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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Red Skelton Show, The


Richard Bernard “Red” Skelton (July 18, 1913 – September 17, 1997) was an American comedian who was best known as a top radio and television star from 1937 to 1971. Skelton's show business career began in his teens as a circus clown and went on to vaudeville, Broadway, films, radio, TV, night clubs and casinos, while pursuing another career as a painter.

"The Red Skelton Show," ran from 1941 to 1953. On it, he used his own unique brand of comedy, as well as performing comedy skits involving some of his most popular clown characters, including Clem Kadiddlehopper, the slow-witted country bumpkin, Willy Lump Lump, a drunken sot, Cauliflower McPugg, a punch-drunk boxer, The Mean Widdle Kid, who's most famous expression, "I Dood It," became a national slogan, San Fernando Red, a likable rogue and con man, and his famous cross-eyed seagulls, Gertrude and Heathcliffe. His most famous character, the tramp clown Freddy the Freeloader, awaited the advent of his television show in 1951.

On January 14, 1969, Red Skelton touched the hearts of millions of Americans with his "Pledge Of Allegiance", in which he explained the meaning of each and every word. Red Skelton's recitation of the "Pledge of Allegiance" was twice read into the Congressional Record of the United States and received numerous awards.

Red Skelton died of pneumonia on September 17, 1997 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California, USA. He was inducted into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1989.

The Red Skelton Show (Guest Ed Sullivan)


Friday, May 15, 2009

Mother's Best Flour Show (OTRR Certified)


From late 1950 to late 1951, you could hear Hank Williams on WSM every morning at 7:15 singing and selling Mother's Best Flour. The show was broadcast live between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. on WSM out of Nashville, Tennessee. Some of the shows were pre-recorded to be played on the air when Hank was out on the road. Hank was paid $100 a week for recording the shows that usually consisted of one country song, one instrumental and a gospel song to close the show, but that's not all they have to offer. The Mother's Best Shows capture Hank's personality better than anything else known to exist and they don't paint the picture of a sad, lonesome, forlorn man hell bent on drinking and death as many books and other publications try to portray him as. In fact, it is probably the in-between song chatter that makes these recordings so great, you get a glimpse of what Hank Williams was like as a person.

Listen NPR - Mother's Best Flour Show interview with Hank's daughter Jett (pop-up NPR )





      Mind Webs, a 1970's series out of WHA Radio in Wisconsin featured weekly semi-dramatized readings of science fiction short stories by some of the genre's best writers like Norman Spinrad, Arthur C. Clarke, Gordon R. Dickson, and Ray Bradbury. Many of the readings were enhanced by music, periodic sound cues, and the occasional character voice, however they are not completely dramatized. In a way Mind Webs stories are a cross between radio drama and audio books. The music is an excellent accompaniment to the performance of Michael Hansen, which leaves the listener with a sense of excitement a lot of radio dramas lack. The OTR Plot Spot has some good summaries of several of the stories.

      Tuesday, May 12, 2009

      Saint, The


      First, here are the background facts about the classic American radio production of "The Saint". The first American radio series entitled "The Saint" which aired on NBC from 6 January through 31 March 1945 featured the voice of Edgar Barrier in the role of Simon Templar. From 20 June through 12 September 1945, "The Saint" radio series which aired on CBS featured the voice of Brian Aherne as Simon Templar. Then, from 9 July 1947 through 30 June 1948, Vincent Price could be heard in the role of "The Saint" on CBS. Vincent Price was also heard as "The Saint" from 10 July 1949 though 28 May 1950 on Mutual. "The Saint" aired again on NBC from 11 June 1950 14 October 1951. During this run, Vincent Price retained the role of Simon Templar until 20 May 1950, and thereafter Tom Conway was heard in the role. Another American radio series of "The Saint" is also known to exist with Barry Sullivan as Templar, but no other details are known. (pumamouse)

      Biography Of The Saint



      Nick Carter, Master Detective


      Nick Carter, Master Detective was a Mutual radio crime drama based on tales of the famed detective from Street & Smith's dime novels and pulp magazines. Nick Carter first came to radio as The Return of Nick Carter, a reference to the character's pulp origins, but the title was soon changed to Nick Carter, Master Detective.

      With Lon Clark in the title role, the series began April 11, 1943, on Mutual, continuing in many different timeslots for well over a decade. Between October 1944 and April 1945, it was heard as a 30-minute program on Sunday afternoons at 3pm, sponsored by Acme Paints and Lin-X, with a 15-minute serial airing four or five times a week in 1944 from April to September. In April 1945, the Sunday series moved to 6pm, continuing in that timeslot until June 1946, and it was also heard in 1946 on Tuesday from March to August.

