Friday, September 30, 2005

Dunning Times Seven?

Ben Ohmart brought this book to my attention: Roger Paulson's Archives of the Airwaves. This is a ten-volume work that is seven times the size of John Dunning's classic On the Air. For the price of assembling the set it would be worth trying to get a copy of a volume through inter-library loan to peruse first. If it really is as well-done as Dunning's work the set deserves a place in every old-time radio fan's library. As a side note, browse the rest of BearManor's site. They have many nice works dedicated to old-time radio, including the only book written about the great Fibber McGee and Molly.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Virtual OTR Convention

I'm going to cut-and-past this right from the Digest; it speaks for itself. I'm going to email the contact and get more info. Check it out. "Hi Friends, We are very proud to announce that our second oldtime radio symposium via audio conferencing will be held on Saturday September 24, 2005, from 10 amto 2 pm Pacific coast time. All you need is a computer and a microphone to participate in this interactive virtual convention. If you wish, you may text chat as well. Featured on our program will be Dr. Dave parker who was a yound radio actor on the Lone Ranger. Larry Gassman, oldtime radio historian will moderate a discussion by The archie Andrews cast of Rosemary Rice who played Betty Cooper; Hal Stone who played jug Head jones and Bob hastings who played archie andrews. Martin Grams, jr., will discuss the acquisition of oldtime radio logues. Devon Wilkins, the Founder of the Canadian oldtime Radio Association will speak of their efforts to revive oldtime radio in Canada. harlan Zinck, the preservations Director of First Generation Radio archives will discuss his wonderful organization. Finally, Miss joanie leonard will lead a general discussion of oldtime radio.If you would like to see our program and get instructions on how to access the audio conference room, please write to Robert"

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sam Spade

If you're a fan of The Adventures of Sam Spade, you may be interested in checking out "Discovering The Maltese Falcon and Sam Spade: The Evolution ofDashiell Hammett's Masterpiece, Including John Huston's Movie withHumphrey Bogart," edited by Richard Layman. Take a gander here. Thanks to Kermyt for bringing this book to my attention. BTW, the Radio Researchers have released their Sam Spade set. There's no better way of making sure you're getting audio quality and correctly labeled shows in mp3 than through this group.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bing Book

For all Bing Crosby fans and researchers, this book was mentioned in passing on the OTR Digest. If you don't know about it (I wasn't), it looks like a gem. While his song and film bibliographys would be of interest to any fan, the included radio bibliography should be a great reference for any OTR fan. Bing appeared on radio for decades and many of his shows - I'm thinking specifically of Kraft Music Hall - are still in circulation. Thanks for mentioning this book, Glenn.

Mystery Play

I have to give my old chum Clyde a big, public "Huzzah!" for his revamped Mystery Play Internet Radio site. He's been programming great mystery OTR for years and this is his station's latest incarnation. Most impressive about his work is that he records over 2,000 separate logins per day! That's a lot of satisfied listeners coming back for more, day after day. To emphasize the universal sexiness of OTR, Clyde claims a good number of listeners from Japan. Go figure. Anyhow, way to go, Clyde. Keep spreading that OTR!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Will Rogers Remembered

The Los Angeles Times has a nice tribute to Will Rogers. You may have to register to read it. Rogers was a big star on radio but his rise to fame was during the vaudeville days of the teens, well before radio was a popular commercial vehicle. To my knowledge Rogers never had his own show that ran for any length of time, though he was a popular guest star on various programs. He was killed in a plane crash in 1935 so any extant recordings of his are not common.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Debunking Another Myth?

Recently, discussion on the OTR Digest has turned to luxury taxes and shortages during World War II. A famous Lucky Strike cigarette slogan from that time was something to the effect of "Lucky Strike has gone to war!" Supposedly the company eliminated green from the cigarette packaging because chromium - a key ingredient for green paint - was in short supply. Not so fast, says contributor Michael Biel. "The truth was that chromiumwas not in short supply and that the company had already been planning to change to the brighter white package to make the package more attractive to women, as well as save the money on the expensive ink and the extra press run that it necessitated." Well, it sure sounded good. I'll need a bit more confirmation, however, before I totally chalk this one up to the myth column, along with the infamous Uncle Don outburst.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Gunsmoke Anniversay

Found this article in a newspaper about Gunsmoke's 50th anniversary. Naturally it only focuses on the television show. Nary a mention of its fantastic radio run.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Audio Theater

Speaking of Henry Howard, check out this site. His tagline says he's the moderator of the audio theater digest. The site's full of links to audio theater groups around the country that are keeping alive the tradition of "theater for the mind." Some you'll find on the air, others only on the stage. Many will have recordings for sale. As I mentioned a long time ago at my former blogspot, I think there is an economic future for audio drama. Probably not on the air, as OTR was, but possibly on satellite radio and via recordings. I'm seeing more and more audiobooks that incorporate various actors, sound effects and music, as opposed to a single person reading the book straight. It's a long way from being any sort of a real industry, but I truly believe the potential is there, especially with the nation's increasing commuting time.

