Those Unknown Shows We Discovered Later

Discussion in 'Radio' started by happyfilmluvguy, Oct 26, 2006.

  1. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

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    For many of us Old Time Radio listeners, we probably had a schedule of the more popular and familair radio programs that were on the air. At least it was that way for me. But much later, after discovering whatever shows I could get my hands on, there were still those unknown shows that I never heard of, or knew anything about. For me it was the Cap Cod Mystery Theater, A Date With Judy and Box 13. Many shows only aired for a short time, and we wonder why. What radio programs did you discover that had a short lifespan or were unknown to most ears until now?
     
  2. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Oh my -- obscurities are pretty much the focus of my collecting these days, and there's always interesting stuff out there if you look hard enough.

    A couple that I really enjoy are "Gallant American Women," a 1939-41 NBC sustaining series dramatizing the lives of important women in American history -- done in a surprisingly-non-condescending manner for its time, and generally very well written and acted, and "New World A 'Comin'," a local program aired over WMCA, New York in the mid-forties, dealing with issues in African-American life. This is also a very well written and performed program, especially for one produced on a small local budget.
     
  3. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    Great idea for a topic! I've been meaning to start something similar.

    I didn't ever have a schedule of shows; I got into OTR through the free downloads available at sites like www.otrfan.com. At first I sought out names that I'd heard of. Mostly these were big comedy stars - Bob Hope, Abbott & Costello, Burns and Allen - and a few detectives that began life in print: Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. I began to branch out when I'd run out of new material. Richard Diamond was new to me, and it's now my favorite, but it's hardly unknown among OTR listeners. Here's some that I like, have either short runs or few exant episodes, and don't seem to be talked about much among the OTR community.

    Michael Shayne (The New Adventures of): Yep, this is just another private eye show. But it's notable because Mike Shayne, tough-talking, rough, New Orleans Irishman, is played by Jeff Chandler. Jeff Chandler, in another world, plays Mr. Boynton, the na?Øve biology teacher in "Our Miss Brooks." Talk about versatile! Chandler's police foil/friend is played by an uncredited but very enjoyable Jack Webb. The stories (around 30) are pretty inventive and tend to be more violent that most private eye shows.

    Rocky Fortune: Rocky Fortune, played by a non-singing Frank Sinatra (!), is a very restless young fellow who gets into some very sticky and (sometimes) ridiculous difficulties. It's not a private eye show, although there are similarities. Rocky either takes a job or quits one whenever he gets bored. Many situations result from jobs he's hired for. This show's total run was less than 30 shows, I think, but they're all very entertaining. Although I'm good at suspending disbelief, I have snagged my foot in plot holes; but "Rocky Fortune" is fun and quirky and I like it.

    Night Beat: I resisted listening to this one for a loooong time. All the descriptions talked about reporter Randy Stone, who roams Chicago at night looking for a human interest story. "Drama," I'd whine. "I don't want drama; I want action!" I forgot that the humans who are abroad at night tend to have more dangerous problems than a languid love triangle. The series has a great breadth to it, because it's scarcely confined to genre. Some episodes could be private-eye stories. Others could come straight out of "Escape" or "Suspense." Randy himself has become one of my favorite OTR characters. He has a compassion for people like Danny Clover in "Broadway Is My Beat," but he has his volatile moments as well. He's a very genuine character. I believe the series ran for at least a couple years, but less than half are available.

    The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen: This is another one I didn't want to listen to. It sounded like an old-time sailing drama. (See above for my distate for drama.) Plus I was afraid of bad pirate schtick and lots of historical inaccuracy. Not sticking to source materials, either fiction or history, really really irritates me. Put it down to my love of truth. But I finally listened when I had run out of other things. Wow! This one stars Elliott Lewis, who's such a quirky hilarious delight on Jack Benny and the Phil Harris-Alice Faye show. But Elliott Lewis seems to be a Renaissance man of old radio, and he certainly showed it on the "Scarlet Queen." It is not historical; it's set real-time, 1948-49. The Scarlet Queen is a ketch equipped with motors, but she's primarily a sailing vessel. The voyage has a definite goal, so although it's technically not a serial, order can be important in the greater context. And the stories are great, the writing is great, the acting is terrific - it's Good. I even enjoy the scene-setting. The description of occupied Kobe, Japan, was riveting. And the settings are integral to the stories; they're not a generic "Pacific island" backdrop. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that "The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen" is one of my top 5.
     
