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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ranger Bill (OTRR Certified)


Ranger Bill is a Christian radio program from the 1950s, produced by Moody Radio. With over 200 episodes produced, Ranger Bill stars Miron Canaday as the title character and Stumpy Jenkins and Ed Ronne, Sr as Grey Wolf. The main character, Ranger Bill, is a forest ranger located in the town of Knotty Pine along the Rocky Mountains. The show describes the various tales of the adventures of Ranger Bill and his friends.

The shows running time was 15 minutes (1950-1954), and 30 Minutes (1954-1964).

Main Characters

Bill Jefferson is the chief forest ranger. He lives with his mother in the small town of Knotty Pine. He's described as a well-built leader capable of accomplishing nearly anything.
Stumpy Jenkins, another forest ranger, is often referred to as "The Old Timer". Known for his superb marksmanship, he likes to tell jokes and travel around with his rifle. A good description of his rifle is given in the episode "The Prehistoric Monster".
Henry Scott is the teenage ward of Ranger Bill, who helps out in many park ranger tasks.
Gray Wolf is a Native American of the Dakota tribe, and also a forest ranger. Although he talks in broken English, he is knowledgeable in both modern forest management and the traditional ways of his people. Drawing on both, he makes a valuable contribution to the rangers.


Ranger Bill at Moody Audio

Listen to Radio Broadscast ( Still broadcast on certain stations in syndication)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Leatherstocking Tales


The Leatherstocking Tales is a series of novels by American writer James Fenimore Cooper, each featuring the main hero Natty Bumppo, known by European settlers as "Leatherstocking," 'The Pathfinder", and "the trapper" and by the Native Americans as "Deerslayer," "La Longue Carabine" and "Hawkeye".

The Deerslayer
, or The First Warpath (1841) was the last of James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking tales to be written. Its 1740-1745 time period makes it the first installment chronologically and in the lifetime of the hero of the Leatherstocking tales, Natty Bumppo. The novel's setting on Otsego Lake in central, upstate New York, is the same as that of The Pioneers, the first of the Leatherstocking tales to be published (1823). The Deerslayer is considered to be the prequel to the rest of the Leatherstocking tales. Fenimore Cooper begins his work by relating the astonishing advance of civilization in New York State, which is the setting of four of his five Leatherstocking tales.

The Last of the Mohicans
, first published in January 1826, was one of the most popular English-language stories of its time. The story takes place in 1757 during the Seven Years' War (known in America as the French and Indian War), when France and Great Britain battled for control of the North American colonies. During this war, the French often allied themselves with Native American tribes in order to gain an advantage over the British, with unpredictable and often tragic results.

Let's Pretend


Let's Pretend, created and directed by Nila Mack (1891-1953), was a long-run CBS radio series for children.

It had several different early formats and titles. Aunt Jymmie and Her Tots in Tottyville began October 27, 1928. Aunt Jymmie was the host of this Saturday morning children's program's whimsical tales of fantasy and fairy tales. She introduced each week's tale which was enacted by a cast of young children, "the tots." The young "tots" traveled to Tottyville, a make-believe world of king and queens, princesses, witches and magic spells. Originating from the WABC studio in New York City, the flagship station for CBS, this series lasted for 18 broadcasts until February 23, 1929 when it was replaced by the 30-minute The Children's Club Hour with Howard Merrill, who was the host and the scriptwriter. During the 1940s, Merrill scripted for The Gay Nineties Revue, Secret Missions and detective series such as Sherlock Holmes, Leonidas Witherall and the Abbott Mysteries. The Children's Club Hour, which offered fairy tales performed by juvenile cast members, began March 2, 1929 and continued until June 22, 1929.

After 17 broadcasts of The Children's Club Hour, the time slot was given to Estelle Levy and Patricia Ryan who created another children's program, The Adventures of Helen and Mary, scripted by Yolanda Langworthy. Broadcast on CBS Saturdays at noon and other late morning timeslots, this series began June 29, 1929.

Between December 1930 and January 1931, the title briefly changed from The Adventures of Helen and Mary to Land O' Make Believe. With Estelle Levy and Patricia Ryan in the title roles, the fairy tale program continued until March 17, 1934. After 229 broadcasts, Nila Mack took over as director and changed the title to Let's Pretend, "radio's outstanding children's theater."

Mack's Peabody Award-winning Let's Pretend began March 24, 1934, running for two decades before the final show on October 23, 1954. Adaptations included such classics and fairy tales as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Arabian Nights, Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin.

