Radio Days (Woody Allen) 1987

Woody narrated but did not appear in this movie about his childhood (1938-1944) in Rockaway, New Jersey, and the culture of radio.  Woody's parents (Julie Kavner and Michael Tucker) live with the extended family and regret that their son is not a Whiz Kid.  Aunt Bea (Dianne Wiest) can't get a man but did win $50 on "Guess That Fish."  Woody loved radio shows and always wanted a Masked Avenger Secret Compartment Ring but never had the fifteen cents.

Woody does a great job of taking you back to the post-Depression and World War II lives of middle-class, East Coast Jewish families.  Woody's paramour, Mia Farrow plays the cigarette-girl/hat-check girl who eventually breaks into radio after trading her annoying, high-pitched voice for a more soothing one.  In a terrific scene on New Year's 1944, Mia accompanies Wallace Shawn, voice of the Masked Avenger to the party.  The movie is a collection of radio stories from the era with little attempt to connect them.  Jeff Daniels, Danny Aiello, Diane Keaton, Kitty Carlisle (1910-2007), William H. Macy, Tony Roberts and Larry David had small parts in the movie. [JAM 1/7/2010]

["I wanted to do a whole movie of scenes based on memories of songs of my childhood ... It was that kind of nostalgia; self-indulgent pleasure that one gets re-creating one's childhood atmosphere ... It really isn't my childhood exactly, but there are many aspects of my childhood that I've put in for fun ... It's not a big, heavy plot movie.  It's a movie of anecdotes and the atmosphere of what the kids did when I was younger - went to the beach and looked for German submarines." Conversations With Woody Allen April 2005]