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Old Time Radio Memory: Nat: 90 Years Young: Reliving old time radio in MP3

"I was born in 1921 and raised during those hard years of the depression. But we kids never thought about being poor as we were all in the same boat. I remember, after my father left for work at 4:00pm, Mom and I took in the movies, it cost a dime for me and 15 cents for Mom (double feature). Other nights, Mom played cards with her lady friends and I took over the radio! I remember in the winter, we had no steam heat so I sat in front of the big iron coal stove with my feet in the oven with the radio right beside me. Gosh, I loved it, and I knew all the shows. I didn't go much for the 'kid stuff' except for Lone Ranger and of course, I wasn't interested in the love stuff. BUT, those comedy, mystery and horror radio shows were my love! And for some reason or other, (I guess I was a pretty tough tomboy) I was never frightened!

NatThen of course, I grew up and as a young lady, I drifted away from the radio. Then I became interested in TV (when I wasn't going out dancing) and following years (getting married, raising children, keeping house) took up all my time, ending the day with a TV movie or something.

Now in the last few years since I have become a 'seasoned citizen', I naturally slowed down and needed something to fill my time and interest me. My sons hid my car keys and they won't let me drive anymore and I do really have a "very low threshold for boredom" - I was really on the threshold of depression until I discovered OLD TIME RADIO on my computer. 

"What the heck is this?" my sons helped explain to me what mp3s were all about so I went ahead and bought the MP3 CD Player and ordered some disks from Jon. What a great surprise! What a Godsend! I've become pretty knowledgeable about the system and have acquired quite a collection for myself. I have several books on the subject also… especially about radio actors – I mean the really great RADIO performers (not the movie stars). I am really a great fan of theirs (they're probably all up in the big radio studio in the sky now) but I sure admired and still admire them. The Lights Out, Inner Santum and the great horror shows that have come out later are still my favorites. The wonderful Escape and Suspense series and other horror stuff – they still don't scare me and I still have the enjoyment of listening to all the spooky stuff. The Line-Up and 21st Precinct are two great cop shows – just like living in the city again! And let's not forget Jack Benny!

So… I'm not bored anymore. When I retire for the evening, I have my glass of wine and my MP3 CD Player next to me and all is right!

<< Old Time Radio Memories


I LOVE this!!! What a great letter. She sounds like a hoot. We love Old Time Radio. We’ve gone the route of listening via OTR app, using Bluetooth setting on our little ANKER Sound Core 2 speaker. The sound quality is great, and the speaker goes wherever I go! It’s great fun listening to Suspense or Johnny Dollar while I’m preparing supper. We love all the mystery shows and some detective ones. I’ve even grown fond of X Minus One ! So glad you added Nero Wolfe to your program listing! Thank You SO much for the excellent programs and excellent quality recordings.


LOVE hearing memories from people like Nat who grew up experiencing the Golden Age of Radio first-hand. I have always felt like I was born too late, always preferring OTR and movies from the 30s and 40s. THANK YOU otrcat and TCM for keeping the wonderful, exciting, entertaining genre alive!


Just read Nat's story. You have to be proud of the fact that you bring enjoyment to a 95 year old's life! It made me feel good just reading it. Keep up the great work!


I am to young to remember the real Golden Age of radio. I was born in 1952 but my mother talked about going to somebodies house that had a radio when she was growing up in impoverished and dust bowl beaten down rural Oklahoma, throwing quilts on the floor in front of the radio and listening all night or until they were all asleep as kids. Then something magical happened one night while listening to late night AM radio late at night in about the late 1970's. I discovered a local radio station that played the old Suspense episodes with Roma wines that later became Gallo wines sponsoring the show out of California I think. I know now this was an early day infomercial on RADIO...the infomercial time was purchased by Sandy Hook...yes, that Sandy Hook, Connecticut...they were selling old time cassette recordings of all types of old radio shows. I have probably 300 or so of individual programs on cassettes many of them repeats of the one I show you on the You Tube video. Anyway, it was soon the time of CD's and it took me a while to purchase CD players to keep up with the changing times and all my cassette players head south in the mean time...so I am very happy to find OTR and a way to replace some of my favs. I am strictly into SCARY STUFF...horror, suspense and so on...I have very little comedy or straight drama unless it just happened to come with a compilation that mainly had scary radio shows with it. Anyway, thank you for letting me tell my story.


