Writing Lessons From Old Radio Programs: Lesson 3

In the radio program, “When the Curtain Falls,” starring Ginger Rogers, a wallflower that men avoid, if they can, determines that the very first man who’ll kiss her will be a famous movie star. With the help of some friends, she manages to get an interview alone with the star, who curtly refuses to “train” her as an actress. When she bursts into tears, he reluctantly arranges training for her with his understudy. A crisis during a production of Romeo and Juliet launches Ginger’s acting career, when she proves herself on stage. The actor who had foisted her on his understudy assures her, backstage, that he knew all along that she had talent and wants to take charge of her acting lessons personally from now on. The understudy, having taken a new job elsewhere, bids Ginger goodbye, before setting off for his train. She chases after him. When he confesses that he loves her, she is overjoyed. He is surprised that she would prefer him over the famous actor, whom was, as you remember, her original love interest. She has, by then, gained the wisdom of experience. The man who helped her when she was NOBODY is the only one she can truly trust with her heart.

Structurally, this is a great arc for a romance story. Heroine falls for Johnny Hero, only to realize that she’d be far happier with his underappreciated sidekick.

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