Fantastic Origins #1

Photo of actress Virginia Bruce from the radio program Suspense.

Photo of actress Virginia Bruce from the radio program Suspense.

As I launch my blog and publicize my attempt journey to become a published author, I thought I would start by reflecting on the primary inspirations behind my latest writing projects.

First stop on the tour is the greatest of the three: old time radio.

My love of old time radio started back in the day before minivans, when my whole family (all six of us) would pile into the big blue station wagon and head down to Florida to visit Grandma, Grandpa, and sometimes Mickey Mouse. It was a three-day trip and my parents did a good job of finding a variety of things for us to do.

One of my favorites usually started after dark, when we were restricted in what things we could do. We listened to cassette tapes of old radio programs on our cheap little mono tape recorder. These shows included Abbott and Costello, Fibber McGee and Molly, and the Lone Ranger. I loved them all, but my favorite was probably the Lone Ranger, because I’m a sucker for an idealistic hero and a good adventure story.

Fast forward to several years ago. I was looking for some new radio stations to listen to online and I just happened across a few that featured old time radio programs (OTR). Intrigued, I tried them out and was instantly enthralled. As I’ve said, I love a good adventure and OTR is full of them. My favorite shows quickly became Suspense and Richard Diamond, Private Detective and there were countless more that I enjoyed such as Escape, The Whistler, Inner Sanctum, and The Shadow. Eventually I discovered modern takes on OTR, such as the outstanding Decoder Ring Theatre and The Sonic Society.

Long story short, I love old time radio, and I find it a constant source of inspiration that enables me to pull ideas from many different genres. In the span of 30 minutes you can visit the most amazing places and have incredible adventures, which in many ways are more captivating than any film, because you supply the visuals yourself. And now, as a writer, I find it hard to read all the books I want while keeping up with my writing, but I can always find some time to squeeze in a “half hour of high adventure.” As long as I have my OTR, I’m sure I’ll always have more story ideas than I could ever write.

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