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This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.

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(From Radio Recall, August 2007)

Probably everyone within the listening area of WAMU is familiar with The Big Broadcast, hosted by Ed Walker. Every Sunday evening for four hours, Walker offers nostalgic recordings of Lum and Abner, Gunsmoke, Fibber McGee and Molly, Dragnet and Superman, among others. Readers of RADIO RECALL are no stranger to his weekly OTR program. Listeners from Virginia to Pennsylvania pick up the local station, while others listen to the program via the internet from Denmark, California, Canada and the United Kingdom.

From 1955 to 1972, Ed Walker and Willard Scott were co-hosts of the nightly Joy Boys program, fashioned in the same tradition of Bob and Ray. Neither program was imitating the other, both pretty much started about the same time. In a 1999 article recalling the Joy Boys at the height of their popularity in the mid-1960s, the Washington Post wrote who they “...dominated Washington, providing entertainment, companionship, and community on the verge of powerful change.”

This September (13 through 15, 2007), Ed Walker will make a public appearance to meet and greet fans at the second annual Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. Established by Michelle and Martin Grams, the weekend provides fans of both old-time movies and old-time radio to get together for rare film showings, and old-time radio-related events.

Among this year’s highlights include radio historian Terry Salomonson discussing on stage the history of The Lone Ranger, and playing an un-circulated, never-before-heard episode of the western series for the audience. Terry previewed his presentation explaining “Most people are unaware that when The Lone Ranger first premiered, the character of Tonto never came into the picture until episode seven. When Trendle and Striker performed the origin of the ranger years later, they revised the original premiere to include Tonto as part of Reid’s masked origin.”

Also featured are two old-time radio recreations performed on stage, directed by Donald Ramlow. While one script is yet to be determined, the other will surely please fans of the radio program, The Adventures of Sam Spade, since a “lost” radio script from 1947 or 1948, that does not exist in recorded form, will be recreated. Michael Hayde will discuss the evolution of Superman on radio and television.

Among the highlights in the movie room are Charlie McCarthy, Detective (1939), Little Orphan Annie (1933), the 1972 pilot movie The Adventures of Nick Carter starring Robert Conrad, two television episodes of Suspense from 1949 with Boris Karloff, and Fibber McGee and Molly’s first motion picture This Way Please (1937). One motion picture stands out among the rest: Harold Peary’s screen debut as Mayor Gildersleeve in the 1940 classic Comin’ Round the Mountain also features Don Wilson, Pat Barrett, Bill Thompson (as the Old Timer), Bob Burns and Cliff Arquette. This motion picture is so rare that UCLA only has four nitrate reels in their archives (two-thirds of the movie) and has never been released on DVD or home video - making the film showing at M.A.N.C. extremely valuable for old-time radio fans.

The weekend also features a special screening of Creature From the Black Lagoon from 1954, in 3-D format with the convention supplying the special glasses. Authors of old-time radio books and magazines will also be in attendance, including Ed Hulse of Blood n’ Thunder magazine (dedicated to preserving old-time radio adventures, movie serials and pulp magazines). Joining Ed Walker are five other guests. Erin Gray (star of television’s Silver Spoons and Buck Rogers), Annette Andre (Randall and Hopkirk, The Saint), Denny Miller (Wagon Train and Tarzan, the Ape Man), Arthur Weingarten (The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Wonder Woman and The Fugitive) and Virginia Davis (Little Alice in the silent Alice of Cartoonland film shorts) will be signing autographs and posing for photographs for fans.

Walker’s appearance was orchestrated by Neal Ellis, a staff member behind the scenes of The Big Broadcast, who felt listeners should have a chance to meet the radio show host personally at the convention. “I have found that a lot of people record the show on Sunday night and play it back in their cars as they go to and from work. I love doing the show because I enjoy sharing those memories with listeners,” Walker explained, “and I think it’s a nice way to end the weekend.”

A complete list of movies and old-time radio-related events can be found on the convention’s Internet web-site, www.midatlanticnostalgiaconvention.com, or calling Michelle or Martin at 443-286-6821. The Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention will be held at the Clarion Hotel in Aberdeen, Maryland, exit 85 off I-95.

(Photos provided by Bill McMahon.)