I worked for NBC at the reception desk outside Bill Stern's office a couple of years before WW11 and I signed all of his correspondence because he was too busy. I was just a kid and was overwhelmed by the association with such a colorful personality. Something like that you never forget. I wish I had had the sophistication to have engaged Bill Stern in conversation. In those days and especially with his electric personality, to him, I didn't exist. I signed his letters and dropped them on his desk, went back to mine and marveled at his resonant voice as he spoke with his staff. Gave me a bit of an inferiority complex, his self-assurance and his manner of exhorting exactly what he wanted to have happen. There was a last Christmas party at NBC in 1942 I believe and it took up three entire floors in the RCA building and a dispensary for those who drank too much. I was one of them and occupied a bed. Before that, it was most amazing. The party was based on many that would be lost and never coming back so executives mingled with the peons and a devil-may-care friendly attitude and one of destiny prevailed. It was magic in its dimension. Magic in the idea of all being in the same boat to the extent that male and female became one in a sense I've never experienced since or before. Maybe you know someone else who was there.
Robert A (USA), August 31, 2012
The Journey Into Space CD arrived 2 days ago - fast shipping, thanks.
I have already started to listen to it (The Red Planet) and oh the memories and nostalgia! I remember as a youngster listening to the radio when they were originally broadcast and being scared near to death - great stuff - thank you.
David (UK), August 25, 2012
sooooo glad to have found your outfit. I've been a fan since my mom introduced me to the Green Hornet when I was bout' 5. We listened to all the shows we could dial in. The year was 1971, my mom had me later in life and gave me the love and respect of the old things. She lived through the depression,prohibition,WWI&II and the like and was the family historian.(a living an appreciation of the way things were). Thanks for keeping the "good stuff" alive and well. My kids are now otr bugs & it'll be great to see them smilin at X-1.lol can't wait..Keep up the good work, will order more as I can..
Raven (USA), August 25, 2012
WOW! Do you have warp speed shipping equipment? That is amazing. I barely paid and it's on it's way.
Thank you! Can't wait to listen..especially to the GREAT Murrow!!!! Love your service and will be back for plenty more!!!!
OH and isn't it priceless on "lights out"......"It's Later Than You Think!"..........I think I'll get a doorbell and sample that as the ringer! But then I've always loved the dark humor of The Addams Family! I even have a "not welcome" doormat!!!
Thanks again for your care, selection, quality and speed.
So few people stop to say Thanks....but when someone does it sure feels good! So thank you for your care and excellence!
I'll be back. Be sure ad let me know of anything special you might come across!!!! Especially if you ever come across the ultra-rare Admiral Byrd expedition stuff.
By the way I have several disk of airchecks of Long John Nebel's originals in NYC...the creepy theramin music is so creepy and wondful.
Having been in radio for several decades myself I guess once bitten you are an addict for the rest of your life. Film Noir is the same for me. Too bad radio is such a wasteland now! But when they finally lose enough money just maybe they will get back to broadcasting shows people actually are interested in - one can hope anyway..
Theresa (Oklahoma), August 24, 2012
I’ve been collecting OTR for some time and before the blessed advent of MP3 I was limited to tape which was expensive for the number of episodes one could get at a time. However, I like OTR so much I was willing to pay the price and had a considerable collection of cassettes. I purchased several Thomas reproductions of old radio sets all of which had a cassette slot discretely positioned on the side so I could experience listening to the programs on a radio that looked like a radio on which I could have heard the original programs when they were broadcast. My wife gave me a console model for my birthday and when it was delivered and I unpacked it in the living room I spent a few moments trying to figure out where to put it and realized I was trying to rearrange things so that the radio would occupy the where the TV was since that was the entertainment focal point of the room and, when I was little, that was where our radio sat.
Some time later I had one of the “cathedral” model table radios in my office, perched on the top of a bookcase across from my desk. One day I had a tape of the Burns and Allen program plugged in and playing when the building concierge came in to deliver a memo from building management. Since we were friends, she sat down in one of the visitor’s chairs, with her back to the radio, to visit.
After a few minutes she realized what she was hearing, glanced over her shoulder and, with wonder in her voice, asked, “Is that Burns and Allen?”
Seizing on my chance I answered, “Yes. It’s an old radio. It gets old radio programs.”
The next few seconds were worth the price of admission. A look of stupification flashed across her face as she considered that outrageous statement and processed whether or not it was true and, if so, how could it be true. She spun around in her chair to stare at the radio which was when she saw the cassette protruding from the side and knew that she’d been had. It was a beautiful moment.
