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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Silent Men, The

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The Silent Men starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, portrayed the part as a federal government special agent from various branches. He answered to a chief, played by either William Conrad or Herb Butterfield. A lot of radio stars also appeared throughout like Virginia Gregg, Raymond Burr, Lou Merrill Lurene Tuttle, Paul Frees and John Dehner. Don Stanley was the announcer, produced and directed by Warren Lewis, who wrote many of the stories along with Joel Murcott. The series ran on NBC 1951 -1952.




Love Story Magazine (OTRR Certified)

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Street and Smith's, Love Story Magazine was the basis of the old radio serial Love Story. These fifteen minute shows were RCA syndicated in 1937, and as you can guess by the title were stories of a romantic nature.

Dramatic dames and daring rogues... Such characters filled the pages of Love Story Magazine. This popular program for women told tales of loves lost and found, terrifying treacheries, broken hearts, tearful reunions, Prince Charmings and ladies spurned. This was probably what contributed it being a short lived series. If you like smarmy, then this is the series for you.






Life with the Lyons (BBC)

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This BBC radio comedy series, probably the first sitcom in Britain, ran for twelve years between 1950 and 1961, and starred American movie stars Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels, and their children Barbara and Richard. It broke the mold of BBC radio comedy of the day, which usually comprised sketches alternating with musical items or guest star spots.
Bebe Daniels, the creative side of the couple, came up with the format of the Lyons playing themselves, with Ben working for a film company, living in London, bringing up their children, even giving their (almost correct) home address. From 1950 to 1961 we listened to them raising their children, watching them mature, get engaged and married. She made them larger than life, but basically they played themselves. Bebe was the scatterbrain, Ben the authoritarian father, Barbara the teenager flitting from romance to romance with the catchphrase "I'll die...... I'll just die" when things went wrong. Richard would do anything for a shilling but never spent one. They had a hard time with Barbara & Richard who didn't want the discipline of a regular radio show, with Bebe's rules - no nights out, no onions or garlic, before a broadcast. Barbara especially became a "star" in her own mind until Bebe sorted her out. Bebe worked as script editor from the writers' layouts, honing the scripts until she was happy. They recorded rehearsals, playing the acetates that night to cut out unsuccessful lines, or make improvements. Acting was second nature to her, but praise for her scripts brought her real pleasure. Bebe finalised the scripts in her basement at Southwick Street, from drafts by Bob Block, Ronnie Hanbury and others, including at one time Bob Monkhouse. Brad Ashton was brought in to help following Ronnie Hanbury's death in a car crash in France. During out-of-season breaks each year, they went back to America where in 1954 Bebe was surprised by "This Is Your Life", thinking she was going to praise Louella Parsons. (from Phil Watson OTRR)
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Moon River

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Out of WLW in Cincinnati, Moon River was a local old time radio show that was heard worldwide due to WLW's powerful transmitter (500,000 watts).

Moon River program included a hypnotic narrator, soothing female vocal trio, violin, and the Moon River organ. Rumor has it that the Moon River organ and original transmitter still exist.

A late night old time radio show, dreamy and relaxing, the poems often seem nonsensical perhaps drifting listeners further into the kingdom of sleep. Fittingly sponsored by Southern Cross Spring Mattress Company, the advertisement blend seamlessly into the show.(Text from otrcat)

These shows are so relaxing, perfect to listen to at bed time; or perhaps with someone special in front of a fireplace on one of those chili nights.



American Adventure

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American Adventure (1955 - 1956) presents some very entertaining tales taken primarily from actual events that occurred in America's past. The shows were produced by the communications center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a lot of the tales are performed by the faculty, students, and townspeople from the University of North Carolina who do an outstanding job of acting. The scripts are written by John Eely, who also performs in the stories, and directed by John Clayton. The stories range from tales on a Southern Plantation in the early 1800's to building a house during The Great Depression in the 1930's. One tale is by author Sarah Randolph, grand-daughter of Jefferson. These are stories you surely will enjoy.




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Monday, April 27, 2009

Meet the Meeks

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Forrest Lewis


Meet The Meeks 1947-1949 (NBC), a comedy that originated on WMAQ Chicago Saturday mornings and was sponsored by All-Sweet Margarine. Forrest Lewis played Mortimer Meek, who later went on to play in dozens of movies and television shows in the 1950s and '60s like "The Andy Griffith Show", "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C", "Son of Flubber", "The AbsentMinded Professor" and many more. He died in 1977 of a heart attack at age 77, four years after his last television appearance.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Romance

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Theater of Romance/Romance (CBS) ran for about 12 years between 1943 and 1957 as a 30 minute filler for a number of old time radio shows. The content, directors, performers and producers changed often during the run of the series, but maintained its theme pretty much. When the show picked up sponsor Colgate Tooth Powder in the years 1944-1946, a lot of big names of the time entered the picture like Henry Fonda, Errol Flynn, Humphrey Bogart, Shirley Temple, Orson Welles, Gregory Peck and James Stewart among others. Theater of Romance kind of became a half hour version of the Lux Radio Theater for the Colgate Company with stories binding with the movies and historical fiction. The show now became very popular. Frank Graham hosted the show for most of its years. In the later years the show was basically just called "Romance" with top Old Time Radio performers starring. Available is quite a few of the series from 1943 up to 1957 in various quality.


