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Where did you get that name?

Okay, this is really cool in a nerdy kind of way: in the 1890s in Paris, if you were fancy enough to afford the gear and a monthly subscription fee, you could listen to plays and operas from your house. Proust did it. If you weren’t quite that fancy, you could check out the same service at a cafe.

Basically, the French invented audio drama podcasts 125 years ago. Except the phone was bolted to the wall and you had to listen while the performance was happening live across town. And you probably had to wear a corset while doing so. But I digress. This was total Jules Verne stuff—literally. And you’ve got to believe every théâtrophone subscriber was thinking, This is the Future.

So here we are anticipating the moment our horseless carriages become driverless. Audio drama’s become a heck of a lot more portable (and whalebone’s all but disappeared from everyday fashion).

We can access the world from a phone that fits in our pocket, but we still want stories. So let’s tell some.