THE BRUTE by Joseph Conrad.
“You are in the middle of an ocean, on a jinxed ship from which there is… No escape.”
THE DRUMS OF THE FOUR AND AFT by Joseph Rudyard Kipling
ESCAPE’s ability to in a mere 30 minutes completely captivate you, in a world and a time, is second to none. As these recorded and broadcast live episodes, illustrate.
Four months into 1948, most homes still had radios. TVs then were like VR today, a costly, fringe technology, not yet broadly adopted. The 50s would bring mass adoption of television, supplanting radio as the premier broadcast medium.
But in 1948, three years after the end of World War II, radio was still king. The radio dominated the living room as families huddled in front of it, to get their news, their music, their sporting events, their comedy and their adventure. And virtually no competition, less than a handful of stations. What you were listening to likely everyone you knew, or ever would know… listened to the same program at the same time.
We have nothing like it today. In this age of thousands of channels and millions of choices, and on-demand delivery, we watch, even the most popular shows in an isolation, an individualism, not at the same time, not with the same urgency, not with the same global penetration into who we are and what we love.
Civilizations, societies are forged by common loves and common hates and common points of reference. America has largely become a nation of adrift islands. In 1948 90 million people, all huddled around their radios to hear a live broadcast, not the fake live used today, delayed by minutes, but true immediacy of performance and audience consumption, tied together by a common moment.
It is alchemy. A magic that for all our streaming and digital innovations, we have fallen away from. The ability of a true shared moment between performer and audience.
90 million people listened to the below.