When Radio Was King!
One of my most cherished boyhood memories was clicking the power switch on our big old console radio, and then running around to the back where I could peer through the perforations of the rear cover as the tube filaments lit up one by one, like tiny campfires in the black void. Soon, I was also rewarded with the glorious mixed odor of hot dust and high voltage ozone, just before the real magic began.
At that age, I had not the slightest idea of how it all worked of course, which only served to make the mystery all the more exquisite. How could voices from such far-away places find their way to our humble living room? And not just any voices, mind you, but the voices of real and glorious heroes, like Tom Mix, Sky King, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Tarzan, Steve Canyon, Bobby Benson of the B-Bar-B, and Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, boyhood heroes one and all.
Unlike watching TV, the scenes and many of the faces of the radio drama characters were created in the mind and imagination of the listener, like reading a book, and what great visions they were! Of course several, like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry were also silver-screen movies stars, so their faces were not so imaginary.
Today, many of the old radio shows are available in MP3 format and can be played on our modern vehicle radios. I personally have nearly 6,000 on a 64GB thumb-drive that my vehicle radios will play, and listening makes the miles melt away on long drives.
Most of today's kids have never heard of such radio dramas so when I asked my two young nephews if they wanted to listen to an episode of the radio version of Gunsmoke, I saw them making faces at one another in my rear-view mirror. I played one anyway and after it concluded, I said nothing, but after a mile or so of silence from the backseat, one of them timidly asked if I could play another episode! They were hooked as I knew they would be.
I invite you to check out Internet Archive's Old Time Radio collection. I suspect that you too will be hooked!