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Showing posts from 2012

Old Time Radio On New Fangled MP3 Players

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We genuinely hopes that you have as much fun listening to the great radio shows we bring you as we do in finding and researching them. Most of the us were born well after the golden age of radio. All of us  are "television babies", so the image of sitting down in the living room, waiting for the tubes of the big console radio to warm up is an image we can only imagine. (The Cat did share memories of napping happily over the warm tubes, but he wouldn't say how many of his nine-lives ago that was.) Most listeners enjoys  old time radio shows from MP3 files  played on the computer of through their iPods or other mp3 storage and  mp3 player devices . Smart phones and most Feature phones will have mp3 play-back and storage, so enjoying your radio shows were ever and when ever you want is easier than ever. The problem is just a matter of learning how to load your radio shows into your mp3 player. Actually, the process is a very simple one that a twelve year old can do

End of the World Radio

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There are a number of factors pointing toward the End of Time occurring on Dec 21, 2012. The most prominent is the Mayan Long Calendar. The ancient Mayans developed one of the most sophisticated cultures in pre-Columbian America. The Mayans were also the most accurate time-keepers and astronomers of the pre-technological era. One of their greatest achievements was the Long Calendar. The Mayans recognized several different cycles in the Heavens, including the 365.25 day solar year used in the Gregorian calendar and a 260 day Tzolk'in cycle. Another important cycle is the 584 day cycle of the planet Venus. Times when more than one cycle ended at the same time were understandably auspicious. The Solar calendar and the Tzolk'in cycle align every 52 years or 18980 days, for example. The longest of these cycle alignments is the so-called Long Count Calendar, is based on a cycle that began on August 11, 3114 BC. This cycle will end on Dec 21, 2012. In fact, as far as the Mayans a

Hannukkah Old Time Radio Show from 1948 (Eternal Light)

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December 8, 2012: Hanukkah starts tonight at Sundown. While Christmas radio shows were staple broadcasts during the golden age of radio , here is a rare Hanukkah themed old time radio shows from Eternal Light from 1948:

Bob Hope Christmas Programs

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The USNS Bob Hope (T-AKR-300) is the lead ship in her class of Maritime Preposition Ship. The Maritime Prepositioning Ships carry enough ammunition and equipment to support an Marine Task Force for 30 days, allowing for the rapid deployment of men, knowing that their equipment will meet them in theater within days of call up. It is one of the few vessels in the Navy inventory which went against long standing Naval tradition to be named for a person who was living at the time of commissioning. This is all the more appropriate when you consider that Bob Hope's first war-time performance was at sea. Hope was on board the RMS Queen Mary in September 1939 when Germany invaded Poland, beginning WWII. In order to help calm the panicking passengers, hope volunteered to give a special performance, singing "Thanks for the Memory" with rewritten lyrics. Bob Hope would be best known for his work to entertain the troops. John Steinbeck, who was a War Correspondent during the War,

Gumshoe Christmas: Old Time Radio Detectives just in time for Christmas

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Is Santa Claus a Suspect?  Are your Christmas Cookies Safe?  Listen to the Gumshoe Christmas and find out! Detective Christmas Collection/Gumshoe Christmas Collection - Crime never takes a hoilday and neither do our favorite old time radio detective. Crime never takes a holiday, and neither do our favorite ols time radio Radio Detectives . That doesn't mean they won't find time for some holiday cheer in between the bullets and bad guys. On The Falcon , a stolen fur coat is a Christmas present that leads to murder. What? No murder? Boston Blackie breaks up a jewelry store robbery, and almost gets in too deep himself, much to the delight of Inspector Farraday. Casey, Crime Photographer and ace reporter Ann Miller are Xmas shopping and see what appears to be a crime, but it is a frame up that could end them! The next year they cover a mysterious benefactor who gives out Christmas money on Bum Blvd. The events begin to melt even Casey's tough newspaper heart...

Dancers On Suspense!

