Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Here's something I don’t think most people know about Iwanski and me: We like old-time radio shows.

Does that make us sound like old fogies? Well, it’s true. We are old fogies.

Anyway, every night at midnight, we listen to the radio show “When Radio Was," hosted by Greg Bell, on WBBM 780 AM. “When Radio Was” is a program that features old-time radio shows from the 30’s, 40’s, and early 50’s…and it’s a good way to transition ourselves to sleepytime.

My favorite shows are "The Jack Benny Program" and "Burns & Allen"…but for most of the shows, I only have a very peripheral knowledge of what they’re even about—because you see, I usually fall asleep within the first 5-10 minutes of the show. So although I know the titles “Lum and Abner,” “Life of Riley,” and “Our Miss Brooks,” I really have barely any idea what any of these shows are about. And I know that the Shadow knows “what evil lurks in the hearts of men,” but that’s about all I know about the Shadow.

And then there’s the show “Chandu the Magician.” (Chandu is pronounced “Chahhndoo.”) This show is on “When Radio Was” at least once a week.

The other night, I said to Iwanski, “We have to go to bed soon—‘Chanduuuuuuuuu!’ is on ‘When Radio Was’ tonight.”

Iwanski laughed, “Do you even have any idea what that show is about?”

I laughed. “No, I have no clue. Do you?”

“No idea,” he responded, laughing.

“But we have to listen to ‘Chanduuuuuuu!” I giggled.

Seriously, for some reason, that show is like a sleeping pill for Iwanski and me. I don’t know why, but we hear about two minutes of the show, and immediately, it’s like someone injected us with Ambien.

Hmm, maybe we’re on to something here. Maybe we should start marketing “Chandu” for insomniacs.

Anyway, the only thing either of us ever really hear is the beginning music and the announcer saying in a loud voice “Chanduuuu the Magician!”—and then we hear an ad from the 1940’s for Chandu’s “Assyrian Money Changer”—a box that is supposedly magic and can turn a penny into a dime. And to get it, you have to put a quarter and a box top from White King Soap (?) in an envelope and address it to “Chandu,” at a post office box in Los Angeles (they pronounce it “Los Ann-galese”).

But after hearing that Chandu ad, we’re both in Snoozeville.

One of these nights, I’m hoping that we’ll actually hear an entire episode of “Chandu,” so that we finally find out what it’s all about.

Then again, I think it’s more fun this way. I think it’s good to have a little mystery in your life—even if it’s just the mystery of “Chanduuuuuuuu!”


Sling said...

You're not that old..I actually know what 'Life of Riley' and 'Our Miss Brooks' are about. :)
Did you know that you used to get a free bath towel in White King detergent?..Well now you do.

meestercranky said...

My other half is Mary of Where's the Bubbler... we listen to Antioch online every night in bed! You may want to check them out.

Mom said...

when i was little I got to listen to jack Benny every Sunday night in bed. I loved that show, and I stayed awake for every word. After dinner we all gathered around the radio and stared at the radio while we listened to the Shadow. The Shadow always scared me and and I sat in my dad's lap to listen to it.

Anita said...

What a hoot, you two are like old souls!

rosemary said...

I remember listening to The Great Gildersleve....he told a story about Rose Red and eventually my mom bought the 78 for me. I still have it. Not on the radio...but I remember Korla Pandit coming on TV during commercials and playing the organ....he wore a turban with a huge jewel hanging down on his forehead.....he was also on the radio. Yup...I truly am an old fogie.

Anonymous said...

A magician on the radio? How does that work?