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Radio 1948--The Best Nation--The Imagi--Nation!
It’s a winter evening in 1948. The rain is splashing against our Madison Park home on McGilvra Blvd. The living room is frigid when my mother turns the dial on the thermostat and soon we hear the oil furnace rev up. I pace over to our GE Radio and twist the knob. A minute later I hear static and then a sound that’s clear.
Slowly I twist the dial looking for my treasured comedy shows. It takes only a minute to locate William Bendix and his family in the “Life of Riley.” In this episode Riley is thrilled because he’s been informed that he has to have his tonsils removed. Chester Riley is going to play up his operation to the hilt. At the Stevenson Aircraft Plant where he’s employed he informs everyone that he’s “going under the knife.”
When his fellow workers want him to describe the operation, he sadly looks at them and says, “I don’t want to discuss it. It bother’s me too much!”
Everyone at work assumes that Chester Riley is in for a life or death experience. He enters the hospital at 8 in the morning and two hours later, his wife Peg drives him home.
A few minutes later, his boss phones the hospital and asks, “Can you tell me the condition of Chester Riley?”
The lady at the switchboard replies, “I’m so sorry, but Mr. Riley has already left us.”
Riley’s boss replies, “We knew it was serious, and I’m so sorry.” Then he hangs up.
Later at home Riley’s family is getting scores of calls, telling his wife Peg, how sorry they are. Riley eats up the sympathy as he tells his wife, “You didn’t know how popular I am, did you?”
At last a caller tells Peg, that they’re sorry Riley died on the operating table. Riley discovers that everyone thinks he’s dead and he utters the words, “What a revolting development this is!”
Radio 1948, was the “Theater of the Imagination.” We used our minds to create the scenes.