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 Post subject: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Nov Thu 02, 2017 9:39 am 
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This link may be of interest if wanting to download old radio shows and I have found it to have quite a large selection and the best I have found. 8)

https://oldradioprograms.us/

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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Tue 04, 2018 6:35 am 
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William "Bill" Conrad is listed with having been in over 7,500 Vintage radio shows in both co-starring and starring roles. I doubt any radio actor can match that number. He narrated most of the opening shows of "ESCAPE" and starred or co-starred in many of the episodes, most notably "Linogen and the Ants". Bill Conrad can be heard in many, many other shows from The Adventures of Phillip Marlowe, The Whistler, Suspense, Nightbeat and countless other vintage radio shows.

Of course, Bill Conrad is most famously remembered for his role as the first Marshall Matt Dillon on the original "Gunsmoke" radio show which initially aired on CBS radio April 26, 1952 and ran through 1961. The television version began in 1955 and ran conjunctively with the radio version until 1961 with the scripts for the most part written and all the character development of Marshall Dillon (Bill Conrad), Chester Wesley Proudfoot (Parley Baer), Doc Adams (Howard McNear) and Miss Kitty (Georgia Ellis) created by the brilliant writer John Meston.

In fact, "Gunsmoke" was the last dramatic radio show to be aired from Hollywood in 1961. When the radio version of "Gunsmoke" ended, so did the Golden Age Radio Shows. Many feel "Gunsmoke" to be the best show on the air during the Golden Age of Radio. That is debatable, but "Gunsmoke" certainly made its' mark as did William "Bill" Conrad.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Fri 14, 2018 7:58 pm 
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Some of my favorite radio shows are "Gunsmoke", "Nightbeat", "Suspense", "Rocky Jordon", "Escape", "The Big Show", "The LUX Radio Theatre" "The Weird Circle", "The Shadow", "The Adventures of Harry Lime", "Dr. Kildare", "Concert Hour-with Lionel Barrymore", "Amos & Andy", "The Whistler" to name a few. No listing would be complete though without "The Jack Benny Show" or "The Railroad Hour".

Lists of favorite radio shows from the Golden Age of Radio are difficult to create, as there were so many good shows on the air from the early 1930's through the early 1960's so forgive me if I left out your "favorite show" as it is probably also one of my favorite shows. As noted earlier the best restorations of exceptional quality I have heard are those available through Radio Archives out of Spokane, Washington. They have achieved a level of crystal sound and tonal quality, I have yet to hear from the other sources available that supposedly have been restored.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Sun 23, 2018 1:23 am 
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If anyone is interested in the forgotten and obscure radio shows from the past, you just may find them in one of the 30+ Volumes of the Archives Treasures put out by Radio Archives from Spokane, Washington.

Each Volume of the Archives Treasures contains 20 CD's (downloads are also available) with vintage radio programs that probably have not been heard since they were initially aired, many from the early 1930's. Most sound extremely well considering the age of the recordings as all have been restored by the best means possible today.

Go to the Radio Archives site and just browse the Archives Treasures listings (there are about 30+ Volumes currently) and I think any person fond of old time radio will be very impressed with the listings from each Volume.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Sun 23, 2018 5:59 pm 
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ESCAPE is a very good vintage radio program that for some reason is not often mentioned as frequently. "The Whistler", "Suspense", "Gunsmoke", "The Shadow" and many other programs are talked about frequently, but most people don'e seem to remember ESCAPE, which was generally narrated by William Conrad who also starred in many of the episodes.