      Sponsored by Cudahy Packing and Old Dutch Cleanser and later Acme Products(makers of such home-improvement chemicals as Kem-Tone paints and Linux floor-cleaning waxes[a near-rival to the more-popular Johnson's Wax products heard on numerous NBC Radio shows at the same time]), the series finally settled in on Sundays at 6:30pm for broadcasts from August 18, 1946 to September 21, 1952. Libby Packing was the sponsor when the drama aired on Sundays at 6pm (1952-53). In the last two years (1953-55) of the long run, the show was heard Sundays at 4:30pm.

      Jock MacGregor was the producer-director of scripts by Alfred Bester, Milton J. Kramer, David Kogan and others. Background music was supplied by organists Hank Sylvern, Lew White and George Wright. Walter B. Gibson, co-creator/writer of The Shadow pulp novels, was fired when he asked for a raise in 1946, and then became head writer for the Nick Carter radio series. Oddly enough, he never liked to write scripts for the radio-version of The Shadow, though both characters were published by Street & Smith.

      Patsy Bowen, Nick's assistant, was portrayed by Helen Choate until mid-1946 and then Charlotte Manson stepped into the role. Nick and Patsy's friend was reporter Scubby Wilson (John Kane). Nick's contact at the police department was Sgt. Mathison (Ed Latimer). The supporting cast included Raymond Edward Johnson, Bill Johnstone and Bryna Raeburn. Michael Fitzmaurice was the program's announcer. The series ended on September 25, 1955. (wikipedia)

      Trivia: Walter Pidgeon began a three-movie run playing Nick Carter, Master Detective (1939) investigating industrial espionage at a plane factory.
      Watch Trailer Nick Carter, Master Detective

      Sunday, May 10, 2009

      Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, The


      This western featured movie star Guy Madison as the lead, ably assisted by media veteran Andy Devine as his sidekick Jingles. Both remained with the series for its entire run. Kellogg's was the sponsor from start to finish. After the last show in December 1954 it went into syndication from July 1955 until Feb 1956. Guy Madison and Andy Devine were extremely busy during this time. In addition to the radio series they also appeared in 113 half hour TV Wild Bill Hickok shows between 1951 and 1958. Unlike most series that made the transition from radio to TV, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok TV Show kept the same cast as the radio show. The TV version began as a syndicated one; it was picked up by CBS-TV and viewed from 1955-1958 and on ABC-TV from 1957 to 1958 in the day time or late afternoon. Even that it was directed at a juvenile audience, the shows are quiet entertaining for all age groups.

      Jingles' horse was named "Joker" and "Buckshot" was ridden by Wild Bill Hickok.

      You can watch an episode from the TV show here Wild Bill Hickok


      Saturday, May 9, 2009

      That Hammer Guy


      A January 1953 to October 1953 Mutual Broadcasting System radio series titled That Hammer Guy starred Larry Haines as Mike Hammer, a fictional character created by the American author Mickey Spillane, and Jan Miner as the voice of many female characters on the show. It was written by Ed Adamson and was directed by Richard Lewis. Mike Hammer is a no-holds barred private investigator that carries a .45 Colt M1911, named "Betsy" in a shoulder harness under his left arm.

      Larry Haines, born Larry Hecht (August 3, 1918July 17, 2008) was an American actor. He was born in Mount Vernon, New York.Haines first became known in the 1930s as a voice actor on the radio crime series Gangbusters. Four decades later, he would return to radio, starring in many episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater.His best known role was that of nextdoor neighbor Stu Bergman on the soap opera Search for Tomorrow. He joined the show for its eleventh episode in 1951, and remained on the serial for the show's duration. In this role, which he played from 1951 to 1986, Haines became very popular. He won Daytime Emmy Awards in 1976 and 1981, and was First Lady Pat Nixon's favorite soap opera actor.He also earned several Tony nominations for his work on Broadway, and appeared in the film version of The Odd Couple.In the 1980s, he co-starred with one of his Search for Tomorrow co-stars, Rick Lohman (who had played his grandson, Gary Walton) in a short-lived sitcom, called Phyl and Mikhy. Larry played Max Wilson, the father of Phyllis Wilson Orloff (Murphy Cross), who was married to Mikhy Orloff. After the cancellation of Search for Tomorrow, he briefly joined the cast of another NBC/Procter and Gamble serial, Another World. He was later in the cast of Agnes Nixon's Loving. Haines died on July 17, 2008. He was predeceased by his former wives, Gertrude Haines and Jean Pearlman Haines as well as by his only daughter, Debora Haines.
      Jan Miner (October 15, 1917, Boston, Massachusetts - February 15, 2004, Bethel, Connecticut) was an American actress. Although late in life, identified as a long running character on TV commercials, Miner's career started in radio. Notable roles include; Della Street on Perry Mason, Ann Williams on Casey, Crime Photographer, and Mary Wesley on Boston Blackie. She also played featured roles in the 1948-1950 dramatic anthology series Radio City Playhouse. She was married to actor Richard Merrell until his death in 1998, and often appeared with him on the stage. She died in Bethel, Connecticut of natural causes.

