The program that makes you face yourself - AND THINK
July 12, 2007 2:26 AM   Subscribe

How do you do: since 1950, Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago, Illinois has produced dramatized salvation stories which are now syndicated around the world. 2,950 weekly one hour stories have been produced so far, and the variety of wayward paths these poor sinners have taken is astonishing, running the gamut from "Gambling, Lying, Fear", to "Country Music, Bigamy, Pride" to "Jewish, Seeking, Piano(part 2)." Whatever their false beliefs, all these fortunate folks have one thing in common (well, besides being voiced by the same few people): their hearts and minds and lives have all been UNSHACKLED! With impressive production values and sound effects created onstage during the live taping, it may be the last true radio drama. Sadly, PGM does not evangelize open audio formats; Real or WMP only.
posted by contraption (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
They'll also send you a free comic book in exchange for your address.
posted by contraption at 2:31 AM on July 12, 2007

I caught these a couple of times on the radio and had no idea what they were. Thanks!
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:22 AM on July 12, 2007

i always liked how the garden influenced Billy Sunday
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:26 AM on July 12, 2007

Sadly, PGM does not evangelize open audio formats; Real or WMP only.

Speaking of fundamentalism...
posted by Yakuman at 5:59 AM on July 12, 2007

The last true radio drama? I wonder what the BBC would have to say about that...
posted by electriccynic at 6:49 AM on July 12, 2007

Years ago I would listen faithfully to Unshackled for its perverse entertainment value. I especially remember the sharp accordion riffs during segues in the dramatic narrative and how the old-school ringing phone sound effect would always herald the arrival of a particularly tragic turn of events.
posted by squalor at 8:05 AM on July 12, 2007

I used to live right around the corner from this place and I had no idea that they still produced a show -- from the looks of it, they hadn't produced anything since the sixties. I am so glad you posted this!
posted by fiercecupcake at 8:19 AM on July 12, 2007

I loved this show growing up. don't think it was accordian riffs though - if I recall, they had an organist.
posted by dubold at 9:31 AM on July 12, 2007

Thanks for clarifying that it was Chicago, ILLINOIS.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:38 PM on July 12, 2007

I spent most of high school hiding out in the school nurse's office, avoiding my classes and the various ugly sides of being the white kid at a poor, black, urban school. I only spent a little over a year in high school, so it wasn't so bad, just a strange little medicinal interlude between junior high and the working world.

The nurse, who, of course, wasn't actually a nurse, was a very large, very Christian black woman. Between dealing with the bloody lips of wannabe thugs and malingerers like me, she ALWAYS listened to Unshackled.

Many were the days I reclined on the plasticized couch, sipping orange juice from a paper cup, listening to sinners find salvation.
posted by bookish at 1:47 PM on July 12, 2007

Thanks for clarifying that it was Chicago, ILLINOIS.

Just faithfully quoting the announcer, who reminds us each week of Chicago's location. And yeah, it's a cheesy electric organ, not an accordian.

I never experienced the show as a child, having been introduced to it through a college friend. Despite this, and despite my rabid atheism, I find it very comforting listening.

There's something about the simple predictability of the narratives that makes me feel warm inside, and not just out of smugness. It lets me imagine a universe where anybody really can live happily ever after, if only they make one simple, clearcut choice that is obviously the only correct one once someone explains it to you right. How nice that sounds.
posted by contraption at 6:16 PM on July 12, 2007 [1 favorite]

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