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Rare Radio Serial Broadcasts

For writers, serialized stories provide a much wider canvas to work on, although it does have restrictions.

13 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 4 hours, 5 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
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5 Audio CDs


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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2019 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

Child listening to radiSerial stories have been around for nearly as long as there have been periodical publications. Many famous novels, including works by Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Arthur Conan-Doyle, were first read by the public in serial form. It was an especially good deal for the magazine publisher, readers were sure to buy the next edition to complete the story, and hopefully, by the end of the series, there would be another serialized novel to further hook readers.

During the early Radio era, juvenile programs and "soap operas" quickly adopted the serial format. Soap opera listeners especially had a legitimate complaint that some stories were slow to move along, however, if you missed a day or two it was easy to catch up and not feel lost in the plot.

For writers, serialized stories provide a much wider canvas to work on, although it does have restrictions. There is more space to tell the story but chopping the narrative into segments means that continuous recapping at the beginning of each episode, but those recaps need to remain fresh enough not to turn off regular listeners. This may not be as important if the writer can deliver a compelling cliff-hanger for each episode, but the continued tensions of continual cliff-hanging can fatigue audiences.

Prime-time comedies, dramas, and police procedurals stuck to an episodic format. The "crook of the week" or "goofy Dad's latest goofy scheme" would be introduced, dealt with, and resolved within the half-hour, or whatever time block the show had. This put some restrictions on the type of stories writers could develop, in fact, many shows lost popularity by becoming formulaic. However, if a new listener found the show, he would have no trouble figuring out what was going on and would not feel lost.

The biggest problem for serials is that they are a risky investment for the networks. When an episodic program is "discovered" after a few episodes and develops a fan base, the network is happy to invest in further marketing. If a show fails to take off with listeners, it can be quietly shuffled to another time slot or, especially during the live broadcast era, simply be canceled.

This leads to the biggest problem with Serials in our Rarities, because of the nature of Old Time Radio many of the serials are incomplete. The disks they were originally distributed on were fragile, and if one was damaged the whole series becomes junk and fodder for the waste bin. That does not mean that the orphaned episodes are not fun to listen to. In some cases, the episodes represent the only audio evidence of what was a cultural phenomenon of its time. If there are only a few isolated episodes of a series, it can be entertaining for the modern audience to "fill in the blanks" and imagine their own version of the complete story. The listener should keep in mind that while we are only able to hear a fraction of the intended project, in its whole it represented the aspirations, hopes, and the very livelihood of not just the writers, but the actors and production crew involved.

