Maltin, best known for his appearances on Entertainment Tonight and his books on movies, here travels back in time to present a delightful, heavily illustrated history of radio up to the time that TV ended its Golden Age, from the '20s to the '50s. He seemingly covers all the bases from the writers to the actors, to the musicians and the Hollywood stars who were so much a part of radio culture. With personal reminiscences from such actors as John McIntire, Parley Baer, Gale Gordon and Jeannette Nolan, the reader gets the feel of old-time radio. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, coauthors of Inherit the Wind and Auntie Mame, remember their salad days as radio writers; Norman Corwin recalls the terror of conceiving a weekly radio script--and waiting for the Muse to arrive with an idea; actors reminisce about Dragnet starring Jack Webb; and Gale Gordon remembers being the highest-paid performer on the air--at $15 a show. Every job in radio was important: from the soundmen to the announcers (such as Harry Von Zell and Don Wilson) to the comedians (from Bob Hope to the extremely popular Amos `n' Andy, which was performed by white actors). A lively and informative history that rekindles fond memories. Movie & Entertainment Book Club selection. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/29/1997 Release date: 10/01/1997 Genre: Nonfiction
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