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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Counterspy

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Counterspy was an espionage drama radio series that aired on the NBC Blue Network (later the ABC) and Mutual from May 18, 1942 to November 29, 1957.

David Harding (Don MacLaughlin) was the chief of the United States Counterspies, a unit engaged during World War II in counterespionage against Japan's Black Dragon and Germany's Gestapo.

With spies still lurking in the post-war years, as well as the Communist threat, the adventures continued apace well after World War II ended.

Scriptwriters for the series included Milton J. Kramer, Emile C. Tepperman and Stanley Niss.







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Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air

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The Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air was a musical-variety radio series for children, sponsored by Pepsodent and heard on NBC. Broadcast from the Disney Little Theater on the RKO lot from January 2 to May 15, 1938, the program was created to promote the February 1938 release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. In addition to Snow White (January 9, 1938), other shows in the series included "Mother Goose Land," "Cinderella," "King Neptune," "The Pied Piper," "The Old Woman in the Shoe" and "Old MacDonald."

Walt Disney did the voice of Mickey Mouse for the first four episodes. Other Disney characters featured on the program were Donald Duck (Clarence Nash), Minnie Mouse (Thelma Boardman), Goofy (Stuart Buchanan) and Clara Cluck (Florence Gill).

Music was provided by the Felix Mills Orchestra, Donald Duck's Swing Band and The Minnie Mouse Woodland Choir. The opening theme music was "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?". John Hiestan was the announcer for this Sunday afternoon program.






Episode List


  1. Robin Hood (January 2, 1938)
  2. Snow White Day (January 9, 1938)
  3. Donald Duck's Band (January 16, 1938)
  4. The River Boat (January 23, 1938)
  5. Ali Baba (January 30, 1938)
  6. South of the Border (February 6, 1938)
  7. Mother Goose and Old King Cole (February 13, 1938)
  8. The Gypsy Band (February 20, 1938)
  9. Cinderella (February 27, 1938)
  10. King Neptune (March 6, 1938)
  11. The Pied Piper (March 13, 1938)
  12. Sleeping Beauty (March 20, 1938)
  13. Ancient Egypt (March 27, 1938) (guest appearance by Snow White)
  14. Mother Goose and The Old Woman in a Shoe (April 3, 1938)
  15. Long John Silver (April 10, 1938)
  16. King Arthur (April 17, 1938)
  17. Who Killed Cock Robin? (April 24, 1938)
  18. Cowboy Show (May 1, 1938)
  19. William Tell (May 8, 1938)
  20. Old MacDonald (May 15, 1938)
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Crime Club

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The Crime Club aired on the Mutual Broadcasting System as a half-hour weekly radio series, beginning on December 2, 1946 and continuing until October 16, 1947, a run of 47 episodes. It aired on Mondays at 8 p.m. through December and then on Thursdays at 10 p.m. It was also heard on Wednesdays and Sundays on some stations.

Each installment was introduced by the series host, The Librarian, portrayed by Barry Thomson and Raymond Edward Johnson (who was perhaps better known as the host of Inner Sanctum Mysteries). The series featured murder and mystery dramas, some of which had already been published by the Doubleday Crime Club. A new Crime Club book was made available to the public each week and distributed though local newsstands and bookstores.

Each show in the series began the same way. The telephone rings and the Librarian answers "Hello, I hope I haven't kept you waiting. Yes, this is the Crime Club. I'm the Librarian. (name of the program)? Yes, we have that Crime Club story for you. Come right over. (The organist plays a creepy tune). The doorbell chimes. "Ah you're here. Good. Take the easy chair by the window. Comfortable? The book is on this shelf." (The organist plays a scary chord). Here it is - (name of the program, the author and a very brief summary). "Let's look at it under the reading lamp." The Librarian begins reading the prologue for the tale, and another Crime Club offering begins.