      Mickey Spillane - Kiss Me Deadly

      Frank Morrison Spillane (March 9, 1918 – July 17, 2006), better known as Mickey Spillane, was an American author of crime novels. He was known for the series of novels featuring his signature detective character, Mike Hammer, among other works. More than 225 million copies of his books have sold around the globe. Many of the Mike Hammer novels were made into movies, including the classic film noir Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and The Girl Hunters (1963), in which Spillane himself starred. In Kiss Me Deadly, Mike Hammer is driving south to New York city when he found a woman standing in the road. He picked her up, and learned she escaped from a sanatorium. Soon a dark sedan cut them off, the men attacked Mike and knocked him out. The now dead woman and Mike are placed in his car, then it is pushed over the cliff. What happens next? Read by Stacy Keach. From 

      Friday, May 8, 2009

      Tide Show, The


      Tide Show, The -- Musical Program (1945-52?)
      A fifteen-minute musical program that aired every weekday on CBS sponsored by Proctor & Gamble’’s Tide detergent. Contemporary songs from the 40s were sung by soloist, duets, or small groups. The host was Jack Smith (Smilin’’ Jack Smith) who was the male vocal for the songs. Regular female vocalists included Dinah Shore and Ginny Simms. The music was provided by Frank De Vol and his orchestra with John Jacobs as the announcer.
      A typical program consisted of three or four songs, interspersed with brief commercials or banter between the players. Occasionally a ““Dramatized Song Title”” feature would present a brief play that gave hints to a song title.
      Starting in 1948 and for the next few years, the program was broadcast from The Music Box Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

      Jack Smith
      Radio crooner "Smilin' Jack Smith" was a popular 40s and 50s personality, born Jack Ward Smith near Seattle, Washington, on Bainbridge Island. His father, Walter Smith, was the captain of the naval destroyer, USS Dixie. Jack was named after the fort they were stationed at the time, Fort Ward. Jack's younger brother, Walter Smith, later known as Walter Reed, became a well-respected character actor and occasional leading man. Following his parents' divorce at age 11, Jack, a good student, decided to study to be an architect, following in the path of three of his uncles. However, at age 15, he earned a job singing lead in a trio at the Ambassador Hotel's Cocoanut Grove, replacing Bing Crosby's trio, The Rhythm Boys, who had just been fired. They went on to call themselves "The Three Ambassadors". The group clicked and managed to find consistent work in swanky hotels and clubs from San Francisco to New York. The trio earned choral jobs in such movies as Walking on Air (1936), in which they sang "My Heart Wants to Dance" and appeared on the popular radio programs of the day including The Philip Morris Show, Your Hit Parade and The Kate Smith Hour. The trio broke up in 1939 and Jack, a strong baritone with a tenor lilt, went solo. Some of his popular songs would include "I'll be with You in Apple Blossom Time", "Civilization" and "Jack, Jack, Jack". He earned his own radio show in 1945, which featured such established singing stars as Dinah Shore, Margaret Whiting and Ginny Simms. Following a guest appearance in the musical film Make Believe Ballroom (1949), Jack was offered a secondary role in Warner Bros.' On Moonlight Bay (1951) opposite Doris Day. He played Doris' nerdy suitor Herbert Wakely, who loses the love game pretty easily to handsome Gordon MacRae. Radio fans of Jack did not like this unflattering image of him, and Jack, actually a handsome, strapping figure, turned down the role when it was repeated in the sequel By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953). Radio lost its core audience with the coming of TV and Jack subsequently lost his show in 1952. He switched gears and became the TV host of the long-running show "You Asked for It" (1950) during the 1958-1959 season, which answered viewer's requests for unusual stunts, sights, etc., and stayed with it in various syndicated versions until 1991. His career lasted over six decades.

