People generally equate “new” technology as being something that will completely eradicate the previous ways of doing things. For example, in the 1950s the widespread availability of home television sets greatly reduced the amount of audiences who listened to soap opera and comedy shows on the radio. By the 1960s, most people preferred to engage entertainment media on TV and get visuals of the characters and settings instead of simply audio. Hence, radio’s “Golden Age” was over.
Presently, the Internet is fast-replacing television as the go-to way to retrieve information, hear the latest news and find sources of entertainment. The Internet has started to replace newspapers, physical books, and TV-connection-required video game consoles and there are increasing demands for televised shows to be available for viewing over the World Wide Web.
The Internet is undoubtedly taking over seemingly every aspect of media-related life, yet this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it could easily lead to the revival of many long-lost programs. When television replaced radio, many long-beloved radio soap operas and comedy shows went off air. Others made the switch to TV where some flourished and some flopped. For many years, the recordings of many “old time radio” shows remained in archives around the world, remembered by a few but hidden to new generations.
The fate of many early-era television shows and films was the same. Although motion pictures and TV seemed like the most incredible forms of technology in their day, there were so many films and TV shows made that many went off air and were not broadcasted for decades. Even TV shows that were huge hits—like “The Honeymooners”—are hard pressed to be found on air today and are little known to younger audiences.
Yet new media can promote old media. For example, a video game titled “LA Noir” is set in the 1940s and it features segments of the hilarious 1940s radio comedy “The Bickerson’s.” “The Bickerson’s” was a radio show that entertained audiences via the sharp tongued verbal wars between married couple Balance and John. Incredibly, the comedic value in “The Bickerson’s” is still as fresh today as it was when the show was first broadcast over six decades ago due to the extremely witty and timeless dialogue. Hence, many young people who played “LA Noir” heard “The Bickerson’s” and sought out information on the show via Internet portals such as YouTube. Thus, because of new media like video games and the Internet, the long-retired “Bickerson’s” radio show is building a new fan base in the 21st century.
The Internet is the best collection of information and it provides free access ability to most people in the world. For those who miss old songs, or classic video games, or off-air TV shows, the Internet can be used to find those old forms of amusement once again and even connect to other people who have also sought them out. For example, YouTube now has a dedicated following of users who watch clips of the 1950s game show “What’s My Line,” a program that might otherwise be forgotten. Some clips can be watched here: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=what%27s+my+line&oq=what%27s+my+line&gs_l=youtube.1.0.0l10.521.5602.0.6903.22.13.2.184.108.40.2066.1692.6j5j2.13.0…0.0…1ac.1.r0jYkHoIM5Y
Time is ceaseless. Thus, every single “new” thing will one day be considered “old” and “outdated.” Yet just because a program is a relic from a bygone era, does not mean that it has to be completely lost to history. Thanks to the Internet many old shows can be enjoyed by new audiences, even if they are just small niches of people. This is an opportunity that television, with its limited allotted channel space, was unable to provide. The Internet is opening doors for younger generations to enjoy brand new media alongside some of the earliest recorded footage in history.
Furthermore, for those who wish to be writers it is essential to have a rounded knowledge of dialogue, plots, and characters that were fashionable throughout the decades. For example, a show like “The Bickerson’s” is a prime example of how to write dialogue so amusing that it will still entertain nearly a century after its creation.
As television and the Internet grow more infused, it is likely that one day soon every episode from every television program ever broadcast will be immediately available via a website like YouTube. Thus, those who are interested in older media, or the history of media, should consider the Internet a friend to “lost” art forms and programs, not an enemy.