ESCAPE would rank as one of the top adventure programs of vintage radio that never quite got its' due credit.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Sun 23, 2018 9:23 pm 
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Escape has some good episodes. What I don't particularly care for then or now, are the programs with laugh tracks. Sometimes the long running gags get ... tedious.. as well. Jack Benny doesn't do much for me, his character seems one dimensional. Gale Gordon made a career out of flying off the handle as part of his schtick, nice work if you can get it I suppose. Just seems overwrought. That was the whole point of Mayor LaTrivia on Fibber McGee, and on other shows he more or less reprised the same role. But the standard formula of smart aleck answers as part of every conversation every few seconds followed by recorded laughter isn't all that funny, and carried over to television to this day, sadly.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Sun 23, 2018 10:31 pm 
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"Gunsmoke" broke that constant noise with no blank spaces. Such was evidently felt necessary to keep an audience, but in the case of "Gunsmoke", they had long periods of silence or the sound of someone walking. It worked well for an idea that previously was felt to be the death call for other shows if periods of dead space existed on a radio show. There is a 5 or 6 hour well done Documentary on "Gunsmoke" from the early 1970's (from PBS and I think can be heard on Youtube) where they discuss how these silent periods or periods of time with just the sound of a person walking came into being. I know it is in the Archives Treasures Volume 2 from Radio Archives.

And the sound technicians on the radio version of "Gunsmoke" worked hard in developing this technique. Sound men would actually measure just how many footsteps it would take Marshall Dillon to walk from his office to the outside of the building and that was all the radio audience heard. This practice was the forerunner to what was later used in such Western movies as "Shane" and "High Noon" which today are considered classics of the genre because of these sound techniques of actually using "dead space" and it all began with the radio version of "Gunsmoke" as the first adult western on radio.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Mon 24, 2018 6:25 am 
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ZenithStratosphere wrote:
"Gunsmoke" broke that constant noise with no blank spaces. Such was evidently felt necessary to keep an audience, but in the case of "Gunsmoke", they had long periods of silence or the sound of someone walking.


Don't forget the dog barking in the background. They had good writers on Gunsmoke and knew how to use silence. Most programs were a half hour, so they have to really compress the time that it takes for everything, the nuts and bolts stuff. When someone say, makes a phone call to the police station, and they ask for Capt. Smith, it takes less than a second to find him. How often does that happen in real life? They pull up in a car and walk in the front door, in less time than it would take to get out of the car, things like that. Dragnet, now that I think about it, was pretty good about realism. They spent a few minutes when Joe Friday was making a long distance phone call to Idaho in one episode. Apparently it was quite an ordeal to make a long distance call back in the day. One area where they weren't realistic is spending all that manpower trying to find a shoplifter.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Mon 24, 2018 8:11 am 
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Telephone calls in years past, especially long distance phone calls were much more involved in the time it took to dial the number, then in many cases an operator was needed for assistance in making the call. It was a system that for the most part worked although it did take a good deal longer to make a telephone call then, than is the case today with almost instantaneous calling.

John Meston was the primary writer and creator of the characters on "Gunsmoke". When other writer's were brought in, editorial approval had to come through John Meston, one of radio's greatest writer's. William Conrad in the "Gunsmoke" Documentary has only very positive comments to make about the writing skills of John Meston, especially as to the creation of the major characters in "Gunsmoke". Meston's work continued on into the television show from what had been developed in the radio show;

Back in the day, people memorized numbers they needed to call frequently and the use of a Telephone Directory was a necessity. Directory assistance calls were expensive if one didn't have a telephone directory, but they were readily available even in Telephone booths.

I don't think people memorize numbers any longer, they just press one button for whom they wish to call. Many people don't even know their own telephone numbers today and rely solely on the information already in a Smartphone or something similar. That situation in Dragnet had more reality to the plot than most people would believe to be the case today for the speediness in making a call. I know that in some parts of the Country back as recently as the 1980's, one had to go through an operator in a major city and have them dial or connect to a specific telephone number in remote areas.

"Sorry, Wrong Number" is probably the most famous radio drama ever written (by Lucille Fletcher) and the number of times the main character has to dial various numbers on a rotary telephone was one of the reasons the story was so suspenseful. I doubt a push button or one of the cell phones of the day would have worked at all in such a story.
And she had to dial the telephone numbers from either memory or the assistance of an Operator.