The show always began with a characteristic tune, sometimes with lyrics, from its long time sponsor Cream of Wheat. George Bryan and Jackson Wheeler were the announcers. Jean Hight became the program's director after Nila Mack's death in 1953.

A history of the show, Let's Pretend And The Golden Age Of Radio (BearManor Media 2004), was written by veteran actor Arthur Anderson, who did character roles on Let's Pretend at age 13 and was on the show almost every week (with time out for military service) until the program's demise. Anderson appeared in Orson Welles' New York production of Julius Caesar and was then in Welles' Mercury Theatre on the Air. He was most recently the voice of nasty farmer Eustace in the TV cartoon series Courage, the Cowardly Dog. For 29 years he was the original voice of the Lucky Charms (cereal) Leprechaun.

The series received numerous awards, including two Peabody Awards, a Women’s National Radio Committee Award and five Radio Daily Awards.

In 1970 Telegeneral adapted these stories on vinyl records.

National Farm and Home Hour, The


The National Farm and Home Hour was a variety show which was broadcast in various formats from 1928 to 1958. Aimed at listeners in rural America, it was known as "the farmer's bulletin board" and was produced by the United States Department of Agriculture with contributions from, and the cooperation of, various farm organizations (among them theAmerican Farm Bureau, 4-H Club, Farmers Union, Future Farmers of America and the National Grange). Raymond Edward Johnson and, later, Don Ameche appeared in dramatic sketches in the role of the Forest Ranger.

With live coverage of livestock expositions, harvest festivals and "the most spectacular happenings in agricultural America," the program offered tips to farmers, music and news, plus advice from agencies and government officials.

The series first aired on Pittsburgh's KDKA (1928-29), moving to the Blue Network (later ABC) from September 30, 1929 to March 17, 1945, usually heard Monday through Saturday at 12:30 (Eastern). Under the sponsorship of Allis Chalmers, it continued on NBC as a 30-minute show on Saturdays at noon (Eastern) from September 15, 1945 to January 25, 1958; in its final three years (1955-58), it would be incorporated into the Saturday lineup of NBC's weekend anthology Monitor.

Host Everett Mitchell opened each broadcast with his trademark line, "It's a beautiful day in Chicago!", which became a familiar catch phrase.

Single Shows

National Farm and Home Hour 491126 its a beautiful day in chicago.mp3

Horatio Hornblower, The Adventures of


Adventures of Horatio Hornblower is a 30 minute historical action/adventure series that aired in 1952-1953 starring Michael Redgrave as Horatio Hornblower . It traces the adventures of Horatio Hornblower as a Captain in the British Royal Navy during the time of Napoleon. It was based on the series of Hornblower novels by C. S. Forester.

C. S. Forester was an English novelist who rose to fame with tales of adventure and military crusades. His most notable works were the 11-book Horatio Hornblower series, and The African Queen (1935; filmed in 1951 by John Huston). His novels A Ship of the Line and Flying Colours were jointly awarded the 1938 James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.

The Hornblower radio series was produced by Harry Towers and his Towers of London syndicate and was not broadcast over the BBC, although it was transcribed in England for the BBC. The BBC was not interested in doing the Hornblower series and it was aired in the U.S. on CBS, then again on ABC in 1954 and Mutual in 1957.

Police Headquarters (OTRR Certified Accurate - Version 2)


Police drama (1932)
Bruce Eells Associates produced this 15-minute series that was then an early syndication, via broadcasters Program Syndicate/Bruce Eells and Associates syndication. As was usual then, music filled the first part of the show, so that the local station announcer could do a commercial or two. So the writer and actors were left with a 12 1/2-minute mystery.

"The IOU Murder" spins the tale of a mansion murder in which the shot is not suicide. "Paid in Full" is a plot twister in which the guilty is known, but can't be pinned with the crime. In the "Stolen Brain" a professor's body has been has "gone missing" and the brain is held for $35,000 ransom. That's a lot of money even today for a mass of "little grey cells." In another, Mrs. North is found bound and gagged by a dead man in her bedroom. A woman is pushed out from a speeding roadster owned by an Italian with an airtight alibi, but the dead dame has twin brothers who swear vengeance on him anyway. An overdose of cocaine kills a recluse who hasn't left his room in 20 years. A crook cashes a check from a Count who may be a no-count. A boxer is permanently KO'd after a big fight, but the cops finger one of three men taking a shower as the killer. Pretty aggressive stuff for 1932!

