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Old Time Radio Testimonials


Testionials

Old Time Radio Testimonials

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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.)

I remember as a kid coming home from school and listening to THE AMERICAN SCHOOL OF THE AIR on our floor model Zenith. The program aired on the Columbia Broadcasting System starting in 1930 and ran for many years. That program was not only entertaining but educational as well. CBS thought so very highly of it that they refused sponsorship which would have made it less dignified.

Hi Jon, just wanted to tell you that I received my cds today and that I'm a very happy customer. I grew up in the 40's and 50's and when I listen to one of these old radio programs it transports be back and I remember how good life was then. I want to thank you again for making these programs available to us old timers. I'll be ordering a lot more of them in the future!

I look forward to getting the old time radio discs your I ordered. More importantly you are to be commended for:

1. Keeping the old radio shows alive.

2. Proving a most terrific website which enables us to sample the recordings before buying them.

3. Compiling tens of thousands of hours of broadcasts . How did you do it?

I hope business is at least OK- because you have worked so hard at this.

I also hope that there are still enough people interested in old time radio for you to make a go of it.

I repair old tube radios. And as such, I have a low power AM transmitter so people can listen to what it USED to sound like back in the "Golden Age" of radio.

I had a new customer come in with a small table top radio. Nothing spectacular but he said his father just moved out from New Jersey to live with him. "Can you fix this old radio? I used to listen to the ball games with my dad on it and I'd like to surprise him."

Sure, no problem. I replaced all the usual suspects and got it working just fine and gave it back to the customer.

He showed up a couple of weeks later and handed me the remains of the radio? "What on earth happened to this?"

"I surprised dad with the radio by plugging it in and turning it on. He tuned the dial and found a Dodger game. The did something wrong and lost the game. He picked up the radio and threw it across the room screaming 'They were bums back then and they're still bums!'"

I managed to get it all back together again and patched up. Now he keeps it in HIS room and won't let his dad near it.

I must say, I spent yesterday evening working my beloved crossword puzzles and listening to samples from your website. Everytime I think I am going to order something I spend the evening listening but never able to make a choice. Sooo many fantastic options....

BEEN A LONG TIME...LOVE THE SHOWS....GREAT WITH MY MP3 PLAYER IN MY CAR...JUST SAYING HELLO..YOUR SITE IS THE GREATEST

Phyllis and I interviewed Jessica Dragonette in 1978 at her apartment overlooking Central Park. Her interview became part of 13 shows honoring the pioneering women broadcasters. A great memory. Jon is doing a great job in bringing back the true sounds of radio. Lou and Phyllis Dumont.

Thanks for your prompt attention to this as always. Your company is the best
at customer service. It's a joy ordering from you

I would like to tell you that your web site is very easy to order off of. And your product is outstanding. I've had many hours of enjoyment.

I was born in 1923 and, having just read Nat's comments, I can certainly relate to her childhood radio experiences. Several years ago, I found that some OTR programs. I began to search them out and developed quite a library of OTR discs. A disc would only hold two 30 minute programs, so when I found OTRCAT with MP-3 discs my OTR CDs became obsolete and I immediately began ordering OTR on MP-3 discs.
In the depression years the two primary sources of entertainment for the average family was radio and movies, with radio being firest because it was free. So most kids grew up listening to and enjoying the great radio programs which now are classics.
I now live alone with my dog Harry and my usual evening routine is that I have fed Harry and given him his medication (he has diabetes) and also had my supper by 6pm. Unless there is something that really interests me on TV, I turn on my OTR player, relax in my recliner, close my eyes and enjoy. About the only difference between Nat's evening and mine is that I enjoy a cup of hot chocolate instead of wine.

Jon,
I want to thank you for the very timely way my order was processed and delivered. I ordred on Monday evening and the mailman delivered my order on Wednesday. Great service! I have been a customer for several years and I haven't time to listen to all the programs, but so far I have not been disappointed in the service or quality of the shows.
Thanks again.

I love the old baseball games and have put many of them on my I-Pod. I am always on the lookout for any different ones. I especially love the broadcasts that are complete with all of the original ads. I recall one with frequent updates on a space mission, too. Great stuff.

I have received my Captain Midnight disk along with my free sampler with all the old shows on it. They sure bring back some good memories when I was a kid. I was the last of the "Radio Generation" before TV came along. I am glad you provide this service. This is only my second order from you but takes me awhile to listen to all the shows!! Thanks again for a great deal.

Oh how times goes by so fast. I think of when I was a young man in about 1956 when I started to listen to Old Time radio at night with my Christmas gift of a crystal radio set.

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