      Ginny Simms
      War-era songstress Ginny Simms was born Virginia Simms in Texas but raised in California, which accounts for her lack of a Southern accent in her speaking/singing voice. Though she studied piano as a child, it was her vocal gifts that launched her career, which started when she formed a singing trio while studying at Fresno State Teachers College. Ginny was performing at a club in San Francisco when she was heard by bandleader Kay Kyser. She became his featured singer and the big attraction of Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge, a comedy revue done in the style of a quiz show with music. In addition to radio, she kept busy recording swing and pop albums. Ginny also broke into films as a guest vocalist in three of Kyser's films for RKO--That's Right - You're Wrong (1939), You'll Find Out (1940) and Playmates (1941). After five years she decided to abandon touring altogether in the early 1940s and went solo to seek her own fame and fortune. She earned her own popular radio show and involved herself deeply in the war effort, earning praise for her tireless work. Some of her well-known recordings with and without Kyser include "Deep Purple," "Indian Summer," "I'd Like to Set You to Music," "I Can't Get Started," "I Love Paris," and "Stormy Weather." A spectacularly beautiful woman with a dazzling smile and high cheekbones, Ginny seemed made for the screen. She co-starred with Bud Abbott and Lou Costello in one of their earlier and funniest comedies, Hit the Ice (1943), and scored some important second-lead roles over at MGM with Broadway Rhythm (1944) with George Murphy and Gloria DeHaven, in which she played a movie star who sang "All the Things You Are," and the Cole Porter biopic Night and Day (1946) starring Cary Grant and Alexis Smith, in which she sang some of Porter's best loved standards ("I've Got You Under My Skin," "Just One of Those Things," "I Get A Kick Out of You" and "You're the Top"), but her career lost momentum rather quickly (the story at the time was that she had turned down a marriage proposal by newly divorced MGM head Louis B. Mayer, who retaliated by immediately dropping her contract at the studio). Ginny left Hollywood altogether in 1951 and her recording career ended not long after. She subsequently retired and ran a travel agency for a time while developing an interest in interior decorating (her first husband, Hyatt Dehn, was the man who started the Hyatt Hotel chain, for which she did much of the interior decorating). She also was involved in real estate with third husband Donald Eastvold. The mother of two sons from her first marriage, Ginny died of a heart attack in 1994 at age 78.

      Dinah Shore (born Frances Rose Shore; March 1, 1917 – February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress, and television personality. She was most popular during the Big Band era of the 1940s and 1950s.
      After failing singing auditions for the bands of Benny Goodman and both Jimmy Dorsey and his brother Tommy Dorsey, Shore struck out on her own to become the first singer of her era to achieve huge solo success. She enjoyed a long string of over 80 charted popular hits, lasting from 1940 into the late '50s, and after appearing in a handful of films went on to a four-decade career in American television, starring in her own music and variety shows in the '50s and '60s and hosting two talk shows in the '70s. TV Guide magazine ranked her at #16 on their list of the top fifty television stars of all time. Stylistically, Dinah Shore was often compared to two popular singers who followed her in the mid-to-late '40s and early '50s, Doris Day and Patti Page.

      Frank De Vol
      Frank DeVol was born to Herman Frank DeVol and Minnie Emma Humphreys DeVol in Moundsville, West Virginia on September 20, 1911. He grew up in Canton, Ohio. His father had a "pit" orchestra at the local movie house and his mother had a sewing shop in Canton. His father was also an accountant. He graduated from McKinley High School in 1929. He attended Miami of Ohio University for six weeks. His parents wanted him to be a lawyer but he wanted a musical career. He was a member of the musicians' union from the age of 14 and worked for his father in the theatre orchestra. His instruments were violin, saxophone at first. After his stint in college, he joined Emerson Gill's orchestra in Ohio and traveled the state. Later, he joined Horace Heidt's band and not only he was a musician but he became an arranger for the band. Later, he traveled with Alvino Rey's band. This affiliation led to long time friendships with the King Family. Finally, in 1943, he settled in California and started his own band appearing on KHJ radio and accompaniment to many radio shows, such as Jack Carson and Jack Smith. With the beginning of television, he moved to working on "The Betty White Show" (1958) and "The Dinah Shore Chevy Show" (1956), among others. In the 1950's, he broke into movie composing and composed the score for 50 films. In addition, he composed the music for a number of television shows, such as "Family Affair" (1966), "The Smith Family" (1971), "My Three Sons" (1960) and "The Brady Bunch" (1969). He was also a character actor and acted in both films and TV. After his first wife, Grayce, died, he married Helen O'Connell. Helen died two years later. Frank left two daughters and four grandchildren when he died October 27, 1999 in Lafayette, CA.