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Suspense!  was one of the most well produced, acted, and written dramas on radio, as well as one of the most prolific. There were an estimated 945 episodes broadcast, most of which have survived. During the twenty year run, probably the most exciting times were from the late 40's and early 50's under Autolite Autoparts sponsorship. Pitchman Harlow Wilcox wasn't as big part of the show as he had been on  Fibber McGee and Molly , but his over the top plugs for sparkplugs and car batteries were entertaining and informative. The direction and production by Anton Leader,  Gunsmoke  co-creator Norman Macdonnell, and Elliot Lewis were all of the highest quality. An important feature of the program that all three directors made the most of was the use of famous movie actors and comedians, and playing them "out of type". It is a bit of a shock for audiences to hear  Lucille Ball  or  Bob Hope  as potential murderers, but  Suspense!  made it work very well. In ear

Creeeeak, Welcome to the Inner Sanctum

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The now famous sound of the creaking door was first heard January 7, 1941 on the Blue network. Creepy sound effects combined with humor set the show apart from contemporary mystery-thriller programs.  Inner Sanctum  was the creation of Himan Brown. Using creepy, yet comical sound effects and banter,  Inner Sanctum  took its listeners to the other side. The other side included going into the minds of lunatic killers, entering into the realm of the supernatural and encounters with ghostly apparitions. In early broadcasts, host Raymond Johnson accompanied by ghastly organ music, opened each episode with a cheesy joke. Johnson’s sarcastic wit and chilling melodramatic voice kept listeners on the edge of their seat in anticipation of the story that was about to be told. Creator Himan Brown was no stranger to radio and he knew exactly how to enthrall an audience. In 1935, he produced the first radio soap opera ,  Marie, Little French Princess . The same year, he also produced  Flash

1954: The Year of the National Negro Network

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W. Leonard Evans organized the first radio network devoted to airing programs that reflected Black life and music. On January 20, 1954, the National Negro Network (NNN) claimed forty founding affiliate station members. While programming was aimed at a Black audience, network staff was composed of both Black and White employees. Evans maintained that a “mixed” or “interracial” staff performed better and was more successful in bringing in revenue. Evans believed the time was right for a Black network and Black programming. His plans included the broadcasting of Black sports and Black news. Initial programming included musical variety shows and soap operas. The soap opera,  The Story of Ruby Valentine  was very popular. It was an adaptation of the long running Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) network’s radio soap opera ,  We Love and Learn .  The Story of Ruby Valentine starred Juanita Hill, Ruby Dee and Terry Carter. Other programs included Black college concerts, Cab Calloway and

"Time Out" Old Time Radio Broadcast

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In the old time radio broadcast of Time Out's "Looking For Keys" (broadcast from 12-24-1945): Felix Knight sings the sadness away and the Novatones carry out their mission for instrumental tidings; Allen Prescott does his wit and wisdom on looking for your keys. we all have placed them somewhere, we would soon forget. Well Mr Prescott makes sure we all know ourselves what was to come. man I would have hated to be the brunt of his routine...he could get mean. But you always knew where you stood with Allen.

Bodies Piling up: Just an Ordinary Day for Mr. and Mrs. North Radio Show

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The Norths lived a normal life in Greenwich Village. Everyday, Mr. North went to work as a book publisher, while Mrs. North stayed home and enjoyed her cats. However, when the bodies started appearing in close proximity to the couple, Mrs. North was determined to uncover the truth and catch the killer. Even if this meant she had to drag Mr. North into the web of intrigue. Mr. and Mrs. North  first appeared in print during the 1930’s. Created and written by Richard Lockridge, the couple first debuted in the  New York Sun . Later Lockridge revived the couple in a series of short stories that ran in  The New Yorker . Originally, the Norths were just ordinary people dealing with the difficulties of domestic life, until Lockridge joined forces with his wife, Frances. Together, the couple redefined the Norths and transformed them into amateur sleuths. The novel,  The Norths Meet Murder   published in 1940 was an overnight success. The success of the novel led to a weekly  old time

Paul Frees: You've Heard Him, Do You Know Him?

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Paul Frees is one of those talents that is great fun to investigate. Even a short search of Paul Frees will have you saying "Really, that was him?" Frees was born in Chicago and started his acting/radio career in 1942. Like so many, he was interrupted by WWII. Frees was drafted and fought in Normandy during the D-Day Invasion . After being wounded in action he attended college, but cut his education short when his wife became ill. Returning to radio, his versatile voice talents were put to work announcing and sometimes starring on Suspense .  These duties were shared with his friend and fellow talented Voice,  William Conrad . Frees explained in an interview that he would announce when  Conrad  was starring in the episode, or involved with another project, and vice versa.  Both possessing memorable basso profundo voices, they made an effort to sound like one another in the announcements. Frees also did a lot of work on sister program  Escape . Paul Frees as

