“RADIO DAYS” – By Des Kelly

“RADIO DAYS” – By Des Kelly

 Happy Birthday for the 2nd July from eLanka Desmond!
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“Those were the days, those “radio days”. Famous “Radio Ceylon” was born in 1925 and, even for a Country that was, at the time, known as “The Pearl of the Orient”, still another wonderful description of this tiny Country of ours, this “medium-wave-marvel” soon started to receive plaudits from all around the World. Just think about it, Ladies, Gentlemen, and “Radio-buffs”, this “event” started ninety three long years ago, Countries much larger than this “tear-drop” in the Indian Ocean, knew not what “Radio” even meant, the British “ruled” Ceylon, and actually began the exercise that was going to turn “Radio-Ceylon” into the 2nd largest “Station” in the World, next to Britain. World War 1 was over, England’s favourite quote, at the time, was “Britannia rules the waves” , World War 2 was still only a “figment in the imagination” of despots like Adolph Hitler, this old “writer” was still not even thought of, BUT, Radio Ceylon was “up & going strong”. Fourteen years is a long time, in anybody’s book, but Radio Ceylon just kept getting better and more popular in South East Asia, THEN, too soon, far too soon the wretched WW2 began in 1939.

The only “good news” I can recall about that particular era was that, in 1936, I was born into the Country I will never forget, & Hitler, together with his German Labour Front, founded the “Volkswagen” or VW., a vehicle that is still popular today, 81 years on, (A.H. organized “his car”, as he liked to call it, in 1937).

          Getting away from Radio Ceylon, for a bit, I would like to inform all my eLanka readers, especially the old VW owners, that when they take in their vehicles (the older models), for a “Service” next time, have your mechanic put the car up on the hoist, and rotate any wheel fairly fast to notice the definite “Nazi” emblem (the Swastika), appear on the chrome hubcap. Adolph wanted to show everyone that HE was responsible for this little “Peoples’ Car”, the only bloody good thing that this egotistical pariah did. Many people do not know this little fetish exists, and many people do not know either, that Adolph Hitler could have made Germany one of the greatest, most popular Countries on Earth, but for his obscene lust for power. Here was this little Army Corporal, failed Artist,a “nobody” in fact, except for his loud rantings & ravings, whenever he got the chance, now having his Countrymen & women at his feet, everything he could possibly want, his own Architect to build him superb buildings, a lavish lifestyle, entertaining even “Royalty”, superb companions in his “German-Shepherd” dogs, here he was, with everything to live for, but then, not satisfied, he wanted to conquer the World. What happened?, he shot himself and rid the World of a despot, with only the VW to remind us that too much POWER could well lead to downfall.

          Enough about Hitler. Let’s get back to Radio Ceylon.

There is no need for elaboration on this subject. My readers will be able to have a good idea about this superb Radio Station, on a video-clip sent to me, by Editor Neville Davidson, of the “Burgher Association” in Melbourne. I thank him for this. It was most interesting. From my young teenage years, I was a frequent visitor at this very exciting place. Thursday evenings with my old acoustic guitar, to firstly, perform on the “Amateur Hour”(I still remember the very first song I sang, as “Little angel, with the dirty face” by Gene Autry.),  then, “Firefly” Melroy de Silva (R.I.P.) & myself would “park ourselves” just outside the Radio Station to  snare anyone who had no accompanists with them to appear on this very popular programme. We loved just being “on-air”. Later on, Vernon Corea, bless his Soul, actually taught me how to conduct interviews on Radio, and featured me on HIS great broadcast named ” Spotlight”

It was here, at Radio Ceylon, that I met Broadcaster Chris Greet, as well and together, we decided to record Dreamworld, my original composition, written for the future runner-up of the Miss Universe Contest of 1956 in America.

To me, & many other “showbiz” hopefuls, Radio Ceylon was one of the most important “platforms” from which we launched our careers. Nimal Mendis, Bill Forbes, Cliff Foenander, dozens of others, & “your’s truly” owe our successes, in the first place, to “The Commercial Service of Radio Ceylon” which still continues it’s great work in 2018.


          What more can I say ?, tune in, today!!


Desmond Kelly.

   Star of elanka.



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