rand’s esoteric otr

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American Family Robinson - New Series, Pgm 78

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!

"American Family Robinson" was so successful that the National Industrial Council produced a second series of programs in 1940.  With the Depression at an end and war on the horizon, there were a whole new set of issues they wanted to present to the American public.  And there were some changes in the characters and setting of the show as well to make it more contemporary.

In program 78 of the series, for release week of October 20, 1940, Mr. Robinson has run away from home - literally.  His wife has been doing a radio program with advice for women and promoting herself and her husband as "the perfect couple" as a gimmick to drive business to the wife's sister's department store.  Luke tires of the whole sham and hops on a train for a kind of vacation, hoping to just wander and explore the country.

In this episode, Luke tries to find some entertainment to pass the the time in a hotel and finds life on the road less than ideal.  It's a rather odd storyline in the series - this whole series of programs depicts life for traveling salesmen as something remarkably sad and empty.  Meanwhile, back at home, Mrs. Robinson and the family have to deal with a public appearance of "the perfect couple" without Mr. Robinson in attendance.

This "New Series" of "American Family Robinson" works in little conversations about concerns of businesses on the eve of war, with topics such as whether government should take over production and ways that high taxes are stifling business.  One episode even spends a good portion of its running time discussing the "failed experiment" of a thirty hour work week in France and how it made the French less capable of defending themselves from the Germans.

The program was transferred from an original NBC Orthacoustic transcription, matrix number MS 056442-1.