Charles Bickford and the Voice of an Era

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Charles Bickford, a U.S. actor born in 1891, held several jobs at a young age, before entering the world of burlesque on a dare in 1911. Burlesque eventually led Bickford to Broadway, where he starred alongside James Cagney in  Outside Looking In , in 1925. Shortly thereafter, he enjoyed success playing the role of Macready, in the 1928 Broadway production of  Gods of the Lightning . The character Macready was based on the life of anarchist Ferdinando Nicola Sacco, who along with Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were tried and executed for armed robbery. Bickford’s intense, durable and dominating physical features, paired with his stern, authoritarian voice landed him several film, radio and television roles. After he was contacted by Cecil B. DeMille, Charles Bickford accepted a studio contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM.) It was not long before he became dissatisfied with the work and the studio. Reluctantly, MGM executives released the disgruntled Bickford from his contract obligations

Old Time Radio - Radio Theatre

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It is quite difficult to say these days of wireless internet and cable TV what we have and did before technological advancements came over. What we did after preparing, eating, and putting away dinner; what we did after all house chores were finished... Well, at present, we rarely see family that eat dinner together, more so sit down and do stuff together. That wasn’t always the case, though. Because once, there was radio! Golden Age of Radio The so-called Golden Age of Radio had its beginnings way back during the First World War, when United States President Woodrow Wilson utilized radio to send message to the people of America. Then, the period is said to have come to its end on September 20, 1962, when radio programs Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and Suspense went on-air for the last time on CBS. There may be resurgence of interest in radio when the CBS Radio Mystery Theater aired in the 1970s, but this was not, in any way, comparable to the six decades of suspense, laughter, and d

Jack the Ripper in Old Time Radio: Suspense & Crime Classics

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Some how, London of the late 1880s manages to become even more creepy coming to us from the speakers of our radio . This is the London of foggy nights and shady dealings and fast talking. The London where a bloke in the wrong part of town after dark could get his head thumped and his purse pinched quicker than you can say "Bob's your Uncle"! It is also the London that is terrorized by Jack The Ripper . The case of Jack The Ripper, also known as the Whitechapel Murders, is perhaps the most infamous of unsolved crimes. By the late 1800s modern police departments, including Scotland Yard, had adopted scientific investigation as an important part of their procedures. Despite this, there is very little that is definite about Jack the Ripper , including the number of his victims. The poverty of the Whitechapel district at the time made it a hotbed of crime, so there were murders that could have been the hidden work of the Ripper, while some which he is credited with sho

Good Night Al Gordon, passing of Jack Benny Skit Writer

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Al Gordon and Hal Goldman joined Jack Benny' s writing team in 1950. Jack Benny''s radio show was famously dependent upon his writers, and was quick to give them credit for making him look good. Despite Jack's supposed reputation as a cheap skate, his writers were also some of the best paid in Hollywood. It wasn't that Jack Benny couldn't be funny without a script, but he was much more comfortable performing with one. One well reported incident occurred when Jack stopped a rehearsal to call his writers around him. "Look," Jack told the writers, "I want to give Mel Blanc credit. I want a line for the tag of the show that says the part of the violin teacher was played by Mel Blanc." One of the four writers took Jack's script from him and wrote "The part of the violin teacher was played by Mel Blanc." Reading the new writing in the script, Jack said "This is great. This is exactly what I wanted to say. Gees, thanks guys.&qu

It Isn't Always About the Money: Quiz Show Prizes

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In a world where $80 cable bills and monthly cellphone charges in excess of $100 are not uncommon, where the cost of producing a penny exceeds the coin's face value by a significant percentage, where the price of filling the gas tank can sometimes exceed what many of us paid for our first car, it can be refreshing to hear Old Time Radio Quiz Shows where the prize is often ten dollars or less. Obviously ten bucks had a lot more "meaning" in the 1940s and 50s than it does in the 21 st century, but there is a definite feeling that the radio quiz shows were more about fun and entertainment than about giving away or winning large sums of money. There were exceptions; on the wildly popular Queen For a Day the contestants were often competing for some serious help from the sponsors, as well as a suite of rather glamorous prizes in the form of housewares, appliances, and beauty supplies and treatments. It Pays To Be Married also gave some rather significant priz