Barry Thompson and Raymond E. Johnson played the mild-mannered, albeit ominous, Librarian. Roger Bower produced and directed most of the episodes. Stedman Coles and Wyllis Cooper (Lights Out, Quiet Please) did most of the scripts, adapted from the Crime Club books.

Death Blew out the Match
13.5M
Cowhide




Sunday, August 15, 2010

Better Living Radio Theater

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Better Living Radio Theater was an electric companies public information program. The shows were fifteen minutes and aired sometime around 1953.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Everyman's Theater

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Everyman's Theater ran on Fridays at 9:30 beginning October 04, 1940 and ended March 28, 1941. It was a mix of Arch Oboler's dreams, originals and adaptations and he was also the director of the shows. Major film stars appeared in the shows and often jumped at the chance to play a part from an Oboler script.

Arch Oboler (December 7, 1907–March 19, 1987) was an American playwright, screenwriter, novelist, producer and director who was active in radio, films, theater and television. He generated much attention with his radio scripts, particularly the horror series Lights Out, and his work in radio remains the outstanding period of his career. Praised as one of broadcasting's top talents, he is regarded today as a key innovator of radio drama.



Romance of Helen Trent

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The Romance of Helen Trent was a radio soap opera which aired on CBS from 1933 to 1960 for a total of 7,222 episodes. The show was created by Frank and Anne Hummert, who were among the most prolific producers during the radio soap era.

The program opened with:

And now, The Romance of Helen Trent, the real-life drama of Helen Trent, who, when life mocks her, breaks her hopes, dashes her against the rocks of despair, fights back bravely, successfully, to prove what so many women long to prove, that because a woman is 35 or more, romance in life need not be over, that romance can begin at 35.

The storyline revolved around a 35-year-old dressmaker who fascinates men as she works her way up to become the chief Hollywood costumer designer. Helen was played by three different actresses (Virginia Clark, Betty Ruth Smith and Julie Stevens). Virginia Clark did the role for 11 years, and Julie Steven portrayed Helen for 16 years.

Stevens, who had recently finished playing the title role on the radio soap Kitty Foyle, was only 22 when she joined the cast. She continued in the role from 1944 to the show's cancellation in 1960. Stevens was married to television executive Charles Underhill, and while portraying Helen Trent during 1951-52, she made her television debut as the female lead of Lorelei Kilbourne on the Big Town television series.
Romancehelen.jpg

Stevens said she saw Helen as being similar to Edith Head. Stevens felt her character was boring and remembered the director allowed the actors to "fall around and scream with laughter during rehearsals. We had to keep our sanity. By air time we had gotten it all out of our systems and could be dead serious about the story."

During the 7,222 episodes (more than any other radio soap), Helen never married, and she always remained at the age of 35. However, she had a long-running beau, Gil Whitney.

An unusual incident occurred during a 1948 broadcast, as documented in Tune in Tomorrow (1968), the memoir by Mary Jane Higby, who portrayed Cynthia Carter on the program. As Gil attempted to convince Helen of his love for her, Helen again demurred and hesitated. Suddenly, a voice came over the airwaves, saying, "Ah, for chrissakes, lay the dame and get it over with!" As crew members tried to locate the voice inside the studio, the man proceeded to give sexually graphic examples of what Gil should do with Helen. In spite of the shock, there were few protests from listeners.




Sunday, August 8, 2010

Murder At Midnight

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This series was produced in New York and was heard first heard over the Mutual Network between Sept. 16, 1946 and Sept. 8, 1947 on radio station WJZ. MURDER AT MIDNIGHT, frequently using scripts borrowed from THE INNER SANCTUM, featured tales of the supernatural and the macabre by radio's top writers and stars. Listeners heard wild tales of death at midnight, "the witching hour, when night is darkest, our fears the strongest, our strength at it's lowest ebb. Midnight when the graves gape open and Death strikes".

