Friday, December 26, 2008

I Love A Mystery Gift!

My buddy (and fellow TOTM'er) Jason just gave me this SPIFFY watch. Since there were no "proper" premiums for the incredible I Love A Mystery series (other than a few photographs of the cast members), this is about as close as anyone can come to having a decoder badge or glow-in-the-dark ring for the show.

It includes some marvelous miniature mysterious items inside the crystal: a revolver, a magnifying glass, a coffee cup (the coffee tainted with poison, no doubt!), a bloody knife, and a garotte. What's not to like?

The clock face has "WYL" on it...I'm not sure what that stands for. Wish You Luck? Watch Your Language? When You Listen? Who's Your Lawyer? Why, You Louse? What's Your Line? Waste Your Life?

A very cool timepiece.

Thanks, Jase!

Friday, December 12, 2008

March Of Time

Here is a very entertaining piece about radio: a "March Of Time" broadcast from the late 1940's. This 20-minute video narrated by Westbrook VanVoorhis shows many facets of radio production, including various radio stars and sound effects. There's too many cool bits to mention them all, but f'rinstance - at 2:26, Jim Jordan (Fibber McGee) takes a beat or two from his dialog with Marion Jordan (Molly) and Gale Gordon (Mayor LaTrivia, and later on television, Lucy's Mr Mooney) to allow the great "hall closet" sound effect to be performed. Watch how a half-door, a ladder, a pile of odds-and-ends, and a tiny little bell become a very long and very fun to watch audio joke.

I absolutely LOVE the jingle performed by the ersatz Andrews Sisters at 6:06, for "Consolidated Sardines" - "packed twice as tight", indeed! This ad is definitely going to be incorporated into some upcoming TOTM shows!

ENJOY - twenty minutes that feels like only five!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Quick Typical Fibber Rant

Here's a rather non-typical radio premium (a 1936 Fibber McGee and Molly / Johnson's Wax / NBC top!) paired up with a very typical nonsensical Fibber rant. It's short and sweet and made me laugh, so here it is:

Now if you happen to enjoy Fibber's OTR humor, and especially NEWLY-DISCOVERED and FRESHLY-RESTORED OTR humor, you might want to check out the "Fibber McGee and Molly Lost Episodes" from the First Generation Radio Archives. Volume 6 (!) has just been released, and SERIOUSLY, the stuff sounds like it was just recorded yesterday. Why not go and support this great group?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Farther Adventures Of CRIMEBUSTER

Is that a banana in your hand, or are you just happy to see me?

Waaaaaaaay back when (in 2001 or 2002) we did a fundraiser for the NARA News. NARA (the North American Radio Archives) had a quarterly digest in which they would print radio scripts by a funny fellow named Ken Weigel. Mr Weigel passed away in 2001, so as a sort of tribute, we strung a bunch of these scripts together and "performed" them on cd.

The disk had seven short adventures of the bumbling-forgetful-idiotic-lovable gumshoe named CRIMEBUSTER ("Oh, I DO have gum on my shoe, darnit...Hmm...mmm...Mm. Spearmint."), plus a few other humorous oddities.

Now some collectible items are made as Limited Editions, with runs of thousands, or maybe even only hundreds. Be advised that this cd is BEYOND RARE, as it's print run was only in the range of "several". Doesn't mean it wasn't good, though!

Click the player below to hear "The Case Of The Strange Waiter"!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Nostalgia Convention

BRACE YOURSELVES for the incredible "Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention" (or MANC, for short)! This convention is put on by my buddy Martin Grams (see link at the right), and is quickly becoming the GO TO event of the year.

Not content to limit himself to just Old Time Radio, he has organized an entire weekend of nostalgia: 24 hours a day of rare movies, discussion panels, collectible cars, movie stars, television stars, blooper reels, dealer tables filled with radio shows and books and magazines and comics and autographs and posters and dvds, a special "War Of The Worlds" retrospective, a portable outdoor theater, radio recreations - WHEW! Plus a whole lot MORE stuff that you just won't see ANYWHERE ELSE.

C'mon...LARRY STORCH will be there! Among many others: Conrad Brooks (Plan Nine From Outer Space), Margaret Kerry (Tinkerbell, Little Rascals), Kathleen Hughes (It Came From Outer Space), John Provost (Timmie from Lassie "What's that, Lassie? Johnny got his foot caught? He can't pull it out from between the railroad ties? He's trapped? And the 8:17 from Cucamonga is right on schedule? Good girl! Let's get help!"), Ed (Kookie) Byrnes, Patty McCormack (The Bad Seed), Mickey Freeman (Phil Silvers Show), and more to be announced.

Don't miss it! HERE is the link to the website with all of the information. See you there!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Stiffman's Selection

Another advertisement from our sponsor, Earl Stiffman, of Earl Stiffman's Just Caskets..And More. He's nothing if not..."accommodating".

