I was pleased to see that Turner Classic Movies will be showing “The Next Voice You Hear” this afternoon at 2:30 Eastern. It’s a sweet little film with a timely message. It was made in 1950, when the primary technology for delivering news and entertainment to American homes was still radio and the primary concern of American families in the post-WWII era was the threat of the Cold War.
One night there is an unusual announcement on the radio. “The next voice you hear” will be the voice of God. Throughout the world each listener (except, oddly, those behind the Iron Curtain) hears the Voice in his and her own language. The story focuses on a typical American family, Joe and Mary Smith, with a young son and another baby coming soon. Joe is played by James Whitmore and Mary is played by future First Lady Nancy Davis, who would soon be Nancy Reagan. We in the audience never hear the Voice. We just see how it affects the Smiths and the other listeners. At first, people are very unsettled and frightened by God’s messages, but it becomes clear that His message is one of hope and peace.
Yes, it’s old-fashioned and corny. Yes, the first names of the Smiths are intentionally selected to make them even more symbolic. But it is a good film for families and Sunday School classes to to watch together and discuss how God’s timeless message might be delivered via today’s technology.