Making Fun and Strange Sounds from Outer Space
by Irwin Gonshak for The Sound Palette (Jan. 15, 2007)
In the early 1970s, the NYC Board of Education’s radio station WNYE-FM helped to set up In Touch Networks for the blind and handicapped. We won a grant in 1976 from the NYCouncil for the Humanities to do a radio series called, “Liberation for the Handicapped.” I was the writer and producer for the series, and I wrote an essay called “Making Fun” for the press release on the program “Stereotypes” which included original comments from Neil Simon, Mel Brooks, Sam Levenson, and Maureen Nolan (handicapped Barnard College student). Here is the essay. But first one aside: I used to walk through the crowded Manhattan streets with the late James R. Jones, Executive Director of In Touch, who was completely blind. When alone, he would walk himself with just his stick to guide him. When he was with me, he’d hold my arm and say, “When I have someone to steer me, I always feel like I’m on vacation.”
In the late 1970s I learned that Scholastic wanted to do an audio series on listening skills for the elementary school grades. Since radio drama is my field, I felt I could easily write a simple radio drama–dealing with the skill: following a sequence of events (just a few characters with a strong story line that goes in a straight line from beginning to end). I wrote “Strange Sounds from Outer Space” which Scholastic accepted and which became the prototype for the series. Incidentally, Hamburger Heaven used to be a fast food chain in Manhattan, which I believe no longer is in business… but still lives on in my radio drama.
Click here to download PDF version of STRANGE SOUNDS FROM OUTER SPACE
Irwin Gonshak can be reached at IGonshak@aol.com