Paul Rhymer's creation of VIC AND SADE began on radio in 1932 as a two-character play featuring Art Van Harvey and Bernadine Flynn. Bill Idelson was eventually added to the cast, as nine-year-old Rush, and Idelson is the man behind this fascinating book that tells the story of one of radio's most relished programs. Over 1,800 scripts are housed at the University of Wisconsin and thanks to Idelson, we now get an idea of the early "lost" episodes. For old-time radio fans who claim this series was a pre-curser to the SEINFELD TV series (the radio show made fun of nothing), and are forced to enjoy the very few episodes known to exist in recorded form, Idelson has opened the door for you.
"The gold of this book, acknowledged by Idelson, are the complete and excerpted scripts from the mid-1930s episodes of "Vic & Sade," which illustrate the gamut of Rhymer's humor, from trenchant satire to human comedy, all with an uncanny familiarity with the bizarre side of day-to-day familial and small-town politics."
- Brent R. Swanson, Crooper, Illinois
"Idelson provides background information on Art Van Harvey (whom he calls Van) and Bernadine Flynn (Bern) but especially for Paul Rhymer. The most surprising thing about this book is what Paul Rhymer was really like. One has a certain image of what a man who writes about a small Midwestern town might be like. Paul Phymer is not that man... If you're a man of radio drama, you'll like this book. If you're a VIC AND SADE fan, you'll love this book. I definitely recommend it."
- Barbara J. Watkins, Sperdvac's Radiogram, January 2007 issue
"One of the few books I have ever written that was an amusing read. I try not to judge books by their cover, but in this case, I did. Thankfully, the book is worth the read and recommended."
- Martin Grams Jr., author
Vic & Sade’ Book Reveals Creator’s Racier Side
If you’re a fan of radio drama, you’ll like this book. If you’re a Vic & Sade fan you’ll love this book.
Paul Rhymer’s creation Vic & Sade began on radio in 1932 as a two-character play featuring Art Van Harvey and Bernadine Flynn. A third character was soon added, a nine-year-old boy named Rush, played by Bill Idelson.
The story of Vic & Sade is put together using Paul Rhymer’s own words, both with scripts excerpts and excerpts of letters he wrote to friends over the years, along with commentary and explanations by Idelson.
Bill Idelson read some 1800 scripts housed at the University of Wisconsin and chose some of the best and takes us by the hand and leads us through the pages. We first lean how the character of Rush came to live with the Gooks, not through an explanation by Idelson but rather through the character’s own words and feelings, from Sade’s first mention script number seven of a desire to have a child in the home, Vic’s refusal to agree, Sade’s subtle ways of persuasion, to finally Rush’s first words in script number thirteen.
Idelson had previously worked in radio and hated it. He tells us of his reluctance to do anther show but gives in when his mother says it is only for four shows. Thankfully he liked the people and didn’t mind so much doing the show. The “four shows” lasted ten years!
He describes his first day at the studio, rehearsing in the lobby on the 19th floor of the Merchandise Mart because Studio B had a live show on the air. Just before airtime the cast entered and quietly walked by the 20-piece orchestra to a corner of the studio where a square beige cloth tent was set up and did the broadcast from there, to avoid the boomy sound of the room. A funny anecdote he tells is how he killed the dog that never was. You’ll have to read page 58 for that story.
The scripts selected are from the years 1932 through 1936. You’ll read many amusing situations dealing with the zany cast of characters who were only talked about but never heard: how everyone wants to get a look at Mr. Gumpox the garbage man’s new bride seated atop the garbage wagon as it passes, or how to give Gumpox his birthday present; how Rooster Davis avoids work in class, or Rush struggling with the medications for Gran’pa Snyder.
Idelson provides background information on Art Van Harvey (whom he calls Van) and Bernadine Flynn (Bern) but especially for Paul Rhymer. The most surprising thing in the book is what Paul Rhymer was really like. One has a certain image of what a man who writes about a small Midwestern town might be like. Paul Rhymer is not that man.
Between scripts and commentary by Idelson the book is liberally peppered with Rhymer’s writings. They are quite racy as labeled by his longtime friend Frank Walsh, who is quoted at length talking about Rhymer. Or as Norman Corwin writes in the Foreword, “There is a raunchiness to his humor….” To put it mildly. Who would think a book about Vic & Sade might be “R” rated?
Idelson states there were three different kinds of people who listened to Vic & Sade: “First, there were the average housewives who saw the show as a pleasant little silence of life in a small town. Second, there were the more perceptive civilians that realized a gentle bite was being taken here and there. Then there were the people in show business who recognized the craft that went into the writing and execution of the show.”
Whatever category you fall into, or even if you’re unfamiliar with the series, you’ll enjoy this book.
I definitely recommend it.
-Barbara J. Watkins
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