After the initial broadcast on SUSPENSE in 1943 with Agnes Moorehead, the show (in a 30 minute format) was so popular requests for repeats came in so steadily over the years she reprised the role on 8 separate occasions through 1961 (when the SUSPENSE series ended), and there were also both East and West Coast versions.

Miriam Hopkins flew to Sydney, Australia at the request of the Australian LUX Radio Theatre in 1955 to perform "Sorry, Wrong Number" in the only 60 minute version that I know to exist. She is ably assisted by the creme of Australian radio actors of the time. The performance is very well done and scripted in the 60 minute version, allowing more time for a longer development of the plot which is lacking in the 30 minute versions. This 60 minute version (which was only performed on the Australian LUX Radio Theatre) is available from Radio Archives in their Archives Treasures Volume 23.

As for the time spent in seeking out a shop-lifter, I just think they took crimes much more seriously than is the case today.


Last edited by ZenithStratosphere on Dec Sun 30, 2018 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Dec Sun 30, 2018 9:11 pm 
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I have been listening to the episodes of "NIGHTBEAT" with Frank Lovejoy recently and have found the stories well written and probably one of the best radio shows from the Golden Age of Radio. Frank Lovejoy was at the time both actively working in radio and also starring in major films as was the case with many others including Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. We lost Frank Lovejoy way too soon as he had the voice, looks and most importantly the talent.

Alan Ladd is another favorite radio actor of mine, and especially in his "BOX THIRTEEN" which is another great detective radio show.

Richard Widmark did some great work on radio especially some of the episodes in which he starred on "INNER SANCTUM".

The list could go on and on, as there is also Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Dana Andrews (I Was A Communist for the FBI), Brian Donlevy (Dangerous Assignment) and many other well known actors who were very active in radio prior to the advent of television.

Not to forget the many women radio actresses Jeanette Nolan (wife of Bill McIntire), Virginia Christine, Georgia Ellis (wife of Antony Ellis), Joan Banks (wife of Frank Lovejoy), Eve Arden, Lucille Ball, Ann Sothern, Dorothy Kirsten, Tallulah Bankhead , Miriam Hopkins and that list could go on and on.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Sat 02, 2019 8:59 pm 
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Regarding Bill Conrad and Gunsmoke: I grew up long after the TV age had arrived. Everybody in our neighborhood had electricity. Except one family who lived off the grid about 2 miles from town.

The had 40 acres, a windmill that drove their water well, grew all their own food (fruit trees, vegetables, berries, peanuts (for protein). And kept 6 cows or so, and chickens. They grew alfalfa to feed their cows and some sort of seeds for the chickens. The burnt wood for heat in a big iron stove and fuel was free at the nearby National Forrest (actually $1 a pickup truck load in those days). Their kitchen range also used wood for fuel. All their many kids (free labor for their small farm) were healthy (star athletes in our small local high school). In those days the milk plant truck traveled around picking up milk in cans from tiny dairies, this family produced a couple large cans daily for income and sold produce (eggs and so forth).

So, their tractor had a large flywheel which had a belt to drive a generator to refill an automobile type battery to run their big living room console radio. Their phono was wind up Victrola. They never missed Gunsmoke (and other evening programs) on the radio while every other kid in our school watched Gunsmoke on TV. This family's kids could imitate Conrad's voice but we didn't recognize as we were used to the sound of James Arness. :shock:


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Sun 03, 2019 6:49 am 
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Nice to hear such stories. Many of the first radios sold were battery operated for just such situations.
A great way to live. Gunsmoke first aired on radio April 26, 1952. It really came rather late as television was already well on the scene. The first episode was "Billy the Kid". It was a tremendous hit for radio, and is probably the best remembered radio show from the Golden Age of Radio.
At the time, it won just about every Award the radio industry of America could bestow on any radio show. The radio version ran conjunctively with the television show (which was an hours length whereas the radio version was 30 minutes). The television version started up 1955 and the radio version continued on until June of 1961 when radio had truly faded out due to television. "Gunsmoke" was the last dramatic show to be aired on radio from CBS Studios in Hollywood. Radio had reached its' end in producing such good shows. :(

