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kenwal34

When Radio Was King.

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How many of you can remember "LISTENING" to your favorite shows? Not just talk shows and sports but drama,soap operas,westerns,opera,practically everything,with just the twist of the dial.Radio asked you for only one ability:to use your imagination!

Movie stars like Robert Taylor starred in SUSPENSE. Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi appeared in shows guarenteed to keep you awake all night. Joel McCrea had a western series. Broderick Crawford played a tough cop in HIGHWAY PATROL and the list goes on. Superstars such as Bette Davis,Humphrey Bogart,Ida Lupino and others appeared on LUX RADIO THEATER creating stories from their movies.There was STELLA DALLAS and ROAD OF LIFE for soap opera fans. And THE GUIDING LIGHT which is still on TV today. And of course THE LONE RANGER.This is just a few of literally hundreds of shows that entertained some of you and myself daily.Abbott and Costello, AMOS AND ANDY, Jack Benny, and many more kept us laughing.There was news and sports too. Plus music from Glenn Miller,Artie Shaw and all the big bands.Whatever your favorite was, it was there at just the twist of the dial...and your imagination!

KEN.

 

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greg,

Thanks for responding.The reason for this thread is mainly for those who remember radio and the curious who might want to learn more about it.It was and still is to a degree,an important medium.

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When I was a lad in Brooklyn and helped out an elderly woman who was in a wheelchair, I recall she used to listen to soap operas on the radio in the afternoon.

And in the evening I listened to Peter Tripp the Curly Headed Kid in the Third Row who played the Top 40 Hits of the week. Unfortunately he got caught in a Payola scam and was bounced off the air.

And the radio I used was very old and I had to hold the wire in the back of the radio in order to get good reception. We didn't have much but those were the days and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

 

Mongo

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I sure can remember all the hours I spent listening to the radio when I was a kid. Believe it or not, I can very clearly remember hiding behind an overstuffed chair in our living room at age four, scared to death while listening to SUSPENSE one evening when my parents were out and the sitter was otherwise occupied on the phone. Evidently, I was still frightened when my parents got home, and not very pleased that the sitter hadn't turned the dial when that program came on. As for me, that evening actually began a long love affair with SUSPENSE that lasted for many more years.

 

My favorites were all the comedy shows: Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, Fibber Magee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Abbott and Costello, and just listening to the Big Band shows and lots of other good music and popular vocalists the rest of the time.

 

I recently found a cassette tape that I made of wonderful Christmas Stories, narrated by Loretta Young, Gregory Peck, and Bing Crosby I had as a kid on LP's. After all these years, I still remembered them almost word for word, and the same imagination I employed as a kid while "just listening" was also still intact. Kids today just don't know what they have missed.

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Mongo and ML,

Thank you both for your always welcomed and informed comments. One particular SUSPENSE show I remember was HOUSE IN CYPRESS CANYON with Robert Taylor.It was about a werewolf. LIGHTS OUT written by Arch Obeler and INNER SANCTUM with its "creaking door" were nail biters too.I never missed THE SHADOW[Orson Wells starred in the early shows],and I LOVE A MYSTERY with Jack, Doc and Reggie facing danger each week.AMOS AND ANDY were so popular that some theaters would stop showing their movie during the time the show was on,and put the show on their sound system. Mel Blanc was a regular on JACK BENNY, and remember the noise when FIBBER MAGEE opened that closet!

Many shows had Christmas stories.As a kid my Mom would put me to bed after AMOS AND ANDY was over.These are shows I listened to and have always remembered.

I forgot to mention that the noted director Cecil B.DeMille often hosted some of the radio theater shows.

 

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I was thinking last night after I posted that during the years I was listening to the radio (TV was still in the distant future), and I was still quite young and not taken to very many movies, that there must have been a lot of the Classic Era actors on various radio shows that I wouldn't have known as also being well-known and beloved film actors. Thus, I didn't realize who Loretta Young and Gregory Peck were even when I was listening to my LP's of Christmas Stories. I did know who Bing Crosby was, because my mother was crazy about him and owned just about every 78-RPM record of his on the market during all those years!

 

I know that some of the radio shows from that era were put on cassette tapes a number of years ago. Wouldn't it be great if even more were? Now it would mean something to me to know that so many of the voices I heard on the radio were the same actors I know a lot better now. ;)ML

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ken, to those of us 'on the cusp' (born after 1950), we still get it. I lost out on what it meant to listen to radio, to sit around and watch the radio, as one does the television now. Oddly, my parents didn't listen to any radio in the 1950s, probably because television was king then. So I missed out on the experience.

