Rare Gossip Broadcasts
Spreading stories about others is a filthy practice, but it is something we are hardwired to love doing!
38 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 14 hours, 5 min)
available in the following formats:
1 MP3 CD
15 Audio CDs
Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2019 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.
eGossip is the sharing of unsubstantiated stories or rumors about other people. It is generally considered an unsavory practice and discouraged on many fronts, although some evolutionary biologists theorize that sharing gossip is an important factor in the social cohesion of large groups. This reflects the importance of reputation in relation to social standing.
The importance of the individual reputations of A-List actors was seen in the rise of publicity departments as part of the Studio System during Hollywood's Golden Age. When a popular gossip columnist would spread uplifting stories about the Stars, they gained greater access to those Stars and their private lives. However, the best way to become a popular gossip columnist was to dig up some really juicy "dirt". The gossip industry was a delicate balance between building and ruining the reputations of the big Stars.
On the air, gossip programs were usually tightly scripted, including interview programs, although some broadcasts were less formal and more conversational in tone. Like the stereotype of housewives sharing news about the neighbors over the backyard fence, the ultimate purpose was less malicious and more toward community building, allowing listeners to feel they were getting insider information about their favorite Stars.
- 1001 Wives, 1939, possibly an audition program starring Mercedes McCambridge. An "Album Program" celebrating marriage and the special magic a wife brings to the relationship. For listeners who are still single, the album will act as a guide to what a guy should look for in a bride.
- Alexander Woollcott, The Town Crier, October 6, 1933, CBS. "Twenty Years of Great Music". The widely quoted Woollcott guides us on an imaginary journey through time to the period just before the Great War, the journey shows us many harbingers of things intimately familiar to Depression Era listeners.
- America's Most Interesting People, December 5, 1938, Mutual net, on-air Audition program. Jerry Lawrence hosts this look at people with unusual jobs, including animal broker Henry Krakauer, the world's oldest chorus (she's a 74-year-old hoofer), the operator of a "Toy Library" which lends toys to kids, and others.
- Breakfast at Sardis, June 1, 1942. Lum and Abner are in town for the premiere of The Bashful Bachelor (1942) and they appear on Tom's morning show for an amusing interview.
- The Court of Human Relations, December 17, 1937, NBC net, sponsored by True Story Magazine. Dramatized stories from the magazine and listeners are encouraged to write in to propose solutions to the problems in the story. In this episode, a college girl meets a sailor about to leave on a cruise. They secretly marry, and he goes "over the hill" to be with her when she becomes pregnant. Of course, when the Navy finds him, they will take him back.
- Dr. Curtis Springer, 1934, Brunswick Transcriptions for Health Laboratories, Chicago. Filled with social commentary with the good doctor passing judgment on people in many situations. It is up to the listener whether or not they accept Springer's advice on "the facts of life".
- Erskine Johnson in Hollywood, December 16, 1949, Mutual net, sponsored by Rye Crisp. Mr. Johnson's guest is Rhonda Fleming, who does her very best to evade the question of who is a better on-screen (and potentially real-life) lover, Bob Hope or Bing Crosby?
- Hollywood Hotel, late 1930's, CBS, sponsored by Campbell's Soup. "The most glamorous show of its time." Anchored by the queen of gossip, Louella Parsons, the program features superb radio entertainment with the best of Hollywood's talent, hosted by Dick Powell. Louella opens each program with the juiciest news from the Movie Capital.
- Ida Bailey Allen and the Chef, May 10, 1947, Kaye-Martine Productions, Orthacoustic Syndication. "The Nation's Homemaker" teams with a supposed singing French Chef to discuss recipes, fashions, and current events. The Chef is using a pressure cooker, so the whole meal will cook within 15 minutes. Mrs. Bailey authored some 50 cookbooks, beginning in 1917.
- Let's Talk Hollywood, July 25, 1947, NBC, sponsored by Lucky Strikes. A combination quiz and gossip show. Listeners send in questions about movies. Panel member Erskine Johnson was a prolific gossip columnist.
- Maggie's Private Wire, August 10, 1945, WEAF New York. Maggie McNellis chats with Broadway and film celebrities over the phone. The program is interrupted by "False VJ Day" coverage.
