26 January: The individualistic fantasist

Quiet, Please,” writes an unnamed author at Digital Deli,was promoted by both the Mutual Broadcasting System and Wyllis Cooper as a ‘new-type psychological drama with the listening audience slated to become part of the program’.”

Wyllis Cooper.

Wyllis Cooper.

That description sums up virtually all of the scripts that Wyllis Cooper ever wrote for radio during the Golden Age. Wyllis Cooper, arguably more than many of his contemporaries, viewed his radio audience as individuals. He wrote to individuals. He crafted most of his scripts from an individual point of view. Personal dilemmas, personal foibles, personal obsessions, and personal terrors formed the basis for the overwhelming body of his work.

And tonight comes an installment in which every word of that observation is amplified and enhanced.

Quiet, Please: Green Light (Mutual, 1948)

If you seen a fella with one leg it was pretty certain he was a railroader. ‘Cause there wasn’t so many wars, and automobiles, and things like that to cut a fellas leg off then. Pretty near always he left it on a railroad track.

Traveling to reunite with a girl unseen in 42 years, veteran railroad man Philip Conner (Ernest Chappell, who also narrates) recalls a few too many memories—including those of the bizarre work accident that cost him a leg.

You can always say this series improved each time out, but episodes such as this make it a challenge to argue that it got “better.” What isn’t a challenge is saying this series deserves a larger audience in its time than it actually receives, but its following among the next century’s old-time radio discoverers atones for that to a certain extent.

Addie: Anne Seymour. Engineer: Jeff Gordon. Singer: Bill Hudgins. Music: Albert Buhrmann. Writer/director: Wyllis Cooper.


Further Channel Surfing . . .

The Aldrich Family: Pen Pal (comedy; NBC, 1941)
Fibber McGee & Molly: McGee the Author (comedy; NBC, 1943)
The Great Gildersleeve: New Man in the Water Department (comedy; NBC, 1949)
Broadway is My Beat: The Russ Warner Murder Case (crime drama; CBS, 1952)
Fibber McGee & Molly: Tight Lipped McGee (comedy; NBC, 1954)
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: The Duke Red Matter (Part four; crime drama; CBS, 1956)

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