 

However, being a curmudgeon firmly rooted in old values, I am completely envious of those whose first media introduction was via a box which painted pictures in the mind. Pictures which may have had no basis in reality...Amos and Andy were played by white actors on radio, correct?...but which could be conjured up by the greatest special effects medium there is, the mind. Akin to reading, the radio allowed the mind to paint pictures that went along with the glorious words sent out over the airwaves.

 

My first experience with radio, and I still remember it, was listening to the Beatles being introduced in 1964. I and my cousin sat in my grandmother's house, trying not to scream (for some nutty reason, one had to scream while listening to the Beatle songs!), and it was just glorious.

 

There was no imagination required, however, in our radio experience. Not like the Shadow or Orphan Annie or Burns and Allen or any of the other wonderful shows. Share away, ken, we who have missed out are enjoying your reminiscences. Those who can't revel in your descriptions know not what they have missed, and I feel very sorry for them.

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Stoney,

Glad to oblige.I will take time to answer your post.Then its rest for me. I'm fighting a cold. First of all,Amos and Andy were played by white actors. Publicity photos some time showed them in black face, but very few listeners worried about that.Many radio shows were message shows in that good always won over evil.Not always realistic,but for that matter neither are movies or tv for the most part.Music and sound effects added to the realism and your mind would do the rest.The actor playing THE LONE RANGER looked different in real life than the mental picture I had of him. Music signatures opened each program and were often supplied by an organ. Classical themes were used often[Willam Tell overture announced THE LONE RANGER],plus original themes to fit different moods.These programs entertained adults as well as kids. People today have their favorite TV show; we had our favorite radio show.I had a lot of favorites including SUSPENSE,LONE RANGER,JACK BENNY,and FIBBER MAGEE AND MOLLY to name a few.For people who never had this experience I can understand their wondering how we could be entertained and have such fond memories. You would have had to live then to understand the thrill of radio.

Now its down time for me till I get over this cold!

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That all happened way back in ancient times, before any of us could remember it. I don't. My father was born in 1944 and my mother was born in 1946, so they have no memory at all of those times. They were way too young to remember any of it.

 

 

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Ken, when you get back from soothing your cold with soup made from brontosaurus bones, perhaps you could regale us with more stories of listening to radio by candle light.

 

:)

 

Burns and Allen on radio. How I envy you.

 

When cable was an infant in the 1980s, some of the stations, not yet sure of their direction, used to play old Burns and Allen television shows, as well as those of Molly Goldberg. I was fascinated. I had always loved B&A in movies and from appearances on variety shows, but to see Gracie and George's timing was electrifying.

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Yes Ken please try some homemade chicken soup best thing for a cold and get bettersoon! Love this thread i was

too young for the radio years but enjoy all the stories

of radio from everyone! I also will check out the website you mentioned thanks alot for the radio years

education sure appreciate it alot! lolite.

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I love this thread. I likewise am an OTR lover. I really love the detectives: Boston ****, Casey Crime Photographer, and Yours Truly Johnny Dollar (played by Edmond O'Brian).

 

 

One of the things I was fortunate to find is Live365. What it is a huge amount of online radio stations, you put in the subject, they have a station that plays it. I have many OTR stations on my account.

 

How it works is 2 ways: you don't have to become a member but you only get access to a limited number of stations.

If you have a membership, pretty much any station is yours. I was fortunate to get a 1 year subscription for Christmas. I am putting it to very good use.

The cost per month is $9.95

The address is www.live365.com

I HIGHLY recommend it.

 

I'm not trying to sell you guys (and gals) on anything, I just think you should try it.

 

Later all.

 

By the way, Mel Blanc had his own radio program. On it he had a character named Zookie, who if you listen is pretty much Porky Pig.

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that old time radio station on I-Tunes, which one can access daily and has episodes of many dramatic shows from the golden days of radio.

 

I did not have the good fortune to live during such times, but I have been made aware by many older relatives of the fun of those days, and do envy those who had the old Victrolas to tune in to The Shadow, and all the suspense shows.

 

I've seen a boxed set of cd's at Best Buy which has many episodes from that time, which retails at around 50 bucks. Does anyone think this is worth the money?

 

There is nothing better than listening to one of those old dramatic shows on the radio, like from that Lucille Fletcher I think her name was, when one is driving home late at night. Things like "Sorry Wrong Number" or "The Hitchhiker" are really rivetting to hear while driving in the dark.

