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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Dick Barton Special Agent


Dick Barton Special Agent was a popular radio program on the BBC Light Programme from 1946 to 1951. Dick Barton was the BBC’s first daily serial, airing at 6.45 each weekday evening. It featured ex-Commando Captain Richard Barton (Noel Johnson, later Duncan Carse and Gordon Davies) who, with his mates Jock Anderson (Alex McCrindle) and Snowy White (John Mann) solved all sorts of crimes, escaped from dangerous situations and saved the nation from disaster time and again. At its peak it had an audience of 15 million.

The series was devised by producer Norman Collins. The scripts were written by Edward J. Mason and Geoffrey Webb and, listened to today in the 21st century can seem very hackneyed and clich├ęd, almost to the point of parody. It gave rise to a popular catchphrase of the late forties "With one bound Dick was free!" which made light of the fact that no matter how dangerous the cliffhanging situation Dick found himself in every evening, he would always escape by the easiest - and usually most contrived - method.

The BBC, conscious that the biggest audience for the program was schoolboys, wrote a strict code of what Dick and chums could and couldn't do, one clause famously stating "Sex plays no part in his adventures."

In 1972 as part of the BBC's Golden Jubilee, the BBC broadcast a new, abridged, 10 episode version of the very first Barton serial - "The Secret Weapon". The cast included many members of the original cast, including Noel Johnson as Dick Barton, John Mann as Snowey White, William Fox as Colonel Gardiner, Alex McCrindle as Jock Anderson and Margaret Robertson as Jean Hunter.

Here is the 1972 re-make of the very first adventure of the radio legend.

Ten episodes of approx 15 minutes each in high quality MP3.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge

One of the first bandleaders to become a radio celebrity, Kay Kyser was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on June 18, 1906. Kyser formed his first dance band in 1926 at the University of North Carolina.

The band was playing Chicago’s Blackhawk Restaurant in 1937 when Kyser came up with "Kay’s Klass," a freewheeling combination of community sing, amateur night and audience quiz. The show was re-christened Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge and WGN/Chicago gave it a trial run on the air. In 1938, the show moved to New York and became an instant hit on NBC.

As "The Ol’ Perfessor," Kyser greeted listeners with his trademark "Evenin’, folks. How y’all?" while wearing a long robe and mortarboard hat. Contestants were often given a "true-false" quiz and expected to offer "false" answers to "true" statements. When they did, Kyser proclaimed "That’s right, you’re wrong!"

Kay Kyser’s Kollege of Musical Knowledge ran on radio until 1949. Kyser retired from show business in the early 1950s and later became manager of the film and broadcasting department of the Christian Science Church.

Kay Kyser died on June 23, 1985.

Kay Kyser was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1990.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sears Radio Theater


Sears Radio Theater was an anthology radio drama series which ran  nightly Monday through Friday on CBS Radio in 1979, sponsored by the Sears chain. Often paired with The CBS Radio Mystery Theater during its first season, the program offered a different genre of drama for each day's broadcast.

Monday was "Western Night" and was hosted by Lorne Greene. Tuesday was "Comedy Night", hosted by Andy Griffith. Wednesday was "Mystery Night" with Vincent Price as host. Thursday was "Love And Hate Night" with Cicely Tyson doing honors as host. Finally, Friday brought "Adventure Night", first hosted by Richard Widmark and later by Howard Duff and then by Leonard Nimoy.


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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