Damon Runyon


March 5.

DEAR SIR my wife Ethel was listening to the radio the other night and she ses Joe what is the idea of those people on the radio always talking about murders and crimes? I ses what people? She ses O a lot of people. Every time I turn on the radio I hear people talking about murders and crimes. They have whole programs about them.

I ses well Ethel honey you can always turn them off and turn somebody else on. I ses that is one beautifull thing about the radio you do not have to listen to something you do not like. Ethel ses yes but if you turn something else on it may be one of those fellows out in Hollywood with their jokes and they are worse than murders and crimes except William C. Fields.

I ses well there is no law that makes you listen to a radio at all is there? Ethel ses no but what else can I do when there are no new movies to see and you set there like some old thing reading the paper? I ses well get some hot band or a hot singer and she ses that is just what I am always trying to do but there are so many people talking about murders and crimes that it is hard to get anything else. Joe do you think murders and crimes on the radio are so interesting?

I ses well Ethel you know I am not a radio man. I ses all I like to hear on the radio is Bing Crosby singing a song about love or Walter Winchell telling me some quick news. I ses I never have much luck with the radio because every time I turn it on all I get is somebody playing the organ or hill billies and I hate hill billies.

Ethel ses well they are not as bad as murders and crimes. I was setting here the night when you was downtown bowling and I turned on the radio and a lady was screaming and somebody was going OO OO OO like somebody crazy and it almost scared me out of my mind.

I ses what was they making those noises about? Ethel ses they was playing a sketch that had a murder in it and acting it all out. Somebody kept going OO OO OO all the time. Joe it was terrible and I had a notion to put on my hat and go over to my Moms only I was afraid you would wonder where I was when you got home.

I ses why you could have left a note and I would have known where you was and Ethel ses well I was so scared I did not think of that. I ses I do not remember any night that I got home from bowling and found you so scared and Ethel ses no I never let on to you because it was the night you staid out so late and I was so mad when you got home.

I ses well Ethel I told you Sweeney the district leader dropped in where I was bowling and he staid there talking and I could not walk out on him could I? Ethel ses no I suppose not. I suppose Sweeney the district leader was more important than your poor wife setting here at home scared to death thinking somebody might come through the window any minute and murder me in cold blood.

I ses look Ethel what would anybody want to murder you in cold blood for? I ses anyway if you let out one yip this whole neighborhood would be around in a minute to see what was happening so you was in no danger. Ethel ses well I was scared just the same and I sat here shivering all over while somebody on the radio was going OO OO OO all the time. I never was so scared in all my life.

I laughed and she ses you can laugh all you want to Joe Turp but I would like to see you set here some night all alone and have somebody go OO OO OO on the radio. I bet you would put your hat on and go right out of the house. Joe do you think it is nice for them to scare people on the radio that way?

I ses well Ethel maybe they do not know they are scaring people. I ses maybe they just want to give the people a thrill and Ethel ses why? I ses well I do not know why but maybe they think that is a good way of entertaining people and she ses Joe do you think murders and crimes are entertaining? Suppose a lot of ladies and children are listening to the radio. Do you think murders and crimes are entertainment for them Joe?

I ses listen Ethel I told you before I am not a radio man so I do not know what is entertainment and what is not. I ses all I say is you can always turn off anything you do not like on the radio and that is really a beautiful thing. I ses the night you heard somebody going OO OO OO and you was so scared did you turn it off right away or what?

Why Ethel ses of course I did not turn it off. I heard it all the way through. I ses then it was your own fault you was scared because all you had to do was to turn it off and Ethel ses why Joe Turp if I had turned it off how in the world could I have found out who killed who? I ses who did? Ethel ses it was the somebody that kept going OO and scared me so.