Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Interview about Vic and Sade with "faaus"

Back-to back Vic and Sade interviews!  I am lucky enough to have "faaus", who is the creator of the Vic and Sade Yahoo Group.  

OTR Buffet: Thank you so much for joining me for this interview. Please tell us a little something about yourself.

faaus:  I'm 64 years old, and grew up in a small town in upstate New York. I actually missed listening "live" during the golden days of radio, but I remember hearing my family speak fondly of the various shows. Many of the big radio shows made forays into early television e.g.- Boston Blackie, Lights Out, Fibber Magee and Molly, Amos and Andy and many others. Ironically, in a similar way that many silent film stars could not make the jump to talkies, most of the radio transitions faded rather quickly from the small screen.

OTR Buffet: Do you remember when and how you first heard about Vic and Sade and what you first thought of the series?

faaus: I had enjoyed glimpses into the magic of radio shows by listening to a few cassette tapes over the years. The connectivity offered by the internet enabled fans of OTR to gather, chat and share files. I had assembled a fairly extensive collection of various series when I became intrigued by by the odd title "Vic and Sade". All it took was a small exploratory sample to become entranced by the show.

OTR Buffet: Vic and Sade is a most unusual show because of the writing.  Paul Rhymer was a genius.  Can you talk about Rhymer and his impact on OTR?

faaus: From early childhood I've been a voracious reader. There have always been legions of excellent writers. Some write a single story or book that brings them fame and a following. Others are prolific, turning out many fine works over their creative lifetime. Paul Rhymer stands alone, in my estimation, for daily, deadline-driven, consistently excellent output. His gift, like Shakespeare's was his ability to reach and appeal to the masses. His writing was concise (program-length-driven) and gave listeners a trio of characters that always left them (us) hungry for more.

OTR Buffet: I have fun on my Vic and Sade blog about Rush being "abused."  I use that term very loosely, but I do feel he is somewhat abused.  He's adopted and he rarely gets a chance to talk.   What are your feelings about this?

faaus: Rush's character was always given short schrift and no respect on the show. Taking the historical perspective, his situation probably matched that of his real-life contemporaries, especially those whose parents were somewhat older. Truthfully, much of his prattle, while enjoyable to the audience, was quite empty and vapid, serving little interest (save as interruptions) to Vic and Sade. They had no interest or patience for Rush and his friend's silly plots, plans and machinations.

Was such treatment fair? Probably not by today's standards, but it worked for the show, the tines and the audience. Besides we must realize that all the young girls and boys in the audience sided with Rush's plight, enjoyed his exploits and commiserated because of their own treatment at home. So Rhymer thus built an audience with kid-appeal that was much larger than it would have been without Rush's character.

OTR Buffet: Which one of the family do you enjoy listening to the most and why?

faaus; I guess I get the most enjoyment from Vic, probably because I relate to his character. I enjoy his cool, usually-unflappable, easy speech patterns and hearing him rattle off nicknames and those not-so-nick but oh so enchanting. 

OTR Buffet: It's been said that Vic and Sade had 7 million listeners during it's heyday.  We know from many written and audio testimonials that most of the actors in Chicago (where most of the studios were in the 1930's) were huge Vic and Sade fans.  Was the show popular because of the acting, the writing or both?

faaus: It is certainly true and significant that Vic and Sade was highly regarded and appreciated by the peers of the creators and stars as well as the mass audience. Because very talented writers, like Jean Shepard, were unabashed fans, I have to credit Rhymer's work. Obviously though, the cast's skill at becoming the characters made the writer's delivery so flawless.

OTR Buffet:  It's amazing how well this show holds up today.  Please tell us about that and where does this show rank in your list of favorite shows?

faaus: I certainly agree that the remnants of the show still play well for us fans, it probably won't ever develop a new audience, especially in the youth market. The reasons are (at least) twofold. First the pacing, in it's delightful lazy, drawling amble, is the antithesis of the rapid-fire, short-attention span of media today. Secondly, family structures and relationships have changed (deteriorated) to the point that the "family circle", so central to the broadcast period is absent or unrecognizable today.

Vic and Sade is my most beloved radio program. Lum and Abner is my second favorite for gentle humor. I also enjoy many of the horror/mystery series.

OTR Buffet:  Are there any situations you can think of on the show that you'll remember the rest of your life?

faaus: For me, the quiet, private family time that they spent most shows was very warm and reassuring. Even when there was conflict, it was soft and gentle. Getting together with the Stembottoms for cards and ice cream reminds me of my youth.

OTR Buffet: Proctor and Gamble destroyed many of the transcription disks.  What were they thinking?

faaus: They weren't.

OTR Buffet:  Anything else you'd like to say about the show?

faaus: One element that makes the show work, but is easy to overlook is the fact that they really do love each other. Vic and Sade's mature love is clearly woven throughout most episodes. Even through the typical conflicts and minutiae of their relationship, they do love one another.

©Jimbo 2010/2011

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