John Dunning is the Nero Wolfe Award-winning author of Booked to Die; The Bookman's Wake, a New York Times Notable Book of 1995; and The Bookman's Promise. An expert on rare and collectible books, he owned the Old Algonquin Bookstore in Denver for many years, and now does his bookselling online. He is also an expert on American radio history and the author of a novel about old-time radio, Two O'Clock, Eastern Wartime, and a nonfiction book, On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. He was for many years host of the weekly Denver radio show Old-Time Radio. John Dunning lives with his wife, Helen, in Denver, Colorado.
This biography was last updated on 12/04/2010.
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An Interview with John Dunning, author of Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime
What's the story behind Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime?
It's a novel I've wanted to write for years -- to show what it was like to work in radio when it was the top entertainment medium in the country. Even movies took a back seat to radio in the Thirties and Forties, especially in the Thirties. The country was in the middle of a depression and people couldn't afford to go out. It cost a dime or a quarter to see Eddie Cantor on the screen -- you got him free on the radio, and it was all live, that was the excitement and magic of it, it was happening right then as you were listening to it. There was no phony laugh track, a comic lived or died by his material, and there were a dozen ways a dramatic show could fall apart. But when it worked, ah, man!...there were some great shows, some almost perfect pieces of air. Radio was a wonderfully creative business then, but everything you read and see plays it as high camp, as if the entire radio era was directed by Woody Allen. It wasn't like that, not to the actors who did fifteen shows a week, not to the writers who created what went on the air. To them it was the stuff of ...
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