How the Sound Effects on 1930s Radio Shows Were Made: An Inside Look

“Jam” Handy (1886–1983) was known for two things: 1.) par­tic­i­pat­ing in the 1904 and 1924 Olympics (quite a feat if you think about the gap in time), and 2.) mak­ing thou­sands of edu­ca­tion­al train­ing films for Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions, schools and the US armed forces. A guru of cin­e­mat­ic adver­tis­ing, he shot films for Gen­er­al Motors, DuPont, Chevro­let, Coca-Cola and U.S. Steel, from the 1930s through the 1960s.

Above you can watch Back of the Mike, a film shot for Chevro­let in 1938. Like oth­er films in this genre, this piece of cin­e­mat­ic adver­tis­ing offers us an enter­tain­ing, if not edu­ca­tion­al, look at how old-time radio shows cre­at­ed their sound effects–all while help­ing mar­ket a prod­uct, the Chevro­let that helps the good guys win in the end. If the film makes you want to buy a Chevy, we can’t help you there. But if Back of the Mike gives you a han­ker­ing to lis­ten to old time radio plays, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got a few good items list­ed for you in the Relat­eds below.

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via VA Viper

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Stream 61 Hours of Orson Welles’ Clas­sic 1930s Radio Plays: War of the Worlds, Heart of Dark­ness & More

Dimen­sion X: The 1950s Sci­Fi Radio Show That Dra­ma­tized Sto­ries by Asi­mov, Brad­bury, Von­negut & More

Free: Lis­ten to 298 Episodes of the Vin­tage Crime Radio Series, Drag­net

The Orig­i­nal 1940s Super­man Car­toon and the Orig­i­nal Radio Show

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.