Radio Response – Christian Cherau

I listened to two episodes of the Adventures of Detectives Black and Blue, which was a 15 minute syndicated program that aired on the radio from 1933 to 1935. The show was branded as a comedy on the archive.

Commenting on the content of the show itself, the broadcast did an excellent job of telling a quick story complete with all the descriptions necessary for it to make sense to the listener. The first episode set up the back-story of the duo, as inept grocery warehouse workers who get their start investigating when inventory numbers reveal that some sort of burglary is occurring. They discover the night-watchman is helping thieves make off with bags of Domino sugar, and the episode ends with Blue knocking over a can and the two being found by the night watchman. This twist is not resolved in the next episode. The next episode available ended with Blue falling through 5 floors of skylights in a comedic fashion, however given that the series continued for a long period afterwards, it suggests that the series focused more on the slapstick comedy than on continuity.

In terms of messages relayed by the show itself, there were two avenues of messages being presented to the listener: advertising and common sense. The advertising was fairly blatant: the program was proudly sponsored by Folgers Coffee, and product placement of Domino Sugar was prominent through the first episode. More interestingly, however, was the drops of seemingly common sense advice being offered in between the plot and comedy in the conversation between the characters. At one point, Black offers Blue investment advice, urging him to put his money into savings accounts that earn interest rather than his typical investment in pyramid schemes

On the whole, I enjoyed immersing myself in the early radio world. To my modern ears, it was almost akin to listening to a book on tape, where my mind can wander and build the fictional world as I listen.

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