I am old and I've lived through the Golden Age of Radio. On Sunday afternoons in Seattle during the 1940's almost everyone would begin their day by listening to wonderful radio dramas. There would be westerns, comedies and along with Nick Carter, the best of the best of radio-mystery entertainment! Evening would arrive and so would Jack Benny, Our Miss Brooks and of course "The Whistler". I'm thrilled that radio entertainment has rebounded in such a BIG WAY!!!


What a beautiful letter written by this "Seasoned Citizen." Thank you so much for sharing! I will have to check out the radio show called “The Line Up” Thank You!


Thank you for sharing this charming story of Nat. I loved hearing of her life! Keep 'em coming!


I do so agree with Nat! Am a bit younger than she is, but we came to Canada in the mid-50s and radio was one way I learned English, as well as the wonderful sense of entertainment we were given simply by turning the radio on. I too have been collecting MP3s and never get tired of listening to my old favourites. Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel are 2 of the most often played and my collection is still nowhere near complete. I'm looking forward to being able to own Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar (my absolute favourite "detective") and all of The Goon Show in the near future...then we'll see where I go from there. I loved Suspense and Inner Sanctum too and they're both on my "to-buy" list. To this day I prefer radio over TV, which I haven't watched in over 10 years anyway, and only wish that there were some good programs again.

Paula Bain

Great story Nat. Your picture sort of reminds of my mother. She grew up during the same time period and while I don't think she went to many movies then, she probably did listen to radio shows, too. While we were overseas in the early 60's, I listened to a lot of radio shows myself because TV wasn't available. Every once in a while I turn on one like Johnny Dollar or Dick Powell, kind of calming and comfortable. Thanks for sharing and glad you found the OTR website. Please stay safe.


Jon, Very much enjoyed sharing memories with some other members of your "family". At age of 77 I finally lost my job in April of this year as they could no longer afford to pay me, due to the virus having a negative effect on the business. You would think that would allow me much more time to enjoy my large (Thanks to you) collection of radio shows, but it didn't work out that way, as my work involved driving quite a bit and most of my listening pleasure was derived on the road. At my "advanced age" I find listening to the shows, relaxing in my easy chair, leads to me falling asleep! That NEVER happened to me as a child. So I have not been listening as much as I was previously. My renewed love affair with radio shows from the past started when I was working in Saudi Arabia in 1975-1976. There was no TV, no movies and when we finished work, we were so bored that we would play Monopoly with real money (no lack of that in Saudi!). My father took mercy on me and finding an ad, in the Saturday Evening Post, another memory of the past, he ordered 30 hours of old radio shows on cassette tapes. The Americans I worked with were mostly in my age range and the shows were well remembered and appreciated. One amusing side note was that we had a few younger co-workers, just as bored as we, who requested to be included in our nightly radio fest. They learned to expand their imaginations and were soon fans. They had only one question. When we old codgers were kids, listening to these shows on original broadcast, what did we look at? Growing up in a visual era, I guess it was a valid question and none of us had a really good answer. We basically remembered lying in front of TV sized radio set that seemed to have about 50 dials on it, with our heads propped in our hands and visualizing the Lone Ranger, the Whistler, the Lux Radio Theater, laughing along with Amos "N' Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, etc. we were in Heaven. After 1 1/2 years in Saudi I returned to Singapore where I had previously worked. Singapore possessed everything that had been lacking in Saudi, TV, movies, bars(!), shopping centers restaurants by the thousand, nightclubs (!), bars(!) so I thought my love affair with the old shows, however enjoyable, could not compete with the real world. However.........as a huge, modern city Singapore also had TRAFFIC and it took ne about 30-40 minutes to commute, morning and evening, pretty much perfect for radio shows and my cassettes soon numbered in the hundreds. I moved here to Guam 33 years ago and soon had a vast collection of radio shows on CD and started to transfer my cassette collection collection to CD. Then, a couple of years ago I discovered OTRCAT and MP3!! I have been overjoyed with both. I was able to donate much of my cassette collection to and old folks home here. Guam has been a U. S. Territory since the Spanish-American War, so the residents here also grew up with the radio shows that we did. To all my fellow fans, hello from Guam! Who knows how much longer we can re-enjoy our childhood....... well, of course Only The Shadow knows!!