The creator and major writer for Gunsmoke was the very talented writer John Meston, who wrote and influenced all of the Gunsmoke stories and many other radio shows including "ESCAPE". Many of the radio shows of Gunsmoke were expanded and re-aired on the television series. William Conrad went on to direct the television series, and then became an Executive at Warner Bros. He was probably one of the busiest men in Hollywood! All in all, he was in over 7,500 radio shows from SUSPENSE, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe. Gunsmoke to only name a few, You name the show and William Conrad had probably co-starred or starred in the show and in many cases John Meston had written it. Another active radio person to come close was Elliott Lewis. :)

William Conrad will always by the original Marshall Matt Dillon for me, He really created the role that went to James Arness and the radio version is really better to me. The stories were able to create in your mind's eye images that television just couldn't create and the stories had more of a cutting edge that what was aired on television.

Your neighbors were lucky enough to hear it on radio, the true "Theater of the Mind". William Conrad had one of those "Million Dollar" radio voices, and the listener filled in the rest. He didn't do too badly with his "CANNON" television series either, although he had gained a great deal of weight by that time which worked well for the character.

Even though James Arness did a great job, Gunsmoke was the creation of John Meston and William Conrad. William Conrad gave Chester his name, and the 4 major characters were developed by all those concerned especially William Conrad and John Meston.

Parley Baer was the first Chester and he gave himself the middle and last name Wesley Proudfoot as William Conrad had already named him Chester. Georgia Ellis was the first "Miss Kitty" and Howard McNear (later Floyd the Barber on The Andy Griffith Show) was the first "Doc Adams on the radio version,
Dennis Weaver went by Chester Goode on the television series for reasons unknown from all I have read about the series.


Last edited by ZenithStratosphere on Feb Sun 03, 2019 11:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Sun 03, 2019 10:58 pm 
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"The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen" is another excellent adventure type of show on the order of "ESCAPE". Howard Duff plays the lead in the first of the series, but thereafter the lead part is played by a man oftentimes referred to as "Mr. Radio" himself, Elliott Lewis.

Elliott Lewis and William "Bill" Conrad probably tie for the number of radio shows in which they either starred or co-starred at a whopping 7,500 or more radio appearances for both. So, inconsideration of that number, I think William Conrad can also be called "Mr. Radio".

Although "The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen" is quite good, I don't think it is in anyway as well remembered as Marshall Matt Dillon on "Gunsmoke", played by William Conrad. :o


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 1:51 am 
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All in all, he was in over 7,500 radio shows from SUSPENSE, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe. Gunsmoke to only name a few, You name the show and William Conrad had probably co-starred or starred in the show and in many cases John Meston had written it.


So I had to go to my laptop to see which OTR I had stored in iTunes for my ipod and here's the list. All three of those shows are in there. I hadn't realized so much Conrad! :shock:

(to generate a list of all the files in a certain directory, such as .mp3 files, do this:

1.Hold the "Shift" key, right-click inside the folder containing the files and select "Open Command Window Here."

2. Copy and paste this: " dir /b > filenames.txt " into the Command Prompt window. Press "Enter.

3. a filenames.txt" file will be created in that folder.

4. Copy all the text in filenames.txt and the paste them into a forum message.
In other words, press "Ctrl-A" and then "Ctrl-C" to copy the list of filenames in filenames.txt file, and then Ctrl-V to paste them into a forum message.

