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  Radio Classics - 20 hours [Audio CDs] #2003
Radio Classics 20 hour set, Old Time Radio Shows


 
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Radio Classics

Return to radio's Golden Age with Radio Classics, a 20-hour collection featuring forty of the greatest shows ever to hit the airwaves.

The Aldrich Family

Created by playwright Clifford Goldsmith for the 1937 Broadway smash "What a Life," "The Aldrich Family" presented an endearing and amusing look at upper-middle-class family life as seen through the eyes of a clumsy, bumbling, but well-meaning teenager named Henry Aldrich. Ezra Stone created the role on Broadway and continued it on radio, supported by House Jamison and Katherine Raht as his patient parents and Jackie Kelk as his apprehensive and stammering sidekick Homer Brown. Each week, Henry was summoned into millions of living rooms to the call of his long-suffering mother: "Hen-reeee! Henry Aldrich!" and then the cracking adolescent voice of Henry answering, "Coming, Mother!"

Making Henry Jealous
October 13, 1939

Raising Rabbits and Pigeons
February 20, 1940


Amos 'n' Andy

Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll were two white men who played black men in the most popular radio series of all-time. "Amos" was Amos Jones and "Andy" was Andrew H. Brown, two polarized Harlem blacks who were best friends and members of the fraternal lodge The Mystic Knights of the Sea. Amos was the hard-working half of the team, a family man who owned his own taxicab, while Andy, on the other hand, never worked very much. He wore a derby hat, smoked old stogies and made chasing women his life-long career. The two were flanked by George "Kingfish" Stevens, a loveable rogue and con-man who made his living bilking anyone he could out of a dollar...and that dollar usually came from the pocket of Andrew H. Brown. The Kingfish was married to Sapphire, a no-nonsense woman who kept him in check, and they lived in a small Brooklyn apartment along with Sapphire's "Momma", whom George couldn't stand. The stories usually centered around the Kingfish's latest scheme to get rich quick, which meant conning Andy out of his life's savings with Amos inevitably coming to his rescue. At its peak, "The Amos N' Andy Show" was heard by 40 million listeners each week - a third of the American public at the time.

Easter Hat Designed by the Kingfish
March 30, 1945

Andy Evicted, Moves in with the Kingfish
April 6, 1945


Boston Blackie

Boston Blackie was a master thief who, after a stretch in the big house, decided to use his intimate knowledge of the underworld for the purpose of good as an amateur detective operating out of New York. Film star Chester Morris brought the character to prominence in fourteen B-movies for Columbia. In 1944, he appeared as Blackie on radio in a summer replacement for "Amos N' Andy". In 1945, a syndicated version came to the airwaves starring Dick Kollmar as Boston Blackie, "enemy to those to who make him an enemy, friend to those who have no friends." Blackie's specialty was making the cops look stupid and with Inspector Faraday (played by Maurice Tarplin) heading the local police effort, that was an easy task.

The Bombing of Joe Ingalls
April 28, 1948

The Jackie Meers Prison Break
May 5, 1948


Casey, Crime Photographer

Staats Cotsworth starred as Casey, a "Morning Express" newspaper photographer who loved to play detective. His job led him to crime scenes and his natural sense for news afforded him the opportunity to solve the crime. His favorite hangout was the "Blue Note Cafe" where he and Ethelbert the bartender and Casey's girlfriend/reporter Ann Williams pondered the evidence and sifted through clues. The series, based on characters created by George Harmon Coxe, first came to radio in 1943 and lasted until 1955.

Camera Bug
October 16, 1947

Lady in Distress
October 23, 1947


Dimension X

Science fiction had been around on radio since the middle 1930s but it was mostly the sort of "Flash Gordon" or "Buck Rogers" adventures aimed directly at juvenile audiences. But in 1950, NBC developed a science-fiction series for adults called "Dimension X". Opening with the memorable phrase "Adventures in time and space ...told in future tense! DIMENSION X ...X ...X ...X ...X ...X ...", most of the stores came from Astounding Science Fiction Magazine, which offered some of the best writers in the field. In a time when many radio shows were giving way to television, "Dimension X" was fairly successful, producing 50 shows in a two-year run. Four years after it left the airwaves, NBC retooled it and brought it back as "X Minus One".

The Lost Race
May 20, 1950

To the Future
May 27, 1950


Father Knows Best

We all remember "Father Knows Best" from television, but few people realize it had its roots in radio. Premiering on NBC in 1949. Robert Young starred as Jim Anderson, an agent for General Insurance in Springfield, an average town in the average Midwest. He and his wife Margaret (originally played by June Whitley and later by Jean Vander Pyl) raised three children, Betty (Rhoda Williams), Bud (Ted Donaldson), and Kathy (Norma Jean Nilsson). The stories were lighthearted and often revolved around the teenage problems of Betty or Bud. When it did make the transition to television, only Robert Young made the move; all the other parts were recast with different actors.

