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From Radio to the Big Screen: Hollywood Films Featuring Broadcast…

by Hal Erickson

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1361,187,774 (3.67)2
There was a time when "American popular entertainment" referred only to radio and motion pictures. With the coming of talking pictures, Hollywood cashed in on the success of big-time network radio by bringing several of the public's favorite broadcast personalities and programs to the screen. The results, though occasionally successful, often proved conclusively that some things are better heard than seen. Concentrating primarily on radio's Golden Age (1926-1962), this lively history discusses the cinematic efforts of airwave stars Rudy Vallee, Amos 'n' Andy, Fred Allen, Joe Penner, Fibber McGee & Molly, Edgar Bergen, Lum & Abner, and many more. Also analyzed are the movie versions of such radio series as The Shadow, Dr. Christian and The Life of Riley. In addition, two recent films starring contemporary radio headliners Howard Stern and Garrison Keillor are given their due.… (more)
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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I love both classic era movies and "otr" - old time radio, a surprisingly amount of which survives and can be found for free online - so I was surprised I was rather disappointed in this book. The book badly needs a detailed table of contents telling what movie adaptations are on what pages, instead the toc is virtually nothing. I also dislike the way each film is run together rather than beginning and ending like a chapter with blank space between entries. I was also disappointed that far too many of the photographs used to illustrate the book are movie ads, magazine covers, and the like, not particularly uncommon images for those of us who are real into this hobby. The photo is fairly well researched but somehow lacks strong interest though part of that may be due to a startling number of these filmed versions of radio favorites were unsuccessful and failed to capture the appeal of the programs. ( )
  mrsfiskeandco | Dec 19, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This seems like a great book, just not the great book I was looking for. And that's entirely my fault -- the description is accurate, I just didn't pay attention. Many of the radio shows I know of and wanted to learn more of had other origins (mostly literary) or don't have the big screen connections to make it into this book. The stories that I was able to read here were still quite good, but unfortunately my expectations were misguided. ( )
  bah | Nov 12, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Hal Erickson's From Radio to the Big Screen is a thorough reference on radio programs that made the leap (sometimes not particularly that successfully) to the big screen. The amount of detail in this books is astonishing - and commendable. All the big shows and names are here, along with programs and their actors that might otherwise have been lost to the annals of time.

Some entries are better than others. In the very first one, about Ann Howe, concludes her life with the note that she is not the woman who starred in 1990 porn movies. A poor attempt at humor? Why ever it's there, it's not funny, it's confusing, and it's inappropriate.

Despite this and some other issues, this book is a great reference for fans of radio shows and film alike. ( )
  ligature | Aug 7, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is a wonderful resource for fans of both radio and movies. It's so full of information that it reads somewhat like a textbook as the author lists both the name of the radio personality (or group) and then links them to their appearances in Hollywood. Of particular interest to me were Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthey. The book traces their start, explaining how Bergen developed the character of Charlie and then follows them through the steps in their career together, giving brief synopses of each event and the significance.

An excellent historical reference for film, radio, and entertainment buffs! ( )
  Neftzger | Jul 31, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Mr Erickson gives us details of early radio shows that transitioned to the big screen. He takes one show at a time and gives a detailed picture of how the radio show came about as well as what lead to it's appearance on film. For the most part he does this without getting bogged down in the depths of gratuitous details. The stories he relates are informative and entertaining highlights not only of the stars, but also the creative people behind the scenes. Mr Erickson lets us know the factors that lead to the success or failure of these transitions. Many of the shows and stars highlighted are still well remembered, such as comedians Jack Benny and Bob Hope and shows such as Amos 'n Andy, The Life of Riley, The Shadow, and Ozzie and Harriet. Many other shows have faded from our memories like; Baron Munchausen, Myrt and Marge, Kay Kyser, and Scattergood Baines. The book is nicely illustrated with vintage photographs and posters. I have to admit to skipping around some of the more obscure subjects as they had no appeal to me, but the stories and nostalgia of many others made reading this a pleasant journey down memory lane. ( )
  Ronrose1 | Jul 24, 2014 |
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There was a time when "American popular entertainment" referred only to radio and motion pictures. With the coming of talking pictures, Hollywood cashed in on the success of big-time network radio by bringing several of the public's favorite broadcast personalities and programs to the screen. The results, though occasionally successful, often proved conclusively that some things are better heard than seen. Concentrating primarily on radio's Golden Age (1926-1962), this lively history discusses the cinematic efforts of airwave stars Rudy Vallee, Amos 'n' Andy, Fred Allen, Joe Penner, Fibber McGee & Molly, Edgar Bergen, Lum & Abner, and many more. Also analyzed are the movie versions of such radio series as The Shadow, Dr. Christian and The Life of Riley. In addition, two recent films starring contemporary radio headliners Howard Stern and Garrison Keillor are given their due.

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