As many of you who know me know that I love radio dramas. The theater of the mind. It's hard to watch movies or television while painting, so I'm going to share what I do while I paint. Music is too distracting to me for some reason, but things like the Warhammer 40k audio dramas or books are great. But those cost money. There is a free alternative. Its called Old Time Radio. Most of these are anthology shows, meaning non serialized like Buck Rogers, the Lone Ranger and the weekly Adventures of Superman. But those are available if that's what you're after or like.
Back in the 1930's through the 60's many radio stations in the US ran syndicated shows of almost every genre. From Sci-fi to Hospital dramas, horror, westerns and crime shows. They are a treasure, and if you're a nostalgic kinda person like me, then you'll love these. I'm going to share as links, some of my favorite shows. These are all public domain now cause of their age and its great that they are hosted free on archive.org. Let's start with
- X-Minus One - To me the creme dela creme of the sci fi radio dramas, back then writers would submit their scripts or stories from different magazines from across the nation, and sometimes you'd hear the same show produced by the people who did Dimension X, but with different actors, great stuff.
- Dimension X - Pretty much the same as above, but there are some different stories, but a lot are the same.
- Worlds of Tomorrow - This 1957-58 Science Fiction Anthology show was broadcast over the Mutual Broadcasting network and Narrated by John Campbell, Jr. Included here are 26 of the 29 episodes that were made. Some of these are scratchy but still worth listening too.
- Alien Worlds - Alien Worlds was a syndicated radio show created by radio personality Lee Hansen. It aired 26 half-hour episodes between 1978 and 1980, becoming well known for its realistic sound effects, high production values and documentary style of dialog. (This archive isn't hosted by archive.org but you can still grab and listen to them.)
- Dragnet - Dragnet, the brainchild of Jack Webb, may very well be the most well-remembered, and the best, radio police drama series. From September, 1949 through February 1957, Dragnet's 30 minute shows, broadcast on NBC, brought to radio true police stories in a low-key, documentary style. Probably my most favorite other than...
- Suspense! - This one is a huge archive! One of the premier drama programs of the Golden Age of Radio, was subtitled "radio's outstanding theater of thrills" and focused on suspense thriller-type scripts, usually featuring leading Hollywood actors of the era. Approximately 945 episodes were broadcast during its long run, and more than 900 still exist. And it almost covers every genre, from horror to western and a few sci-fi ones to boot! My personal favorites come from the 1950's. A treasure trove of enjoyment for the ears. Well preserved too!
- Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The anthology series featured stories of mystery, terror and suspense, and its tongue-in-cheek introductions were in sharp contrast to shows like Suspense and The Whistler. Great listening!
- Tales of the Mysterious Traveler - Another anthology hosted by a mysterious traveler (Duh). Picture yourself coming home from work on a train, probably in the North East, and a man sets next to you to tale you a tale, each week a new show, or for you as many as you can cram in while painting. Its hard to pick which are my favorites, they all have their own personalities, likes and dislikes.
- The Shadow - As infamous as the Dark Knight, almost everyone has heard of The Shadow. There was a reboot or rekindling of the Shadow in 1994's movie staring Alec Baldwin and Penelope Ann Miller. The link to these programs are hosted by another site, archive.org only has splashes of shows or seasons here and there, this one is more complete.
- The Saint - Another Dark Knight type of character. The Saint radio program, starring Vincent Price. All known existing shows from 1944-1951, plus three dramatized Saint novels. Repeated shows are included.
This list is getting kinda long, but I'll include just a few comedy programs that I really enjoy.
- The Life of Riley - "The Life of Riley": starring William Bendix as lovable, blundering, Chester A. Riley, was a radio situation comedy broadcast during and after wartime 40s. Because of its overwhelming radio popularity, Riley graduated as easily to a 1949 feature film, as it did to 1950s television. Also, in 1958, it hit the newsstands, when Dell Comics released "The Life of Riley" in comic book form. There are 132 episodes here. One of my favorite reoccurring characters is Digger O'Dell the mortician some of the greatest laughs come from Riley interacting with Digger.
- The Jack Benny Program - Probably the best comedy show during the Golden Age of Radio. The most beloved characters come from this show, like Rochester, Jack's valet, Dennis, the man child who sang during every show, except during war time he served in the Navy. Mel Blanc, the famous voice actor from years past (bugs bunny and many or most of the Warner Bros. cartoon characters, Mary Livingston, Jacks real wife played his flirt and best friend in the show but they never played a married couple on air. Phil Harris, the drunk band leader, who later played 'Baloo' in Walt Disney's 1967 animated movie The Jungle Book. Don Wilson, the shows announcer, who played himself. He introduced Jack for many many years. If I compare the Jack Benny Program to a recent television show, I'd pick Seinfeld. His show mainly dealt with the cast and crew getting ready to go onto air, and sometimes 'play' a show as if they were on air. A show about nothing. But a lot of laughs. Again, like Suspense, my favorite era late 1940's and on to the 50's. Another show that's hard to find complete. When I used to subscribed to news groups, I was lucky one year to find the collection complete. But I'm happy with what I can find here and there.
Here is the front page on archive.org with the radio shows lined up for your parusal.
Happy Listening and Painting!
Happy Listening and Painting!