Saturday, December 17, 2022

What I Listen to in My Car

I have a 20-minute drive to and from work, so it's nice to listen to something on the radio. But the news is still too depressing these days. (I used to time my drive based on which segment was playing on NPR,

Gerald Mohr as Philip Marlowe

before I stopped listening to it.) I switched to old-time radio shows like The Adventures of Philip Marlowe--every episode was exactly the same. Marlowe takes on a case, finds a beautiful girl, gets beaten up, beats up one of his attackers to even the score, solves the case, walks off with the dame. When all those segments were used up, I went to The Halls of Ivy starring Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Coleman, which later became a TV sitcom. At first it was interesting to hear Coleman's distinctive voice, along with that of his wife. They guest-starred on the Jack Benny Show many times as themselves, playing his neighbors who can't stand Jack and keep inventing excuses to pass up his party and dinner invitations. In The Halls of Ivy, they play a college professor and his wife, a former British musical comedy star. But the series was pure drivel after a while.

Then I discovered podcasts 

--Anderson Cooper's All There Is, his heartbreaking examination of grief after his mother Gloria Vanderbilt passed away. Her death brought memories of Anderson's father who died when he was 10 and his brother who committed suicide in front of their mother. He interviews celebrities such as Stephen Colbert, Laurie Anderson and Molly Shannon and experts on the grieving process. It somehow made me feel clamer to drive to work hearing stories of coping with mourning. My own travails weren't so bad. 

--Rachel Maddow's Ultra. Fascinating study of radical right-wing attempts to overthrow the democratic government in the 1930s and 40s.

--The Plot Thickens. TCM's podcast series of behind-the-scenes movie stories starting with a biography of Peter Bogdanavich who was one of my favorite directors, and then The Devil's Candy, a chronicle of the making of Bonfire of the Vanities, one of filmdom's biggest disasters.