February 15, 2011

Radio Days

Woody Allen on the Radio Days set

Radio Days is the Academy Award-nominated 1987 film directed by Woody Allen. In it, Allen looks back on American family life during the Golden Age of Radio, and it finds the writer/director at his most nostalgic, with a script which shifts between the lightly comedic and the touchingly sad. The narrator (Allen) tells how radio influenced his childhood in the days before TV, during the late 1930s to New Year's Eve 1944. On a trivial note, it is the only Allen film featuring both Diane Keaton and Mia Farrow.

I'm often nostalgic for things I did not personally experience. I wonder what that is called. There must be a word for it! So I find myself watching Radio Days, longing for life in Rockaway, just before, and during the early years of W.W. II.

The houses and surf remind me of the Galveston of my childhood. A longer version of this, done by someone else, can be found here.

An accomplished jazz musician, Woody Allen always displays superior taste in selecting the music for his film's soundtracks. He is one of those filmmakers who is so skilled at matching music with whatever is taking place onscreen. The music in that previous video is, of course, "September Song." The Radio Days soundtrack also featured such gems as "Dancing in the Dark," "Body and Soul," "In the Mood," "You're Getting to Be a Habit with Me," "Begin the Beguine," "All or Nothing at All," "Paper Doll," "Goodbye," "That Old Feeling," "I'm Gettin' Sentimental Over You," "Just One of Those Things," "Take the 'A' Train," "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To," aaand "Night and Day." Wow!


Allen tells of visiting Radio City Music Hall for the first time, with musical accompaniment by boy singer, Frank Sinatra, crooning "If You Are But a Dream" (1944).

The Philadelphia Story (1940)


But those voices don't necessarily have to grow "dimmer and dimmer." You might enjoy what is offered at Jon's Old Time Radio Show Catalog. According to him, as well as hearing thousands of old time radio episodes online, visitors to OTRCAT.com can stream or download full episodes in Mp3 format as well as read detailed descriptions of the performers and series broadcast in the era (1920's – 1959). In the "daily downloads," there are the broadcasts of the day throughout history (from the last 50-70+years).


Blognor Regis said...

I haven't see that one, actually there's lots of Woody Allen I haven't seen, but that does look really scrumptious.

In Annie Hall, when she parks her Beetle: "it's alright, we can walk to the kerb from here." Brilliant.

Chris said...

Yes, that's a great line from Woody's best film! Radio Days was all right - I liked it for its nostalgia. Crimes and Misdemeanors is one of his better "recent" films. You've no doubt seen his other classic, Manhattan.