TRIBUTE TO FRANK PT. 8: THE RADIO YEARS (WITH MICKEY ROONEY?)
I can't believe Youtube. Really all you have to do is ask and most of the time it delivers. But who are these people who post these insanely obscure, wonderful artifacts from dead civilizations? I don't know or care. I love you all. Have a nice day.
I was searching around for any copies I might have of the radio shows my father wrote in the late 1940s/early 1950s. There are some on privately made discs that he must have requested at the time --very sturdy items these discs, but who the hell can transcribe them? I know there must have existed some tape transfers made when I was growing up since I remembering hearing some of them. The one that I remember most clearly is an episode of 'Hollywood Star Playhouse' called 'Knee High To A Corpse', which starred Mickey Rooney. It made an impression on me at the time because I already knew it as a screenplay called "Inch" that he'd wanted to make for years and hadn't realized that it was actually written (and produced) several decades before. It was a story that was dear to him and he dragged it around for many years after its radio premiere, turning it into the above-mentioned screenplay and eventually into a quite good, short novel that he published on Ex-Libras (which you can apparently download for free here) when he was well into his 80s. Think of it! Dreaming up a story in your late twenties and fifty-plus years later still playing around with it, transmuting it into different forms and finding a way to continue its life for an audience as yet unexposed to it. This is the essence of a real writers life--your stories are your objects and possessions and are both are dear to you and represent an ever-present opportunity to be monetized and shared.
Anyway, I asked and the internet answered. Above is the full 'Knee High To A Corpse' as broadcast on July 9, 1951 and starring Mickey Rooney as a member of a gang of thieves who's valued because of his tiny stature, which allows him to crawl in and out of spaces too small for normal people. He's obsessed with the worthless moll of the gang and goes into a 'fairy-tailspin' that...well, listen to the damn thing. I just did and I think it's pretty great. It thus far has attracted a whopping 10 views. Be the 11th. I dare you.
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Posted by Raymond De Felitta at 7:02 AM