The shows have very few wrinkles for a 70-year-old (they sound pretty darn good). Twists and turns in plot are as many as the minutes allow. These are fun to hear!

There isn't much information on who did the acting. But radio in 1932 was still in its beginnings as a national pastime. This show is a great example of those still early days of radio, when the concept of syndication was still in its infancy. The networks refused to use pre-recorded disks until after WWII! This organization was recording a show on acetate disks and then sending copies out (carefully, as they could break!) to customer stations across America. It was, for that era, very sophisticated media merchandising!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

America’s Town Meeting of the Air


America’s Town Meeting of the Air was a public affairs discussion broadcast on radio from 1935 to 1956. One of radio's first talk shows, it began as a six-week experiment, and NBC didn't expect much from it.

Broadcast live from New York City's Town Hall, America's Town Meeting of the Air debuted on Thursday May 30, 1935, and only 18 of NBC's affiliates carried it. ("George V. Denny," 1959) The topic for that first show was "Which Way America: Fascism, Communism, Socialism or Democracy?” (Overstreet, 15) The moderator was George V. Denny Jr., who was the Executive Director of the organization that produced the show, the League for Political Education. He would remain the show's moderator from 1935 to 1952, and play a major role in choosing the weekly topics. Denny and the League wanted to create a program that would replicate the Town Meetings that were held in the early days of the United States. ("Boston Symphony," 1936)tings that were held in the early days of the United States. ("Boston Symphony," 1936)

The show's introduction tried to evoke the old town meetings, as the voice of the mythical town crier announced, “Town meeting tonight! Come to the old Town Hall and talk it over!” Denny and the League believed that a radio town meeting could enhance the public's interest in current events. Denny worried that an uninformed public was bad for democracy (Overstreet, 6); and he believed society had become so polarized that the average person didn't listen to other points of view. (Hilmes, 46-7) His goal was to create a new kind of educational program, one that would be entertaining as well as mentally challenging, while exposing listeners to various perspectives on the issues of the day. Explaining the rationale behind a radio town meeting, Denny wrote that it was "... a device which is designed to attract [the average American's] attention and stimulate his [sic] interest in the complex economic, social and political problems which he must have a hand in solving." (Denny, 377)

Over the years, America's Town Meeting became known for its interesting guests, many of whom were important news makers. Denny did not shy away from controversy: his panelists included Socialist presidential candidate Norman Thomas, American Communist Party leader Earl Browder, and civil libertarian Morris Ernst. But there were also guests from the world of literature (author Pearl Buck, poets Carl Sandburg and Langston Hughes) and a number of famous scientists, politicians, journalists, and public intellectuals.

The topics were meant to inspire discussion, and Denny tried to select subjects that would get people talking long after the show was over. Among them were discussions about whether America truly had freedom of the press (and whether censorship was sometimes necessary) ; whether the United States should enter World War II or remain neutral; and why the United States public schools weren't doing a better job. ("Schools Are Urged," 1936; Hilmes, 51) But during World War II, Denny repeatedly encountered what he had most sought to avoid: angry audience members who didn't want to listen to other viewpoints and who wanted to criticize, rather than debate. Worse still, some audience members expressed isolationist and anti-Semitic views. Denny struggled to maintain the show's openness and objectivity, but it became increasingly difficult to do so.

America’s Town Meeting of the Air.zip

Monday, July 6, 2009

American in England, An


An American in England was the story of Norman Corwin's visit to wartime Britain. He had been asked by CBS to observe and report on the character and hardships of a nation under siege.

The US Government arranged for CBS and the BBC to collaborate on this series, intended to give Americans a better understanding of our Ally, Great Britain. Corwin was sent to Britain to create and produce the programs, to be sent via short-wave and rebroadcast in America over CBS. Edward R. Murrow and the CBS staff in London helped a great deal.

In his four months in England, wrote Corwin,

"I did not once interview a high government official. The main objective of the series was to establish the character of the British people and not disseminate the handouts of the Ministry of Information. The people were soldiers, sailors, workers, miners, the theater manager, the elevator man, Police Officer Gilbert, the Everingtons, the Westerbys, Betty Hardy the actress, Henry Blogg the lifesaver, Mary Seaton the newspaperwoman, the RAF officer who handed me a dish in the mess and explained, 'This sausage is made of two ingredients--paper and sawdust'; the navigator, just returned from Wilhelmshaven, who said wistfully, 'Somehow we're always first in over the target'; the woman in Swansea who went to the Guildhall one morning following a severe blitz and turned in two suits of clothes, both nearly new, saying she had bought them for her two boys, killed in the raid."