  4. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

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    The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen: This is another one I didn't want to listen to. It sounded like an old-time sailing drama. (See above for my distate for drama.) Plus I was afraid of bad pirate schtick and lots of historical inaccuracy. Not sticking to source materials, either fiction or history, really really irritates me. Put it down to my love of truth. But I finally listened when I had run out of other things. Wow! This one stars Elliott Lewis, who's such a quirky hilarious delight on Jack Benny and the Phil Harris-Alice Faye show. But Elliott Lewis seems to be a Renaissance man of old radio, and he certainly showed it on the "Scarlet Queen." It is not historical; it's set real-time, 1948-49. The Scarlet Queen is a ketch equipped with motors, but she's primarily a sailing vessel. The voyage has a definite goal, so although it's technically not a serial, order can be important in the greater context. And the stories are great, the writing is great, the acting is terrific - it's Good. I even enjoy the scene-setting. The description of occupied Kobe, Japan, was riveting. And the settings are integral to the stories; they're not a generic "Pacific island" backdrop. I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that "The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen" is one of my top 5.[/QUOTE]

    I have I believe 3 episodes of this. I really enjoy this show! It's definitely not the normal show you'd hear every night. I like how some shows have narratives like this program, and then slip into the story and back out for more narratives (a lot like Box 13).

    Family Theater is another show that I enjoy, even with but one episode, my collection is up to over 1,400 episodes of shows, but every show is pretty limited in size. More Jack Benny's , Lux Radio's, and Shadows than any other show. I have a long way to go, but not a lot of space for more in my computer.

    But back on the Scarlet Queen, what makes this show good too is it's deep sea voyage setup. A lot of other shows are just a walk down the street, but this, an adventure. Really taking you places like a few pages from Moby Dick.
     
  5. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    Yay, someone else who likes "The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen"! Yes, it does a very good job with narrative. And it's an adventure in the best sense of the word.

    Zoot Radio has the entire run available here, including another version of the first episode with Howard Duff (Sam Spade) instead of Elliott Lewis. Just beware - they're not listed in order, although they ought to be listened to in order.

    I feel your pain about running out of hard drive space. My old computer had only 13.7 GB. So I bought a second hard drive, and it moved even when I got another computer. I have between 2000 and 3000 shows now and still have a LOT of room. ;)
     
  6. happyfilmluvguy

    happyfilmluvguy Call Me a Cab

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    "I feel your pain about running out of hard drive space. My old computer had only 13.7 GB. So I bought a second hard drive, and it moved even when I got another computer. I have between 2000 and 3000 shows now and still have a LOT of room. ;)[/QUOTE]

    Wow. Great website. :D Thank you!

    What I have been wanting to do is to put all of my radio programs on Secure digital cards. Then have a whole folder with every card inside labeled by the shows on it.
     
  7. Hammelby

    Hammelby One of the Regulars

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    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Wow!

    Awesome website, thanks for sharing! I really enjoy the shows, i had no clue it existed online.

    Is there any swingjazzshows or is it only dramas and such? I would like to host a lindy hop homeparty with old swing radioprograms booming out :)
    I only know of "Radio dismuke", but its not really the same thing.
     
  8. shindeco

    shindeco A-List Customer

    Recently discovered Candy Matson. There are only a few shows around but a great series. There weren't a lot of female detectives but she's defintely a swell dame!
     