Amos and Andy
Bold Venture Bogart Bacall
Boston Blackie
Dragnet
Edgar Bergen
filenames.txt
Gunsmoke
Jack Benny
Jeff Regan P.I
Johnny Madero
Lights Out
Lum and Abner
Lux Radio Theater
Newscasts WWii
Night Beat
NightBeataccurate
One Out of Seven
Orson Welles Mercury Theater
Orson Wells Campbell Playhouse
Our Miss Brooks
Pat Novak For Hire
Pete Kelley Blues
Philip Marlowe
Screen Guild Theater
Sherlock
Suspense
Tarzan
The Bob Hope Program
The Clock
The Jack Webb Show
Yours Truly Johnny Dollar


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 3:47 am 
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Thanks for the information. I was surprised "ESCAPE" was not on the list. William Conrad oftentimes gave the opening narration as he always did on "Gunsmoke". Plus "Linogen and the Ants" being one of the most famous "ESCAPE" stories starred William Conrad as Linogen.
Many times William Conrad played smaller co-starring roles and changed his voice so it was not always recognizable. I think he was in the "ESCAPE" story of "The Second Class Passenger" with Parley Baer as the main actor. Oddly, Georgia Ellis played the part of the woman lead with a very heavy foreign accent which she did perfectly. All they needed in the cast was Howard McNear and they would have had the full cast of ""Gunsmoke" for this story on "ESCAPE"! If you listen closely though you can detect who the radio actor might be. Most of the radio shows gave the full cast at the end, but that was not always the case. When that occurs, you can only hope to guess who the actor might have been. :?:

William Conrad has a smaller role in a few of the episodes of "The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen", and as he uses an accent for that role, detecting it to actually be William Conrad might be difficult. But in most cases, if one is familiar with his voice, it can be detected, as few actors had such a deep basso voice as did William Conrad.

Many of the shows such as "Amos and Andy" had special guest stars on the show at times. Once I heard Edward G. Robinson guest star on "Amos and Andy" with a different famous Hollywood Star have a guest role for each week's episode which ran for about a year.

By the way, William Conrad also had a beautiful and strong singing voice. I am surprised he didn't sing anymore than was the case.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Mon 04, 2019 6:59 pm 
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As for the women radio actresses, there is Tallulah Bankhead, Georgia Ellis, Virginia Christine, Joan Bates and many, many others. As Agnes Moorehead was known as "The First Lady of Suspense", primarily because of her extensive work on SUSPENSE, I would assume she would be at the top of that list.

Tallulah Bankhead hosted "The Big Show" for 2 years from 1950 until 1952 with a total of 57 ninety minute episodes. She was not new to radio though having been on other radio shows since 1934 and she was also in many Stage Plays on Broadway and in Hollywood films. "The Big Show" was probably the longest (time-wise) of any show ever on radio running a full 90 minutes in primetime every Sunday evening. It has held up well over the years and seems as new and fresh as when it was initially broadcast LIVE.
Fred Allen was on so oftentimes (27 in total) on the show that many felt he was the co-host with Tallulah Bankhead. "The Big Show" had every major entertainer as guests that were known not only in the United States but in Europe at the time. In addition to being radio's longest show, It was also the most expensive and costly show ever on radio costing over $200,00.00 to produce each episode.
All the episodes of "The Big Show" were broadcast from New York except for three. One in Hollywood, one from Paris, France, and one from London, England. It was truly an entertaining show from beginning to end, especially with the unique antics of Tallulah Bankhead.

The noted musician Meredith Willson was the musical director and wrote "May The Good Lord Bless and Keep You" in honor of Tallulah Bankhead. At each show's ending she would sing the first verse and every other guest would sing another verse of this special song, and then she would close asking for a special blessing for all the American troops overseas.

"The Big Show" was NBC's last big effort to keep its' listener's attuned to radio as television was beginning to take over radio. Even with all the talent each week and the critical acclaim the show received, it could not stop the tide of people turning to their television screens.

