Id rather watch TV.
My nine-year old cousin wasnt too keen on the idea of a show without pictures. This is going to be boring, she added.
I placed a bowl of freshly popped popcorn on Adriannas lap. She nestled into the pillow fort we had constructed on my bed.
You wacky kids and your television. Thisll be great, trust me, I reassured her.
Ignoring the remote that was within arms reach, I used the knob on my stereo to switch stations. My dad never relinquishes the opportunity to tell me that he had to stand next to the television set and change the channel for my grandmother, so I figured Id honour tradition.
Theatre of the Mind is an American program that runs old time radio shows on AM 740. It aired for the first time on January 31, 1933 on a Detroit radio station. The episode that Peroff had chosen, Burly Scotts Sacrifice, first aired on March 29, 1954. But tonights feature was, according to host Brian Peroff, would be The Lone Ranger.
Adriannas eyes widened as she recognized Rossinis William Tell Overture. I know this song! she exclaimed. George Seatons iconic voice rang out amidst gun shots, Hi-yo, Silver! A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a hearty hi-yo, Silver! The Lone Ranger. The masked American hero was off on another justice-seeking adventure with his trusty Indian sidekick, Tonto.
The episode opens with outlaw Burly Scott. Riding on horseback toward a small town, Scott tells his companion about the locket he wears around his neck. Inside is a worn photograph of his former wife and his daughter, Sally. Eleven years earlier, he had chosen the life of an outlaw over a life with his family. Regretting the decision, Scott expresses intentions of doing away with the young girls stepfather, Jack Fairfield.
Conveniently, the Lone Ranger and Tonto happen to meet Sally on the same day that Scott is on his way into town. The masked hero and sidekick tell Sally how beautiful she is and Sally returns the compliment, telling them that they are very handsome.
I glanced over at my little cousin. Adrianna, in 2010, you dont go around telling strange, older men theyre good looking. Deal? She nodded her head without looking at me, only seeing the images of cowboys and horses that the program conjured in her mind.
Sally tells the pair of men about her locket and that her father wore one just like it. Unable to remember her birth father, she relies on false tales told by her mother of the brave soldier that he was before he died in battle.
Shortly after, Scott appears at Sallys house. You can imagine what happens—but youd probably be wrong as much as youd be right. Suffice to say, justice gets done, but there is also regret and a second chance and happiness.
The Lone Ranger was an important symbol of American culture. The masked man stood for justice, civic duty and national pride. The acting is overemphatic and the story line is predictable, but you cant help but smile at the simplicity and innocence of the message of forgiveness and second chances.
Adriannas bowl of popcorn sat on my desk untouched as she paced around the room chattering on and on about the nights episode. Old time radio shows are worth a shot. Theyre a refreshing change from the constant visual bombardment that people are exposed to daily and puts your imagination to good use.
Theatre of the Mind airs Monday through Thursday from 10 to11 p.m. on AM 740. Old time radio shows and information are available at otrcat.com.