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Bob Elson On the Twentieth Century Limited

Bob Elson interviews in LaSalle Street Station in Chicago garnered open responses from actors, politicians, sports figures and Royalty.

22 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 4 hours, 26 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
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4 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from December 04, 1947:

"Bob Elson interviews Harry Wisner and Irene Dunn"



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About this Old Time Radio Show

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

20th Century Limited


Bob ElsonWith apologies to the great cities on the West Coast, for decades the two hubs of American business were New York and Chicago. New York rose to prominence because of its location on one of the largest natural harbors in the world, a vital connection between the New World and the Old. At the same time, New York was connected to the North American Interior via a series of waterways, beginning with the Hudson River. With the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, there was water access from New York all the way into the Great Lakes.

Chicago, on the shores of Lake Michigan, is on a relatively short portage between the Lake and the head of navigation of the Mississippi watershed. Thus, it connected the entire Midwest to New York. Obviously, anyone who was anybody would have been enthused about rapid travel between New York and Chicago. Water transport is cheap in terms of tons per mile, but it is tortuously slow. Railway service was the answer.

Bob Elson InterviewOf course, there were plenty of freight lines to the interior, as well as passenger trains, but they didn’t quite meet the needs of the emerging class of celebrities, merchant princes and generally rich folk who needed to get between the two great cities. Before the advent of cheap aircraft travel, the best solution was the 20th Century Limited, an express line between New York’s Grand Central Terminal and LaSalle Street Station in Chicago.

From the very beginning, the 20th Century Limited targeted upper class and business travelers with fast, reliable service and an understated elegance. It was only a 16 hour journey between the two important cities on the Limited, making it the favored option for many celebrities.

Having so many famous people funneling through a single location like LaSalle Station was bound to attract attention, and Chicago broadcaster Bob Elson was there to capitalize on the situation. Elson got his start in radio almost by accident. On a vacation trip to St Louis, he took a tour of a radio station KWK. One of the station receptionists thought he was in line for an open audition, and herded him in front of a microphone. Even though he was just there for a tour, Elson won the on air job. He did so well that WGN executives began wondering why a Chicago native was toiling away over the St Louis airwaves, and hired him away.

Elson began calling home games for the Chicago Cubs and the White Sox in 1929. The Cubs and the Sox at the time rarely had home games on the same days, and away games were “recreated” on the air using telegraphed messages from the ballpark. In 1942, Elson joined the US Navy, earning the nickname “The Ol’ Commander”. As vital as his Naval service may have been, he was under orders from the Commander in Chief, Franklin Roosevelt, to take time out to broadcast the 1943 World Series.

Having already garnered a reputation for celebrity spotting and interviews from Chicago’s Pump Room, chatting with celebrities riding the 20th Century Limited was a natural progression. Although the program was titled Bob Elson on the 20th Century Limited, the interviews were conducted from LaSalle Street Station. They are usually very extemporaneous, and Bob’s easy going style garnered open responses from actors, politicians, sports figures and Royalty.

