Empire Builders: History drama (Circa
This early, enthralling radio drama is all but lost since
its assumed first broadcast in 1931. Featuring radio greats such as Don Ameche and Betty White and was Sponsored by the
Great Northern Railway, and created by the Chicago affiliate
of the National Broadcasting System, these few episodes
have so far come to light. But here they are, for you
to enjoy more than 70 years later! It is amazing to think
that before the late 1940s, network old time radio shows were
broadcast live only to be heard once and never again!
Luckily, we do have many "air checks," or "recorded
transcriptions" that were the local radio station's
commercial alternative to the flush national networks
that shunned the broadcasting of recordings. Some shows
on shellac disks were cut and kept by their creators for
posterity, or local stations for potential sales. Some
shows were archived bysponsors,
such as the Johnson Wax Company's treasure, Fibber McGee and Molly. But many fine local
shows similar to "Empire Builders" were unrecorded
or not archived, and are assumed lost and gone forever.
Empire Builders tells of America and its history.
A somewhat mystical character, the "Old Timer,"
is an American rail worker who sees history in the making.
In these episodes, we get a glimpse of the history of
railroads in the development and use of the Columbia River
The World War I show "Armistice Day," is a
wonderfully evocative tribute to the American "doughboys"
who were sent by Uncle Sam to fight the Huns in the fields
and trenches of Europe. The use of sound effects are adventurous,
as is the pacing of the show, veering between the boys
coming back home in a celebratory mood, but ready to "flash
back" to the front as talk and other soldiers reminisce.
The sound quality is decent, and what little remains seems
to represent a first class show. For its time, the writing
and acting are admirable.
Please note this collection contains the seven recordings of this rare series known to be in existence. Some of the rare recordings in this collection may be of inferior sound quality.
For more railroad theme old time radio shows, see also: Grand Central Station, Railroad Hour, Railroad Collection, Green Valley Line, and Mysterious Traveler.