2009/02/07 Leave a comment
I recently discovered a website that offers an unbelievably comprehensive catalog of Old Time Radio shows. These are available as streaming broadcasts, downloads, or on CD with multiple episodes bundled as collections in MP3 format. The Old Time Radio Catalog at http://www.otrcat.com/index.php is a huge storehouse of classics from the heydays of music, comedy and drama on the radio.
Yeah, I know that this is, ostensibly, a music blog but I am crazy about all kinds of good old stuff, and the days of lying in the floor listening to The Shadow or Fred Allen are near and dear to my old heart. This is before TV, if you you youngsters can imagine such a thing. We had a huge cabinet-style radio, about 3/4 the size of a good refrigerator. It was all tubes, had the greatest of sound and could pull in a station from 5-600 miles away if the station had enough power. When the atmosphere was right we could get WLS in Chicago; WOWO in Ft. Wayne, IN; WSM in Nashville and something out of Louisiana whose call letters I can’t remember. All this in addition to local stations within 75 miles or so of Danville, KY where I was living at the time.
We would listen to Wait Hoyt broadcast the Cincinnati Reds (or “the Redlegs” as they were still called back then). “There goes one into Burger-ville,” was Wait’s call for a home run, giving a nod to his sponsor, Burger Beer.
Gunsmoke, Dragnet and The Lone Ranger were just a few of the radio shows that eventually migrated to TV and enjoyed great success there, too. Music, of course, was huge, along with variety shows with the likes of Edgar Bergen & Charley McCarthy, and George Burns & Gracie Allen. The Old Time Radio Catalog appears to have it all. Check out this excellent, and well-organized website.