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The Storybook of Life

Storyteller Jim Ameche shares surprising and interesting ‘infotainment’ pieces from The Story Book of Life

30 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 5 hours, 37 min)
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1 MP3 CD
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5 Audio CDs


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"Wrong Way Corrigan Blind Boy"



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Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2020 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

European car designers create some of the finest, most practical yet luxurious automobiles in the world, but they often fail to understand the American Car Buyer. This misunderstanding can be best expressed through cupholders and infotainment systems.

A good deal of the misunderstanding comes down to the different ways post-WWII Americans and Europeans generally use their cars. Post-War America was overflowing with money, and living up to the promise of ‘a chicken in every pot, a car in every driveway’. Newly wealthy Americans needed those cars. Before and during the War there had been a great migration from farms to the cities, and now a new migration was leaving the congestion of the cities for the suburbs. A significant portion of each day would be spent traveling to and from home to work or shopping in the city. It would not be uncommon for someone to spend more time in his car than in his living room.

Post-War Europeans had far fewer cars and driving was an activity for the wealthy. Driving was an activity to be taken quite seriously, in part because it was a privilege and a responsibility to control a fine automobile. So was eating, for that matter, so European drivers found the notion of a drive-through restaurant mildly disgusting. Driving was too important to be distracted by food and drink, so why would you need cupholders? Some fine music might be nice on a long trip, but the jarring tunes and mindless chatter of American Radio as the TV age were simply too distracting for European tastes.

Since Americans were living a major portion of their lives in their cars, they not only needed cupholders so they could take a meal behind the wheel, in-car entertainment became vital. Although it seems unsafe to allow such a distraction behind the wheel, American drivers were covering enough distance that the distraction actually helps drivers to remain awake and alert. The in-dash radio began as an experiment by broadcast pioneer Lee de Forest at the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair. Radio was a $130 option in 1930 when a new Model A cost around $540. By the end of the Thirties, radios were becoming standard equipment with pushbutton controls improving safety by making the sets easier to tune.

Jim Ameche

As sponsor dollars began migrating to the small-screen format, dramas and variety programs began deserting the AM format, and the great radio networks began to shrink. Listenership began shifting to a “Drivetime” format of disk jockeys, popular music (in a marketable three-and-a-half-minute format), news on the half-hour, and short programs which were often syndicated to reach several markets.

The Story Book of Life hosted by Jim Ameche. The Ameche boys were born in Kenosha, Wisconsin (just up the road from Ray Bradbury and Jack Benny’s hometown, Waukegan, Illinois). Jim followed his big brother Don into vaudeville and eventually made it to Hollywood. Don Ameche became a popular leading man for 20th Century Fox as well as making a name for himself on Radio Row. He was the Master of Ceremonies on The Chase and Sanborn Hour when Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy became stars, but left the program in early 1940 and kid-brother Jim got the job. Jim was also the original Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.

Syndication would be a good fit for programs like Story Book. The relatively short format (episodes ran about 12 minutes) had room at the beginning and end for local advertisement, and Story Book even had a pause in the middle for another ad. The stories would appeal to later fans of Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story which would go on the air in 1976. Each spot included two unrelated stories that would be somewhat familiar to history students, but listeners would be hooked until the end to find out whether the story was, in fact, the one they thought it was. This anticipation also makes The Story Book of Life classic “Drive Way Listening”. A Drive Way show is one that is so interesting that when you reach home, you will sit with the car running to hear the end of the story!

Storybook of Life newspaper announcement

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2020 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.



