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.)
Richard Allman (Shelton CT), August 11, 2012
I got into radio theater as a child. I remember listening to the stories and falling asleep. As I got older I lost track of the programming but I still was interested in theater. I minored in theater in college. I mentioned to one of my teachers that I like radio drama and he made a dupe of a "Boston Blackie" program for me and that was the beginning of my collecting radio theater. My first collection was cassette tape they got lost now I collect CDs. My favorite programing genre is the detective programing. My favorite chracters are Boston Blackie, Nick Carter, The Falcon and other similar programs. Although I am in my early 60's I am not old enough to remember most of the programs. I usually don't listen to the ends of the programs because it allows me to listen to them over and over again. Another thing that I believe the programs do for me is to help to keep my mind sharp and alert by listening and thinking about "who done it".
James (oak forest, ILL), August 10, 2012
I had a chance to meet and have a conversation with the late great Willard Waterman.We talked about old time radio and his great radio career.I can still remember the smiles and laughter as he talked about Chicago,the up/down bridge club and his move to California.He really enjoyed The Great Guildersleeve performing both on radio and television.I still have the autographed baseball that he signed.Larry
Larry (Chicagoland), August 10, 2012
I was born in 1952. When I was a young boy I loved to listen to Kansas City A's baseball on my transistor radio late at night when I was supposed to be asleep. Hiding under the covers with my radio and seeing all the action in my mind's eye was just the best. Later when I started hearing various radio shows the same feelings returned. The mysteries and horror shows were my favorite. The same kind of stories that held no interest for me on TV or in movies would come alive in the dark of night when shown on the theater screen of my mind. Now I really enjoy the collections Jon has put together. My favorites are the hard boiled detectives like Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade as well as the stories found in Escape, Inner Sanctum, and The Whistler. Keep up the good work Jon. Lots of people appreciate you. I know I do.
Dennis (Texas), August 8, 2012
as a boy i was hooked on radio. i dreamed of getting into radio and eventually i did. i also had one of those crazy boyhood dreams of one day owning every episode of my favorite serial superman. thanks to you john i now have much of that serial. although it is the american and not the australian version i can remember many of the episodes. they used the original american scripts for our version. thanks also for the many other discs i have purchased so far. great value and terrific listening.
Errol (Australia), August 8, 2012
A few weeks ago I made an inquiry about the my favorite old time radio show. Well I got it last week and gave to my brother - in - law ( who has been looking for it for a few years). You really helped me make his day and I want to pass on a heartfelt Thank You from both of us.
Roland S (USA), August 8, 2012
Just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your e-mails & nesletters. With all the glut of SPAM on the Internet today, I still really enjoy hearing from you. I have ordered several CD's of radio programs from you. Have enjoyed every single one. While I don't have any "Old Time radio stories" , I can imagine how the folks were back in the 1930's on the Prarie of just in the plain good old USA when radio was king!
Keep up the good work!
Rick (USA), August 8, 2012
I was raised on tv (1950's) my dad would alwasy do the Shadow theme, who knows...., but i had bener heard any. After i graduated collegd (1973, I moved to Australia and they, at that time were equivbalent to the US in the '50's. One Sunday I was listening to the radio & there, to my surprise was a Shadow replay. I was hooked.
From that point on I made a point to listen to every show each week. I then started importing radio shows from the US & England (Goons, etc) and off I went. Over the years I have collected many hours of rasio plays which I now listen to while on the way towork and home. They are terrific. I'm glad I found you guys, as I have leveled my colection out in a lot of stores.
Ric (Australia), August 8, 2012
Old Time Radio is a great testimonial to the power of the mind (The theater of the mind) used when listening to a radio show. The same story on TV are less. I think Gunsmoke, when Dennis Weaver was in the cast, is the closest one gets on TV and then it was not as good. A number of the stories on radio were repeated on TV and Dennis Weaver better captured the character Chester but the version he presented was too wimpy.
It also shows what a wonderful writer John Meston was having shows that he wrote used in both the radio and TV version. For the life of me I don't understand why Meston didn't get better recognized for his work since it shows if a story is well written it makes all the difference.
It's too bad that radio and for the most part TV has morphed now into something less than worthless.