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Computers and Electronic Brains (Mechanical and Electric Brains)

By the end of the Golden Age of Radio, computers had begun to enter the popular imagination largely through the descriptions from Science Fiction.

31 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 14 hours, 12 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
16 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from April 24, 1957:

"X Minus One: Mans Best Friend"



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About this Old Time Radio Show

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

Electric Brain man!

Vintage ComputerComputers have become such an important and everyday part of our world it is hard to imagine life without them. Many of us believed it was just a passing phase when personal computers first began to enter our homes, schools, and businesses, but understanding how to work with computers has become as important as reading and writing for interacting with the modern world. Computers entertain us in various ways, from tuning our TV's and radios to playing games. They cook our food by controlling our microwave ovens (there are even modern refrigerators with Internet interfaces). Our telephone systems, both cellular and landline service, would be crippled without powerful computers directing the calls. National defense depends upon countless computers, not only to monitor threats and control weapons systems but more importantly to manage force logistics and the personnel and medical records of the service people who answer the call. Modern business takes pace not only on computers but across the massive World Wide Web network.

By the end of the Golden Age of Radio, computers had begun to enter the popular imagination largely through the descriptions from Science Fiction. Actual computers of the period were similar to those of fiction, in that they were huge, incredibly complex devices, often the size of an entire office although they might not have as much computing power as a modern microwave oven. Today, it is common to carry a computer nearly as powerful as the monsters from Sci-Fi in our pockets in the form of a smartphone. Most smartphones and personal computers are now connected to the Internet, which depends on the massive amounts of memory storage made possible by huge server farms, essentially warehouses located around the world filled with interconnected computers called servers. These servers are connected to the Internet and the information they store is available to any other computer with access.

The computers of science fiction often took the form of mechanical or electronic brains. These devices had to be huge and intimidating mimic the capabilities and complexity of the human brain. Like the human brain, these computers could be perverted to do evil, either by internal corruption or the nefarious intentions of the men who controlled them. Commander Corry of Space Patrol saw this corruption first hand when the computer which controls the United Earth Economy is attacked by a commercial computer on Venus. Naturally, X Minus One put a good deal of air time toward exploring the relationship between man and mechanical brains, questioning whether a computer could be a closer friend than your own mother, whether computers were plotting to take over the world, or if they already had without our noticing.

Many of the earliest examples of modern programmable computers had military applications. The US Navy developed an electromechanical computer which was small enough to be placed in the control room of a submarine called a Torpedo Data Computer used for targeting a torpedo on a moving target. This was the sort of device our agents were trying to recover the May 20, 1953, broadcast of Dangerous Assignment. It was the huge codebreaking computers that the British developed for codebreaking which became the model for Sci Fi's electronic brains. The Mutual Network's radiotold us stories about "The Thinking Machine", an amateur built computer that could predict stock market movement, and "The Last Smash", about a super computer controlling complex atomic experiments which suddenly could not do basic arithmetic.

Vintage ComputerOn Light's Out we explore "The Pathetic Fallacy" when a huge computer gets its feelings hurt when one of its creators says out loud that it is only a machine and cannot think or love. One of the unseen dangers of mechanical minds is that they can do a normal person's work, as we see on Theater Five when "Charlie, The Beautiful Machine" learns who is his real boss. In another episode, "Subject Number 428A", we learn what can happen when computers become so advanced that they can know more about us than we know ourselves, to the point of mankind losing his free will. Stars Over Hollywood predicts the rise of computer dating services in "The Perfect Mate" and on Thanksgiving Day, 1968, The Breakfast Club from Chicago presents a computer playing and singing "Daisy, Daisy" with no instruments or human voices. Ironically, this is the same song sung by HAL the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey which was released the same year.

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.