Anniversary Secret
April 19, 1951

Aunt Martha Visits
April 26, 1951


Fibber McGee & Molly

Jim Jordan starred as Fibber McGee, radio's amiable braggart and teller of tall tales, and Jim's real life wife Marian Jordan starred as Molly McGee, Fibber's salt of the earth, patient and sweet wife. "Fibber McGee & Molly" premiered on radio in 1935 and lasted until 1959, a whopping 25 years. They lived in a little house at 79 Wistful Vista and, for some reason, their home was the center of the universe for friends and foes alike - including such memorable characters as Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve (Hal Peary), Wallace Wimple (Bill Thompson), Abigail Uppington (Isabel Randolph), Mayor LaTrivia (Gale Gordon), or Doc Gamble (Arthur Q. Bryan). Created by Don Quinn, "Fibber McGee and Molly" became a Tuesday night tradition for millions of households and, in its hey-day, was often at the very top of the ratings charts.

Missing Shirt Collar Button
January 24, 1939

Military Advisor for Army Maneuvers
January 31, 1939


The Fred Allen Show

John Steinbeck called Fred Allen "unquestionably the best humorist of our time." Perhaps the most admired of all radio comics, Allen's fans included the President of the United States, critically acclaimed writers, and - most important to Allen - his radio peers. Fred's show was like no other and really didn't fit any mold or type. It wasn't a situation comedy, or a variety show, or a sketch comedy; his was a meld of all of them. His comedy was, basically, all about how he saw the world at that moment. Fred's most memorable reoccurring sketch was "Allen's Alley" in which he and his real life wife Portland Hoffa would stroll down to meet a serious of unusual but highly memorable characters, including Jewish housewife Pansy Nussbaum (Minerva Pious), the very Irish Ajax Cassidy (Peter Donald), New England farmer Titus Moody (Parker Fennelly), and blowhard southern politico Senator Claghorn (Kenny Delmar).

One Long Pan, with guest star Basil Rathbone
April 11, 1948

Getting in the Roxy for Free, with guest star George Jessel
November 28, 1948


The FBI in Peace and War

During radio's Golden Age, there were three series dedicated to the power and glory of the Federal Bureau of Investigation: "Gangbusters", "This Is Your FBI", and "The FBI in Peace and War". All three were completely 'authentic' shows that had the blessing of FBI director J. Edgar Hooker and, thus, tended to present the Bureau in the most favorable light possible. "The FBI in Peace and War" was initially based on Frederick L. Collins's book of the same title and, unlike the other two series, the radio broadcasts gave listeners a unique perspective by featuring the criminals, rather than the agents, as the main characters, with the stories unfolding from their viewpoints. Then, on occasion, the scene would shift to the pursuing FBI with Field Agent Sheppard (played by Martin Blaine) and his boss Mr. Andrews (played by Donald Briggs) as the relentless pursuers. It came to radio in 1944 and enjoyed a long run, taking a final bow in 1955.

Unfinished Business
August 2, 1951

The Fence
August 7, 1952


The Great Gildersleeve

On "Fibber McGee & Molly", Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve became such a popular character that, in 1941, NBC decided to spin him off onto his own radio program. In the new series, titled "The Great Gildersleeve", Gildy traveled to the town of Summerfield and, with the help of his housekeeper Birdie, set out to raise his orphaned niece and nephew, Marjorie and Leroy. He soon became Summerfield's Water Commissioner and the town's most eligible bachelor -- not to mention the town's biggest windbag. Harold Peary starred in the title role, with Lillian Randolph as Birdie, Lurene Tuttle as Marjorie, and Walter Tetley as Leroy. The series was an instant hit and remained on the air until 1957, eventually turning up on TV.

Leroy's New Dog
December 14, 1941

Gildy Goes on a Diet
January 4, 1942


The New Adventures of Michael Shayne

Created by Brett Halliday, detective Michael Shayne was a two fisted "reckless red-headed Irishman" who wasn't afraid to push his weight around in order to solve a crime. The series first came to radio in 1944 starring Wally Maher. In this version, titled Michael Shayne Detective he was assisted by the blonde and very gorgeous Phyllis Knight, played by veteran actress Cathy Lewis. Later, in 1950, a syndicated series titled "The New Adventures of Michael Shayne" came to radio starring rising screen star Jeff Chandler. A third version hit the ABC airwaves in 1952 starring Donald Curtis, then Robert Sterling and eventually Vinton Hayworth in the title role.

