Welcome to OTRCAT.com: Old Time Radio Catalog
 > 

Depression Era Recordings

Old Time Radio Looks at the Great Depression, the economic crisis which began with the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and how it affected Americans everywhere.

37 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 23 hours, 38 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
28 Audio CDs


Choose your CD format
or order disks individually: Add to Cart
Play a sample episode from January 09, 1949:

"NBC University: The Grapes of Wrath"



... or click here to save the Mp3 file to your computer

About this Old Time Radio Show

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


Depression Era Line

The Greatest Generation earned the label for answering the call during the Second World War, so it is easy to forget that when they answered that call they were applying the lessons they learned by growing up during the Great Depression. The economic crisis which began with the Stock Market Crash of 1929 ultimately marked America's maturity as a world power. America joined the community of Great Nations with its entry into the Great War in 1917, even though she managed to escape the ravages which affected most of the rest of the world during WWI. The nation enjoyed a rollicking adolescence during the Jazz Age of the Roaring Twenties, but when the Depression hit it was like a signal that life needed to be taken seriously, just as a young man discovers when he transitions from football hero during his school years to the sober maturity of fatherhood and family life.

Job WantedAs tough as conditions became during the Great Depression, and they did indeed become desperate, the period was an essentially hopeful time. When the crisis began, farmers were already experiencing their own depression due to drought and falling food prices for much of the Twenties. Four million Americans were looking for work in 1930, and that number would grow to six million in the next year. Industrial output dropped by half and by 1933 thousands of banks would close their doors. The years of drought and poor soil conservation practices led to Dust Bowl conditions in the Great Plains which would displace thousands of families. However, through most of the period, people maintained a feeling that they would not only survive but that conditions would eventually improve if they were only able to "hold on".

Assembling a virtual alphabet of federal agencies, the government's "New Deal" helped to turn unemployment around and brought industry back from the brink. Regulatory reform saved the financial industry, and improved conservation and agricultural techniques eased conditions in the Farm Belt. Hollywood fantasy was a relief for the day-to-day drudgery of recovery, but a new type of film, the "Screwball Comedy" gave the impression that no matter how terrible conditions got, things would work out for good people, and Americans were by and large good people.

America had been blessed by avoiding most of the ravages of WWI, but that conflict had actually come to an end before most of the underlying issues had been resolved. When Europe finally began to recover from the Depression, resources were freed to continue the unresolved conflicts of the Great War. Naturally, American sentiment was generally that we should avoid involvement in the conflict, but our role in the world order dictated that America was destined to take a lead. The economic boom which came with the Second Word War continued nearly unabated in America for the remainder of the century.

  • One of the most colorful figures in the entertainment world of the Great Depression was Orson Welles. By 1939, when Wellespresented an adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's "The Glass Key" in The Campbell's Playhouse, the Depression was finally drawing to a close. War fears and the economic boom resulting from War industry were ever present, making the story of violence and small town morality at the beginning of the Great Depression all the more relevant.
  • Although better known for exploring new techniques of presenting Radio narrative, The Columbia Workshop also broadcast several examples of social commentary. "Ecce Homo (Behold the Man)" begins with an audio picture of industrialization and proceeds to a portrait of the Dust Bowl migration. "Heavenly Rest: A Hymn for Lost Americans" is a prayer in the darkness of the gathering clouds of War, but also a lament for children and families made homeless by the Great Depression. Hope in the face of adversity is demonstrated in the story "A Crop of Beans".
  • Dad Needs a JobAttitudes and opinions would shift a good deal as the Depression wore on, especially as the inevitable recovery seemed to near. The Mighty Allen Art Players demonstrated this phenomenon on Town Hall Tonight with a two-part sketch. The first part takes place during the dark year of 1932, a customer goes into a department store to purchase a five-cent collar button, and the staff of the store has not seen a customer for so long they practically declare a holiday. By 1936, the store is so busy the same customer is practically tossed from the premises.
  • Hollywood movies became an important escape from the reality of the Great Depression, and it seemed as though no story or situation could be too unbelievable or fantastic, as long as the girls were pretty, the men were handsome, and they were headed for a happy ending. The greatest expression of this phenomenon may have been the "screwball comedy". The film genre was named for 1930's major league pitcher Carl Hubbell's signature pitch. Hubbell developed a surprising pitch with a spin that sort of fluttered and dropped, went in different directions, and behaved in very unexpected ways. An early episode of The Kraft Music Hall was an on-air preview for RKO's Down to Their Last Yacht (1934), the story of a "poor little rich girl" and the gambler who makes a play for her.
  • Folks who couldn't make it to see pictures at the local movie palace could always listen to the movies on The Lux Radio Theatre. Gold Diggers (1936) told the story of pretty girl roommates trying to make it on Broadway about the time the Depression was catching up with show business. Claudette Colbert, Joel McCrea, Walter Pidgeon, and Catherine McKuen star in Hands Across The Table (1935). A comedy that makes fun of the rich, My Man Godfrey (1936) starred William Powell and Carole Lombard, the film was also adapted for Academy Award Theatre. It Happened One Night (1934) starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert is considered the original true screwball comedy. Several other Lux movie adaptations are included in this collection. Screen Directors Playhouse presents another Depression-era show business story with their adaptation of You Were Meant For Me (1948).
  • The Great Depression of the 1930s was not the first economic depression the country faced (nor, sadly, the last). The Long Depression (formerly referred to as the Great Depression) began with the Panic of 1873 through 1879, although some economic historians say the crisis was book-ended by the Panics of 1873 and the Panic of 1893. The 1893 event led to an economic depression of its own, but the crisis was solved during the second term of President Grover Cleveland, and the tale is related on Mister President.
  • One of the most celebrated literary works to come out of the Great Depression (and arguably the most important work of Twentieth Century American fiction) is John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. Telling the story of a family of "Okies" migrating to California to escape the Great Dust Bowl, but the novel is less the story of a family struggling against long odds than a blatant tale of man's inhumanity to man. The Grapes of Wrath has been called "the most thoroughly discussed novel of 20th century American Fiction". It is presented in this collection by the NBC University Theater. A scene from the novel is presented by The Radio Readers Digest sponsored by Hallmark in the episode "Two For a Penny".
  • Just as President Cleveland demonstrated in the Panic of 1893, the path out of an economic Depression requires strong political leadership, so the Presidential Election of 1932 was of critical importance. Both incumbent Herbert Hoover and New York governor Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to convince the nation that their own ideas could lead us out of the crisis.
  • For other related recordings of the 1930s era, see also: Si and Elmer, Moon River, Pat ODaniel and his Hillbilly Boys,  Phil Baker, Former Slave Interviews, Herbert Hoover Speeches, and WPA Concerts.