Bob Elson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

See also: Vox Pop



Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2017 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:
  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    22 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 4 hours, 26 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      22 shows - total playtime 4 hours 26 minutes
      1. Bob Elson 45xxxx 047 American Airlines Passenger.mp3
      2. Bob Elson 460108 Milton Berle 5min40sec.mp3
      3. Bob Elson 460316 Roddy Mc Dowell Margarite Chapman.mp3
      4. Bob Elson 46xxxx 156 Hugh Herbert.mp3
      5. Bob Elson 470207 Gene Tunney, Producer Howard Dietz.mp3
      6. Bob Elson 471204 Harry Wisner And Irene Dunne.mp3
      7. Bob Elson 47xxxx 387 Victor Mature.mp3
      8. Bob Elson 480226 Robert Young.mp3
      9. Bob Elson 480302 Gregory Peck.mp3
      10. Bob Elson 480303 WY Senator Joseph O Mahany.mp3
      11. Bob Elson 480309 Special Greek Prince Peter.mp3
      12. Bob Elson 480311 Gertrude Lawrence.mp3
      13. Bob Elson 4xxxxx E H Gehrman Horace Mason.mp3
      14. Bob Elson 500603 Minutes Yankees White Sox Game.mp3
      15. Bob Elson Xxxxxx College Professor And Eskimo.mp3
      16. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Herman Cogan.mp3
      17. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Jack Benny.mp3
      18. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Lasalle St Railroad Station Chicago.mp3
      19. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Program 68 Harry Black Young Am Pass.mp3
      20. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Rin Tin Tin.mp3
      21. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Stars Stripes Editor Postwar Japan.mp3
      22. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Th Special 1940s Dr I Q.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    22 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 4 hours, 26 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      22 shows - total playtime 4 hours 26 minutes
      1. Bob Elson 45xxxx 047 American Airlines Passenger.mp3
      2. Bob Elson 460108 Milton Berle 5min40sec.mp3
      3. Bob Elson 460316 Roddy Mc Dowell Margarite Chapman.mp3
      4. Bob Elson 46xxxx 156 Hugh Herbert.mp3
      5. Bob Elson 470207 Gene Tunney, Producer Howard Dietz.mp3
      6. Bob Elson 471204 Harry Wisner And Irene Dunne.mp3
      7. Bob Elson 47xxxx 387 Victor Mature.mp3
      8. Bob Elson 480226 Robert Young.mp3
      9. Bob Elson 480302 Gregory Peck.mp3
      10. Bob Elson 480303 WY Senator Joseph O Mahany.mp3
      11. Bob Elson 480309 Special Greek Prince Peter.mp3
      12. Bob Elson 480311 Gertrude Lawrence.mp3
      13. Bob Elson 4xxxxx E H Gehrman Horace Mason.mp3
      14. Bob Elson 500603 Minutes Yankees White Sox Game.mp3
      15. Bob Elson Xxxxxx College Professor And Eskimo.mp3
      16. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Herman Cogan.mp3
      17. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Jack Benny.mp3
      18. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Lasalle St Railroad Station Chicago.mp3
      19. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Program 68 Harry Black Young Am Pass.mp3
      20. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Rin Tin Tin.mp3
      21. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Stars Stripes Editor Postwar Japan.mp3
      22. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Th Special 1940s Dr I Q.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    22 recordings on 4 Audio CDs
    total playtime 4 hours, 26 min

    Bob Elson On the 20th Century Limited Disc A001

    1. Bob Elson 45xxxx 047 American Airlines Passenger
    2. Bob Elson 46xxxx 156 Hugh Herbert
    3. Bob Elson 47xxxx 387 Victor Mature
    4. Bob Elson 4xxxxx E H Gehrman Horace Mason
    5. Bob Elson Xxxxxx College Professor And Eskimo

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Bob Elson On the 20th Century Limited Disc A002

    1. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Herman Cogan
    2. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Jack Benny
    3. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Lasalle St Railroad Station Chicago
    4. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Program 68 Harry Black Young Am Pass
    5. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Rin Tin Tin

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Bob Elson On the 20th Century Limited Disc A003

    1. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Stars Stripes Editor Postwar Japan
    2. Bob Elson Xxxxxx Th Special 1940s Dr I Q
    3. Bob Elson 460108 Milton Berle 5min40sec
    4. Bob Elson 460316 Roddy Mc Dowell Margarite Chapman
    5. Bob Elson 470207 Gene Tunney, Producer Howard Dietz
    6. Bob Elson 471204 Harry Wisner And Irene Dunne

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Bob Elson On the 20th Century Limited Disc A004

    1. Bob Elson 480226 Robert Young
    2. Bob Elson 480302 Gregory Peck
    3. Bob Elson 480303 WY Senator Joseph O Mahany
    4. Bob Elson 480309 Special Greek Prince Peter
    5. Bob Elson 480311 Gertrude Lawrence
    6. Bob Elson 500603 Minutes Yankees White Sox Game

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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