The Case of the Crooked Wheel
November 23, 1949

The Case of the Wandering Fingerprints
November 30, 1949


Mr. & Mrs. North

The whimsical detective adventures of Pam and Jerry North originated in novels by Frances and Richard Lockridge and subsequently appeared in stories for the New Yorker magazine. One interesting thing about Mr. & Mrs. North is that they were not detectives per se, but average people who might be living right next door. Neither Pam nor Jerry were trained in the science of deduction. Jerry was a book publisher by trade and Pam, his beautiful spouse, was a housewife who loved cats, liked to play matchmaker for their single friends, and talked in riddles. The two lived in a swanky apartment at 24 St. Anne's Flat in Greenwich Village. But the one thing that made them different from other couples was their uncanny ability to stumble over a corpse each and every week. Luckily for them, their best friend was Lt. Bill Weigand of the Homicide Squad. Weigand eventually got used to the idea that, wherever the North's would go, murder inevitably followed. The series came to radio in 1942 and soon became one of the most popular mystery/detective shows on the air, holding an audience of 20 million per week. Joseph Curtin and Alice Frost originated the roles, giving way to Richard Denning and Barbara Britton later in the run, who later played the roles on TV.

The Gordon Gilroy Murder Case
March 2, 1944

Pam Solves a Murder
August 9, 1944


Murder at Midnight

This series offered tales of "the witching hour, when night is darkest, our fears the strongest, our strength at its lowest ebb. Midnight...when graves gape open and death strikes!" "Murder at Midnight" came to radio in 1946 under the director of Anton Leader and featured some New York's best supporting actors, including Elspeth Eric, Mercedes McCambridge, Berry Kroeger, Lawson Zerbe, and Charlotte Holland in stories of murder and mystery. The creepy voice of the opening signature was that of Raymond Morgan, a Long Island minister who gave up the cloth for a chance at radio stardom.

The Heavy Death
July 27, 1946

Nightmare
August 3, 1946


Mystery in the Air

Movie actor Peter Lorre had been active in radio since the early 1940s and, in 1947, was given his own NBC series, "Mystery in the Air", a summer replacement for "The Abbott and Costello Show". This showcase for Lorre's abilities included dramatizations of such literary classics as "The Tell-Tale Heart", "The Lodger", and "The Black Cat" and his co-stars included such well-known radio names as Agnes Moorehead, Peggy Webber, Russell Thorson, John Brown, Howard Culver, Jane Morgan, Ben Wright, and Herb Butterfield. Lorre's announcer was Harry Morgan, later known for his role as Colonel Potter on "M*A*S*H".

The Horla
August 14, 1947

Beyond Good and Evil
August 28, 1947


Pete Kelly's Blues

Jack Webb played dozens of supporting and even starring roles on radio before hitting the jackpot as police sergeant Joe Friday on "Dragnet". His most notable roles were detectives Pat Novak on "Pat Novak, For Hire" and Johnny Modero on "Johnny Modero, Pier 23". Almost two years after reaching stardom with "Dragnet", Webb took on a role quite different from the stoic Sergeant Friday as the star of "Pete Kelly's Blues". Pete Kelly's world was a smoke-filled Kansas City speakeasy of the middle 1920s, where Webb played a hardened coronet player at George Lupo's Place. The stories were similar from week to week; Kelly would get himself in deep trouble with some hood or mob boss and spend the next half-hour trying to escape the grim reaper, while finding ample time to flirt with a dame or two. Much of the show's appeal was in the music; Webb was a lifelong jazz fan and, when the band played, the crowd took notice. Two full jazz numbers were featured in each broadcast, giving it an authentic and very hip sound. "Pete Kelly's Blues" was one of Webb's best shows, and later became the basis of his 1955 film of the same name.

Gus Trudeux
August 15, 1951

The Dutchman
August 22, 1951


The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet

Ozzie Nelson was Red Skelton's bandleader and his wife, Harriet Hilliard was Skelton's singer. When Skelton was drafted and his show went on hiatus, Ozzie took matters into his own hands and developed a situation comedy that depicted the Nelsons at home, raising their two young boys, and living the good life but constantly entangled in amusing situations usually created by Ozzie. They lived at 1847 Rogers Road - more than a tip of the hat to their sponsor, the 1847 Rogers Brothers Silver Company - and gave listeners exactly what they wanted to hear: good old fashioned family comedy. At first, Ozzie refused to allow his boys David and Ricky to portray themselves on the air, feeling that the demands of a weekly radio show was too much for children of 8 and 4 to handle. But, in April of 1949, he relented and the real David and Ricky Nelson began playing themselves in the series. "The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet" made a painless transition to television and became one of TV's early smashes, running for nearly fifteen years on ABC.

