Radio Days  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Radio Days is a 1987 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Woody Allen, who also narrates. The film looks back on an American family's life during the Golden Age of Radio using both music and memories to tell the story. It stars an ensemble cast.



Joe, the narrator, relates how two burglars got involved in a radio game after picking up the phone during a home burglary. He goes on to explain that he associates old radio songs with childhood memories.

During the late 1930s and early 1940s young Joe lived in a modest Jewish-American family in Rockaway Beach. His mother always listened to Breakfast with Irene and Roger. His abusive father, who regularly gave him a beating, kept his occupation secret. Joe later found out that he was ashamed of being a taxi driver. Other family members were Uncle Abe and Aunt Ceil, grandpa and grandma, and Aunt Bea. The latter was a serial dater, always on the lookout for a potential husband.

Joe's own favourite radio show was The Masked Avenger. It made him dream of buying a secret decoder ring. In Joe's fantasy the Masked Avenger looked like a hero, but in reality the voice actor was short and bald. Other radio memories are stories about sporting heroes, news bulletins about World War II, a report of an extraterrestrial invasion, and a live report of the search for a little girl who fell into a well.

With his friends from school Joe was searching for German aircraft, but instead they saw a woman undressing in her bedroom. She later turned out to be their substitute teacher. Alone on the coast Joe saw a German U-boat, but he decided not to tell anyone because they wouldn't believe him.

Joe was fascinated by the glitz and glamour of Manhattan, where the radio broadcasts were made. He visited the Radio City Music Hall, and described it as the most beautiful thing he ever saw.

Joe collected stories of radio stars, including that of Sally White, whose dreams of becoming famous were hampered by her bad voice and accent. Starting as a cigar salesgirl she got stuck on the roof of the radio building with Roger, who was cheating on Irene. After she witnessed a crime the gangster Rocco wanted to kill her, but following his mother's advice he ended up using his connections to further her career. She finally became a reporter of celebrity gossip.

On New Year's Eve Joe was brought down from his room to celebrate the transition to 1944. Simultaneously the radio stars gathered on the roof of their building. The narrator concludes that he will never forget those radio voices, although with each passing of a New Year's Eve they seem to grow dimmer and dimmer.



The film's soundtrack, which features songs from the 1930s and 40s, plays an integral part in the plot. It was released on cassette and compact disc in 1987.

Track listing

| title1 = In the Mood | extra1 = Glenn Miller | length1 = 3:33 | title2 = I Double Dare You | extra2 = Larry Clinton | length2 = 2:49 | title3 = Opus No. 1 | extra3 = Tommy Dorsey | length3 = 2:58 | title4 = Frenesi | extra4 = Artie Shaw | length4 = 3:01 | title5 = The Donkey Serenade | extra5 = Allan Jones | length5 = 3:21 | title6 = Body and Soul | extra6 = Benny Goodman | length6 = 3:26 | title7 = You and I | extra7 = Tommy Dorsey | length7 = 2:44 | title8 = Remember Pearl Harbor | extra8 = Sammy Kaye | length8 = 2:29 | title9 = That Old Feeling | extra9 = Guy Lombardo | length9 = 2:45 | title10 = (There'll Be Bluebirds Over) The White Cliffs of Dover | extra10 = Glenn Miller | length10 = 2:54 | title11 = Goodbye | extra11 = Benny Goodman | length11 = 3:31 | title12 = I'm Getting Sentimental Over You | extra12 = Tommy Dorsey | length12 = 3:38 | title13 = Lullaby of Broadway | extra13 = Richard Himber | length13 = 2:29 | title14 = American Patrol | extra14 = Glenn Miller | length14 = 3:33 | title15 = Take the "A" Train | extra15 = Duke Ellington | length15 = 3:00 | title16 = One, Two, Three, Kick | extra16 = Xavier Cugat | length16 = 3:23


The film was screened out of competition at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Radio Days" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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