remember and write their names here. The program we listened to most often was the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, we as a family would gather around the radio to listen to our favorite country stars perform. Minnie Pearl always brought a laugh, as did Grandpa Jones and String Bean. Bear with me while I jot down some of my favorites. Hank Snow, Tex Ritter, Roy Clark, Sonny James, Porter Wagoner, Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, Roy Acuff, Eddie Arnold, Red Foley, Johnny and June Carter Cash, Lester Flatts, Kitty Wells, Earl Scruggs, George Jones, Marty Robbins, Ferlin Husky, Earnest Tubbs, and don't forget Box Car Willie. There were hundreds of other performers, some of whom may have been your favorites. Most of the members of the Grand Ole Opry now were not performing when I listened to the program years ago. Conversely, the majority of those who did perform at that time have left their musical instruments to be included in museums and have gone on to their rewards. There are always those who are eager to replace them. 

Of the many radio shows that aired before television caused their demise, there are a number that I recall as being the most interesting to me. Again I will jot some of them down. As I ponder through my memory bank, I am thinking that this list might be somewhat lengthy I will start by saying that I can vividly recall listening to The Green Hornet one night when I was alone at-home. It was a scary episode and right at the end when you learned what happened, the static wiped out the entire ending. I was scared by the story which was unfolding and stayed scared until I was no longer alone. 

My dad's favorites were Lumand Abner, Amos and Andy, Abbott and Costello, Cab Calloway, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, Fibber McGee and Molly, and George Burns and Gracie Allen. Having only one radio, we listened to a lot of what Dad wanted to hear. The girls had their favorites, too. If given a chance they would listen to Our Miss Brooks, Breakfast in Hollywood, Little Orphan Annie, Ozzie and Harriet, The Original Amateur Hour, Our Miss Brooks, Queen for a Day, This Is Your Life, People are Funny and Mickey Mouse. 

We boys had a number of favorites; most of them involved a lot of action. 

Some were The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers (king of the cowboys), Gunsmoke, Gene Autry, Have Gun will Travel, Dragnet, The Green Hornet, and Red Ryder. There were also dramas and mysteries such as Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, Orson Wells, and The Mercury Theater on the air, Inter-Sanctum, Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, Whistler, and Boston Blackie. 

When we finally got a Crosby 19-inch TV, black and white of course, we were then able to watch some of the same programs, but they never had the same impact on the imagination as did those radio shows. On television we enjoyed watching the old cowboy and Indian and western movies where the good guys always wore the white hats and the bad guys wore black. The good guys always won. Some of the carry-overs from radio that we did like were Gunsmoke, Have Gun will Travel, Roy Rogers, Sargent Preston of the Yukon, and Dragnet. The girls watched Our Miss Brooks, This is Your Life, People Are Funny, and Mickey Mouse. 

NOW - Don't throw away that box that the toy came in. The kids had rather play with it than the toy itself. Go to almost any kid's room today, and you will practically have to wade through the toys, some of which have probably seen little playing time. Wait until Christmas and there will be another layer on the one that has just been added at the birthday party. Not for one to worry though, the toy companies will advertise one that the youngsters must have, and you will not need to wait for a special occasion to add that one to the pile. In the end, the one that will occupy all of your kid's time will be an electronic device that will do anything but clean up the child's room after all those toys have been thrown in the floor and then ignored. 

I recall how kids would be outdoors in mass in pretty weather playing sports, riding bicycles, or just enjoying being outside. I do not see that much anymore. It is now preferable to sit inside in comfort and devote time to playing games on electronic devices. It seems now that many young people are not willing to devote the energy needed to exercise their bodies. 

Contact Wheeler Pounds at 3424 Kings Mill Rd, Oakman, AL 35579, or at wheelerpounds@gmail.com.