Valentine Card
February 13, 1945

Antique Vase
August 12, 1945


Philo Vance

Debonair detective Philo Vance, created by master novelist S.S. Van Dine, enjoyed a long and varied screen career in 14 films made over a span of some twenty years by several different studios. The actor most identified with the screen role was William Powell, who starred in the first three Philo Vance mysteries for Paramount. In 1945, Jose' Ferrer brought the character to radio, with Francis Robinson as his assistant. It lasted little more than a year but, in 1948, radio syndicator Frederick W. Ziv revived radio's Philo Vance with Jackson Beck in the title role. Beck was a radio veteran who was best known as the booming announcer on "The Adventures of Superman". In this version, Joan Alexander appeared as Vance's secretary Ellen Deering, with George Petrie as District Attorney Markham.

The Poetic Murder Case
August 24, 1948

The Coachman Murder Case
August 31, 1948


Richard Diamond, Private Detective

Dick Powell began his radio detective career as Richard Rogue on "Rogue's Gallery" in the late 1940s. After the success of the series, NBC assigned an aspiring young screenwriter named Blake Edwards to create a new radio detective character for Powell: Richard Diamond, a happy-go-lucky detective who barely made ends meet and loved to frustrate and annoy Lieutenant Walt Levinson, his contact in the police force. He took extra delight in making fun of dumb desk sergeant Otis, whose stupidity knew no bounds, and also enjoyed after hours romance with the rich and beautiful Helen Asher in the comforts of her Park Avenue penthouse. "Richard Diamond" is much loved by radio enthusiasts today for its witty scripting, its tongue-in-cheek attitude, and the genial delivery of its star, Dick Powell -- who, as it turned out, wasn't so far away from his musical roots that he wasn't willing to serenade fair lady with the song at the end of most of the programs.

The Gibson Murder Case
October 10, 1949

Newspaper Boy & Counterfeit Ring
October 15, 1949


Vic & Sade

Created by writer Paul Rhymer, "Vic & Sade" wasn't really a soap opera or a serial, though it aired in the midst of the daytime soap operas. Instead, each 15 minute episode was a little slice of small-town family life told through the eyes of Vic and Sade Gook (Art Van Harvey and Bernardine Flynn), their adopted son Rush (Billy Idelson), and their eccentric Uncle Fletcher (Clarence Hartzell). Vic, Sade, and Rush lived in "the small house halfway up in the next block" in a small town somewhere in Illinois. The town was populated by odd but vaguely familiar people with unusual names, hobbies, and occupations -- and perhaps the most eccentric of all was Uncle Fletcher, who constantly rambled on about things of no significance and people who were long dead or missing. The action was always set in the Gook household, the only characters heard being Vic, Sade, Rush, and Uncle Fletcher; all of the others were alluded to in the dialogue, but never actually heard on the air. Vic made his living as a bookkeeper for the Consolidated Kitchenware Company's Plant Number Fourteen, supervised by Mr. Ruebush, and Sade, a homemaker, busied herself by attending Thimble Club meetings and looking forward to the washrag sales at Yamelton's Department Store. Rush, their adopted son, attended high school, went to movies starring the immortal team of Gloria Golden and Four-Fisted Frank Fuddleman, and lost himself in adventure novels featuring Third Lieutenant Clinton Stanley. Uncle Fletcher, who stopped by on a regular basis, lived at the Bright Kentucky Hotel and loved to spend time recalling the endless and mundane accomplishments of some individual he had met in the past - stories that usually ended with "later died" - or ruminating on the romance of his landlady. Despite the unique and definitely off-kilter nature of the series, "Vic & Sade" enjoyed tremendous success with audiences and an equally tremendous run, lasting on radio from 1932 until 1946.

Restaurant Business
July 4, 1945

Deputy Vic
July 11, 1946


X Minus One

Four years after "Dimension X" left the airwaves, it was revived under the title "X Minus One". In this new form, the anthology series struck out into deeper space with new adaptations from the leading science fiction magazines, as well as an occasional original story. The opening, delivered by deep voiced Fred Collins, became its trademark: "Countdown for blastoff...X Minus Five...Four...Three ...Two...X Minus One...Fire!" It was affiliated with Astounding Science Fiction and Galaxy magazines and featured stories by many of the well-known authors who appeared in them, but its greatest asset was NBC staff writers George Lefferts and Ernest Kinoy, who adapted the stories for radio and also provided their own superb originals. Airing in the midst of an era that welcomed the introduction of serious and insightful science fiction and fantasy writing, "X Minus One" enjoyed a 4-year run, lasting until 1958.

The Parade
May 1, 1955

Knock
May 22, 1955


Average Customer Review: 5 of 5 | Total Reviews: 1 Write a review

  1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
 
Wonderful Collection December 26, 2009
Reviewer: Christopher Peppel from Arlington, MA United States  
You can't imagine my excitement when I received this collection.  It was a week of pure bliss.  The quality of the remastering is just as advertised.  I look forward to buying many more sets to add to my collection.

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