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Tricks to a successful road trip

One of the delights of summer has to be the 33rd Annual Pigeon Droppings from the coops atop the XeroxBuilding in downtown --- WE INTERRUPT THIS BROADCAST FOR A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!

Ooooh, sends chills up and down your spine, doesn't it? I know, I know. You need to be in a very surreal and existential place for mere typography to make you go all Noah. But what about the rest of your family? For a little fun on those long road trips, wait until everyone's happily dozing and then slip in a tape of the Mercury Theatre's War of the Worlds broadcast; you know, the one that caused mass panic up and down the Eastern Seaboard about 70 years ago. When your children wake, start the tape and watch the magic of radio drama unfold (keeping your eyes on the road, of course).

And don't limit yourself to frightening your lads and lasses. A wide array of old-time radio is available from libraries, websites, and retailers.

An extended car ride is also a great time to expose the youth of today to some not-so-old-time radio. Many popular tales have been dramatized by the BBC, including Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (which started on the radio). Modern domestic radio offers a few choice selections, notably Garrison Keillor'sPrairie Home Companion programs. The youngest of your clan will doubtless enjoy any of the radio stories produced for the defunct Rabbit Ears Radio show (though recently re-released, according to Audiofile magazine).

Finally, some folks even produce audio dramas without a broadcast signal. Angels of this sub-genre, the Words Take Wing Repertory Company, have produced wonderful adaptations of numerous youth titles.

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