In the first half of the 1970s, the US was in the throes of the so-called “Nostalgia Fever” (which some critics dubbed No(w)stalgia).
Numerous independent record labels played on the expiration of copyrights to recover dozens and dozens of soundtracks of old films and to reintroduce to the listener the voices of the great actors of the screen as they had spread over the airwaves in the 30s and 40s, on the hertzian waves of radio sets.
Historical radio dramas such as the famous “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” or “The War of the Worlds” by Orson Wells were brought back to light and made accessible again from the vinyl grooves.
The adventures of memorable characters, even musicals written specifically for the radio, became available again. A large part of the so-called Radio’s Golden Age came back to life on records with the voices of Bette Davis, the Marx Brothers, Abbott & Costello, Mae West and a very young Judy Garland.
The records in the exhibition are an emblematic anthology of the recordings of that brief but prolific period and were all recorded between 1974 and 1977.
If the motivations behind the phenomenon can be entirely attributed to a commercial aspect of the initiative and certainly not to a cultural aspect, the merit of the legacy that this phenomenon has left on the collective memory front at a time when the dimension of the web as the primary collector of universal memory could not even be hypothesised.
Exhibition curated by Sandro Avanzo