  • American Family Robinson, 1934, World Broadcasting System syndication for the National Association of Manufacturers. Presented as a mid-Thirties "slice-of-life" in Centerville. Father Luke is the editor of the Centerville Herald, mother Myra has an active social life, and kids Betty and Bob have the typical teenaged adventures. What makes the Family Robinson unique is that they are decidedly against President Roosevelt's "New Deal", following the N.A.M.'s contention that the policies are anti-business.
  • Hagen's Circus, 1948(?), Who hasn't wanted to run away and join the Circus? This fun program from the Land Down Under takes us beyond the big top and takes us into the lives of the performers and show people who travel around the country.
  • Lost Empire, Syndicated. Professor Charles Ballard is on his way to the jungles of South America to study lost Mayan ruins, and he is bringing along his daughter, Flora, who is taking a break from her work on the stage. Also, in the party is the professor's virile young assistant, Roger Holcomb, who, naturally, has the hots for Flora. Sounds like the set up for all sorts of adventures, if you can overlook the notion of Ancient Mayan ceremonies being conducted in modern English!
  • Mama Bloom's Brood, 1934, Broadcasters Program Syndicate/Bruce Eells and Assoc. Because NBC's The Goldbergs had been such a hit, imitators were inevitable. While Gertrude Berg's characters tended to stay close to their new home in the Bronx, Mama Bloom's outfit found a serviceable car and hit the road to see America.
  • The Mystery Castle, 1947, Syndicated, presented by WKBN Youngstown, Ohio. A daily Christmas serial for the kids in the weeks leading up to Santa's visit, playing off the success of The Cinnamon Bear. We get to follow young Ronnie and Happy the Rabbit as they travel through the Enchanted Forest where mysterious packages keep appearing. Late at night in the castle, they plan on stealing the huge key which Santa keeps in his belt to break into the Mystery Vault.
  • Swifty McGinnis, Southpaw Supreme, 1939, Syndicated, audition program. "The story of a baseball rookie", the story picks up the evening before opening day for the Tanktown Nine, and their new fireball left-hander is just showing up in town. If he can pitch as well as he talks, it is going to be an interesting season.
  • The Maltese Goddess. The daughter of a private detective and amateur archeologist Nick Noble is cleaning out Noble's office after his funeral. Out of nowhere, a new case presents itself. The plot of the serial is advanced with songs for the dream sequences.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2019 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    13 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 4 hours, 5 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      13 shows - total playtime 4 hours 5 minutes
      1. Family Robinson 76 Dick Returns Chicago.mp3
      2. Hagens Circus Episode 5.mp3
      3. Hagens Circus Episode 6.mp3
      4. Lost Empire 42 White Flower Of Desteny.mp3
      5. Lost Empire Episode 42 White Flower Of Destiny 1 Of 3.mp3
      6. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (02) New Dresses.mp3
      7. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (03) The Girls Are Late.mp3
      8. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (04) Sidney Comes To Dinner.mp3
      9. Mystery Castle 471200 Trying To Solve Mystery Of Packages.mp3
      10. Swifty Mcginnis Southpaw Supreme 391113 Epaud.mp3
      11. The Maltese Goddess 01 The Waking Man Dreams.mp3
      12. The Maltese Goddess 02 All Shadows Light.mp3
      13. The Maltese Goddess 03 She Opens Her Eyes.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    13 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 4 hours, 5 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      13 shows - total playtime 4 hours 5 minutes
      1. Family Robinson 76 Dick Returns Chicago.mp3
      2. Hagens Circus Episode 5.mp3
      3. Hagens Circus Episode 6.mp3
      4. Lost Empire 42 White Flower Of Desteny.mp3
      5. Lost Empire Episode 42 White Flower Of Destiny 1 Of 3.mp3
      6. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (02) New Dresses.mp3
      7. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (03) The Girls Are Late.mp3
      8. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (04) Sidney Comes To Dinner.mp3
      9. Mystery Castle 471200 Trying To Solve Mystery Of Packages.mp3
      10. Swifty Mcginnis Southpaw Supreme 391113 Epaud.mp3
      11. The Maltese Goddess 01 The Waking Man Dreams.mp3
      12. The Maltese Goddess 02 All Shadows Light.mp3
      13. The Maltese Goddess 03 She Opens Her Eyes.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



    13 recordings on 5 Audio CDs
    total playtime 4 hours, 5 min

    Rare Serial Disc A001

    1. Family Robinson 76 Dick Returns Chicago
    2. Hagens Circus Episode 5
    3. Hagens Circus Episode 6
    4. Lost Empire 42 White Flower Of Desteny

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Rare Serial Disc A002

    1. Lost Empire Episode 42 White Flower Of Destiny 1 Of 3
    2. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (02) New Dresses

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Rare Serial Disc A003

    1. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (03) The Girls Are Late
    2. Mama Blooms Brood Xxxxxx (04) Sidney Comes To Dinner
    3. The Maltese Goddess 01 The Waking Man Dreams

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Rare Serial Disc A004

    1. The Maltese Goddess 02 All Shadows Light
    2. The Maltese Goddess 03 She Opens Her Eyes
    3. Swifty Mcginnis Southpaw Supreme 391113 Epaud

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Rare Serial Disc A005

    1. Mystery Castle 471200 Trying To Solve Mystery Of Packages

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
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