Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Aldrich Family

A few years ago when I was teaching high school, my friend Amy found a record in her classroom of the Original Radio Broadcasts of "The Aldrich Family." I've had the record for some time, but I only recently researched it and I was quite surprised to find that the radio show was only one part of "The Aldrich Family" program. In addition to the radio show, there was also a comic book and several movies.

The show ran from 1939 to 1953 and featured Ezra Stone as Henry Aldrich, the goofy, adolescent protagonist. Each show began with Henry's mother calling "Henry! Henry Aldrich!" and Henry's response "Coming Mother!" The show was quite popular at the time and, after listening to a few episodes, I understand why. It's really funny!

I have a great grandparent named Henry Aldrich and it's funny just how accurately Henry Aldrich the character capture the essence of Aldrich. First off, he kind of looks like me. There are several episodes in which Henry attempts to raise carrier pigeons that are quite funny and at the outset of those episode, his original idea is to raise rabbits and make money. Back in 1994 my friends and I had the same idea. We bought several white rabbits with plans to breed and sell them. Much like Henry's plan, it made neither sense nor money. It must be an Aldrich thing.

Many episodes are available here. I guess I always thought radio situation comedies were too antiquated for me to really appreciate them; after all, they were merely the result of technological limitations obviated by television, right? Well, not really.  There's a particular style of narrative and performance that is lost and it's really too bad. Furthermore, I also think it's time for Aldriches to reclaim the our place that Henry established in American popular culture. Be on the lookout for my plan of action...

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