      Quiet, Please


      Quiet, Please! is an old-time radio fantasy and horror program created by Wyllis Cooper, also known for creating Lights Out. Ernest Chappell was the show's announcer and lead actor. Quiet, Please! was first broadcast by on June 8, 1947 by the Mutual Broadcasting System, and its last episode ran on June 25, 1949, by ABC. A total of 106 shows were broadcast, with only a very few of them repeats.

      Earning relatively little notice during its initial run, Quiet, Please! has since been praised as one of the finest efforts of the golden age of American radio drama. The shows range from deeply personal human interest shows to some of the most original horror and science fiction stories ever written.

      Listen (pop-up player)

      Wyllis Cooper

      Wednesday, May 6, 2009

      Zero Hour, The


      The Zero Hour (aka Hollywood Radio Theater) was a 1973-74 radio drama anthology series hosted by Rod Serling. With tales of mystery, adventure and suspense, the program aired in stereo for two seasons. Some of the scripts were written by Serling.[2]
      Syndicated by the Mutual Broadcasting System, the series debuted September 3, 1973. The original format featured five-part dramas broadcast Monday through Friday with the story coming to a conclusion on Friday. Including commercials, each part was approximately 30 minutes long. Since Mutual affiliates could broadcast the programs at convenient timeslots on any suitable dates, the series did not begin in certain areas until late fall or early winter of 1973.
      In 1974, still airing five days a week, the program changed to a full story in a single 30-minute installment with the same actor starring throughout the week in all five programs. That format was employed from late April 1974 to the end of the series on July 26, 1974.
      Producer J.M. Kholos was a Los Angeles advertising man who acquired the rights to suspense novels, including Tony Hillerman's The Blessing Way, for radio adaptations. In some cases, the titles were changed. For example, the five-part "Desperate Witness" was an adaptation of The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing. To create a strong package, Kholos followed through by lining up top actors, including John Astin, Edgar Bergen, Joseph Campanella, Richard Crenna, John Dehner, Howard Duff, Patty Duke, Nina Foch, George Maharis, Susan Oliver, Brock Peters and Lurene Tuttle.
      The opening theme music was by Ferrante & Teicher. Don Hill produced the series for StudioHouse, which also produced the Salvation Army's Heartbeat Theatre. Counting each five-part show as five episodes, there were a total of 130 episodes. It failed to find a large audience due to the initial weekly serial format and the lack of promotion. According to director Elliott Lewis, "They wanted as much name value as possible to help with sales. They forgot they had to sell it. Everybody sat in the office and waited for someone to call them up and buy the show." (Wikipedia)

      Single Shows


      Tuesday, May 5, 2009

      Hopalong Cassidy


      Hopalong Cassidy A western that was greater than The Roy Rogers Show or Gene Autry's Melody Ranch. Hoppy was a hero to one and all. He and his sidekick, California Carlson, roamed the Southwest in thrilling stories week after week. Almost every tale had a little mystery in it, and almost every story ended with Hoppy's boisterous laugh. Clarence Mulford, the author of the Hopalong Cassidy stores, created a hard-fisted, rough and tough cowboy, nowhere near or like the lovable Hoppy of the movies and radio series. He became a hero in black and on a white horse - a super hero of the West. He rescued damsels and cowboys in trouble, along with ranchers and bankers and railroad owners always against the bad guys - robbers, thieves, rustlers and the like. The radio series were a hard sell. And the owners could find no takers. When this series began it was offered to the various networks. They wanted nothing to do with it so the owners had to sell it in syndication. But, after a short time it became extremely successful and later on it was heard on the Mutual and CBS networks. The show ranked number 7 in the 1949 Nielsen ratings. The Mutual Broadcasting System began broadcasting a radio version of Hopalong Cassidy in January 1950; at the end of September, the show moved to CBS Radio, where it ran into 1952.

      Listen Shows pop-up player

      Hopalong Cassidy.zip


      Sunday, May 3, 2009

      Command Performance


      Command Performance is a radio program which originally aired between 1942 and 1949 in the United States. The program aired on the Armed Forces Radio Network (AFRS).

      As the announcer said weekly, the show aired while troops of the Military of the United States were "over there" in Europe. The premise of the program is that troops sent in requests asking for a particular performer or program to appear. The troops also often requested ideas to be used on the program, such a as a musical version of Dick Tracy or Ann Miller tap dancing in military boots. Many, many top performers of the day appeared, including Jack Benny, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Fred Allen, Ginger Rogers, Jimmy Durante, Judy Garland, The Andrew Sisters and many, many others.



      Times Past has no affiliation with Old Time Radio Researchers. Any related content is provided here as a convenience to our visitors and to make OTRR's work more widely known.

      References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group

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