RADIO DAYS 1987, 88 minutes
To do a New York On-Screen series without a Woody Allen film is like depicting FDR without the cigarette holder or the Titanic without the Iceberg. Toxic analogies aside, he is obviously a problematic figure, but seeing how there are bigger, louder New Yorkers who have done nasty things and retired to the Sunbelt, we might as well show one of his films. The question is–– which Woody?
There are the obvious choices: his breakthrough Annie Hall or Manhattan, which celebrated the city but also presaged his demons. The choice has not been an easy one, but we decided to go with Radio Days, a nostalgic comedy-drama about an extended working-class family on Rockaway Beach in Queens during the Golden Age of Radio. Although not part of the cast, Allen narrates the film from the perspective of Joe, a boy whose world is shaped by the family radio––its music and programs emanating from glittering, far-away Manhattan.
BE ADVISED–– This film is rated PG with smoking, drinking, mild profanity, off-screen violence, sexuality, nudity, lots of kvetching, and Woody Allen.