Click HERE, or use the gigantic player below:

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Some Words About The ART Of Audio Drama

"In the late fifties it was decided that you couldn't broadcast dreams on the air unless you transmitted pictures with it. This, despite the fact that radio had become the most popular mass entertainment medium of all time. The basic appeal of radio drama was the fact that you had to listen if you wanted to follow it. It wasn't enough to merely "hear" it. You had to listen. The word listen implies a conscious effort to pay attention, to participate. Thus, all the senses are activated, the curiosity is sparked, the imagination is fired, and the listener finds himself participating. In a real sense, he is a collaborator. In his brain he matches a face and a body to the voice. In his mind, he sees the action. And this is the basic difference between radio on the one hand, and every visual medium on the other. A good movie, a fine stage play or television drama, an excellent ballet, all these require an appreciative audience - a listener who literally works with the writer, the director, the actors and technicians to give completeness to the creative process.
It can fairly be said that along about the same time that radio drama disappeared, there came about a general decay in the art of listening. If you don't believe it, "listen" to some of the nonsense that's being spouted in all fields of endeavor and in all walks of life. This kind of talk is being inflicted upon us, because, in my opinion, people aren't really listening.
The most popular word in our language is now Communication. We deplore the fact that we no longer seem to be able to communicate with our children, our parents, our allies, industry, labor, each other.
How can we communicate if we no longer listen? A radio show has listeners, a television show has "viewers". Listening is an activity. Viewing is an event. Of course, there is room and need for all the entertainment media - and happily, a regrettable error made some [time] ago is slowly and hopefully being rectified. To me, it was incomprehensible that a flourishing and, yes, a spiritually nourishing, art form should have been allowed to die."

These thoughts echo mine.

They are from the introduction to the book "Strange Tales From CBS Radio Mystery Theater", written by the indomitable Himan Brown. THIRTY TWO years ago. 1976. This radio revival series ran from 1974 to 1982, logging some 1,400 shows (!). Originally hosted by E. G. Marshall, of which, here is a pic:

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Man On The Radio Told Me To Save My Fat

Some cool wartime stuff, generally completely forgotten by today's generation. Look! Right there at 2:06 - Mickey's prepared to kill some nasty Nazis, with the help of Minnie's leftover bacon grease. Today the grease only kills by clogging our arteries...oh, well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Our Sponsor, Earl Stiffman

So since it's our TENTH year performing, we figgered it was high time we gave props to our seemingly eternal sponsor, Earl Stiffman (of Earl Stiffman's "Just Caskets...And More"). He's been hawking his wares with us for so long, it seems like HE'S ONE OF US.

Where would we be without you, Earl? Thanks so much!

Click the Texan salutation below to hear one of Mr Stiffman's distinctive TOTM advertisements.


Or try out the new H * U * G * E Humyo player:

More "Those We Love"

Okay, here's the rest of that rare script from the mostly-forgotten washboard weeper "Those We Love". Took me long enough, huh?!?

Anyway, here it is. What's nice about this script, besides it being terribly uncommon, is that it is evidently a very early draft - which shows the notes and changes that the author made. Since almost no audio of this series exists, these scripts are as close as we can come to hearing the show...

And all in all, not a bad show, either! For a soap opera, anyway...wait'll I break out the lost scripts to "Latitude Zero"!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"The Linkup" STINKS

Once upon a time there was an online filesharing/backup company called Streamload. It was good - offered quality service at a good price, even offered freebie filesharing.

Then the company changed into MediaMax. It was not as good - service was nowhere near as good as it was, MANY important files "backed up on secure servers" were lost, never to be seen or heard again, very poor customer service, but we paying customers still had hopes that it might return to it's former quality.

Now the company has changed into "The Linkup". It is just plain NO GOOD. Service is essentially NONEXISTANT. ALL the remaining files from MediaMax have been lost, absolutely nothing is accessable. No links to files work: the audio that you may try listening to on this blog is GONE, although I have PAID for a service that guarantees the files to be there.

While I am trying to get my money refunded from these thieves, I will also try to find another (quality) backup company to store my files, so that they can once again be shared with my blog visitors.

My apologies for the technical difficulties.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Cincy OTR Convention!

Only six weeks until the Cincinnati Old Time Radio Convention! It's great fun! It's a very homey atmosphere with a bunch of friendly people. It's the place to go if you're looking for a particular show, or some inside information on what's cooking in the OTR community. Vintage stuff like comics and movie posters and Saturday morning serials on dvd. My sister and I never miss it - you oughtn't either! A splendid time is guaranteed for all! I even hear that there will be some OTRaoke: prerecorded radio shows with the star's roles open for anyone to fill in! Always wanted to be that hardboiled detective yourself? Now you can!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Another Paper Premium!

Here's a shot (taken at a remote spot on the lunar surface, obviously!) of the 1940 Buck Rogers Rubber Band Gun! Originally offered by Onward School Supplies, this is a parody version offered by TOTM. Although I printed this onto cardstock and reinforced it with a layer of clear packing tape, it is still pretty flimsy. If you intend to use yours more than a few times, I would suggest printing it on regular paper and then gluing the paper to heavier stock (like a cereal box, or a comic book backing board). And even though this probably wasn't a radio premium (just a local business premium), Buck Rogers was on the radio. And I thought it was cool. So there. Try it out!