I am The Whistler, and I know many things, for I walk by night. I know many strange tales, hidden in the hearts of men and women who have stepped into the shadows. Yes... I know the nameless terrors of which they dare not speak. So tonight, I tell you this story....
If you lived near a west coast CBS radio affiliate between May 16, 1942 and September 22, 1955
, you probably heard The Whistler
, or at least knew of the radio mystery series that was somewhat in the style of the better-known franchise, The Shadow
. If you missed it, you can catch up on Archive.org, with selections from 1942
, 1951 and '52
, or browse through a collection of 502 episodes
. [more inside]
National Public Radio produced at least two short runs of sci-fi radio dramas in the relatively recent past. The first of these two was Sci-Fi Radio, which was was produced out of Commerce, Texas, and broadcast on NPR in 1989-90. The producers drew their inspiration from some of the best stories from some of the best science fiction authors of the 20th century, including Ray Bradbury, Roger Zelazny, Henry Kuttner, and Poul Anderson. You can read more here on the Old Time Radio Plot Spot
, or listen to the series on the Times Past Old Time Radio blog
(also on Archive.org
). A decade later, NPR revisited the format with 2000X: Tales of the Next Millennia
, for which they won a a 2001 Bradbury Award
. The official site is no longer online, but Archive.org captured Yuri Rasovsky
's site for the series
. Rasovsky shared two of those broadcasts and talked about his work in radio with Radio Drama Revival
, and you can listen to the rest, as recorded from radio and grouped in an unsorted jumble
(with duplicates), thanks to the very generous OTR Sounds
Can you identify a composition, given only a single clarinet cadenza? Can you recite a poem, given only the last words from a single stanza? Can you play on the piano extempore
the most popular song from a Gershwin show, given only a snippet of a few seconds from a little-known piece in the production? And can you believe this was once one of the most popular radio shows in America?
The radio quiz show from a wrier age, Information, Please
, features an urbane, erudite host (Clifton Fadiman
, the editor of the New Yorker's book review section), whip-smart panelists (like Franklin P. Adams
, of "Baseball's Sad Lexicon" fame), and ridiculously interesting guests (Dorothy Parker, Leonard Bernstein, S. J. Perelman...!). Several years' worth are available here
, for your listening pleasure. (Start with Page 2 -- the quality of the broadcasts on Page 1 is quite low.)
"The Thing on the Fourble Board"
is a nicely creepy episode of the fantasy/horror radio program "Quiet, Please". You can stream or download it from the link. Originally broadcast on August the 9th, 1948, it's widely considered one of the best episodes of the series. (Here's an archive.org MP3 mirror
, also.) [more inside]
The CBS Radio Mystery Theater
aired weeknights from 1974 to 1982. Here
are all 1,399 original episodes
, free to stream or download. [more inside]
(often abbreviated as "OTR," also known as the Golden Age of Radio) refers to a period of radio programming in the United States lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until television's replacement of radio as the dominant home entertainment medium in the 1950s, with some programs
continuing into the early 1960s
. The origin of radio dramas in the United States is hard to pin down, but there is evidence of a remote broadcast of a play in 1914
at Normal College
(now California State University at San José), and the first serial radio drama was an adaptation of a play by Eugene Walter
, entitled "The Wolf," which aired in September 1922. Given the age of the programs and the fact that home reel-to-reel recording started in the 1950s
(followed by Philips "compact cassettes" in 1963), it might be surprising that quite a few of these old shows
have survived. Thanks in part to original radio station-sourced recordings made on aluminum discs, acetates, and glass recordings
and other unnamed sources, many radio dramas and newscasts from decades past are available online
, and more are being digitized and restored to this day. [more inside]
When people think of Old Time Radio, they usually think of the standards: Amos 'n Andy, Burns and Allen, Dragnet, etc. etc. I won't link to them because they are all over the 'net, and you can find them easily. But you almost certainly don't know about Vic and Sade
... and you should.
Read the good Wikipedia article
first, to whet your appetite even more, then go listen
! [more inside]
When Fred Gwynne and E.G. Marshall died, I was a little depressed. Most people knew Fred from the Munsters and Mr. Marshall from movies; I knew them from work on the CBSRMT.
My dog was named Marshall, in fact. It's strange that most people never knew there was another whole world of radio acting out there."
Like this writer, I also grew up listening to (and loving) The CBS RADIO MYSTERY THEATRE. It's long gone, but if you search the web, you can find many devoted websites and even some episodes.