I listened to two episodes of a comedic detective program called The Adventures of Detectives Black and Blue, which aired from 1933 to 1935. In the first episode, “the world’s dumbest and luckiest detectives” work a case involving a missing shipment of sugar. The choice of sugar as the stolen object is an obvious attempt at product placement. According to the archive’s website, Folgers Coffee was one of the major sponsors for the show; one of the detectives also states that the brand of stolen sugar is Domino, which leads me to believe that Domino was another sponsor. I found it interesting that many of today’s advertising techniques were being used by marketers as far back as the 1930s. I think this program is also a great example of how the advertising industry capitalized on new technologies such as the radio to market products to an increasingly commercialized society.
The run time for The Adventures of Detectives Black and Blue is 15 minutes, which is similar to a modern TV show without commercials. I noticed that nearly two and a half minutes of the program consisted of intro and outro musical arrangements, where opening and closing credits would normally appear for television. I couldn’t help but wonder why so much time had been dedicated to the introduction and closing portions of the program, especially since it did nothing to inform audiences of who was involved in the production.
I enjoyed listening to the show and can understand why radio programs of this genre were popular in the 1930s. Prior to the 30s, I imagine one of primary forms of home entertainment was reading. The element of sound would have made detective stories such as the ones from The Adventures of Detectives Black and Blue that much more entertaining. Some of the sound effects from the show were surprisingly realistic, which is an impressive feat given the technology of the era. Although I enjoyed the program, I can’t imagine anything like it existing today, because modern audiences are so reliant on visual stimulation. I think many viewers would find it difficult to concentrate/follow the storyline without some sort of accompanying visuals.