Howard Hughes Hearings, 1947

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Howard Hughes was summoned to Washington D.C. in 1947 to be raked over the coals but turned the tables on the committee,  giving better than he got! In 1947, Howard Hughes was summoned before the senate to testify about the government contracts Hughes Aircraft and Electronics won during World War II. ABC recorded the hearings and provided a 25 minute synopsis with commentary and descriptions when required. The hearings were often contentious between Hughes and the committee especially between Hughes and Senator Ralph Brewster. Before the hearings started, Hughes mounted a giant publicity campaign lambasting the hearings and, specifically, Brewster. He charged that the senate was protecting Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) against Hughes' Trans World Airlines (TWA). Hughes said that Brewster even suggested merging TWA and Pan Am. The Hughes Hearings were an exercise in how to take on a bunch of senators and win. Hughes believed that the hearings were intended to d

Religion in Old Time Radio

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A working definition of Christian Missionary work is "One who is to witness across cultures." The term Missionary comes from the Latin term  missionem,  "to send forth". Many churches have sent their representatives out into the world to spread their message and to do good works in the name of the church. Radio has always been a valuable missionary tool. There is anecdotal evidence that radio sets came into the homes of many  Fibber McGee and Molly ,  Buck Rogers , and  Suspense!  fans so that a senior member of the family could enjoy the gospel music and sermons of a favorite radio preacher. And in many cases these religious were very entertaining, although there are cases where the spiritual leaders found themselves embroiled in scandal. It is not the purpose of this article to pass judgment on these scandals, but merely to report where appropriate. Father Coughlin The Catholic Hour  became part of the NBC line-up in 1936 with the cooperation of

April 30, 1908: Its Eve Arden's Birthday!

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Today is  Eve Arden 's birthday (April 30, 1908)!  Famous for her comic radio role as "Miss Brooks", Eve Arden also appeared on episodes old time radio episodes with Danny Kaye , Command Performance , and Lux Radio Theater .  Celebrate by listening to an episode of Our Miss Brooks ! " Student Government Day "  from Our Miss Brooks

How did Game Shows Kill Rock and Roll Music?

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The radio quiz show had long been a staple of radio. The appeal to listeners had many levels. There was the drama of competition, it was easy for listeners to identify with the contestants, and the colorful hosts were exceptionally entertaining. They were appealing to the advertising agencies and sponsors as well. Their popularity ensured great return on advertising dollars, they were relatively cheap to produce, and they offered remarkable opportunities for "Product Placement". They were the precursors to "Reality Television" programs. This attractiveness to advertisers eventually lead to scandal. When the upstart television industry becam the dominant advertising and entertainment medium, the Radio Quiz Program was a natural fit. The relationship between shows and sponsors and shows is fundamentally different today; the broadcaster sells time during a program that the advertisers fill with their commercials, it is the role to the producer to make a high rated

Top 5 Ways to Hear Old Time Radio in the Car

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What could be better than driving along on a fine spring afternoon enjoying a country road and listening to music on the radio? Unfortunately most of us have to drive the city freeways to work, and even satellite radio has the same problem as cable TV- more stations than we can count but nothing worth listening too! Fortunately there are thousands of MP3 CDs from OTRCAT.com available. You have probably enjoyed them over your computer speakers, but how can you enjoy them in the car? MANY NEW CARS ALREADY HAVE A MP3 CD PLAYER STEREO Check your car manual as many new car stereos (typically 2009+) are already "MP3 enabled" which should play the MP3 CDs . CAR STEREO AUXILLARY INPUT Many old time radio listeners’ car stereos have "axillary" input in their car stereo and can connect with a dual-minijack cable from an external MP3 player (such as an MP3 CD player, iPod or Smart Phone ) to play the radio shows through the car stereo. AM/FM TRANSMITTER Other old

Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney Radio Show

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The Bing Crosby-Rosemary Clooney Show  is a treat for audiences, but was also a good deal of fun for its stars. In 1960 CBS Radio made a bid to attract some daytime listeners, and proposed the project to Bing . Rosemary Clooney had found success in the high-pressure world of the early 1950s recording industry, and became a household name with the 1954 release of  White Christmas  in which she starred with Crosby. By this time Bing was successful enough that he didn't need the work, and would only do the show if it could be prerecorded on magnetic tape (Crosby was an investor in Ampex, the first successful American tape recorder.) The shows were rather simple; they featured music, was usually from earlier recordings that Clooney and Crosby had made, although they did record some duets for the show. Because the recording equipment was somewhat portable, the spoken parts of the show could be recorded whenever and where ever is was convenient for the stars to get together. Often thi