“Come back, Shane!”

We had a good, if sparsely attended, first tweet-along. We listened to a radio production of Shane, featuring Alan Ladd and Van Heflin, two of the stars of the movie. Radio was once a big enough thing that major motion picture stars would perform on it. Times have changed though.

In the show, we didn’t have any visual or voice-over to tell us what was going on. Instead, it had to be carried through dialogue (which is tricky, because it needs to sound natural) and sound effects. Simple cues told us a lot. Footsteps and hoofbeats told us when people were coming and going. Crickets told us it was after dark. The clink of dishes and silverware very quickly set a dinner scene. It doesn’t take much, if you use the right sounds, to paint a whole picture.

There was very little in the way of soundtrack music. Occasionally it would punctuate a scene, or mark a transition between scenes or from story to commercial break. Rarely was it used for dramatic effect.

One thing that stood out to me in the story was this exchange between the ranchers who were getting pushed around by the bad guys:

I’m not belittling what you did, but you didn’t find this country.
There were trappers here and Indian traders before you.
– They tamed this country. – They weren’t ranchers.
Rights! You think you’ve the right to say nobody else has got any.
That ain’t the way the Government looks at it.

( from http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/s/shane-script-transcript-alan-ladd.html)

It made me think of some recent events, and the reaction to them. Those questions of whose land is it? who built it? who has rights, and whose rights matter? haven’t gone away. It actually surprised me to hear them brought up in a story from the 50s. And I wonder how a modern audience would react to the brief discussion of gun control in the story. Again, different times.

But tomorrow night, same time, we’ll have more. Tune in to ds106radio, 9pm Eastern.

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