XM or Monitor?

OTR Digester Henry Howard notes that the XM Satellite network incorporates strains of the theme from the old Monitor program in their logo. Now, I don't know that theme. Monitor arrived at the tail end of the old-time radio era and, to my knowledge, very few are in circulation. I'm actually not aware of any. Fibber McGee and Molly ended their radio careers there doing five minute bits. Henry apparent contacted XM to see if this similarity was, in fact, intentional. Turns out it was. I don't know if the Monitor theme was a musical piece, a sound effect, a vocal intro or what. Anyone have it in mp3?

Friday, September 09, 2005

More New Goodies

Dedicated OTR man Cliff/Travis/Defender8 has announced the release of two more previously uncirculated (to his knowledge) programs. The Gleason-Armstrong Show and The Penthouse Murder Mystery both date from the early 30s. If you're at all familiar with old-time radio you'll realize these are real treasures; shows from that era are relatively rare. Most surviving programs date from the late 30s to mid 50s. Thanks to Def for his continued generosity. These transcription discs don't come cheap. I know some other hobbyists who also have such gems but are reluctant to share because a few individuals get a hold of and choose to sell these programs without permission. This is a shame because we all miss out but I absolutely understand the sentiment of the owners of these rare programs. Considerable resources of time and money go into obtaining such shows and converting them to a digital media. Whether they choose to sell the shows or make them available for free is entirely their rightful decision. For others to make any money off these efforts, however, is not acceptable. Regardless, there are a lifetime of shows to appreciate so let's not overly lament those that remain out of earshot.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Only in Your Dreams

Most OTR fans can only dream of coming across a collection such as Dave Siegel did:
"It was housed in a stand alone two story building that was climate controlled. Each floor was divided into several rooms on both sides of a central corridor and each room was packed from floor to ceiling(as was space along the corridor walls) with wooden shelving holding tens of thousands of both 7 inch and 10 inch reels of tape, and CD's and cassettes and transcription discs and audio equipment and books." Some guys have all the luck. Though, to be honest, there's no way I could house and maintain such a collection nor would I have the technology to do anything with the transcription discs. Heck, just seeing this collection would satisfy me.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Adventures of the Abbotts

A good chum of mine (he goes by many aliases but I'll call him Defender8) has digitized some episodes of a mystery series entitled Adventures of the Abbotts. If he's correct, these shows have not been listened to in decades. He's in the process of converting them from the original transcriptions which requires time and specialized equipment. It's a slow process and this series is still in the works. If you have access to the newsgroup they're available there. Apparently he has other uncirculated shows of well-known series. If you see him in the chatrooms tell him to get lost and get busy copying.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Casey, Crime Photographer Book Out

I have a soft spot in my OTR playlist for Casey, Crime Photographer. For whatever reason I'm partial to shows featuring heroic newspaper men (and women). Big Town and Night Beat also are enjoyed listening. Any new OTR book will pique my fancy but this one jumped out. OTR Digest subscriber David Siegel has written (with J. Randolp Cox) "FlashgunCasey, Crime Photographer: From the Pulps to Radio and Beyond." Siegel claims it is the definitive publication on Casey from his pulp, radio, and television runs. Of course, just about any book published on a specific OTR series will be the definitive work as so little is written. From Dave: "For OTR fans, the book includes-- complete program logs of both the radio and TV series-- 2 uncirculated radio scripts by Alonzo Deen Cole (who wrote most of thescripts over the 10 year run)-- Photos of both the radio and TV casts." That's good stuff. You can see the book here. William Goldin even has a kind word for it. If you read drop me a line and let me know what you think.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

First Generation Radio Archives Update

First Generation Radio Archives, a group that cleans up old radio shows and sells them to group members, has dropped their annual $25 subscription fee. You still pay for copies of the shows, but there is no general fee above that. I don't belong to this group but dropping the subscription may encourage me to check them out. I admit to having heard mixed reviews of the organization and its leaders. I hope this change is not indicative of financial problems as they do seem to be providing a valuable service to the old-time radio community.