Listen Pagosa



Eb and Zeb

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Eb and Zeb was produced out of a San Francisco studio with Al Pearce playing Eb who talked with a lisp, and Bill Wright was the voice of Zeb. The show was sponsored by the Shell Oil Company. The characters were shopkeepers of a General Store in the the little town of Corn Center. Often the plot would continue into several episodes of a story, while at other times old Eb and Zeb would just amuse the audience carrying on and joking in the vaudeville style.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tennessee Jed

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Tennessee Jed aired in the mid 1940's Monday - Friday sponsored by Tip Top Bread. Johnny Thomas starred as Tennessee Jed Sloan and was later replaced by Don MacLaughlin. His faithful horse was named Smoky.




Tales of the Texas Rangers

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Tales of the Texas Rangers, a western adventure old-time radio drama, premiered on July 8, 1950, on the US NBC radio network and remained on the air through September 14, 1952. Movie star Joel McCrea starred as Texas Ranger Jayce Pearson, who used the latest scientific techniques to identify the criminals and his faithful horse, Charcoal, to track them down. The shows were reenactments of actual Texas Ranger cases.

The series was produced by Screen Gems and directed by Stacy Keach, Sr., and was sponsored for part of its run by Wheaties.

Captain Manuel T. "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas, a Ranger for 30 years and who was said to have killed 31 men during his career, served as consultant for the series.

This show was one of the more successful radio shows of the early
1950's, airing for 3 years. Directed by Stacey Keach, Sr., TALES
OF THE TEXAS RANGERS broadcast coast-to-coast every Sunday on NBC.

Don't mistake this series for a Western. It's a modern (1950's)
police drama featuring the oldest and most respected law enforcement
body in North America. "Tales" related true cases from the police
files and is sometimes considered a forerunner of today's TV series
starring Chuck Norris.

In 1955, TALES OF THE TEXAS RANGERS made the transition to television.
Stacy Keach Sr. is credited as one of the directors. Willard Parker
played the part of Jace Pearson. The series aired through 1959,
consisting of 52 30-minute episodes.


Lassie

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The Lassie radio show was broadcast from 1947-1950. It first aired on ABC, then on NBC. Lassie played a different dog each week in different kinds of situations. The shows were 15 minutes.


Friday, April 24, 2009

Granby's Green Acres

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Granby's Green Acres was a 13-episode radio series that starred Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet as a big-city family who move to the country. Parley Baer played Eb, the hired hand. You might remember Benaderet as Cousin Pearl Bodine (Jethro's mother) in the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies and on Petticoat Junction. Also she was the voice of Betty Rubble on the cartoon series The Flintstones. Gordon played the second Mr. Wilson (after the death of Joseph Kearns) on Dennis the Menace. When that show ended in spring 1963, Gordon joined The Lucy Show as Mooney for the 1963-64 season. Granby's Green Acres was the basis for Green Acres, the American television series that was produced by Filmways, Inc. and originally broadcast on CBS from September 15, 1965 to September 7, 1971.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Roy Rogers Show, The



Roy Rogers (born Leonard Franklin Slye) (November 5, 1911 – July 6, 1998), was a singer and cowboy actor, as well as the namesake of the well-known Roy Rogers Restaurants chain. He and his second wife Dale Evans, his golden palomino Trigger, and his German Shepherd Dog, Bullet, were featured in over one hundred movies and The Roy Rogers Show. The show ran on radio for nine years before moving to television from 1951 through 1957. His productions usually featured a sidekick, often either Pat Brady, (who drove a jeep called "Nellybelle") or the crotchety Gabby Hayes. Roy's nickname was "King of the Cowboys". Dale's nickname was "Queen of the West." For many Americans (and non-Americans), he was the embodiment of a cowboy.


Rogers formed Sons of the Pioneers, a western cowboy music group, in 1933 with Tim Spencer and Bob Nolan. They were joined by Hugh Farr (fiddle/bass vocals) in 1934, Karl Farr (guitar) in 1935, and Lloyd Perryman (vocals) in 1936. When Rogers began his film career, the group took on Pat Brady (string bass), who brought with him his flair for comedy (Brady later starred as Rogers' sidekick in his popular 1951 television program). The group remained popular into the 1960s. In 2003, the Sons of the Pioneers was among the winners of the Golden Boot Award, along with actors Chris Alcaide, Kelo Henderson, Tommy Lee Jones, and Kris Kristofferson. Though all of the original members are deceased, the group continues, led by Dale Warren (a member since 1953 replacing Ken Curtis), and performs regularly at concerts in Branson, Missouri and other locations. It has been claimed that the Sons of the Pioneers is the oldest continually performing private musical group in history. Ken Curtis is best remembered as an actor, primarily for playing Festus on Gunsmoke, but was a member of the Sons from 1949 to 1953. Western character actor Shug Fisher was a member from 1943-46, 1949-53 and 1955-59.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Roy Rogers has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1752 Vine Street, a second star at 1733 Vine Street for his contribution to radio, and a third star at 1620 Vine Street for his contribution to the television industry.

