Friday, August 29, 2008

Decade by Decade, Part 8: Friday's Favorite OTR

The Man Behind the Gun: "Company Aid Man" (5/19/43)

Only a few episodes of this wartime series survive as recordings today, which is a tragedy as what we do have is uniformily excellent.

The idea was for each episode to tell the story of a single warrior. One episode was about a British Spitfire pilot. Another was about a K-9 Corps soldier on a Pacific island. Still another was about a sailor on the cruiser U.S.S. Boise.

Jackson Beck--one of old-time radio's most talented and distinctive voice artists--narrated the series, describing the action in the second person to add to the feeling of urgency inherent in each episode.

"Company Aid Man" is about a guy who doesn't actually carry a gun--an army medic serving with a unit in the Italian campaign. We accompany him as he moves under fire to treat the wounded. In a rare (for wartime) scene that humanizes the Germans, he helps a wounded German as well, while several other nearby Germans opt not to fire on him.

There are two extended action scenes within the half-hour story, linked by the medic's interaction with another soldier. Altogether, it makes for an intense, dramatic half-hour that is well-worth your time.

Click HERE to listen or download.

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