TopOfTheCircle.com

Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

Oct. 26, 2015 — A Sunday night voice, forever silenced

Sometimes, the orchestra music is a bit faded and static-filled as the car heads up and down the hills on the way home.

But it’s always there.

At least, that’s been the case since 1964, when a compilation of vintage radio programs called Recollections started playing on a former student radio station called WAMU in the District of Columbia.

When the original host of the program, John Hickman, became too ill to host the show in 1990, a long-time fixture in broadcasting named Ed Walker took over the show, which by then became known as The Big Broadcast. It was a place where imagination took over since all of these radio shows were done in the days before television.

The show was a compilation of humor and drama, documentary and horror. There were shows like Gunsmoke and Dragnet that made it to TV, and others like Lum and Abner and Johnny Dollar that didn’t.

Walker was a fixture in radio in the D.C. metropolitan area for six decades. But many of you have seen or heard of his work. When Willard Scott, the weatherman for the Today Show, would read off a list of people who were celebrating their 100th birthdays, it was Walker who compiled and produced these segments.

Scott and Walker had worked together in a long radio partnership called The Joy Boys, that lasted from 1952 to 1974, in an era in which television was finding itself and radio was doing all it could to compete.

Walker died this morning, just three hours after his last radio broadcast, one which had originally been recorded in a hospital room. He was not feeling well; cancer was taking away his strength, but he managed to get in one more show.

And the great thing is, he got to hear it.

The show will go on, with an interim host and perhaps a radio enthusiast willing to curate the thousands of possible shows that survive to this day thanks to a community of collectors who have preserved the jokes, sounds, applause, puns, and jingles that make old-time radio truly a “theater of the mind.”

Thanks for the Sunday night trips through our own minds and those of the geniuses who originally produced the shows.

You’ll be missed, Ed.

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