World Highest Standard of Living

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.



    37 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 23 hours, 38 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      37 shows - total playtime 23 hours 38 minutes
      1. Academy Award Theater 461002 My Man Godfrey.mp3
      2. Against Storm 400718 X Phillip Tries To Call Mrs. Cameron.mp3
      3. Campbell Playhouse 390310 14 Glass Key.mp3
      4. Cavalcade Of America 480301 Black Duster.mp3
      5. Cavalcade Of America 501003 Six Men Of Wood.mp3
      6. Chase And Sanborn Hour 311200 First Song Carolina Moon.mp3
      7. Columbia Workshop 380521 091 Ecce Homo Behold Man.mp3
      8. Columbia Workshop 400125 020 Heavenly Rest.mp3
      9. Columbia Workshop 410216 066 Crop Of Beans.mp3
      10. Empire Builders 310105 67 Depression.mp3
      11. Fire Chief 320726 Prince Goes To School.mp3
      12. Forecast 400819 10 Back Where I Come From.mp3
      13. Fred Allen Town Hall Tonight 361125 100 Egg Baron.mp3
      14. Ft 480101 047 In Another Year.mp3
      15. Kraft Music Hall 340628 Jack Teagarden Johnny Mercer.mp3
      16. Lux 390319 211 Rehersal It Happened One Night.mp3
      17. Lux Radio 361221 112 Gold Diggers.mp3
      18. Lux Radio 370503 131 Hands Across Table.mp3
      19. Lux Radio 380509 175 My Man Godfrey.mp3
      20. Lux Radio 390320 211 It Happened One Night.mp3
      21. Lux Radio 390327 212 Mans Castle.mp3
      22. Lux Radio 390501 217 Lady For Day.mp3
      23. Lux Radio 410414 303 Dust Be My Destiny.mp3
      24. Lux Radio 411201 328 Mans Castle.mp3
      25. Lux Radio 451008 496 Roughly Speaking.mp3
      26. Lux Radio 541109 896 My Man Godfrey.mp3
      27. Message From William R Hearst 1935 Get Us Out Of Depression.mp3
      28. Mr President 470703 Grover Cleveland.mp3
      29. Nbc University 490109 023 Grapes Of Wrath.mp3
      30. Our Nations Heritage 700000 34 Crash And Depression.mp3
      31. Radio Readers Digest 461031 035 Two For Penny.mp3
      32. Screen Directors Playhouse 490313 010 You Were Meant For Me.mp3
      33. Standard School Broadcast 000000 11 Civil War.mp3
      34. Terry And Pirates 470520 00x Puzzle Of 13 Orphans.mp3
      35. That Other Generation 1969 1 Fueds Fights Decade Of Furors.mp3
      36. Words At War 450403 90 Full Employment In Free Society.mp3
      37. You Make News 460516 Ep026 John L Lewis.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    37 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 23 hours, 38 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      37 shows - total playtime 23 hours 38 minutes
      1. Academy Award Theater 461002 My Man Godfrey.mp3
      2. Against Storm 400718 X Phillip Tries To Call Mrs. Cameron.mp3
      3. Campbell Playhouse 390310 14 Glass Key.mp3
      4. Cavalcade Of America 480301 Black Duster.mp3
      5. Cavalcade Of America 501003 Six Men Of Wood.mp3
      6. Chase And Sanborn Hour 311200 First Song Carolina Moon.mp3
      7. Columbia Workshop 380521 091 Ecce Homo Behold Man.mp3
      8. Columbia Workshop 400125 020 Heavenly Rest.mp3
      9. Columbia Workshop 410216 066 Crop Of Beans.mp3
      10. Empire Builders 310105 67 Depression.mp3
      11. Fire Chief 320726 Prince Goes To School.mp3
      12. Forecast 400819 10 Back Where I Come From.mp3
      13. Fred Allen Town Hall Tonight 361125 100 Egg Baron.mp3
      14. Ft 480101 047 In Another Year.mp3
      15. Kraft Music Hall 340628 Jack Teagarden Johnny Mercer.mp3
      16. Lux 390319 211 Rehersal It Happened One Night.mp3
      17. Lux Radio 361221 112 Gold Diggers.mp3
      18. Lux Radio 370503 131 Hands Across Table.mp3
      19. Lux Radio 380509 175 My Man Godfrey.mp3
      20. Lux Radio 390320 211 It Happened One Night.mp3
      21. Lux Radio 390327 212 Mans Castle.mp3
      22. Lux Radio 390501 217 Lady For Day.mp3
      23. Lux Radio 410414 303 Dust Be My Destiny.mp3
      24. Lux Radio 411201 328 Mans Castle.mp3
      25. Lux Radio 451008 496 Roughly Speaking.mp3
      26. Lux Radio 541109 896 My Man Godfrey.mp3
      27. Message From William R Hearst 1935 Get Us Out Of Depression.mp3
      28. Mr President 470703 Grover Cleveland.mp3
      29. Nbc University 490109 023 Grapes Of Wrath.mp3
      30. Our Nations Heritage 700000 34 Crash And Depression.mp3
      31. Radio Readers Digest 461031 035 Two For Penny.mp3
      32. Screen Directors Playhouse 490313 010 You Were Meant For Me.mp3
      33. Standard School Broadcast 000000 11 Civil War.mp3
      34. Terry And Pirates 470520 00x Puzzle Of 13 Orphans.mp3
      35. That Other Generation 1969 1 Fueds Fights Decade Of Furors.mp3
      36. Words At War 450403 90 Full Employment In Free Society.mp3
      37. You Make News 460516 Ep026 John L Lewis.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



