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Practical Jokers in Old Time Radio

Everyone loves a practical joke...unless you are the victim. Practical jokes abound in all genres of radio history from comedy to mystery to variety to western.

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33 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 13 hours, 21 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
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15 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from August 29, 1957:

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About this Old Time Radio Show

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

Orson WellesJokes are supposed to make us laugh, and laughter is one of the characteristics which make us truly human. Some of the funniest jokes are practical jokes, unless, of course, we are the ones that the joke is being pulled on.

Before the early 1800s, the term for a physical prank was "handicraft joke". A joke becomes practical when some physical act needs to be "put into practice" for it to be achieved. Most of us are able to accept a joke at our own expense, but becoming the victim of a practical joke can shatter someone's dignity. When someone tells a joke about us there is always a degree of plausible deniability. "Aww, you're just saying that," we can reply with a chuckle. If we are the victim of a practical joke, especially one that we should have seen coming, the evidence of our foolishness is on display for the whole world to see.

The more people a practical joker can snare as victims, the better. One of the most famous practical jokes of all time has an important place in OTR, the 1938 Halloween broadcast of The War of the Worlds by Orson Welles. There is still some debate as to whether the broadcast was intended as a practical joke or was simply an unfortunately misunderstood experiment in radio theater, but if it was a joke, it turned out to be a whopper!

Welles' theater company had already established a reputation for staging classic productions in modern times on the live stage, including mocking Fascist Italy by playing Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in modern garb and setting Voodoo Macbeth in Haiti with an all-black cast. Placing H.G. Wells' science fiction tale in modern-day New Jersey and presenting it as a newscast sounds like genius until you consider that The Mercury Theatre on the Air had yet to become popular enough to keep listeners from tuning into NBC's The Chase and Sanborn Hour featuring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. During the break after Charlie's first comedy sketch, listeners tuned to CBS to see if there was something else worth listening to, and heard what appeared to be a news report of aliens landing without hearing the introduction which announced that the whole thing was fiction.

  • Henry decides to go to a party instead of going to the movies with Homer and as part of the party games he puts one of the girls to call Homer and set up a false date. Suddenly, Homer is getting more calls for dates than he knows what to do with. What could happen when everyone realizes it is all a practical joke on The Aldrich Family?
  • Pro ball players are well known for pulling practical jokes to ease the tension in the club, and one of the greatest jokers was the Ace of the Gashouse Gang. On The Dizzy Dean Show, our hero peppers his advice to young players with stories his catcher of tricking batters, fooling his radio engineer into spending the night in the hotel lobby, and Pepper Martin with a bag of sneezing powder.
  • What could be more irresistible than pulling a practical joke on Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve at his Halloween party? For Fibber McGee, nothing could be more irresistible! What could go wrong when the garage is right between the McGee's and next door neighbor Gildy's? How could Fibber know that the McGee's car is in the Gildersleeve's garage?
  • "The Old Army Game" is based on the actions of an American counterintelligence unit during WWI, and is called the biggest practical joke ever pulled by one army against another. The story is related on Front Page Dramas from the Hearst Syndicate's The American Weekly.
  • Some friends plan an April Fool's prank on Sherlock Holmes, and to everyone's great surprise the great detective falls for it, but the valuable emerald at the heart of the gag is actually stolen! In addition to his friends getting the best of Holmes, it is also an early appearance of the nefarious Moriarty.
  • Wild Bill Hickok and Jingles are on their way to visit a general store keeper who still loves practical jokes even after all these years. Just before they get into town, a stranger on a black horse wearing a red shirt takes a shot at them. In town, they discover a gang of rustlers. Western fun!
  • There is an ancient maxim in the Navy that only a fool would pull a joke or make life miserable for the cook. The "Little America" research station in Antarctica receives messages from home over a radio broadcast called "Mail Bag". On Adventures with Admiral Byrd, one of the boys arranges for fake messages to be sent to Carbone the cook from women who want to marry him when he gets back from the expedition.
  • On All Star Western Theater, Foy Willing and The Riders of the Purple Sage relate a story about a "Sharp Shootin' Gal", a yellow-haired beauty who comes from back East comes to meet her mail order husband, only to find out the whole thing was a set up for some rustlers to cover their tracks.
  • "Death is No Joke" sets up the situation on Box 13. Practical jokes are being pulled on the heir to a fortune who reappeared out of the blue. The jokes seem to be getting more and more dangerous and may be the work of those who would have inherited if Bernie had not shown up.
  • Ol' Pop Raymond loves to pull practical jokes in the Gold Horseshoe but even Sergeant Preston on The Challenge of the Yukon is on to him. He spends a few days setting up a whopper not realizing his new friends have given him a real stick of dynamite for his gag.
  • An old Indian scout is given a letter that he thinks says he would be a good guide for cattlemen coming into Dodge City. In fact, the letter was written as a joke and says that he is a thief. How will Marshall Dillon react when Tobile the scout gets his revenge on Gunsmoke.
  • In the Suspense play "Hollywood Hostages", a movie crew goes to do advance location work in a ghost town in the middle of the California desert. The crew is working for a director known as the biggest practical joker in the movie industry. The ghost town is the hideout for a pair of desperate bank robbers, but the Hollywood people thinks they are a part of the director's joke.

