I'm old enough to have grown up with radio. On Tuesday nights, since Red Skelton came on at the late hour of 9 pm, my sister and I listened to him under the covers. For me, television will never replace radio. I have a recording Stan Freberg did in which he simulated an attack by paratroopers on a giant sundae. At the conclusion, he said, "Let them try that on TV." Well, we know it could be done, but would it have been as much fun? Then, of course, there is "3 Skeleton Key," which, until I heard it again some 30 years ago, my wife and I always referred to as "The Rats in the Lighthouse." No, you can't beat radio, and thanks for making it available to us.
Joseph Cromarty (Orleans, MA), June 23, 2014
I have many - MANY - old-time Radio Shows from OTRCAT. No evening goes by that I don't listen to one or two episodes of The Jack Benny Show - or Gunsmoke - or Amos 'n Andy - or Our Miss Brooks - or Tales Of The Texas Rangers - or The Lone Ranger - or Suspense - or... HEADS-UP: If you are Sick-To-Death of the "modern" childish/repetitive/stupid TV playscripts, just listen to Old Time Radio. Here's How: Get 1 or 2 or 3 Radio Series, copy them onto your iPod, and then Turn Out The Lights and LISTEN! You Will Never Regret It!
David June 10, 2014
Just finished the whole Big Jon & Sparkie series. What a great old show that was, for kids! I plan to listen to all the shows again, just to get more of Mayor Plumpfront, Yukie Butcha and the others. So nice, that OTR Cat was there, as a source for this - and other shows I grew up with."
Vince (USA), April 29, 2014
Your appreciation for my being a customer as well as my support for all you have done to present Old Time Radio before a generation born to late to experience the wonders of being able to create action, drama, and adventures in their mind without having to see pictures or visual performances. Truly, I treasure the moment I discovered you and the excellent work you have done preserving, protecting, and providing one of the finest American art forms that will ever be created. I plan to be a customer of OTRCAT for many years to come. For all that you have done and continue to do with Old Time Radio, Thank you!
John Green (USA), April 14, 2014
I have ordered from Jon about a dozen times and every order has been a joy to receive and listen to. I have never had any problems with any of the discs. They always come promptly and in excellent condition. I have quite the otr collection now, thanks to Jon. My most recent order was the Lucille Ball collection, I love her so much, what a treasure. I have enjoyed otr since I was young. At the ripe old age of 31, I will continue to listen for many years. Take care friends, God bless.
Greg (USA), March 29, 2014
I must say I am amazed at the amount and variety of material you have. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to the samplers and discovering a wonderful time in our history from a variety of perspectives. I travel frequently and I can't wait to get on the road to listen to recordings. These many discs I have ordered have replaced television for me as I can't wait to relax and find recordings to enjoy. I have convinced friends that it is wholesome entertainment and remarkable, historical recordings that they will enjoy. I work at a high school and I have shared the many significant recordings before, during and after the war with our history teacher. Thank you your prompt service as I receive recordings virtually everyday and appreciate the very affordable costs. Thank you!
Tom (USA), March 3, 2014
The discs have arrived o.k. I am 89yrs old,hence my choice,they will bring back many happy memories and perhaps a few tears.I wish I had more computer skill. Kind Regards Tom.
Tom (UK), February 19, 2014
Just a quite note to say Thank You! As I listen to some of the many the MP3s I've recently ordered from you, I have been quite delighted with the sound quality & the shows themselves. I have Johnny Dollar on my stereo & Duffy's Tavern in my car now
Beth (USA), February 17, 2014
I was a radio actor. Which brings me to the reason for this email.... In your “children” category, you list a section on the program LETS PRETEND, created by a woman named Nila Mack, for CBS radio. .......and you show a picture, evidently taken by a staff photographer, of several children surrounding Ms. Mack, and a young boy to whom she’s evidently handing a script, and they’re both smiling.
Well, boys and girls, I’m guessing that photograph is from 1942 or ‘43, and the young boy is ME!
I’m now 81, and well-retired, and gave up the broadcasting and acting business in my mid-teens. But I’m still somewhat fascinated by the history of radio, having taken part in it during the 1940s. This photo really surprised and delighted me, since I have no memory of its being made, but I recall Ms. Mack, and recognized a couple of the kids pictured. ( I also worked on another kiddy program on NBC (or perhaps the blue network of NBC, later to become ABC) helmed by a woman named Madge Tucker, where I met a number of kids my age or a bit older, like Bob Hastings, William (Billy) Redfield, and a beautiful young girl named Ann Blyth.