- The Mary Lee Taylor Program, September 9, 1939, CBS. Mary Lee Taylor was a pseudonym used by Erma P. Proetz, a St. Louis advertising executive who created the PET Milk Test Kitchen to develop recipes and techniques for Depression-era homemakers to stretch their food budgets, naturally featuring nutritious canned milk.
- Mary Margaret McBride, January 12, 1945, WEAF New York. Called "the First Lady of Radio", Mary Margaret was on the air for 40 years with a daily interview program. This edition brings us up close and personal with movie queen Carole Landis.
- Meet Me at Owl's, December 27, 1949, KHJ Los Angeles. Customer interviews at the Owl Drug Store chain in Pasadena by Stu Wilson.
- Midnighter's Club, 1950, KDKA Pittsburgh. Late night interview program featuring movie and radio star Dick Powell talking about working as a crooner and moving on to tough guy roles.
- Mind Your Manners, June 26, 1948, NBC, WTIC Harford. A write-in advice program featuring a panel of six teens who dispense "common sense" advice to their peers. Hosted by Allen Ludden.
- Mysteries of the Mind, December 11, 1938, Mutual, WOR New York. Henry Morgan hosts this semi-scientific look at hypnotism, ESP, and other mental and psychological phenomena.
- Palace Personalities, December 27, 1949, sponsored by I.Magnin & Co., local San Francisco program. Interview program from the Palace Corner Lounge at San Francisco's historic Palace Hotel. Len Curley chats with Mildred Wong, crowned as Miss China Honolulu (she is in town for the New Year's Bowl Games), and movie voice actress Lucille Bliss.
- Personality Plus, June 26, 1941. The typical format for interview programs has the host asking his guest questions so that the audience can get to know them better. Personality Plus takes a pair of interesting people and sets them in front of the microphone so they can have their own conversation. In this episode, the wife of British actor working in Hollywood, Lionel Atwill, and the wife of Lawrence Wood Roberts, Jr, former Assistant Treasurer of the United States get together. Mrs. Atwill is the former wife of General Douglas MacArthur, and Mrs. Robert is a longtime member of the Washington DC social set.
- Point Blank with Nancy Perry, December 6, 1953. Ms. Perry talks about "familiar faces and places" as she tears around town to gather the latest low-down from the entertainment industry. Lots of insider news from both Broadway and the film industry.
- The Tex and Jinx Show, mid-Forties-early Fifties, WNBC New York. Socialite and pin-up girl Jinx Falkenberg met LtCol "Tex" McCrary when he showed up to snap her picture for a military magazine just before the War. They were married in 1945, and after the end of hostilities, Tex convinced David Sarnoff of NBC to give the couple a spot for a morning daily talk show on the network's flagship station. Topics ran from celebrity gossip to atomic proliferation.
- Train Time, audition program. Recorded on tape aboard the Southern Pacific Golden State Limited en route to California. Future programs were to be recorded aboard different rail lines and trains around the country.
- Travel Time, May 1941, WLW Cincinnati. "Person on the street" type interviews of arriving and departing passengers at Cincinnati's Union Terminal.
- The Tremaynes, September 21, 1949, Mutual, Actor Les Tremayne was considered one of the busiest in radio, during the 1930s and 1940s he was appearing in as many as 45 broadcasts each week, and he still found time to appear on a breakfast talk show with his second wife, Alice Reinheart.
- Walkie Talkie, June 22, 1945, ABC sustained. Don Norman is using the "newest thing in radio interviewing", a remote broadcast from the Brown Derby Restaurant. His guest today is motion picture critic for the L.A. Herald-Express, Jimmy Starr.
- Walter O'Keefe's Americana, May 26, 1953, Audition program. O'Keefe interviews celebrities, including Gloria Swanson and author Paul Wellman.
- What's the Score? 1939, Audition program. Happy Felton wanted to get into baseball, but his mother was afraid he would get hurt, so he went into vaudeville and eventually radio. He would win fame the host of early TV's Ebbet's Field Knothole Gang, but this program was a discussion of current events from his local bowling alley.
- Your Sugar Report, January 20, 1945, Armed Forces Radio Service. Apparently recorded in New York for broadcast from the AFRS shortwave station in Hollywood. Each week an attractive starlet, in this case, Brenda Marshall, would be selected to read entertainment news and spread a little "sugar" to the troops overseas.
Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2019 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.