Ten shows aired under the AN AMERICAN IN ENGLAND banner, broadcast in 2 series. The first were 6 shows aired from August 3, 1942 through September 7, 1942. They were created in England and were broadcast via shortwave to the US as well as broadcast from US stations. The second series consisted of only 4 shows, produced in the US after Mr. Corwin's return, and aired December 1, 1942 through December 22, 1942. One of those 4 was a repeat from the first run. All shows were approximately 30 minutes in length.

The seventh show of the series, "Cromer", was re-broadcast May 9, 1944 as the 10th show in the Columbia Workshop: Columbia Presents Corwin series.

All Shows

An American in England.zip

Single Shows


Hear It Now


Hear It Now, an American radio program on CBS, began in 1950 and was hosted by Edward R. Murrow and produced by Murrow and Fred W. Friendly. It ran for one hour on Fridays at 9 pm.

One of the most popular and best selling records of 1948 was I Can Hear It Now 1933-1945. The record was a collaboration between Murrow and Friendly. The record interwove historical events with speeches and Murrow's narration and marked the beginning of one of the most famous pairings in journalism history. The huge success of the record prompted the pair to parlay it into a weekly radio show for CBS, called Hear It Now.

The show had a "magazine" format. It sought to include a variety of sounds from current events such as an atom smasher at work or artillery fire from Korea. It was the artillery fire that produced one of the show's more poignant moments as it backdropped the words of American soldiers fighting the Korean War. The entire premise of the show was to include the "actual sound of history in the making," according to Murrow. Some of the show's audio was what Time Magazine called "fairly routine" in 1950. Such soundbites as Communist China's General Wu and Russia's Andrei Vishinsky along with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Warren Austin were included among those routinely used. But Time also lauded the "vivid reality" created by the aforemention artillery clips, comments from wounded U.S. Marines or Carl Sandburg's recital of his The People, Yes.

The legwork involved in producing the program often exceeded the amount of programming culled from the reporting. For an hour and a half of interviews in Koto the duo was able to use 21 seconds of the material on the air. The program also shied away from the traditional use of string music common to many radio shows of the time period. Instead the show relied on composers such as David Diamond and Lehman Engel to produce its music.

Murrow anchored the show with news and editorial commentary but Hear It Now also featured regular oral columns and features.

* Red Barber: covered sports
* comic Abe Burrows: covered drama
* Don Hollenbeck: covered the media
* Bill Leonard: covered movies

The show wrapped up each week's broadcast with a four to ten minute "closeup." An example of the subject matter of the closeup was General of the Army Douglas MacArthur.

The rising importance of television compelled a reluctant Murrow, in 1951, to introduce a TV version of the radio show, called See It Now. With the inception of See It Now, Hear It Now ended its on-air run.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Old Gold Comedy Theater, The


The Old Gold Comedy Theater, an NBC radio anthology series, aired on Sundays 10:30 - 11:00 pm hosted by Harold Lloyd (1944-1945) featuring some of Hollywood's top stars of the time period.

Lloyd took the job as director and host of The Old Gold Comedy Theater, after Preston Sturges, who had turned the job down, recommended him for it. The show presented half-hour radio adaptations of recently successful film comedies, beginning with Palm Beach Story with Claudette Colbert and Robert Young.

Some saw The Old Gold Comedy Theater as being a lighter version of Lux Radio Theater, and it featured some of the best-known film and radio personalities of the day, including Fred Allen, June Allyson, Lucille Ball, Ralph Bellamy, Linda Darnell, Susan Hayward, Herbert Marshall, Dick Powell, Edward G. Robinson, Jane Wyman, and Alan Young, among others. But the show's half-hour format — which meant the material might have been truncated too severely — and Lloyd's sounding somewhat ill at ease on the air for much of the season (though he spent weeks training himself to speak on radio prior to the show's premiere, and seemed more relaxed toward the end of the series run) may have worked against it.

The Old Gold Comedy Theater ended in June 1945 with an adaptation of Tom, Dick, and Harry, featuring June Allyson and Reginald Gardiner and was not renewed for the following season. Many years later, acetate discs of 29 of the shows were discovered in Lloyd's home, and they now circulate among old-time radio collectors.


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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