This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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The Bickersons’ Love Letters
Edited by Ben Ohmart
Bear Manor Media, 2010, 74 pp., $14.95
Reviewed by Maury Cagle
(From Radio Recall, October 2010)
One thing is clear: Ben Ohmart has a potent imagination. In this little book, he presents a correspondence between John Bickerson and Blanche Peaches (who knew her maiden name?) from 1936 to 1939, when they eloped.
Purportedly, this treasure of great love letters was purchased many years later from their only child, Jules.
The letters lay the groundwork for many of the things that endeared the radio appearances of the Bickersons to the listening public: Blanche’s unorthodox cooking, such as turkey spleens and gizzards from unknown animals, served with a salad that had a faint detergent taste, a talent learned from her mother; John’s penchant for bourbon; his snoring; his odd selections of gifts; his difficulties with his employers, and the so-called “poetry” he wrote in times of tension in their relationship. Even a hint of Gloria Goosby (not with that last name at the time) sneaks in.
When reading these letters, you can hear the voices of Frances Langford and Don Ameche in your mind. You want to warn them of the trials and tribulations of the future, but fortunately, you can’t.
For fans of the Bickersons, this book is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. The result is to whet your aural appetite for the real thing—a few rounds of the battle royal that was the marriage of John and Blanche. A hint of the tone of the book is in a note that the volume is “A Bottle-of-the-Month Club Selection.”
The Bickersons’ Love Letters is available from Bear Manor Media at www.Bearmanormedia.com.