The world is a pretty pleasant place; it has warm puppies, fresh huckleberry ice cream, and Fibber McGee and Molly episodes is pretty much alright. It is too bad that it all has to end.
You may have heard that the end will come on Dec 21, 2012. At least that is the feeling of those who are paying attention to the Mayan Long Count Calendar. The Long Count Calendar follows a 5,125 year cycle, originally observed and recorded by the ancient Mayans. The Mayan civilization was notable for leaving a fully developed writing system as well as having been incredibly gifted astronomers and mathematicians. They were able to calculate the length of the solar year to an even greater degree than the Europeans.
The Long Count Calendar is linear rather than cyclical. This means that at the end of the 13th cycle, called a b’ak’tun, the calendar simply stops. Many have interpreted this to mean that time, and the world, will stop at that point.
There is plenty of arguments as to just how the world will end. Some believe that the sun will explode; others feel that time will simply turn off like a light switch. There are theories that a mysterious planet called Nibiru will collide with the Earth, or that the magnetic poles will shift, throwing the world into incredible chaos.
The end of the world should be nothing new to fans of Old Time Radio. OTR fans heard the world end for perhaps the first time on Halloween of 1938, when Orson Welles gave everyone the jitters with his extraordinarily realistic presentation of The War Of The Worlds.
When Arch Oboler took over the Lights Out radio program, he gave us plenty of reasons to believe that the world could end, from Oxychloride to “The Projective Mr. Drogen to “The Chicken Heart”!
Probably the closest the World has come to ending has been since the end of WWII and the invention of the Atomic Bomb. The implications of such destructive weapons found their way into several OTR programs and documentaries. Science Fiction fans know of a dizzying array of ways that the world could end.
The End Of The World collection of Old Time Radio Shows explores all of these possibilities. Hopefully, you will find them enjoyable listening as we approach the end of the thirteenth b’ak’tun.
Finishing our Christmas radio shopping will be a much bigger concern on Dec 21 than the end of the world. After all, on September 30, 1962, when Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar became the final broadcast of the Golden Age of Radio, the world failed to end.