The Sealed Book

I’m not sure if any of you are old enough to remember the old radio program called, “The Sealed Book.” I discovered it during a conversation with my mother while writing Cammie Takes Flight. I could still hear the excitement in her voice when told me how when the gong sounded it meant the Keeper of the Book had unlocked the vault where the great sealed book was kept. It was in that very book that all the secrets and mysteries of mankind has been recorded through the ages. Just imagine how mysterious that must have sounded to my mum and her friends as they crowded around the radio on Saturday nights. At the end of each episode, listeners were told to tune in next week when “the sound of the great gong heralds another strange and exciting tale from… the sealed book.” According to my mum the show also had sound effects that made it all seem quite real.

While doing a little checking online the info I found said the program originally ran between March 18 and September 9, 1945, and was broadcast on Sundays from 10:30pm to 11:00pm. My guess is that the program aired on reruns for years after its original broadcasting which makes me think that it’s good to actually talk to someone who has knowledge of a time period rather than just relying on the information that’s available online. Obviously that’s not always possible and so a writer must do the best job she can to bring that authenticity to the story.

I worked in some bit and pieces about The Sealed Book to my novel during my first round of edits as it seemed to fit in nicely with a scene I was working on at the time. I found it quite exciting and hadn’t remembered my mother ever mentioning it over the years. And who knows perhaps there was something in our conversation that day that jarred the memory loose for her. It’s strange the way memories can suddenly come to us when we hadn’t thought about a particular thing in many years. (For anyone who doesn’t know, Cammie Takes Flight is , for the most part, set at the Halifax School for the Blind.)

Part of a writer’s job when writing historical fiction is to research the time period we’re writing about. All those details add authenticity to the story and help the reader to become a part of that time and place the author is writing about. What many people told me after they’d read my first novel Bitter, Sweet was that they remembered that time so well since they were kids themselves back then. Many of them found it easy to relate to the Burbidges plight because of it.

With both my mother and step-father having gone to the Halifax School for the Blind they were able to provide little bits of information I would not have otherwise discovered through research—The Sealed Book being one of those things. There were other little things as well, the note tossing between the boys and the girls during classes when the teacher they had was blind, and the way the boys would sneak out of the school and call the payphone in the lobby asking to speak to a particular girl they had a crush on. There were other stories as well that I was able to weave into the novel and hopefully when kids (and adults) read it they’ll come to understand that the children who went to the School for the Blind weren’t much different they are.

My ARC (Advanced Reading Copy) for Cammie Takes Flight arrived the other day in the mail. I finally got to see and read the story in book form for the first time. It’s such a wonderful sense of accomplishment to know that others will get to read my words and hopefully find something of value in the story. I’ll read through the ARC a few more times to pick out anything that needs changing before it goes for the final printing. Release day is three months away!

So, without giving you age away, do any of you remember The Sealed Book or are there any other old time radio programs you might have listened to back in the day? 

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12 Comments

  1. Might I mention I lived a sheltered life? Hmm. I thought I’d read all the stories of the time because I practically lived in the library. ❤ ❤ ❤

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    • I’m sure you’re way too you to remember these programs anyway, Tess. 🙂 I think a library is a great place to hang out.

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  2. No don’t remember

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  3. Judi

     /  January 30, 2017

    Sorry, I don’t remember anything about radio, I guess I was out in the barn most of the time. LOL

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  4. The only thing I remember listening to, on the radio, as a kid is hockey games! But this show sounds very intriguing. I’m glad you fit it into your book.

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    • I remember Mum talking about some of the other radio programs she listened to when she was young. I’m sure it was quite a treat back then to tune in to these shows, much like when I was a kid and could hardly wait for a certain TV program. I’m not sure children appreciate these things the way we did back then and although I think technology is wonderful in its place I feel as though so much is being lost along the way. Perhaps that’s why I enjoy historical fiction. Thanks for visiting, Joss!

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  5. We’re were 3000 miles away on the other side of Canada. I’ve never heard of it. Maybe it wasn’t available. The CBC didn’t always come in because we lived in the country. Also we had only 2 tv channels. I was 11 when dad brought home our first black and white TV. While I was enthralled with Disney, I couldn’t help wondering what the opening kaleidoscope must look like in colour.

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    • Your last comment made me laugh, Joylene. I can remember wondering the exact thing as a kid. I’m not sure wen these radio programs stopped airing, most likely before our time.

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  6. We didn’t have a TV for the first ten years of my life. So we did listen to radio programs but The Sealed Book wasn’t one of them. I recall The Lone Ranger and some mystery programs. I am glad you were able to put these programs into your next novel.

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    • I like weaving these things into my stories. I feel as though it helps them from getting lost over time. I meant to ask Mum about some of the other shows she had mentioned in the past. It keeps slipping my mind. I’m sure it was great entertainment before televisions came along.

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