  9. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    My other favorite site is OTR Fan. About music shows... I think Radio Lovers may have some, but I haven't listened to them. I'm sure LizzieMaine could chime in with shows, if not websites. ;)
     
  10. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    There's lots of surviving old-time-radio swing music -- some of the best is found in "band remotes," programs aired late at night from hotel ballrooms, restaurants, and nightclubs. One good series to look for is "One Night Stand," an umbrella title used by AFRS for recorded rebroadcasts of band remotes, many of which have been widely circulated.
     
  11. Absinthe_1900

    Absinthe_1900 One Too Many

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    "Hiya Curly"!

    Elliot Lewis was a scream as Frankie Remley.:eusa_clap

    "[​IMG]
     
  12. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    Hey, that was happyfilmluvguy quoting ME! :p Elliot Lewis one of my two favorite radio actors. (Not to mention producer/director - and did he write, too?!) :eusa_clap If you haven't listening to The Scarlet Queen, you definitely need to!
     
  13. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    I wonder why a lot of OTR catalogs, trade lists and such avoid musical programs.
    Is it because of potential ASCAP/BMI issues?
    Or is OTR as a community just not so interested in music? [huh]
     
  14. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I think it's mostly a matter of taste -- back in the days when OTR was exchanged mostly on reel tape and cassette, there were several dealers who had *very* thick catalogs of musical programming. (One that's still in business doing audio CDs is the Redmond Nostalgia Company in Washington state -- http://www.redmondnostalgia.com)

    A lot of musical programming sounds very bad when compressed into 22kbs MP3s, such as still make up a lot of the digital OTR in circulation, and I think poor audio tends to put people off as well. It's lots more difficult to enjoy music in a distorted, lossy format than spoken-word programming. One more reason why I've yet to get into MP3 OTR...
     
  15. Absinthe_1900

    Absinthe_1900 One Too Many

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    I should have worn my computer glasses.:eusa_doh:

    I like the Scarlet Queen series too :eusa_clap

    Have you ever seen Elliot Lewis in Ma and Pa Kettle Go to Town (1950) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042697/ as detective Sam Boxer?
    It's his only movie role that is available on video.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0507163/
     
  16. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    NO I haven't! That's going on my list right NOW. :eusa_clap
     
  17. Hamandbacon

    Hamandbacon New in Town

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    My Favorite OTR Shows

    Hi everyone,

    I have two favorites that come from different genres. Our adventure begins when.....my wife started listening to a modern-day Christian station on her way to work. Back then our boys rode to the daycare with her, and they fell in love with the Ranger Bill show. They still enjoy these. I have a few CDs for car travel. Often we will listen to half a show on the way somewhere, then listen to the rest on our way home. I like Ranger Bill episodes as well, but recently discovered the science fiction stories of Dimension X from the early 1950s. My favorite episode so far is, "A Logic Named Joe," about the timeless struggle of humanoids versus human beings. Ray Bradbury wrote several of these episodes.

    Jeff
     
  18. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    I've been listening to "Dimension X" recently, too! I think I have different tastes, though - my favorite so far is "Knock." ;)

    Have you tried "Journey Into Space," the BBC serial? :eusa_clap
     
  19. Hamandbacon

    Hamandbacon New in Town

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    I have some work to do- If that's what you would call it

    Sunny,

    Thanks for the two ideas. I have not listened to either the BBC series or the episode, Knock. I have Knock on my hard drive to listen to, but haven't yet done that, maybe this weekend:D

    BTW: What is the story behind your signature quote?

    Thanks Again!

    Jeff
     
  20. Sunny

    Sunny One Too Many

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    "Journey Into Space" has three stories: "Operation Luna" (12 parts), "The Red Planet" (20 parts), and "The World in Peril" (20 parts). OTR Fan is currently running "The World in Peril," but make sure you listen to the other two pieces first. There's a rather important continuing storyline. ;)

    My signature is from the serial "I Love a Mystery"; I believe the particular story is "The Richards Curse." ILAM is also available on OTR Fan.

    Happy listening!
     

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