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Living Fiction

A multi-departmental effort by Northwestern University to create an educational radio show featuring great fiction.

16 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 7 hours, 54 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
8 Audio CDs


Choose your CD format
or order disks individually: Add to Cart
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Play a sample episode from April 24, 1954:

"Gulliver's Travels"



... 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.

In the "make a buck" atmosphere which dominated the Golden Age of Radio, it was easy to lose track of the notion that the licenses of even the national networks were based on serving the public interest. One of the best ways to do that was by fostering education, which with its ability to reach a wide range of learners, radio was well suited to do.

Gulliver's Travel Classic IllustrationThe question was, how best to serve the needs of the most learners? There had been attempts to reach grade school students with broadcasts suited for classroom listening, but probably the most effective was NBC's long-running University of the Air. The University was a means for undergraduate students to receive college credit for listening to adaptations of great literature. The programs faced some difficulties, not the least of which was compressing weighty library tomes into a one hour or half-hour format. Because they were an educational service, the shows were sustained by the network, but they attracted a wider audience than just students. They helped to reinforce the concept that great literature makes great radio.

Several writers have commented that University of the Air came at both the right and wrong time. It may have helped any number of veterans to take advantage of their G.I Bill education benefits, but an atmosphere of suspicion pervaded the later years of the show as intellectualism became equated with Communist sympathies. NBC University of the Air left the airwaves in February 1951.

Northwestern University worked with NBC to create a replacement which began broadcasting in January 1954 entitled Living Fiction. Although it was also a sustained broadcast, production was done using all of the resources available from Northwestern, including the literature department, the music department, and the drama department. The stories were adapted by faculty and students, and all of the actors are credited as Northwestern students. The music which accompanies each episode more than rivals the network orchestra in both grandeur and arrangement.

Stories presented on Living Fiction include Sir Walter Scott's The Heart of Midlothian, Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi, Moby Dick, the Red Badge of Courage, Gulliver's Travels, Stephen Vincent Benét's The Devil and Daniel Webster, and several others. From a critical standpoint, the listener will miss a great deal that the reader gets to enjoy. That is a cost of reducing such great works to fit into a half-hour format. However, readers will enjoy hearing the interpretation of their favorite stories, and hearing the stories may inspire listeners to turn off the radio and become readers.

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.



    16 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 7 hours, 54 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      16 shows - total playtime 7 hours 54 minutes
      1. Living Fiction 540123 Heart Of Midlothian.mp3
      2. Living Fiction 540130 Luck Of Roaring Camp.mp3
      3. Living Fiction 540206 Man Without Country.mp3
      4. Living Fiction 540213 Pere Goriot.mp3
      5. Living Fiction 540220 Life On Mississippi.mp3
      6. Living Fiction 540227 Scarlet Letter.mp3
      7. Living Fiction 540313 Moby Dick.mp3
      8. Living Fiction 540403 Rise Of Silas Lapham.mp3
      9. Living Fiction 540410 Crime Of Sylvester Bonnard.mp3
      10. Living Fiction 540417 Pilot.mp3
      11. Living Fiction 540424 Gullivers Travels.mp3
      12. Living Fiction 540501 Red Badge Of Courage.mp3
      13. Living Fiction 540508 Canterville Ghost.mp3
      14. Living Fiction 540515 Picture Of Dorian Gray.mp3
      15. Living Fiction 540522 Devil And Daniel Webster.mp3
      16. Living Fiction 540529 Suicide Club.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    16 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 7 hours, 54 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      16 shows - total playtime 7 hours 54 minutes
      1. Living Fiction 540123 Heart Of Midlothian.mp3
      2. Living Fiction 540130 Luck Of Roaring Camp.mp3
      3. Living Fiction 540206 Man Without Country.mp3
      4. Living Fiction 540213 Pere Goriot.mp3
      5. Living Fiction 540220 Life On Mississippi.mp3
      6. Living Fiction 540227 Scarlet Letter.mp3
      7. Living Fiction 540313 Moby Dick.mp3
      8. Living Fiction 540403 Rise Of Silas Lapham.mp3
      9. Living Fiction 540410 Crime Of Sylvester Bonnard.mp3
      10. Living Fiction 540417 Pilot.mp3
      11. Living Fiction 540424 Gullivers Travels.mp3
      12. Living Fiction 540501 Red Badge Of Courage.mp3
      13. Living Fiction 540508 Canterville Ghost.mp3
      14. Living Fiction 540515 Picture Of Dorian Gray.mp3
      15. Living Fiction 540522 Devil And Daniel Webster.mp3
      16. Living Fiction 540529 Suicide Club.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



    16 recordings on 8 Audio CDs
    total playtime 7 hours, 54 min

    Living Fiction Disc A001

    1. Living Fiction 540123 Heart Of Midlothian
    2. Living Fiction 540130 Luck Of Roaring Camp

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Living Fiction Disc A002

    1. Living Fiction 540206 Man Without Country
    2. Living Fiction 540213 Pere Goriot

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Living Fiction Disc A003

    1. Living Fiction 540220 Life On Mississippi
    2. Living Fiction 540227 Scarlet Letter

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Living Fiction Disc A004

    1. Living Fiction 540313 Moby Dick
    2. Living Fiction 540403 Rise Of Silas Lapham

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Living Fiction Disc A005

    1. Living Fiction 540410 Crime Of Sylvester Bonnard
    2. Living Fiction 540417 Pilot

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Living Fiction Disc A006

    1. Living Fiction 540424 Gullivers Travels
    2. Living Fiction 540501 Red Badge Of Courage

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Living Fiction Disc A007

    1. Living Fiction 540508 Canterville Ghost
    2. Living Fiction 540515 Picture Of Dorian Gray

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Living Fiction Disc A008

    1. Living Fiction 540522 Devil And Daniel Webster
    2. Living Fiction 540529 Suicide Club

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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