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American Family Robinson, Pgm 55

October 3rd, 2008

I just finished transferring to digital several discs in this series that have been obtained by the Old Time Radio Researchers Group.  As a special treat, they've given me permission to share this program on the blog.  Many thanks!

With the recent troubles on Wall Street and the "bailout" or "rescue" package for the financial industry working its way through Congress, along with some major bank failures, it seems like a good time to delve into some of the public debate going on about the economy during a previous economic crisis.

"American Family Robinson" is an unusual program.  It's a continuing drama produced as part of a propaganda campaign by the National Industrial Council.  The Council, made of up large business interests, hoped to combat public support for Roosevelt's liberal New Deal policies.  So, the programs are an interesting mix of family drama and little conversations about things like the evils of socialism and high taxes on business.

Sound familiar?

The show centers around a "typical" American family; Luke Robinson is the head of household and owns a newspaper; his daughter has just married a young reporter at the paper.  There's also a crazy aunt and uncle that provide comic relief as the aunt opens up her own department store and the uncle gets involved in "get rich quick" schemes.

In program 55, a serious problem has developed for the family.  Luke has learned that the newspaper is in debt and is loosing money and it looks like the shareholders are going to close down the paper.  Mrs. Robinson and the daughter prepare dinner and know that something's up, but are unsure what's going on; they take time to have a little talk about the role that housewives play in the economy as Luke heads home to break the bad news about the paper.

"American Family Robinson" was extremely popular, running on about 300 radio stations and sponsored locally by small business or a local Chamber of Commerce.  Despite the popularity of the show, very few episodes survive.

This show was transferred directly from a World Broadcasting transcription, matrix number 9090-4V.  The disc itself is quite unusual, made of some type of "floppy" plastic that isn't vinyl and appears to be easily damaged.  That may be why more episodes of the series aren't in circulation.

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