The month of February is noted for Valentine’s Day and its celebration
of love. This February episode of Re-Imagined Radio offers three short
dramatizations of the travails we endure, the stories we tell ourselves, the
results we never expect when dealing with love.
The first is “The Good Salesperson,” a short story
about two lonely people who connect through a newspaper personal column and
surprise themselves with the results. “The Good Salesman” is sampled
from Campbell’s Short, Short Story, a radio program popular from
1940-1941. Episodes were based on short, short stories featured in popular
women’s magazines during the 1930s. Each episode was short, 15 minutes.
“The Valiant” focuses on the fact that sometimes there
is real purpose to the unexplainable actions people undertake for love.
“The Valiant” was an episode of Romance, a popular radio program of light romantic comedy,
1947-1960. The series was written and produced during the mid-1950s by the
people who worked on the adventure series Escape. Top radio stars of the day were featured. This adaptation of “The
Valiant” plays with the fact that one moment love kicks your heart to the
curb. In the next moment, love sets your heart soaring.
Finally, “Bloodthirsty Kate” shows how love can toss us
about, like ships on the ocean. When this happens, even pirates have trouble
finding love. “Bloodthirsty Kate” is sampled from a 1956 episode of
Loneliness is a common theme across these short stories, and
decades before the Internet there was radio which offered a variety of romantic
programs for listeners interested in affairs of the heart. One such program was
Lonesome Gal was on the air from 1947 into the 1950s.
Written, produced, and voiced by Jean King, of Dayton, Ohio, Lonesome Gal
was sponsored by makers of pipe tobacco and beer, and pitched primarily for
men. Each episode featured King talking to her male listeners as if they were
enjoying a candlelight dinner and wine. She called them “muffin” and
“baby” and other pet names, acting as if each listener, if only for a
few minutes each week, was the center of her world. To many men listening to Lonesome
Gal across the country, King became a virtual girlfriend.
In between her brief, cooing monologues, King would sing, or play
music by other singers. Sometimes, famous singers would appear, live, on her
program. Women tuned in as well, eager to hear the singing by King and other
vocal artists. When Lonesome Gal sang, EVERYONE felt better, less lonely.
King customized her radio show for stations around the country,
referring to familiar landmarks, streets, and parks, writing and recording
almost 300 scripts each week.
When she made public appearances, King wore a cat mask to hide