Roy and Dale were inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in 1976 and Roy was inducted again as a member of the Sons of the Pioneers in 1995. Roy was also twice elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, first as a member of The Sons of the Pioneers in 1980 and as a soloist in 1988.

Rogers also owned a Thoroughbred racehorse named Triggairo who won 13 career races including the 1975 El Encino Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

Rogers died of congestive heart failure on July 6, 1998. Rogers was residing in Apple Valley, California at the time of his death. Rogers was buried at Sunset Hills cemetery in Apple Valley.


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Sealtest Variety Theater, The

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The Sealtest Variety Theater (1946-49) aired on Thursday nights at 9:30, it was a musical variety and comedy show with glamorous Dorothy Lamour as hostess. During the World War II years, Lamour was among the most popular pinup girls among American servicemen. Other regulars were Eddie Bracken and Frank Nelson. The show always had one or more stars appearing like Ronald Colman, Gregory Peck, Bob Hope, Jim and Marian Jordan, Ed Gardner, Harold Peary, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and many more.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Night Watch

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CBS brought NIGHT WATCH to the air for its short run on April 2, 1954 to Apr 21, 1955. NIGHT WATCH was the first show to bring live police drama to the air. Police Reporter Don Reed accompanied Officer Ron Perkins, bringing with him a tape recorder to capture the action. Don Reed actually carried a dry-cell powered reel to reel tape machine on his back and had a concealed microphone inside a flashlight casing. Reed went on to be one of the first traffic helicopter reporters, and Perkins eventually was elected Mayor of Culver City.

Very unique show that is often overlooked because of the short run. This is a true reality cop show from the past. What an overlooked gem.






Hallmark Playhouse, The

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The Hallmark Playhouse (CBS 1948 - 1953) was an abrupt change for sponsor Hallmark Cards; away from its Radio Reader's Digest and into a literary mode. Bestselling British novelist James Hilton, author of "Random Harvest", "Lost Horizon" and "Goodbye, Mr. Chips" plus others, would host and select the books that would be adapted for the air.

The series had many major screen stars and actors from the period cast in the productions.






Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Romance of the Ranchos

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Romance of the Ranchos (1941 - 1942) tells the story of the expeditions of men and women that tried to tame the wilds that existed in early California. Based on the title records of its sponsor, Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles, Romance of the Ranchos brought appreciation of California through understanding of its past.




Green Valley Line, The

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THE GREEN VALLEY LINE was a syndicated series that aired during the 1930's, It was part omance, part adventure and dealt with a small rail line and an attempted takeover. The series consisted of 26 episodes each approximately 10 to 15 minutes long.





Ford Theater, The

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The Ford Theater
aired 1947 - 1949. It was broadcast on NBC until October 8, 1948 then moved to CBS. It was hosted by Howard Lindsay. The show tried to use good but not to famous radio performers. Producer George Zachary, first producer, attempting to use popular radio stars instead of Hollywood stars offered limited success. Followed was low ratings which forced the replacement of Zachary with Fletcher Markle, husband of radio legend Mercedes McCambridge. Needing a change the show moved to California and began starring celebrities from Hollywood like Lucille Ball. Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Bette Davis to mention a few. This combination made for a hit radio show.



Let George Do It (OTRR Certified)

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Let George Do It was a radio drama series produced by Owen and Pauline Vinson from 1946 to 1954. It starred Bob Bailey as detective-for-hire George Valentine (with Olan Soule stepping into the role in 1954).

Clients came to Valentine's office after reading a newspaper carrying his classified ad:

Personal notice: Danger's my stock in trade. If the job's too tough for you to handle, you've got a job for me. George Valentine.


The few earliest episodes were more sitcom than private eye shows, with a studio audience providing scattered laughter at the not-so-funny scripts. Soon the audience was banished, and George went from stumbling comedic hero to tough guy private eye and the music from wah-wah-wah to suspenseful.

Valentine's secretary was Claire Brooks, aka Brooksie (Frances Robinson, Virginia Gregg, Lillian Buyeff). As Valentine made his rounds in search of the bad guys, he usually encountered Brooksie's kid brother, Sonny (Eddie Firestone), Lieutenant Riley (Wally Maher) and elevator man Caleb (Joseph Kearns). For the first few shows, Sonny was George's assistant, but he was soon relegated to an occasional character.

Sponsored by Standard Oil, the program was broadcast on the West Coast Mutual Broadcasting System from October 18, 1946 to September 27, 1954, first on Friday evenings and then on Mondays. In its last season, transcriptions were aired in New York, Wednesdays at 9:30pm, from January 20, 1954 to January 12, 1955.

John Hiestand was the program's announcer. Don Clark directed the scripts by David Victor and Jackson Gillis. The background music was supplied by Eddie Dunstedter, initially with a full orchestra. When television supplanted radio as the country's primary home entertainment, radio budgets got skimpier and skimpier and Dunstedter's orchestra was replaced by an organ.












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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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