For more laughs, see also our extensive comedy collections including the compilations:

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.



    33 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $4.50
    total playtime 13 hours, 21 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      33 shows - total playtime 13 hours 21 minutes
      1. Adventures With Admiral Byrd 000000 Mail Coming.mp3
      2. Aldrich Family 440915 250 Everyone Is Asking Homer For Date.mp3
      3. All Star Western Theater 470726 Sharp Shooting Girl.mp3
      4. All Star Western Theater 480814 Jack Joker.mp3
      5. Box 13 490522 Death Is No Joke.mp3
      6. Broadway Is My Beat 530314 Laugh Minute Tyler.mp3
      7. Challenge Of Yukon 460214 Cure.mp3
      8. Damon Runyon Theater 490918 Breakmans Daughter.mp3
      9. Dark Fantasy 420306 Man With Scarlet Satchel.mp3
      10. Dizzy Dean 480821 08 Dizzys Fast Ball.mp3
      11. Falcon 510311 Case Of Unsilent Butler.mp3
      12. Fibber Mcgee And Molly 391024 Halloween Gildersleeves House.mp3
      13. Front Page Drama 410816 0434 Old Army Game.mp3
      14. Gunsmoke 531128 Kick Me.mp3
      15. Gunsmoke 540116 Bear.mp3
      16. Gunsmoke 581019 Kick Me.mp3
      17. Jean Shepherd Show 660621.mp3
      18. Jerry Of Circus 370000 064 Lights Go Off.mp3
      19. Jerry Of Circus 370000 095 Fake Invitation Sent To Boris.mp3
      20. Jerry Of Circus 370000 125 Spuds Bad Trick.mp3
      21. Jerry Of Circus 370000 126 Financial Troubles For Mr Randall.mp3
      22. Let George Do It 490131 Mayhem By Experts.mp3
      23. Let George Do It 500626 Most Likely To Die.mp3
      24. LR 410804 1331 Last Laugh.mp3
      25. LR 551125 2814 Renegade Rifles.mp3
      26. Mercury Theater 381030 17 War Of Worlds.mp3
      27. Philo Vance 500307 Church Murder Case.mp3
      28. Sherlock Holmes 209 April Fools Adventure.mp3
      29. Suspense 560221 Hollywood Hostages.mp3
      30. Taos 460410 1265 Story Of Century Pt 08.mp3
      31. This Is Your Fbi 521226 404 Sunshine Syndicate.mp3
      32. Wild Bill Hickok 520326 064 Jokes And Gunsmoke.mp3
      33. X Minus One 570829 Volpla.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    33 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $4.50
    total playtime 13 hours, 21 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      33 shows - total playtime 13 hours 21 minutes
      1. Adventures With Admiral Byrd 000000 Mail Coming.mp3
      2. Aldrich Family 440915 250 Everyone Is Asking Homer For Date.mp3
      3. All Star Western Theater 470726 Sharp Shooting Girl.mp3
      4. All Star Western Theater 480814 Jack Joker.mp3
      5. Box 13 490522 Death Is No Joke.mp3
      6. Broadway Is My Beat 530314 Laugh Minute Tyler.mp3
      7. Challenge Of Yukon 460214 Cure.mp3
      8. Damon Runyon Theater 490918 Breakmans Daughter.mp3
      9. Dark Fantasy 420306 Man With Scarlet Satchel.mp3
      10. Dizzy Dean 480821 08 Dizzys Fast Ball.mp3
      11. Falcon 510311 Case Of Unsilent Butler.mp3
      12. Fibber Mcgee And Molly 391024 Halloween Gildersleeves House.mp3
      13. Front Page Drama 410816 0434 Old Army Game.mp3
      14. Gunsmoke 531128 Kick Me.mp3
      15. Gunsmoke 540116 Bear.mp3
      16. Gunsmoke 581019 Kick Me.mp3
      17. Jean Shepherd Show 660621.mp3
      18. Jerry Of Circus 370000 064 Lights Go Off.mp3
      19. Jerry Of Circus 370000 095 Fake Invitation Sent To Boris.mp3
      20. Jerry Of Circus 370000 125 Spuds Bad Trick.mp3
      21. Jerry Of Circus 370000 126 Financial Troubles For Mr Randall.mp3
      22. Let George Do It 490131 Mayhem By Experts.mp3
      23. Let George Do It 500626 Most Likely To Die.mp3
      24. LR 410804 1331 Last Laugh.mp3
      25. LR 551125 2814 Renegade Rifles.mp3
      26. Mercury Theater 381030 17 War Of Worlds.mp3
      27. Philo Vance 500307 Church Murder Case.mp3
      28. Sherlock Holmes 209 April Fools Adventure.mp3
      29. Suspense 560221 Hollywood Hostages.mp3
      30. Taos 460410 1265 Story Of Century Pt 08.mp3
      31. This Is Your Fbi 521226 404 Sunshine Syndicate.mp3
      32. Wild Bill Hickok 520326 064 Jokes And Gunsmoke.mp3
      33. X Minus One 570829 Volpla.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



