The World Of Radio Dramas And Radio Plays

Radio plays came to fruition around in the 1900’s. It was a brand new medium and a very exciting progression in entertainment and technology. On October 30th 1938 Orson Welles released the radio drama “The War of the Worlds”, the radio drama was listened to by thousands many of whom feared that it was actually a real broadcast and the world was in fact coming to an end. This reaction reminded me of how people also reacted later on when the Lumiére Brothers premiered their film “Arrival of a train at La Ciotat”. In the film it is about a train pulling into a station however for the people in the theatre truly believed that the train was going to come out of the screen and hit them. I thought how gullible they could be believing the world was being invaded by aliens or a train was going to come out of a screen, but then again when you think about it this was all really new to them.

I’m sure if I was sitting there listening to the radio an object used primarily for exchanging news about war, affairs with the presidents or royal family and some music thrown in every so often. Turning on my radio to a broadcast that aliens were invading earth and the end of the world was coming I’d be pretty freaked out too! Orson Welles along with Dean Martin created a segment where they demonstrated live radio sound effects. I really enjoyed this as I thought it was so interesting how they made all the original sounds. From footsteps, someone walking up and down stairs, thunderstorms to hiding a dead body they created them all, and if I closed my eyes I could picture the action by just the sound. I feel that showing the audience this was a revelation, that all the sounds they hear on the radio were manufactured in a studio.

I’m sure for a lot of people this would debunk or make radio plays or dramas less intense while they listened to them. A lot of these early radio live sounds are still being recreated for foley today which shows how effective all the sounds can be. In the lecture we also watched the RTE short film “Cold Turkey”. This shows a more modern version of creating live sound effects in which a sound editor uses an uncooked turkey to create the sound effect of someone getting punched. While the short film is funny and also had a seperate storyline of the family living in the flat above, it also shows us how the method for creating these live sound effects whether they're for film or radio, are still primarily the same as they have been for many many years, and while maybe they have improved versions of the sounds that if you listen to the same sound from different eras they both have the same effect.

18 May 2020
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