Ken Gaston

I'm a young 73 who grew up in a little house on Long Island and caught the tail end of the great age of radio. And I loved it! My radio memories are in three parts. First, I remember being a very young child, sitting on the small front porch of our house, eating lunch, listening with my mother to the soaps -- The Second Mrs. Burton, The Romance of Helen Trent, Ma Perkins, and more! I certainly didn't understand all the ins and outs of the plots and characters, but I found the voices and the sound effects just fascinating! Second, our family would always have the radio on during dinner. Jack Benny was a favorite, as was Gunsmoke, Our Miss Brooks, and so many more. There was a whole world of imagination which was funny, thrilling, and invariably entertaining. Third, when my parents got a newer, better radio, they gave me their old wooden radio -- with tubes that had to heat up! First with that one, and later with my new plastic-sheathed transistor, I'd sit in my room at night and listen to great radio shows -- while Suspense was particularly good, my favorite was Johnny Dollar. And, given the wonderful services, of OTRCAT, it still is! Aside from the nostalgia of going back a long way in time, I do love a good, straightforward story, clearly and effectively told. And being able to fill in the characters, backgrounds, sets, and costumes myself! It's a glorious world -- and, frankly, our real world is the poorer for no longer having it. For the hundreds of hours of good listening, for the marvelous way of transporting me away from the terror and tumult of our times, thank you!


Imagination! How fun it was listening to your favorite radio programs and picturing in your mind what the characters looked like, the scene in which the action was taking place, and much more. Icing on the cake was the music that was the backdrop for the shows. It really set the mood. One of our local radio stations on Halloween last night aired Orson Welles' "War of the Worlds". Trick or treat, radio fans!

D Horton

Just read Nat's story. You have to be proud of the fact that you bring enjoyment to a 95 year old's life! It made me feel good just reading it. Keep up the great work!


I really like these stories! Thanks so much! Makes me feel not so lonely, knowing other people are listening to these old time radio shows.


I remember listening to what's now called old time radio as a child at my grandmother's house. The grownups used to listen to Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve, The Life of Riley, and Amos 'N Andy, among others, so I listened to them too. When commercial TV came along in the early 1950's, we switched from radio to TV, and with the exception of music, I stopped listening to the radio. In my late 30's a friend played an episode of Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar on XM radio's Radio Classics, laughing about the show's "action-packed expense account" format. I'd never heard that show before but I was immediately taken by it. Several years later a co-worker turned me on to BOTAR on the Interwebs, and I began actively searching out old time radio shows in I could download and transfer to my iPod. I found a lot of old time radio sites on the Interweb, and one of those sites was OTRCAT. I ordered several shows in .mp3 CD format, ripped the discs, tagged the metadata for the shows, and added 'em to my iPod. Now that shows are available for digital download, that's my preferred way to order them. I'm in my mid-70's now, and every night as a way to wind down before bed, I listen to 1-2 episodes of my favorite shows. I really dig X minus One, Beyond Tomorrow, Exploring Tomorrow, Dimension X, High Adventure, Escape, Dangerous Assignment, The Man Called X, Tales of the Texas Rangers, Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, Challenge of the Yukon, The Six Shooter, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, The Adventures of Sam Spade, Dragnet, Suspense, Let George Do It, Barrie Craig Confidential Investigator, Rogue's Gallery, Richard Diamond Private Detective, Box 13, The Chase, Jeff Regan, Michael Shayne, Night Beat, Rocky Jordan, Rocky Fortune, and The Whistler. When I know the likes of William Conrad, John Dehner, Gerald Mohr, Bob Bailey, Alan Ladd, James Stewart, Brian Donlevy, Frank Lovejoy, Agnes Moorehead, Humphrey Bogart, and Lucille Ball are in a show's cast, it's gonna be a great show. I'm so grateful that there were people with the wisdom and foresight to save the transcription copies of old time radio shows and transfer them to digital format. The "Golden Age of Radio" lives on and we can enjoy them today as a result of their vision and effort.

