There is so much variety to the world of Old Time Radio, it is hard to know where to get started. The truth is there are so many excellent radio shows in OTR, almost anything you pick out will delight you.
The great thing about enjoying OTR today is that there are so many ways and places you can enjoy it. For many of us, nothing that makes a commute enjoyable like following an exciting adventure serial program. At the end, of the day it helps to remove the stress of the work day by trying to solve a mystery along with a hard boiled detective during the drive home. Time spent working in front of the computer flies by when listening to the songs and jokes of a variety show. With a good set of noise-reducing earbud speakers attached to our pocket MP3 player or smartphone, some fans are even known to enjoy listening to the cowboys in Western programs while mowing the lawn!
Most of the series and shows are very pleasurable in their own right, but here at OTRCAT.com we feel that knowing a little bit about the actors and the programs make them even more enjoyable. Dip into the articles and program write-ups on OTRCat.com and whet your appetite to know more about these great shows.
Some of our favorite genres and and shows include:
MYSTERY and HORROR
These are the late-night shows that make you want to pull the bedsheets up over your eyes!
Most will agree that the most blood-curdling ghost story is even more frightening on radio!
- The Whistler is a collection crime stories where the justice always comes to the villain, but not a way that he or the listeners would expect!
- Suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat with nearly a thousand episodes of "Radio's Outstanding Theater of Thrills!" with great performances by top Hollywood talent of the time.
- Lights Out was one of the original late night thrillers with stories written by two of radio's greatest talents, Wyllis Cooper and Arch Oboler
These shows will take our imaginations to the far corners of the world.
- Escape! features some of the greatest stars Hollywood, Broadway and radio in some great original and adapted stories.
- Cloak and Dagger is based on true stories of the Operatives of the OSS, predecessor of the CIA.
- The Adventures of Superman Much of the legend of the original comic book hero was actually developed on the radio.
There can never be enough things for us to laugh at, and Radio brings us some of the best!
- Fibber McGee and Molly is good-hearted fun featuring a well meaning schemer who seems to have never held a steady job and his long suffering but happy wife along with his friends and neighbors.
- Jack Benny Show is a collection of music and skits built around a character who was everything that the real Jack Benny wasn't, vain, cantankerous, and cheap!
- You Bet Your Life, developed as a sort of game show, the program was really a chance for Groucho Marx to simple be Groucho!
CRIME & DETECTIVE
Whether we are following the wits and bravery of hard working policemen and brave private eye,
or pitting our wits against one of the great detective, everyone enjoys crime and detective stories.
- Dragnet, starring Jack Webb, is is a series of exciting stories based on true cases of the Los Angeles Police Department.
- Tales of the Texas Rangers brings us more true crime stories from the Oldest and Most Well known law enforcement agency in North America.
- Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar is the story of an investigator for insurance companies with an "action-packed expense account".
More serious stories, but still greatly entertaining, our dramas
include tales from literature, great movies, and even "serial dramas".
- Academy Award Theater adaptations of Hollywood's best movies, all Oscar Winners.
- Lux Radio Theater brought the stories of the best movies to the radio, featuring a full orchestra, and usually the film's original stars performing before a live audience.
- Screen Guild Theater old time radio anthology featured drama and variety with top-name stars whose salaries from this show.
- Screen Directors Playhouse featured top name film stars from Fred Astaire and Joan Crawford to Gary Cooper and John Wayne made special appearances in this all-star tour de force of radio dramas.
Sometimes condemned as "kid stuff", several radio programs treated Sci Fi as serious literature.
- Dimension X and X Minus One had stories from the pages of great SciFi magazines and the best and most influential SciFi writers.
- Space Patrol and Buck Rogers was meant for kids, but the space-opera was based on the best scientific knowledge of the time.
Some of these are kid shows, and others are serious adult drama, while others are treasures of great country music!
- Gunsmoke and Have Gun, Will Travel were serious drama that never allowed the gritty reality of the rough and tumble West get in the way.
- The Six Shooter featured the acting talent of the great James Stewart and some of the best written stories of any radio genre.
- Melody Ranch featured the music of one of the screen's great singing Cowboys, as well as a story or two of genuine ranch life.
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