    33 recordings on 15 Audio CDs
    total playtime 13 hours, 21 min

    Practical Jokers Disc A001

    1. Sherlock Holmes 209 April Fools Adventure
    2. Adventures With Admiral Byrd 000000 Mail Coming
    3. Jerry Of Circus 370000 064 Lights Go Off
    4. Jerry Of Circus 370000 095 Fake Invitation Sent To Boris

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A002

    1. Jerry Of Circus 370000 125 Spuds Bad Trick
    2. Jerry Of Circus 370000 126 Financial Troubles For Mr Randall

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A003

    1. Mercury Theater 381030 17 War Of Worlds

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A004

    1. Fibber Mcgee And Molly 391024 Halloween Gildersleeves House
    2. LR 410804 1331 Last Laugh

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A005

    1. Front Page Drama 410816 0434 Old Army Game
    2. Dark Fantasy 420306 Man With Scarlet Satchel
    3. Aldrich Family 440915 250 Everyone Is Asking Homer For Date

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A006

    1. Challenge Of Yukon 460214 Cure
    2. Taos 460410 1265 Story Of Century Pt 08
    3. All Star Western Theater 470726 Sharp Shooting Girl

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A007

    1. All Star Western Theater 480814 Jack Joker
    2. Dizzy Dean 480821 08 Dizzys Fast Ball

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A008

    1. Let George Do It 490131 Mayhem By Experts
    2. Box 13 490522 Death Is No Joke

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A009

    1. Damon Runyon Theater 490918 Breakmans Daughter
    2. Philo Vance 500307 Church Murder Case

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A010

    1. Let George Do It 500626 Most Likely To Die
    2. Falcon 510311 Case Of Unsilent Butler

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A011

    1. Wild Bill Hickok 520326 064 Jokes And Gunsmoke
    2. This Is Your Fbi 521226 404 Sunshine Syndicate

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A012

    1. Broadway Is My Beat 530314 Laugh Minute Tyler
    2. Gunsmoke 531128 Kick Me

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A013

    1. Gunsmoke 540116 Bear
    2. LR 551125 2814 Renegade Rifles

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A014

    1. Suspense 560221 Hollywood Hostages
    2. X Minus One 570829 Volpla
    3. Gunsmoke 581019 Kick Me

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Practical Jokers Disc A015

    1. Jean Shepherd Show 660621

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

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