Dad (George Edwards) and Dave (John Saul) discuss Dave’s hope to marry Mabel, as Dad examines the farm’s finances. Money is too tight for Dad to offer his son a house, which would allow Dave to ask Mabel to marry him. Dave tries to fix the clock, with disastrous consequences.
The public enthusiasm for the radio shows was based in part on the success of the 1932 film version of On Our Selection, Ken G Hall’s first feature at Cinesound. That film was an enormous box-office hit in the midst of the worst year of the Depression.
The film was also clearly an influence on the way actors perform their roles in the radio shows. Edwards in the first episode sounds like Bert Bailey (who played Dad in the film), but the performance changed during the 15 years on air. In later years, Dad was less of a yokel than he sounds here.
The first episode introduces some long-running themes, drawn tenuously, if at all, from Steele Rudd’s stories. Dad worries about money, Dave worries about getting a wife; the season is a poor one for farming and together the two men manage to disrupt Mum’s domestic arrangements by unfixing a valued clock. It’s interesting that they mention the Depression directly. That may be an illustration of why the show became so popular – listened to four nights a week by 90 per cent of the population. We can also hear that this recording was done quickly, because they keep going when Edwards mangles his lines, trying to say ‘If that clock strikes again I’ll do some striking’.
These characters shared the same troubles as their audience – which is not quite true of Edwards and Stirling, who were making an extremely good living from all their hard work.