Nick Ray on Radio

One of the blogs that inspired me the most is Shadowplay, where a learned Scotsman named David Cairns writes about film with a mixture of wit and severity all his own. In the comments to a discussion of Cornell Woolrich, I mentioned how often and well Woolrich was adapted for radio in the classic days of network radio drama. David asks if any of Nicholas Ray’s work on radio is in circulation.

Since Ray is my favorite director on those days when Altman or Lubitsch are not, I had an answer. One program survives. It’s an episode of CBS’s Forecast, a sort of tryout series, a weekly anthology of what TV folks call pilot episodes and radio referred to as “audition programs.”

It’s only known today for giving us the first tastes of both Suspense, longest running of all anthologies, and of the phenomenally successful comedy Duffy’s Tavern. But some of the shows that failed to find a permanent home were no less fascinating, and one of them was Ray’s effort, a folk music show that gives us a taste of those days when a relatively clean and accommodating version of American vernacular music was an indispensable part of every stylish leftist’s cultural wardrobe.

Give a listen:

Forecast 1940 August 19 Woody Guthrie

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