Robert Newman, Joseph Ruscoll, Max Erlich and William Norwood handled the writing. The show was hosted by Raymond Morgan. The cast featured Elspith Eric, Mercedes McCambridge, Barry Kroeger, Betty Kane, Carl Frank, Barry Hopkins, Lawson Zerbie. Charles Paul played the creepy organ music, and Anton M. Leader directed.

In 1950, 10 shows from the series were again syndicated under the same title and were heard on Mutual stations.








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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians


Gaetano Alberto "Guy" Lombardo (June 19, 1902 – November 5, 1977) was a Canadian, then American bandleader and violinist.

Forming "The Royal Canadians" in 1924 with his brothers Carmen, Lebert, and Victor and other musicians from his hometown, Lombardo led the group to international success, billing themselves as creating "The Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven." The Lombardos are believed to have sold between 100 and 300 million phonograph records during their lifetimes.

Lombardo was born in London, Ontario. His father, Gaetano, was an amateur singer and had four of his five sons learn to play instruments so they could accompany him. Lombardo and his brothers formed their first orchestra while still in grammar school and rehearsed in the back of their father's tailor shop. Lombardo first performed in public with his brother Carmen at a church lawn party in London in 1914. His first recording session took place where trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke made his legendary recordings — in Richmond, Indiana, at the Gennett Studios — both during early 1924.

Lombardo's orchestra played at the "Roosevelt Grill" in the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City from 1929 to 1959, and their New Year's Eve broadcasts (which continued with Lombardo until 1976 at the Waldorf Astoria) were a major part of New Year's celebrations across North America. Even after Lombardo's death, the band's New Year's specials continued for two more years on CBS.

In 1938, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. The Royal Canadians were noted for playing the traditional song Auld Lang Syne as part of the celebrations. Their recording of the song still plays as the first song of the new year in Times Square.

Although Lombardo's big band music was viewed by some in the jazz and swing community of the day as "corny," trumpeter Louis Armstrong famously enjoyed Lombardo's music.

In November, 1977 Lombardo suffered a heart attack and died. Victor took over the band briefly but could not maintain it. When Lebert severed his ties in 1979 the group finally dissolved. The orchestra was later revived in 1989 by Al Pierson, playing a mix of nostalgic tunes and modern arrangements.

Lombardo was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007.




















Son of Porthos (AUS)

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Son of Porthos is an Australian radio 52 episode serial from 1950, a George Edwards Production, who also did the earlier production Man in the Iron Mask (AUS). The story has intrigue, romance and thrilling adventure set in France of 1678. Adapted from a story by Alexandre Dumas (a.k.a. The Death of Aramis), however, the real author was Paul Mahalin.)



Man in the Iron Mask (AUS)

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Man in the Iron Mask was an Australian serial based on the book by Alexandre Dumas. There is 52  episodes in the serial. This is the George Edwards Production from 1948.

George Edwards (born as Harold Parks, 11 March 1886 in Kent Town, South Australia – 1953) was an Australian actor and producer.

Edwards was a pioneer of the radio serial in Australia. Prior to that he was a comedian, vaudeville artist, acrobatic dancer and stage performer. It is claimed that he changed his name from Harold Parks to George Edwards at the behest of Edward Branscombe, who was putting together an up-market act and did not want anyone associated with low-brow music hall, and that he took the name from English theatrical impressario George Edwards.

Man in the Iron Mask was the last of the Three Musketeers novels based on the true story of a mysterious prisoner held incognito in the French penal system, forced to wear a mask when seen by any but his jailer or his valet.





Friday, August 6, 2010

Matthew Slade, P.I.

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Matthew Slade, P.I. was a syndicated show from the 1960s. Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) aired it under a title they made up called "Starlight Mystery Theater".

Matthew Slade was a San Francisco investigator and his secretary, Lorretta Jones, is referred to by all as "Jonesy." Slade's local pal in the Homicide Bureau, Sgt. Sid Donelli, appears in nearly all episodes and Slade charges clients "$200 a day plus expences", drives a Continental, and ends up in some rather exotic adventures. (from thrilling detective)



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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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