Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Good Ol' Times

The good ol' times, when you had to rely on your imagination to truly enjoy a radio tale or a written adventure. No television was available, just a few illustrations (mostly for covers or movie posters) to help your imagination to build the setup or to give a face to the hero. And there was, of course, the theater where the magic happens. :)
Since most of the stories were told in print, the need to reach a wide audience pushed the publisher to pursue two main objectives: having a very cheap paper to print on (so to have affordable books/magazines) and having a series of genres which would appeal to most of the readers and not just the more sophisticated.
That was the origin of the so-called "Pulp Fiction", a series of books & magazines, printed on cheap paper, telling short stories about money, sex, and violence, the three engines that make the world go around. Criminals and crimefighters were chasing each other in a labyrinth of tales that ranged from exotic nuances to the crude, raw cement of the city.
Serialization was a key part since it let the readers/listeners get familiar with the characters and look forward to the next installment.
As a long time fan of the Pulp genre and a recent listener of those old radio shows, I thought to bring a bit of the feel of that period by illustrating, weekly, those radio shows: some sort of Lobby Card if those shows were movies, or even some sort of ad you could have found on a period newspaper to announce an upcoming episode of your favorite pulp show.
I am starting with the Shadow radio show, aired in the US between 1937 and 1949.
Tune in each Sunday (starting on September 2nd) for a new Shadow thrill and during the week for other pulp-related goodness.