    30 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 5 hours, 37 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      30 shows - total playtime 5 hours 37 minutes
      1. Sbol 01 Wrong Way Corrigan Blind Boy.mp3
      2. Sbol 02 Pow Dad Doctors Office Visit.mp3
      3. Sbol 03 Priest In Storm Jury.mp3
      4. Sbol 04 Twins Verdi Opera.mp3
      5. Sbol 05 Murderer Henry Dumond.mp3
      6. Sbol 06 Tatania Gene Autry.mp3
      7. Sbol 07 Escaped Nazi Elias Howe.mp3
      8. Sbol 08 Joseph Turner William Borah Idaho.mp3
      9. Sbol 09 Archduke Ferdinand Knute Rockne.mp3
      10. Sbol 10 Rommel Bo False Prince Of Wales.mp3
      11. Sbol 11 Pilot In Trouble Necklace Nevada And Two Men.mp3
      12. Sbol 12 Murdered Two Men Kathleen Norris.mp3
      13. Sbol 13 Patricide Value Of Beauty.mp3
      14. Sbol 14 Dog Named Lucky Leland Stanford Memorial.mp3
      15. Sbol 15 Fishermans Daughter Roger Bacon.mp3
      16. Sbol 16 Unncecessary Wife Killer.mp3
      17. Sbol 17 Mexican Detective Dirvish.mp3
      18. Sbol 18 False Teeth Murder Solution Edward Palmer.mp3
      19. Sbol 19 Marie Antoinette Osullivan Rubber Heal.mp3
      20. Sbol 20 Lois Braille John D. Rockefeller.mp3
      21. Sbol 21 Dennis Oreilly Shelly And Lord Byron.mp3
      22. Sbol 22 Adolph Hitler George Gipper.mp3
      23. Sbol 23 Danish Saboteur Eleanor Roosevelt.mp3
      24. Sbol 24 Condemned Man Coward Crash Landing.mp3
      25. Sbol 25 George Parker Dachau.mp3
      26. Sbol 26 Love And War College And Coconut Grove Fire.mp3
      27. Sbol 27 John Q. Adams Philo Farnsworth.mp3
      28. Sbol 28 Jack Dempsey Al Jolson.mp3
      29. Sbol 29 Dwight D. Eisenhower Teddy Roosevelt.mp3
      30. Sbol 30 Thomas Moore Madam Curie.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    30 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 5 hours, 37 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      30 shows - total playtime 5 hours 37 minutes
      1. Sbol 01 Wrong Way Corrigan Blind Boy.mp3
      2. Sbol 02 Pow Dad Doctors Office Visit.mp3
      3. Sbol 03 Priest In Storm Jury.mp3
      4. Sbol 04 Twins Verdi Opera.mp3
      5. Sbol 05 Murderer Henry Dumond.mp3
      6. Sbol 06 Tatania Gene Autry.mp3
      7. Sbol 07 Escaped Nazi Elias Howe.mp3
      8. Sbol 08 Joseph Turner William Borah Idaho.mp3
      9. Sbol 09 Archduke Ferdinand Knute Rockne.mp3
      10. Sbol 10 Rommel Bo False Prince Of Wales.mp3
      11. Sbol 11 Pilot In Trouble Necklace Nevada And Two Men.mp3
      12. Sbol 12 Murdered Two Men Kathleen Norris.mp3
      13. Sbol 13 Patricide Value Of Beauty.mp3
      14. Sbol 14 Dog Named Lucky Leland Stanford Memorial.mp3
      15. Sbol 15 Fishermans Daughter Roger Bacon.mp3
      16. Sbol 16 Unncecessary Wife Killer.mp3
      17. Sbol 17 Mexican Detective Dirvish.mp3
      18. Sbol 18 False Teeth Murder Solution Edward Palmer.mp3
      19. Sbol 19 Marie Antoinette Osullivan Rubber Heal.mp3
      20. Sbol 20 Lois Braille John D. Rockefeller.mp3
      21. Sbol 21 Dennis Oreilly Shelly And Lord Byron.mp3
      22. Sbol 22 Adolph Hitler George Gipper.mp3
      23. Sbol 23 Danish Saboteur Eleanor Roosevelt.mp3
      24. Sbol 24 Condemned Man Coward Crash Landing.mp3
      25. Sbol 25 George Parker Dachau.mp3
      26. Sbol 26 Love And War College And Coconut Grove Fire.mp3
      27. Sbol 27 John Q. Adams Philo Farnsworth.mp3
      28. Sbol 28 Jack Dempsey Al Jolson.mp3
      29. Sbol 29 Dwight D. Eisenhower Teddy Roosevelt.mp3
      30. Sbol 30 Thomas Moore Madam Curie.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



    30 recordings on 5 Audio CDs
    total playtime 5 hours, 37 min

    Storybook of Life Disc A001

    1. Sbol 01 Wrong Way Corrigan Blind Boy
    2. Sbol 02 Pow Dad Doctors Office Visit
    3. Sbol 03 Priest In Storm Jury
    4. Sbol 04 Twins Verdi Opera
    5. Sbol 05 Murderer Henry Dumond
    6. Sbol 06 Tatania Gene Autry

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Storybook of Life Disc A002

    1. Sbol 07 Escaped Nazi Elias Howe
    2. Sbol 08 Joseph Turner William Borah Idaho
    3. Sbol 09 Archduke Ferdinand Knute Rockne
    4. Sbol 10 Rommel Bo False Prince Of Wales
    5. Sbol 11 Pilot In Trouble Necklace Nevada And Two Men
    6. Sbol 12 Murdered Two Men Kathleen Norris

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Storybook of Life Disc A003

    1. Sbol 13 Patricide Value Of Beauty
    2. Sbol 14 Dog Named Lucky Leland Stanford Memorial
    3. Sbol 15 Fishermans Daughter Roger Bacon
    4. Sbol 16 Unncecessary Wife Killer
    5. Sbol 17 Mexican Detective Dirvish
    6. Sbol 18 False Teeth Murder Solution Edward Palmer

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Storybook of Life Disc A004

    1. Sbol 19 Marie Antoinette Osullivan Rubber Heal
    2. Sbol 20 Lois Braille John D. Rockefeller
    3. Sbol 21 Dennis Oreilly Shelly And Lord Byron
    4. Sbol 22 Adolph Hitler George Gipper
    5. Sbol 23 Danish Saboteur Eleanor Roosevelt
    6. Sbol 24 Condemned Man Coward Crash Landing

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Storybook of Life Disc A005

    1. Sbol 25 George Parker Dachau
    2. Sbol 26 Love And War College And Coconut Grove Fire
    3. Sbol 27 John Q. Adams Philo Farnsworth
    4. Sbol 28 Jack Dempsey Al Jolson
    5. Sbol 29 Dwight D. Eisenhower Teddy Roosevelt
    6. Sbol 30 Thomas Moore Madam Curie

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
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