Imagining a Better Future by Re-imagining the Past

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Prairie Home Companion

I know what you’re probably thinking. How can something called “A Prairie Home Companion” be considered dieselpunk? In my opinion, it’s actually very dieselpunk.

Radio dominated the 20’s through 40’s. Families tuned into programs such as Fibber Mcgee and Molly, Lum and Abner, Bell Telephone Hour, and the Grand Ole Opry. It was a time of Jack Benny, Fred Allen, and George and Gracie. Because of radio America witnessed the crash of the Hindenburg and the blitz on London.

A Prairie Home Companion (PHC) recreates the golden age of radio with original programming consisting of live music and stories. Some of the stories are regular installments such as The Lives of the Cowboys and Guy Noir: Private Eye. These stories, written and told by the show’s creator Garrison Keillor, recreate the feel of the old radio adventures. The most popular of the regular PHC stories is probably Garrison Keillor's monologue, The News from Lake Wobegon in which, “the women are strong, the men are good looking and the children are above average.” In addition to live music and stories, PHC recreates the radio commercials of the past using fantasy products such as Powdermilk Biscuits and Beebop-a-Rebop Rhubarb Pie.

PHC is carried live on Public Radio stations around the US, as well as on Sirius Satellite Radio, Saturdays at 5 p.m. CST. PHC is also streamed live at the show’s web site, The show is rebroadcasted at the web site every Sunday, 11 a.m. CST.

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