Edward B (USA), August 21, 2012
I was born in the worst year of the depression (1934) and began to recall some o fthe earlierst programs that were on 1939-1940. Programs like jack Armstrong, Hop Harrigan, Little Orphan Annie, One Man's Family, Roosevelt's Fireside Chats. A while back I saw an advertisement for Hashknife Hatrley and Sleepy Stevens which I listened to in San Diego (being a Navy brat – haha!) The listings of all the radio programs would fill at a minimum ten pages. Though I would like to plug one program I heard on American Forces Radio System while serving in Japan with the USAF. Many Faces of Folk Music which was narrated by Hugh Cherry. I am currently searching and collecting many of the programs that I like and especially those which may be use when conducting history class: these include FDR's Fireside, pre-war and war time, Voices of WWII Complete Broadcasts 1939, 1941, Summer of 1940, CBS News Now & World Today, Speeches by Churchill & Hitler, Tokyo Rose and some Pre-war Programming like One Man's Fmaily during December 1939. I would like to hear any other programs of the late 1930s and early 1940s that could be used in the same format. If it was not for AFRN and Far East Network bringing radio into our lives and given reminder of home, well, who knows. It’s a pleasure to hear programming from AFRN broadcasts when I receive same from the OTR Catalog. I have also sent extra copies to my daughter who takes them to senior citizen residences who have greeted those shows with great joy. Many have told my daughter that the programming has taken them back in time when they, like my grandparent, sat around the radio. One resident told her that they felt like they were twenty again (being a 92 year young person). In the classroom, young students, middle and high school students learn that RADIO is not TV. After listening they began to: 1.) "learn" to use their imaginations and 2.) voices they hear were real people and history becomes something alive. I do hope that we who enjoy the bygone days of radio will being to open a dialogue and share some rembrances. Yours in service: Frank Coop Failure to learn from the past – fails the future generations.
Frank Coop (USA), August 21, 2012
I'm too young to remember most of these shows but when I was a little guy, 5 or 6, maybe, my grandparents always talked about their favorite radio shows and I was intrigued by all the tales and the jokes they used to tell. Then, at age 13, I was involved in a serious accident which left me in a coma for many weeks. When I woke up, with paralysis, I was stuck in bed for months on-end. Well, to pass the time, my mom baught me an old radio-show tape, "Abbott and Costello's 'Who's On First,' " and an old episode of "The Shadow" on the flip-side. I must have listened to that thing a hundred times, that summer. My gramma bought me a few others after that and I fell in love with the medium! Here I was, the only person under the age of 50, who could recite, word-for-word, the whole "Who's On First" routine, making everyone in the hospital, patients and staff-alike, wet their pants, laughing! That was my first experience with Stand-Up Comedy. And when I grew up, graduated from college, I went in to Stand-Up as a career. I guess I ultimately owe my success to Abbott and Costello for teaching me about Timing and all the other important attributes of the great Comedians. And for sure, the importance of Laughter, for without it and those wonderful tapes, I would have given in to the debilitating depression I'd gone through after my traumatic experience. Now, though, I can listen to all those great shows on my computer. I can feel my blood pressure go down a few dozen points every time I pop a CD into my computer or CD player and just let my imagination fly away with the laughs or the stories being told. And anyone who listens to them, like me, I'm reasonably sure, will find their physical health improve, as well... After all, Laughter IS the best medicine! ;-)
Christofur Sinclair (Tampa, FL), August 20, 2012
I WAS BORN IN 1941 AND WE DIDN'T GET A T.V. UNTIL 1954. SO THE ONLY HOME ENTERTAINMENT WAS OUR RADIO.MOM AND DAD LOVED THE SHADOW AND THE LOVELY MARGO LANE ANDINNER SANCTUM AND GANG BUSTERS WITH THE SIRENS GOING OFF AND THE MACHINE GUNS BLARING. I PREFERRED THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE, THE LIFE OF RILEY, FIBBER MCGEE AND MOLLY, JACK BENNY AND OUR MISS BROOKS. JACK WAS SPONSORED BY C-A-M-E-L-S AND JELLO. WHEN I GOT A LITTLE OLDER I LISTENED TO JACK ARMSTRONG, SPACE PATROL AND ALL THE SCI-FI PROGRAMS. ABOUT TWENTY YEARS AGO FOR MY BIRTHDAY MY WIFE BOUGHT ME A FOUR PACK OF THE SHADOW AND I WAS IMMEDIATELY REHOOKED ON RADIO SHOWS. THANK YOU JOHN FOR NOT ONLY SUPPLING US WITH THE SHOWS WE LOVED BUT FOR ALSO LETTING US HEAR AN EPISODE BEFORE WE BOUGHT. I HAVE BOUGHT MANY MP3s THAT I MAY NOT HAVE REMEMBERED BECAUSE I FIRST LISTENED TO IT FROM YOUR SITE. AND THANKS FOR THE SAMPLES, I HAVE THEM ALL AND SOME DUPLICATES AND HAVE GIVEN SOME AWAY. BOB
ROBERT MCFADDEN (CHIEFLAND, FLA), August 16, 2012
Jon, enjoy the old time radio programs. I was born in 1935, we didn't have much money, but we had a Philco Radio. The tubes were constantly burning out. In the mid 1940s, my dad and i would listen to some of the shows. I had two older brothers overseas during WW2, dad always had the news on, , some great broadcasters in those days. The present radio shows bring back fond memories of my youth.
