More by Corwin: 16 Radio Dramas

More by Corwin: 16 Radio Dramas

More by Corwin: 16 Radio Dramas

More by Corwin: 16 Radio Dramas

Excerpt

There is a theory current that the theater's moribundity comes from the circumstance that all the good potential dramatists are being drained off into radio. Were this true, radio should be glorious with genius. In cold fact, though over twenty years old, radio has thrown up just one first- rate imaginative writer, half a dozen hopefuls who may yet surpass him, and half a hundred competent craftsmen. The first-rater writes as if he were several men, but there is only one of him, and his name is Norman Corwin.

Corwin may make a liar out of me any day by writing a six-course epic or a smash hit three-act play; but for my money he is a radio man pure (and not at all simple). From the very beginning he has conceived of radio as a special medium, not as an extension or transformation of the stage, the lecture platform, or the pulpit. In a sense he is a technician even before he is a writer, as Rembrandt (if I may employ a somewhat too grand comparison) was a calculating expert in the chemistry of pigments and the mixture of tones before he could be the brooding and tragic visionary of the self-portraits. Corwin is so much the technician that he conducts public experiments with his medium, coaxes it to perform tricks, plays with it, treats it with the eager curiosity of a boy with his first chemical set. Some of the playlets in this volume are quite literally that: little bits of play, often horseplay. The horseplay frequently combines with sound, imaginative instruction as in "Good Heavens," which should be required hearing in every Astronomy I course in every college in the land.

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