    31 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 14 hours, 12 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      31 shows - total playtime 14 hours 12 minutes
      1. Aldrich Family 521102 557 Overdue Library Book.mp3
      2. Ask Dr Science Is Computer Science Real Science.mp3
      3. Breakfast Club 681128 Thanksgiving Day Show.mp3
      4. Cbsrmt 750813 Master Computer Kixi.mp3
      5. Computer Dating Wor Jean Shepherd .mp3
      6. Dangerous Assignment 530520 160 Oslo Stolen Blueprints.mp3
      7. Eye Witness 118 Computer Technology.mp3
      8. Face To Future 600000 Computers Dominate Second Half Century.mp3
      9. Fmm 560117 1334 Solving Math Problem.mp3
      10. Ft 520123 254 Thinking Machine.mp3
      11. Ft 540707 377 Last Smash.mp3
      12. Hop Harrigan 470822 1275 Riddle Of Ghostly Avengers #17.mp3
      13. Iwcf 530812 69 Very Private Funeral.mp3
      14. Jean Shepherd Show 640829 Evading Issue.mp3
      15. Little Things In Life, 750818 011 Frustrations Computers.mp3
      16. Mr Ace And Jane 480214 01 Loan Company.mp3
      17. Mrt 800909 Computer In Law [341].mp3
      18. Mysterious Traveler 500314 Big Brain.mp3
      19. Night Beat 500605 018 Girl From Kansas.mp3
      20. Quiet Please 480202 035 Pathetic Fallacy.mp3
      21. Space Patrol 521213 Search For Asteroid X.mp3
      22. Space Patrol 530530 Immortal Brain.mp3
      23. Space Patrol 530626 Treasure Of Planetoid 6.mp3
      24. Stars Over Hollywood 511201 547 Perfect Mate.mp3
      25. Taxi 720611 Computerized Taxi.mp3
      26. Theater Five 641002 Subject Number 428a.mp3
      27. Theater Five 641229 Charlie Beautiful Machine.mp3
      28. Vic And Sade 440714 X Sade Short Changed.mp3
      29. X Minus One 550721 Nightmare.mp3
      30. X Minus One 561107 Appointment In Tomorrow.mp3
      31. X Minus One 570424 Mans Best Friend.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    31 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 14 hours, 12 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      31 shows - total playtime 14 hours 12 minutes
      1. Aldrich Family 521102 557 Overdue Library Book.mp3
      2. Ask Dr Science Is Computer Science Real Science.mp3
      3. Breakfast Club 681128 Thanksgiving Day Show.mp3
      4. Cbsrmt 750813 Master Computer Kixi.mp3
      5. Computer Dating Wor Jean Shepherd .mp3
      6. Dangerous Assignment 530520 160 Oslo Stolen Blueprints.mp3
      7. Eye Witness 118 Computer Technology.mp3
      8. Face To Future 600000 Computers Dominate Second Half Century.mp3
      9. Fmm 560117 1334 Solving Math Problem.mp3
      10. Ft 520123 254 Thinking Machine.mp3
      11. Ft 540707 377 Last Smash.mp3
      12. Hop Harrigan 470822 1275 Riddle Of Ghostly Avengers #17.mp3
      13. Iwcf 530812 69 Very Private Funeral.mp3
      14. Jean Shepherd Show 640829 Evading Issue.mp3
      15. Little Things In Life, 750818 011 Frustrations Computers.mp3
      16. Mr Ace And Jane 480214 01 Loan Company.mp3
      17. Mrt 800909 Computer In Law [341].mp3
      18. Mysterious Traveler 500314 Big Brain.mp3
      19. Night Beat 500605 018 Girl From Kansas.mp3
      20. Quiet Please 480202 035 Pathetic Fallacy.mp3
      21. Space Patrol 521213 Search For Asteroid X.mp3
      22. Space Patrol 530530 Immortal Brain.mp3
      23. Space Patrol 530626 Treasure Of Planetoid 6.mp3
      24. Stars Over Hollywood 511201 547 Perfect Mate.mp3
      25. Taxi 720611 Computerized Taxi.mp3
      26. Theater Five 641002 Subject Number 428a.mp3
      27. Theater Five 641229 Charlie Beautiful Machine.mp3
      28. Vic And Sade 440714 X Sade Short Changed.mp3
      29. X Minus One 550721 Nightmare.mp3
      30. X Minus One 561107 Appointment In Tomorrow.mp3
      31. X Minus One 570424 Mans Best Friend.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



    31 recordings on 16 Audio CDs
    total playtime 14 hours, 12 min

    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A001

    1. Ask Dr Science Is Computer Science Real Science
    2. Computer Dating Wor Jean Shepherd
    3. Eye Witness 118 Computer Technology
    4. Vic And Sade 440714 X Sade Short Changed

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A002

    1. Hop Harrigan 470822 1275 Riddle Of Ghostly Avengers #17
    2. Quiet Please 480202 035 Pathetic Fallacy

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A003

    1. Mr Ace And Jane 480214 01 Loan Company
    2. Mysterious Traveler 500314 Big Brain

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A004

    1. Night Beat 500605 018 Girl From Kansas
    2. Stars Over Hollywood 511201 547 Perfect Mate

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A005

    1. Ft 520123 254 Thinking Machine
    2. Aldrich Family 521102 557 Overdue Library Book

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A006

    1. Space Patrol 521213 Search For Asteroid X
    2. Dangerous Assignment 530520 160 Oslo Stolen Blueprints

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A007

    1. Space Patrol 530530 Immortal Brain
    2. Space Patrol 530626 Treasure Of Planetoid 6

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A008

    1. Iwcf 530812 69 Very Private Funeral
    2. Ft 540707 377 Last Smash

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A009

    1. X Minus One 550721 Nightmare
    2. Fmm 560117 1334 Solving Math Problem
    3. X Minus One 561107 Appointment In Tomorrow

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A010

    1. X Minus One 570424 Mans Best Friend
    2. Face To Future 600000 Computers Dominate Second Half Century

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A011

    1. Jean Shepherd Show 640829 Evading Issue

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A012

    1. Theater Five 641002 Subject Number 428a
    2. Theater Five 641229 Charlie Beautiful Machine

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A013

    1. Breakfast Club 681128 Thanksgiving Day Show

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A014

    1. Taxi 720611 Computerized Taxi

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A015

    1. Cbsrmt 750813 Master Computer Kixi

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Computers and Electronic Brains Disc A016

    1. Little Things In Life, 750818 011 Frustrations Computers
    2. Mrt 800909 Computer In Law [341]

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00