ADIO. Disappearing husbands of
one kind or another have made some of the best recent radio drama. Setting aside the question of whether B man has any right to leave his family when he feels he has had enough of them, I immensely enjoyed the story of the one who turned his back on the selfish lot in Somerset Maugham's "The Breadwinner" (Saturday Night Theatre, Home).
It was some years since I had last heard this play on the radio, and I wondered if it might have dated. It had done so scarcely at all. It is true that there are probably fewer fathers now that could afford to keep their families in idle luxury as Charles Battle did in the play, but the humour of situation and dialogue had lost nothing, and the characters and motives still rang true.
The unpleasant, bossy man in the Wednesday matinee, "Legend of Tiverton" was a disappearing husband in a different sense. This play by Winifred Carnegie was excellent stuff for those who enjoy, as I do, a cosy shudder, and worked up-as radio can so well-a nice ghostly atmosphere. in a house where men are always disappearing. but women feel safe and protected. A novel idea, and I wish we could have more plays like this.
I hope your children are hearing I hat enchanting story "Mistress
Masham's Repose." by T. H. White, which is being revived on Children's Hour. This is the kind of imaginative tale that can be heard again and again.
In case you don't know it, the story is that of an unfortunate little heiress orphan left in a huge house in care of unpleasant people. Her life would have been very happy indeed had it not been for her friend the Professor-a deliciously fantastic character-and her discovery of a whole settlement of descendants of the Lilliputians. I particularly enjoy, in this radio version, Wilfred Babbage as the Lilliputian schoolmaster. His squeaky voice is exactly right.
Secular views, reactions and judgments are hurled at us over the air in so many different forms, and so often, that when one hears plaintera I ly honest-to-God Catholic doctrine in a broadcast, it is more often than not its sound commonsense that strikes us more than anything else. This was how I felt when I listened to the excellent Sunday morning service on the Light from the Catholic church at Guildford.
There was a refreshing, inspiring absence of ambiguity about everything that Fr. Gordon Albion had to say, and his vigorous voice and manner were highly radio-genic (if there is such a word).
In the right hands what a power for good the radio can be. I hope that many non-Catholics, particularly those plagued and frustrated by agnostic uncertainties, listened in to this broadcast.