Tom Travis (Somerset, MA), August 14, 2012
It was love at first sight, and sound. There she stood, a beautiful sight from top to bottom. A single green “eye” glowed near her top denoting she was “turned on”. From that instant, many years ago, I was hers. I ate, slept, and thought of her practically 24 hours a day, everyday. I was addicted to her. She nourished my imagination fully with the most exciting “pictures” and thoughts. She totally satisfied my creative hunger. She became my most treasured discovery and later, my most precious possession. I’m referring to the grand old Stromberg Carlson radio that stood in my grandparent’s living room on the south side of Adelaide Street just west of Spadina Avenue, the year 1936, I was 4 years old. My life-long love affair with the radio began then. The family got together every Sunday evening in the living room. It was “Sundays at Seven”, and that meant Jack Benny time. All the seating was taken, the sofas, the chairs, and the cushions. I sat on the carpet. Present were my parents, my grandparents, my aunt, two uncles and the dog, Teddy. All you heard was “SHHH” and lots of laughter. It was a super family event with smiles and happiness all over the place. It is a fabulous memory that I cherish to this day. That was the beginning of my love affair with the radio and radio is still a very important piece of my life. Today, after about 65 years of collecting Old Time Radio shows, if I live another five hundred years I won’t have the time to hear them all!
Ken (USA), August 12, 2012
way to go! i had my grandmother tell me about those times and i feel like we are needing those kind of kind humorous shows again in our times now, what a blessing to have old time radio shows to collect and listen to. i've gotten maybe as many as 20 or 30 discs now of comedy and suspence and dramas with the old 40s movie stars in my own collection. i heard radio mystery theature in high school every night growing up...so i got hooked early on.
Lee August 12, 2012
I'm 65 and my favorites are detective fiction & Sci Fi. I also appreciate it that your catalog has public service announcements and historic news casts. The D-day broadcast is a great piece of audio history. I like being able to choose what I want to listen to without looking for a broadcast schedule.
Gerida (USA), August 12, 2012
I am 82 years old and well remember having the wits scared out of me as a kid by “Lights Out” and “Inner Sanctum.”
Joel (USA), August 12, 2012
I grew up in the 50's, when the "Golden Age of Radio" was declining and turning to rust. And I was too young to appreciate network radio. But as a teen, oh how I wished there would be some decent shows on the four major networks of the time.
Anyway, when we lived in Alexandria, Virginia and I was five, we always heard "Break the Bank." I think it was the summer of 1951 that we took a trip to New York to spend a few days with friends and see the old neighborhood where I was first brought up.
One day, my mom and I went to the NBC studios where the program was aired live. The only thing that scared me was that the applause sounded so different from how I first heard it on the table model in our basement kitchen back home. It was louder and very live! I held my ears when people clapped. Other than that, the program was very real, just like on the air!
After the show, my mom piggy-backed me, and we went over to meet Bud Collyer and his announcer, Wynn Elliott. Lou White was the organist, and Mom may have met him, but I didn't. All I remember was that both Bud and Wynn shook my hand, and both were pleasant-very pleasant, in fact!
Of course, Wynn went on to broadcast sports for CBS Radio, and we all know what happened with Bud. Game show host extraordinaire! But I remember him for his reading onto talking book records the Today's English Version of the New Testament for blind listeners. He seemed to me a very humble and Godly man-kind and gentle. I'll not forget that experience of having met him and Mr. Elliott.
Keep up the good work, Jon. Thanks!
Duncan H (USA), August 11, 2012
A memorial for Leonore Allman , Oct. 1989 By Richard Allman
This is rather long, but perhaps it will be interesting to folk who loved radio drama.
One of my earliest memories is coming home for lunch from Clark elementary school in Detroit. 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. During this period, she was inducted into the radio Hall of Fame in Philadelphia. 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.)