Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Arch Oboler

Funny how our culture elevates people not worthy of our time and effort, and easily tosses aside folks from the past who were truly artists. Well, maybe "tragic" would be a better word. Arch Oboler is a name from the past. I would guess the vast majority of people today don't know his name. He was an author, playwright, director and visionary. He was one of the first people who saw 3D as a viable way of viewing film. As popular as 3D seems to be today you'd think someone would mention his name.

I first became aware of Mr Oboler when I was about ten years old. I sent off for a cassette of some radio show called Lights Out. I wanted it because it starred Boris Karloff, one of my, and still favorite actors. Dramatic radio really appealed to me because it forced my imagination to engage. All the images had to be constructed in my mind. Oboler referred to radio as the "theater of the mind". He was right.

He wrote and produced many wonderful radio shows, some mediocre films, and authored a couple books.

I never really finished this portrait of him. I originally envisioned a skeletal hand holding an NBC microphone, as well as an old cathedral styled radio with tentacles oozing out of it. Maybe one day...


  1. Really beautiful work.
    I've been fascinated by Oboler since I was a kid. A very complex fella -- talented and ambitious in equal parts, patriotic, temperamental, an ego at once elevated and fragile. He lived with his wife and his mistress in the same home for many years. Just an unconventional and remarkable artist... and these days completely forgotten.
    I think you should finish this one, love the ideas you mentioned. I'd love to see it!

  2. Not COMPLETELY forgotten, Mike C. Not by folks like the ones here this weekend:!/pages/Friends-of-Old-Time-Radio-Convention/102059496611

    Just played a little Norman Corwin out there - so it's cool to see another Network Radio giant saluted!

    Nice job, Mike B.
    -Craig W.