I just attended an Old Time Radio convention and had a great time. I’ve been a fan of OTR (as it’s abbreviated) since I was a teenager. Great stories are great stories no matter how old they are, in my opinion.
This year SPERDVAC (the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama Variety And Comedy) held its three-day event at the Beverly Garland Holiday Inn in North Hollywood, CA. The venue was excellent and I took the opportunity to set up in a suite and conduct a few more interviews for my current film, “Radio Changed America.”
I owe SPERDVAC and its 2003 convention for rescuing me the depths of a melancholy caused by the stresses of trying to get my first film, “Daybreak” sold to a distributor. The years spent creating and marketing seemed to have failed. I was left with what amounted to a very expensive home movie. I was sick over it.
In an effort to shake the blues, I attended the convention for the first time. It was a cathartic experience. I felt happy and forgot all my other troubles during a weekend of Old Time Radio recreations featuring some actual veteran actors from the Golden Age of Radio.
Almost immediately after the convention ended, I found new vigor in my filmmaking efforts. Not only would I see “Daybreak” through to a US distribution deal, but that 2003 convention gave me the idea for my next film project: “Radio Changed America.” I have been hard at work on it ever since! Through this project I have had to meet and interview radio legends such as Norman Corwin and Art Linkletter as well as many other great radio performers like Dick Van Patten, Bob Hastings, Peggy Webber, Elliott Reid, Gloria McMillan, Jan Merlin and Tommy Cook. Only this morning I was on the phone with 97-year-old legendary announcer Art Gilmore. It is an honor and a thrill to speak with these individuals.
So whenever I attend a SPERDVAC convention I remember how it helped break me out of a deep rut of self-pity and launched me forward, continuing my career as a filmmaker.
“Daybreak” now has a Producer Rep and an international sales agent. My second film, “The Poet Laureate of Radio: An Interview with Norman Corwin” came directly out of this current project, which will be my third feature film.
If there is a lesson in this, it is this: seek comfort in things that you love and get out of the house to meet others who share your love of these things! For me, that was a little hobby known as OTR.