The Screening Room


The Screening Room is a place to relax and enjoy old films about radio. With thanks (again) to the Internet Archive, we are able to offer a variety of features that were made during the Golden Age to inform the public about what went on behind the microphone. Have some popcorn, sit back, relax, and enjoy the shows.

Back of the Mike
1938 - The Jam Handy Organization - 9:15 - Sponsored by CBS and Chevrolet: Take a look at what goes into a dramatic radio program. Includes actors, sound effects, and lots more. A bit overdone, but enjoyable.


Behind Your Radio Dial: The Story of NBC
1947 - National Broadcasting Company - 24:04: A behind-the-scenes look at the NBC Radio Network. Includes a tour of Radio City in Rockefeller Plaza. There's a bit at the end about TV. Little did they know at the time that in just a few short years, it would relegate radio to second-class status in the broadcasting world.


On the Air
1937 - The Jam Handy Organization - 9:55: Another look at the production side of radio, this time using "serious" programming. Features violinist David Rubinoff, who was quite famous in the 30s. If you look closely, you can see him playing into a Western Electric 630-A "8-ball" microphone. I love these and have one in my collection. This film shows some of the hand signals used by the director to communicate from the control room with the artists.


Independent Radio Station
1951 - Mitchell Film Associates - 18:02 - Sponsored by the US Army: Yet another peek into radio operations. This time, we get the perspective of a 5,000-watt local station, albeit one in New York City. Produced for the US Army, which presumably wanted it for vocational purposes. Note the RCA 70-C turntable about 4:35 into the film


Radio and Television
1940 - Holmes (Burton) Films, Inc. - 10:31 - Sponsored by Vocational Guidance Films, Inc.: A vocational film showing the various jobs available in radio broadcasting. While television is included in the title, it's a very small part of the film.


Hear and Now
1958 - National Association of Broadcasters - 18:05 - A brief history of radio in what is essentially a promotional film from the NAB.


Network Broadcasting
1934 - American Telephone and Telegraph Company - 11:15 - How radio networks work as told during the early days of networks.


Command Performance
1942 - RCA Victor - 18:58 - Sponsored by Vocational Guidance Films, Inc.: While this is not strictly radio, it covers the pressing of 78-RPM records. Since collecting 78s (as well as 16" transcription records) is a part of this whole project, this seemed like a good fit. I enjoyed it a lot. There's another film available from the late 50s that covers essentially the same material but it follows the making of 33-1/3 microgroove album. Also, the later film is in color.


Danger on the Air
1938 - Universal - Donald Woods, Lee J. Cobb, Nan Grey: The sponsor of a radio program is murdered at the station during a broadcast. Pop some corn and grab a pack of Junior Mints.

The All-American Soap Box Derby
1936 - The Jam Handy Organization - 10:26: This film has absolutely nothing to do with radio, but I found it while looking for radio-related films. The nostalgia rating is off the scale. It makes me want to be there.


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