Dave Traweek

RADIO: The Theater of the Mind. What better way to learn how to meet and act with the world. Radio - you have to use your mind while TV and film hand it to you on a silver platter. All you have to do is absorb. No imagination; no thinking; no creativity. Just "Let George Do It." Ho Hum! Mr.President; Nick Carter; The Shadow; Name That Tune; Jack Benny; Charlie McCarthy and Edgar Bergan; Lum and Abner; Gangbusters; Mr. Keen: Tracer of lost Persons; Your FBI in Peace and War. And Best of All: The Evening News - Edward R. Murrow. Where did I find the time to do my home work?

Dr Snapper

I am one of those “39+” kids who grew up in the 1930’s.... On Chicago’s South Side, we listened to Don Winslow in the Navy at 4:45, Terry and the Pirates at 5, Little Orphan Annie at 5:15, Jack Armstrong at 5:30, and Captain Midnight at 5:45! What a lineup for our listening!

Wooding John

For those of us in our 90s, radio was our link to the world. It was intelligent,funny, entertaining and enjoyable. Wish I could say the same for modern radio programs.Other than NPR there is nothing to compare with the quality of old time radio. You are providing a welcome reminder of what we now miss in the name of progress.


I was born in the 1950's, and got my first radio when there was nothing of old time radio on the AM dial except an hour of reruns on Sundays. I then discovered a distant station which played shows each night. I was hooked on the Shadow, Johnny Dollar, Gunsmoke and The Green Hornet.

It wasn't until I was in my early 50's that I started seriously listening to old time radio seriously. The more I read about old time radio, the more I got hooked.

I have totally loved the WWII collections, as I have been researching the home front for a children's book. I am now completely in love with the news broadcasts from the 30's-50's. The quality of writing and delivery of the greats such as Edward R. Murrow, Bob Sheafer, Eric Severide and others is an education in itself. I have learned so much of history from broadcast collections such as the McCarthy CD, the This Is London and many more.

I am also addicted to Information Please. I delight tohear the incredible knowledge of the panelists. Clifton Fadiman was known to us in my Catholic high school as the boring guy who narrated educational films about literature. How wonderful to now know he was so clever. I wish I could go back and tell Sister Confirmata that I understand why she found him so great!

Though I enjoy movies and am a book addict, radio is also close to the top of my list. I am totally blind, so never have had to grumble about radio. I see things clearly in my mind. I am a professional storyteller, and it has been said of my performances that they harken back to radio. I did this before discovering the radio medium seriously, but find it a lovely compliment. I sure wish there was quality radio being created today.

Oh, I must not forget how much I have loved the Cavalcade shows, all the Orson Wells and the Christmas collections. I guess you can tell that radio is good for me. I put the CDs on the computer, copy them to a portable player, much smaller than my MP3 cd player and stick it in my pocket. I can listen as I exercise, cook or clean. What a blessing.

Thanks for such a great collection. It's the best I've found online. You are to be commended.


I hope you will be publishing more “testimonials” from “seniors” (AKA: old folks) I am 82 years old and well remember having the wits scared out of me as a kid by “Lights Out” and “Inner Sanctum.”


Didn’t realize how long it had been since I last visited OTRCAT (I still have your sticker on my door). Site looks great. Love the new collections.


I laughed when I pictured my mother trying to download or stream anything. Poor thing is 86. I’m surprised she learned to use a CD player


Just to let you know I really enjoyed reading 91 year old Nat's lovely story..still going strong at 91 and having a nightly tipple of wine ...good for her.


A chance to tell my story of OTRCAT.com enjoyment. I'm a late baby boomer, 1953 vintage, just missed the prime of radio but still remember my mom telling stories of radio listening in her younger days. I have always preferred football games on the radio and would occasionally run across a CBS Radio Mystery Theater while on a long drive. I built my own crystal set and even dabble in shortwave - in short, I am a radio fan. Then I discovered old radio show programs on satellite radio - I was hooked! However, I began wanting more control of my personal programming, ordered OTRCAT.com disks, and now use an older, unactivated, cell phone for storing and playing the MP3 files, so to be as portable as possible. I listen to these OTRCAT shows every single night, lights off and ready for bed. I also camp often and take the old phone so I can listen by the campfire.


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