Agnes Moorehead was so active in every medium though, it is hard to put her in one category.
She was very successful early on in radio (she was also in Orson Welles, "War of the World's" and part of his Mercury Theater actors and board member), then she was in many of the best remembered films ever made in Hollywood from "Citizen Kane", "The Magnificent Amberson's" to the "The Bat" with Vincent Price, then her very active live stage work (most memorably in "George Bernard Shaw's "Don Juan from Hell") and of course her television work, being best remembered for her role as Endora in "Bewitched" with Elizabeth Montgomery.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 10:04 am 
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Well, I'm going to have to add The Big Show to my iPod. I have Lux Radio Theater and Screen Guild Theater and somehow thought they were the two longest running.

So I'm off to find The Big Show.

By the way Amanda Blake was not the first Miss Kitty on the TV version, she replaced the first woman pretty early though. Amanda and Milburn Stone and Dennis Weaver had a 3 person live act in the early day of the TV show. During the Summer Rerun part of the year, they toured and gave live appearances, readings and singing. I forget which one of those three was the singer in their act.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Tue 05, 2019 8:27 pm 
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If ever a radio show lived up to its' name, it was "The Big Show". It was indeed THE BIG SHOW!
NBC not only paid out the most money for each show in radio history, it also ran the show for 57 episodes (from 1950 to 1952) with every major star from the period and for a full 90 minutes.
I don't think there was another radio show from the Golden Age that had such a long running time. Few shows ran over 30 minutes (if any) and many were only 15 minutes in length. NBC must have paid the guests on "The Big Show" very well, but the performances were well worked out with some of the best writer's in the history of radio and hosted by as they would say at the beginning of each show, "The glamorous, unpredictable Tallulah Bankhead".

"The Big Show" was a variety show with songs, readings, musical numbers, dramatic renditions, comedy skits, and really was a combination of all the different types of radio shows that were aired at the time. Fred Allen was on for 27 of the 57 episodes and did some of the funniest skits with the guests I have ever heard. Everybody from Ethel Barrymore, Peter Lorre, Edif Piaf, Danny Thomas, Rex Harrison, Judy Holiday, Judy Garland, Clifton Webb, Ethel Merman, Martha Raye, Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers, Jimmy Durante, Margaret Truman to just about any major name in 1950 from the entertainment industry was on "The Big Show"

They also got the best musical director on Broadway, Meredith Willson (he wrote "The Music Man" and many other Broadway hits) Considering the fact that television was looming on the horizon, it was literally radio's last attempt to combat the new medium of television, but all to no avail.
As I mentioned, Meredith Willson wrote the show's closing song for Tallulah Bankhead, "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You" which she likened to a Hymn and the first verse was always sung by Tallulah Bankhead and each guest sang another verse at the close of each show with a special blessing for our troops overseas (something that would never be done today!).

I guess they thought radio could continue on and be popular with the public, just as the film industry thought that the "talkies" could never over take the "silent films". "The Big Show" was a critical success, but in the end NBC lost money, as how could they compete with television?

Radio Archives out of Spokane, WA has restored the first 27 shows (and a few others in their Archives Treasures series), and sell them in a 5 Volume set. They did a fantastic job, as their restorations sound probably better than when the show was initially aired back in the early 1950's. Amazing sound restoration of "The Big Show".

Thanks for the information on Amanda Blake, Milburn Stone and Dennis Weaver. I will look for those shows. I will bet it was Dennis Weaver that was the singer, but you never know.


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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Wed 06, 2019 1:31 am 
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I wonder if Margaret Truman played the piano on the show? :mrgreen: I say that because the President of the United States had a few very salty words for a certain critic of his daughter's musical talent!

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 Post subject: Re: Old Radio Programs
PostPosted: Feb Wed 06, 2019 4:23 am 
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" He narrated most of the opening shows of "ESCAPE" "

Thanks, I was unaware of this show and have now found it online to download and stored it.

Am very pleased to see episode 15 "Casting the Runes" because that is the short story the movie "Curse of the Demonn" was based on. I can't wait to listen to that as it ranks as one of the finest B movies ever made.

A still from the movie, Dana Andrews and Peggy Cummins approach Brockford Hall in Herferdshire.

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