Radio In The 1930s-1940s

4 April 2015
An analysis of the Golden Age of radio.

Examines radio’s Golden Age, innovations in sound, focusing on the comedy of Jack Benny and dramas by writer Norman Corwin.
Radio in its so-called Golden Age in the 1930s and 1940s
developed a means of expression that made use of sound as a tool of communication and that found a way to utilize sound in the service of dramatic presentation. For most of its history, radio drama and comedy were live, and their sound effects, music, and dialogue were delivered to a live audience both at home and in the studio in many cases. Comedies had an interactive and participative audience, and the laugh track carried over into filmed television was an attempt to maintain that element. Both comedy and drama were experimental in terms of their use of sound, though this has not always been recognized. A serious drama such as a play by Norman Corwin or a CBS Radio Workshop would be recognized for their interesting use of sound, but comedies like The Jack Benny Show used sound to convey ideas and attitudes with …

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