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Great Beginnings: Grand Central Station January 29, 2007

Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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(By Spear at 2,056) Grand Central Station broadcast mostly non-stop from October of 1937 through April of 1954. The show had more time slots, days and networks than many, but a near 17-year run is not shabby.

The opening included a train roaring down the Hudson and pulling into Manhattan. Listeners followed one of the passengers off the train and the episode would begin. Beyond starting each show at Grand Central Station, the shows had no other common theme.

But what a theme. Announcer and sound effects combined to produce the same sensation as a train pulling into a station. The show began as follows:

. . .

SFX: TRAIN WHISTLE.

ANNOUNCER: (ROBUSTLY) Pillsbury’s Snow Sheen cake flour brings you (WITH ECHO) Grand Central Station.

SFX: WAY OFF:  TRAIN WHISTLE. BED: TRAIN ENGINE CHUGGING AND WHEELS ON TRACKS.

ANNOUNCER: (SLOWLY BUILD) As the bullet seeks its target, shining rails in every part of our great country are aimed at Grand Central Station, heart of the nation’s greatest city.  Drawn by the magnetic force of the fantastic metropolis, day and night great trains rush toward the Hudson River.  Sweep down its eastern bank for 140 miles.  Flash briefly by the long red row of tenement houses south of 125 Street.

SFX: ON MIC: ENGINE CHUGGING SLOWS. TRAIN’S BELL.

ANNOUNCER: (OVER SFX) Dive with a roar into the two and one half mile tunnel which burrows beneath the glitter and swank of Park Avenue.  And then  . . .

SFX: ENGINE CHUGGING SLOWS. TRAIN’S BELL. HISS OF AIR BRAKES.

ANNOUNCER: . . . GRAND CENTRAL STATION . . . Crossroads of a million private lives.

. . .

Truly grand is the start of Grand Central Station. Buy me a ticket any time for that kind of Great Beginning.

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1. Frances Harvey - February 26, 2009

In regard to; Great Beginnings: Grand Central Station January 29, 2007
Posted by William Spear in >> Great Beginnings, >> Radio Drama.
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—– I am a 73 old Grandma, who listened faithfully to Grand Central station every Sat. morning, and had the entire opening memorized, as I loved it so much. I just double checked myself on it, and had only forgotten a tiny portion, but noted that there was something important missing. (Otherwise it filled my soul with great memories.) — Right after “And then Grand Central Station,” he forgot to add “Crossroads of a million private lives.” That really adds to the dynamics of it. I hope it can be inserted to add full completion.

2. William Spear - February 26, 2009

Dear Frances Harvey,

Thank you for stopping to visit Lit Between the Ears. Your readership is appreciated.

Further thanks is offered for pointing out our omission. The post has been corrected to properly reflect the full, and Great, Beginning of “GRAND CENTRAL STATION . . . crossroads of a million private lives.”

Warm personal regards,

William E. Spear

PS – To what other shows did you enjoy listening? And how might we make Lit Between the Ears more enjoyable for you?

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3. Pat Piccone - October 25, 2014

I remember the announcement – Grand Central Station – crossroad of a million private lives.” and then it said, “gigantic stage on which are played a thousand dramas daily”.

How’s that for an 84 yr old.

Pat Piccone – patpiccone@gmail.com


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