Thanks again for the photo!
Mac Twamley (USA), January 19, 2014
I, like many others, am an old time radio fan(atic). I like the compilation discs you guys come up with. You think of some pretty off the wall catagories, such as "HORSES IN OLD TIME RADIO, TELEPHONES IN OLD TIME RADIO", etc. I have all the Sampler discs in my collection. Next up for me to get are the Random Rarities series. Keep 'em coming!
Dan Bitgood (battle creek, mi), December 1, 2013
Love collection and Daily Free shows. Thanks for recent Compilation category. Is 1960s category coming soon? Eagerly awaiting more fine quality shows. Thanks.
Ken (Panama City, Florida), November 28, 2013
A very sincere wish to you for a Happy Thanksgiving. Old-time radio programs are special since they presented shows specifically about why we should be thankful.I appreciate the daily short OTR items very much.
Lindsay (USA), November 25, 2013
My love affaire with radio was centered around the 1940's. The programs I most enjoyed were Ilove A Mystery, Suspense, Inner Sanctum, Our Miss Brooks, The Great Gildersleve, Jack Benny, Lux Radio, Edger Bergen, and so many others. My parents kept informed listening to the news ,particularly during the period of WW11. Radio programs of yesteryear bring back comforting memories that will remain singed in my memory. Thank you Jon for allowing people like myself to enjoy listening to those wonderful radio shows and relive the wonder of that era.
Anne (belleville ontario canada), November 13, 2013
My job requires me to drive at night in a mostly rural area in Northern California. The MP3s from Jon keep me company. I was listening to World War II news from the late 30s into 1943. Unfortunately after that the recordings are not playable. I really enjoy the free recordings that have a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Very entertaining. I just hope that someday Jon will have WWII payable through the end of the war.
Cathi Strickland (California), September 5, 2013
A memorial for Leonore Allman , Oct. 1989 This was delivered twice, once in Detroit MI and once in Mt. Laurel, NJ. At memorial services.
By Richard Allman
One of my earliest memories is coming home for lunch from Clark elementary school in Detroit. We did that then. Some of us.
The school was only about four blocks away so I had time. Mom wasn't often home. We had a housekeeper. She would fix my peanut butter and jelly sandwich and glass of milk, supervise my lunch, and see that I got off back to school.
Meanwhile, mom was off at that glamorous and mysterious place called "the studio". I knew about that. A huge old Silvertone radio presided in our living room. It was taller than I was, had 20 motor-driven station selector buttons, 23 tubes and a sidecar with a 78 RPM record changer in it. A truly formidable machine.
One of the buttons was labeled "WXYZ". I knew about that too. That was the button to push to tune into wonderful adventures. Adventures set in exciting places: the great old west, where, with his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States. Or the frozen north, where Sergeant Preston and his wonder dog, Yukon King met the Challenge of the Yukon. But especially where, with his faithful Filipino valet Kato, Britt Reid, daring young publisher, matched wits with the underworld so that that criminals and racketeers within the law would feel it's weight, by the sting of the Green Hornet.
I knew about radio. The voices on those dramas were household guests. We had Sergeant Preston, the Green Hornet, Thunder Martin and Mustang Meg and the other heroes and villains of my boyhood live in my living room from time to time. Even the dog, Yukon King, played by Shakespearean actor Ted Johnstone. I knew about radio. I had one of the heroines in my house most of the time. I had Leonore Allman.
Occasionally, when she couldn't get a sitter, I would get packed along to the studio. I liked that. I liked the big brooding mansion on Iroquois St. and Jefferson Ave. Going in through the front door, a massive stairway swept up into the mysterious shadows of the second floor. I was disappointed that I was never allowed up there. I had to find out what was up there years later, from a book on radio history.
Usually I was unceremoniously dragged to the studio, plunked on a chair and threatened with grievous bodily harm if I so much as uttered a peep. Of course I never did. I knew about radio.
So there I perched, eyes wide, watching the actors spin a tale for their invisible audience. The stories didn't seem the same from this vantage point, but radio itself was clearly the single most important thing in the whole wide world.