    37 recordings on 28 Audio CDs
    total playtime 23 hours, 38 min

    Depression Era Recordings Disc A001

    1. Message From William R Hearst 1935 Get Us Out Of Depression
    2. That Other Generation 1969 1 Fueds Fights Decade Of Furors
    3. Standard School Broadcast 000000 11 Civil War

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A002

    1. Empire Builders 310105 67 Depression

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A003

    1. Chase And Sanborn Hour 311200 First Song Carolina Moon

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A004

    1. Fire Chief 320726 Prince Goes To School
    2. Kraft Music Hall 340628 Jack Teagarden Johnny Mercer

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A005

    1. Fred Allen Town Hall Tonight 361125 100 Egg Baron

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A006

    1. Lux Radio 361221 112 Gold Diggers

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A007

    1. Lux Radio 370503 131 Hands Across Table

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A008

    1. Lux Radio 380509 175 My Man Godfrey

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A009

    1. Columbia Workshop 380521 091 Ecce Homo Behold Man

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A010

    1. Campbell Playhouse 390310 14 Glass Key

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A011

    1. Lux 390319 211 Rehersal It Happened One Night

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A012

    1. Lux Radio 390320 211 It Happened One Night

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A013

    1. Lux Radio 390327 212 Mans Castle

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A014

    1. Lux Radio 390501 217 Lady For Day

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A015

    1. Columbia Workshop 400125 020 Heavenly Rest
    2. Against Storm 400718 X Phillip Tries To Call Mrs. Cameron

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A016

    1. Forecast 400819 10 Back Where I Come From
    2. Columbia Workshop 410216 066 Crop Of Beans

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A017

    1. Lux Radio 410414 303 Dust Be My Destiny

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A018

    1. Lux Radio 411201 328 Mans Castle

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A019

    1. Words At War 450403 90 Full Employment In Free Society

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A020

    1. Lux Radio 451008 496 Roughly Speaking

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A021

    1. You Make News 460516 Ep026 John L Lewis
    2. Academy Award Theater 461002 My Man Godfrey

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A022

    1. Radio Readers Digest 461031 035 Two For Penny
    2. Terry And Pirates 470520 00x Puzzle Of 13 Orphans

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A023

    1. Mr President 470703 Grover Cleveland
    2. Ft 480101 047 In Another Year

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A024

    1. Cavalcade Of America 480301 Black Duster

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A025

    1. Nbc University 490109 023 Grapes Of Wrath

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A026

    1. Screen Directors Playhouse 490313 010 You Were Meant For Me
    2. Cavalcade Of America 501003 Six Men Of Wood

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A027

    1. Lux Radio 541109 896 My Man Godfrey

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Depression Era Recordings Disc A028

    1. Our Nations Heritage 700000 34 Crash And Depression

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00