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Sorry to have taken so long to respond to this and other posts,but I was down with a cold.john, the shows you mentioned were regular listening for me especially Boston ****.Do you remember the intro" Enemy to those who make him an enemy,friend to those who have no friends".Great show. Good to hear from another otr fan.

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Sometime getting tapes or cds of radio shows can be a mixed bag.Sound quality can differ greatly from program to program. If they have been remastered,it would be a great buy. If not, I think I'd buy them anyway. Of course,I love OTR. By the way, i've listened to both programs you mentioned years ago.I believe Agnes Morehead was in SORRY,WRONG NUMBER..

I might suggest you listen to a program called ESCAPE. One episode is about a deadly snake that escapes aboard a ocean liner.It will scare the h--- out of you! Its out there on the web and its wellworth the effort to locate it.

Speaking of THE SHADOW,each episode was introduced with these lines, "THE SEED OF CRIME BEARS BITTER FRUIT!WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS IN THE HEART OF MAN? THE SHADOW KNOWS!" followed by his laugh that sent chills up the spine!

Happy listening!

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ken, in addition to getting my classical music appreciation from Bugs Bunny (sorry to say, it's true), I was introduced to radio scripts by the television show Abbott and Costello. Although I didn't know it at the time, their shows were heavily based on their radio programs. Thus, I fell in love with radio without even knowing it.

 

Sad to say about the Shadow, I think the first exposure I got to that show was Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. At one point during their program, they intoned the intro, but at the end (and it might have been Sammy Davis who said it), the words were: "The Shadow Do".

 

Not exactly an enlightened upbringing!:)

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stoney,

The A&C tv shows were based on radio skits and old vaudeville routines."Who's on first" baseball skit first aired on radio possibly earlier.

All shows had a signature music theme and introduction.

A trivia note,character actor William Conrad played Marshall Matt Dillon on the radio version of GUNSMOKE, and the noted actor-director Orson Welles played Lamont Cranston[aka The Shadow],on the early Shadow productions.

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Other character actors from OTR were Hans Conreid and Alan Reed (who no matter what type of character he played, he still sounded like Fred Flintstone). I listened to "The Great Gildersleeve last night and I heard Sherman (Peabody and Sherman, the cartoon). I don't know the actors name though.

 

Richard Powell was "Richard Diamond Private Detective"

 

One of my favorite announcers of OTR is Tony Marvin ("Anchor Hocking, the most famous name in glass")

 

But yes Ken, Boston **** is my favorite. I prefer Richard Kollmar to Chester Morris though.

 

 

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Like you,I prefered Kolmar over Morris for the role.Other favorites were Brace Beamer as THE LONE RANGER and Curly Bradley as Tom Mix.You know john,after all these years ,I still remember the music and tag lines to so many of those shows! SUSPENSE with its ominus theme and the announcer saying,"A tale well caculated to keep you in SUSPENSE! And FIBBER MAGEE never learning his lesson when his wife Molly says "MAGEE,DON'T OPEN THAT CLOSET"!

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johnkun77, the voice of both Leroy Forrester and Sherman was provided by Walter Tetley. I found this info on a Bullwinkle site.

 

Other notable voices on that wonderful show were: Hans Conreid, Bill Conrad, Charlie Ruggles, Edward Everett Horton, Paul Frees, Bill Scott and of course June Foray.

 

Ken, how silly of me! Of course, many of the radio skits came from vaudeville. Sophie Tucker and Parkyakarkus. 'Who's on First' and 'Slowly I Turn'.

 

*sigh* born too darned late.:(

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STONEY,

Thanks for the input. I know that you and many others on the boards are familiar with William Bendix. Not so many may know that Bendix had a hit radio show THE LIFE OF RILEY that later went over to TV. The big stars such as Bob Hope,Bing Crosby,& Jack Benny were on Sundays.

For those of you who might wonder where the term "soap opera" comes from,the sponsors of such shows as STELLA DALLAS,PORTIA FACES LIFE,YOUNG DOCTOR MALONE and countless other daily dramas were companies that made soap products,thus soap operas.Heres a few memory joggers for those of us who sat glued to our radios when radio was king.....LUM AND ABNER,THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE with Harold Perry, CHARLIE McCARTHY with Candice Bergans dad Edgar,STRAIGHT ARROW, CHALLENGE OF THE YUKON[Mountie sgt. Preston and dog Yukon King].And for opera lovers there was The Metropolitan Opera every Saturday. Great entertainment for all tastes and ages.Television was many years away,computers were in sci fi movies,no video games.But we were entertained each day by that magic box called RADIO.The connections between this thread and movies is this. Many ideas that todays movies use came from radio and then TV.

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