One of the milestones of my own life was being invited to audition for the school radio station WDTR when I was in the fifth grade. I was the only one in my school who passed the audition and was accepted into this inner circle, the circle of the most important people in the world, radio broadcasters. About once a month I could skip all my classes and take three buses to the WDTR studios on Joy Road. What a wonder. Mom and I were both on the RADIO!
Well, as we all know, radio was engulfed by TV in the mid Fifties, and the radio dramas were extinguished, one by one. Oddly enough, I was on the last live continuing network program from Detroit. Mom had seen an ad in the paper announcing that WJR was auditioning voices for the Don Large chorus for their show "Make Way for Youth". I went, and was accepted! I sang with them every week on CBS radio for six years. Later, my sister Carol did too.
Detroit was never an important center for TV drama. Mom worked on the few live TV shows on the air in Detroit Traffic Court, Night Court, (and, I suppose, Divorce Court), but the end was clearly in sight. It was time for a change.
Change came in the form of teaching. Mom had a degree in theater from City College (later Wayne University). She substitute-taught while going back to Wayne for a master's degree in Education, which was required for full-time teaching. She taught "auditorium", a sort of catch-all class including bits and pieces of theater, speech and rhetoric, radio and TV, and a place to put the kids when it rained and they couldn't go out after lunch. She taught for eight years at the Goodale and Stelwagon schools.
Another milestone occurred for me during this time. Mom was asked to do something at the television center at Wayne. I was in the engineering school at Wayne at the time, but I didn't know there was a TV center. She took me along. I met the chief engineer, and within a week was working for him as a student assistant. I've been working continuously as a broadcast engineer since then. 1957, I think it was.
Mom might have taught much longer, but my dad's company, Standard Accident, was bought by the Reliance Insurance Co. He was offered a choice of moving to their Philadelphia office or finding another job somewhere. Not too hard a choice for someone only a few years from retirement.
Mom didn't want to come east. She had a lifetime's worth of friends and connections in Detroit. She was still close to many of the old radio people. At City College, she had been one of the founders of the Delta Gamma ChI Sorority, and had close ties with many of her sorority sisters and their families. Most of her remaining family was there. Mom was a "people person" who was happiest when surrounded by a crowd. She didn't want to leave all this and come east. Nevertheless, in 1963, she did.
She wanted to teach in New Jersey as she had in Detroit, but it seems her education was deficient. This woman who spent twenty five years as a working actress and eight years teaching in elementary schools in Detroit was not qualified to teach the children of New Jersey.
Mom was not really ready to go back to school once again. So, after a period of stewing (she wasn't really a very patient person, especially with herself), she took up a third career as an artist. She signed up for classes, bought paints and brushes and went to work. Judging by the bunch of photographs of paintings I found, she painted nearly a hundred and fifty oils over a period of about ten years. Although most of them have been sold or burned, or painted over - she really couldn't abide anything that didn't meet her standards, some remain, and there are a few on display here in the back of the church.
Never able to stay away from theater for long, she and dad joined the Haddonfield Plays and Players, a local amateur theater group. Dad built sets and props, and mom did makeup and generally flitted about, probably often giving unsolicited advice.
Mom's last four years were lonely ones. She missed dad a lot. I called her often and visited when I could. But there was a big hole in her life. For someone who liked to be in the middle of the action, there was no action. Friends in New Jersey tried to help, but the loneliness bore down upon her.
One of the bright lights was that old-time radio groups began to be interested in her. She went to conventions and was interviewed on the air. She was solicited for pictures and memorabilia. She was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame. She loved it.
Mom was one of the last. The age of radio came and went with great speed, and now, forty years later, few remain who were there to see it happen. But it has passed into the legends of our country and our people. Few may remember the names: Brace Beamer, Fred Foy, Al Hodge, Rollon Parker, Paul Sutton, Tom Doughal, Ted Johnstone, Gilly Shea, Mike Wallace, Ernie Winstanley, Chuck Livingstone, Paul Huges, James Jewell, Lee Allman. But thousands will always remember Yukon King, the sting of the Green Hornet and the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver!
(At this point, my cousin Bill Jewell played the fanfare from the William Tell overture on his trumpet in a corridor at the back of the hall. That's the signature that always preceded the Lone Ranger. I don't thing there was a dry eye in the place I know mine weren't.)