Burriss: In keeping with the season

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Well, now it's Halloween season. Time for trick-or-treat, time to get the be-jeebers scared out of yourself, and, if you believe Linus, time for the Great Pumpkin to rise out of the Pun'kin Patch.

This is also as good a time as any to return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear when radio was the theater of the mind, and the collective psyche of the nation had the wits scared out of it by Orson Wells, the Mercury Theater, and the War of the Worlds.

We hear a lot these days about violence in the media, but when was the last time there was a national hysteria because of a television program? When was the last time people sought shelter in their basement because of a movie?

No, if you want to talk about fright night or creepy crawly things, you have to go back to the golden days of radio.
Now there was something to keep you awake at night. When you heard that creaking door slowly swing open, your mind conjured up all kinds of horrid images of what lay beyond. You didn't need to see the blood-stained knife or the body hidden under the floor. You knew it was there, because your mind told you it was there. That was all the proof you needed.

Today, television and the movies spoon feed us violence. They have to give us pictures because we've let our minds and imaginations atrophy to the point where they are almost useless.

You know, I've often thought that television is nothing more than radio with pictures. And I don't think the writing is nearly as good as it was when the Shadow, Doc Savage and the Green Hornet were out there making the streets safe for democracy and an evening walk.

Try this little experiment some time. Turn the lights down real low; just enough to cast some eerie shadows on the wall. Turn the television set on to a monster program, but turn the picture off. Just sit and listen, and let your imagination run away with you.

I can almost guarantee if you get yourself in the right frame of mind, pretty soon you'll start to get that funny, creepy feeling in your gut. The drama will be more suspenseful, the comedy will be funnier and the romance will be ... well, you get the picture. And it's the picture that's all in your head.

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Halloween 2015, Larry Burriss
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