Welcome to OTRCAT.com: Old Time Radio Catalog
 > 
  Drama  

Streamlined Shakespeare

A summer replacement series that signed the most famous Shakespearean alive actor of the time, John Barrymore.

10%
OFF

6 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 5 hours, 31 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
or
6 Audio CDs


Choose your CD format
or order disks individually: Add to Cart
Add to wishlist
Play a sample episode from July 26, 1937:

"Julies Caesar"



... 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.

Fans of old time radio delight in the fact that the content they enjoy seems much more refined than the current offerings of network or cable television. This is partly due to the fact that most of the OTR content was produced during a simpler time, but radio faced some critics back then as well. Because commercial radio was a profit-making business, there were any number of critics to point out that radio was a crude form of entertainment that was directed at the lowest common denominator.

John BarrymoreThe network's' biggest competition was each other, of course, because attracting more listeners always meant greater profits. In that spirit, no idea was too good not to steal. This is important to remember when we look at the use of Shakespearean plays on network radio.

CBS, long considered the “Tiffany network” for their willingness to spend more money to develop the highest quality programming, announced in 1937 that it would present The Shakespeare Festival during the summer, to begin with a presentation of Hamlet starring Burgess Meredith. Never mind that Shakespeare's plays were meant to be presented by live actors that the audience could see on stage, or that the Bard's work did not adapt well to being cut down to fit an evening time slot, what upset the programming department at NBC the most was the fact that they had not come up with the idea themselves.

This seemed to be an easy situation to rectify, NBC would simply present their own Shakespearean plays. The Tiffany network naturally called foul, but since Shakespeare's plays were in the public domain, there was little they could do, even when NBC announced that their Shakespeare plays would air on the same night, even in the same time slot as CBS's. To make matters even worse, NBC planned to begin their series three weeks earlier than the debut of Shakespeare Festival. CBS cried foul, of course, but again since Shakespeare was in the public domain, they could do little but complain.

Not only was it NBC’s intention to have Streamlined Shakespeare on the air three weeks earlier than Shakespeare Festival, America’s most prestigious Shakespearean actor, John Barrymore was signed to the project.

John Barrymore was the youngest child of the Barrymore acting family, and the one most opposed to the acting trade. His older brother and sister, Lionel and Ethel, went into acting after their mother had died in order to help their theater manager father keep the family business alive. While in college, John studied fine arts, and only gave up his ambitions to become an artist after being fired as a newspaper illustrator. He took up acting as a way to put food on the table and more importantly, to keep himself supplied in booze.

Barrymore had enjoyed a very successful run playing Hamlet in London and was very popular in silent films. His theatrically trained voice made him a natural for talkies. However, he had little experience acting before a microphone. While making the first few broadcasts of the Streamlined Shakespeare series, he annoyed the engineers by standing as close as he could to the mic and booming out his lines in a full stage voice. Finally, the crew built a fence around the microphone stand so that he could not stand on top of the mic.

Neither Shakespeare Festival or Streamlined Shakespeare caught on particularly well with the listening public, and listeners were probably relieved when the programs they were replacing came back from their summer break. Streamlined Shakespeare was rebroadcast during the 1950s in association with NBC University of the Air and over AFRTS.

This collection is also part of the updated Shakespeare on the Radio compilation.  See also: Columbia Presents Shakespeare

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.



    6 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $4.50
    total playtime 5 hours, 31 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      6 shows - total playtime 5 hours 31 minutes
      1. Streamlined Shakespeare 370719 Much Ado About Nothing.mp3
      2. Streamlined Shakespeare 370726 Julius Caesar.mp3
      3. Streamlined Shakespeare 370802 Taming Of Shrew.mp3
      4. Streamlined Shakespeare 370830 Twelfth Night.mp3
      5. Streamlined Shakespeare 370834 Henryiv.mp3
      6. Streamlined Shakespeare 500824 Twelfth Night.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    6 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $4.50
    total playtime 5 hours, 31 min
    Add MP3 Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      6 shows - total playtime 5 hours 31 minutes
      1. Streamlined Shakespeare 370719 Much Ado About Nothing.mp3
      2. Streamlined Shakespeare 370726 Julius Caesar.mp3
      3. Streamlined Shakespeare 370802 Taming Of Shrew.mp3
      4. Streamlined Shakespeare 370830 Twelfth Night.mp3
      5. Streamlined Shakespeare 370834 Henryiv.mp3
      6. Streamlined Shakespeare 500824 Twelfth Night.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



    6 recordings on 6 Audio CDs
    total playtime 5 hours, 31 min

    Streamlined Shakespeare Disc A001

    1. Streamlined Shakespeare 370834 Henryiv

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Streamlined Shakespeare Disc A002

    1. Streamlined Shakespeare 370719 Much Ado About Nothing

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Streamlined Shakespeare Disc A003

    1. Streamlined Shakespeare 370726 Julius Caesar

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Streamlined Shakespeare Disc A004

    1. Streamlined Shakespeare 370802 Taming Of Shrew

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Streamlined Shakespeare Disc A005

    1. Streamlined Shakespeare 370830 Twelfth Night

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Streamlined Shakespeare Disc A006

    1. Streamlined Shakespeare 500824 Twelfth Night

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00

LISTENERS WHO ENJOYED THESE RECORDINGS ALSO COLLECTED