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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Old Time Radio - are you a fan?

You all might think I'm a bit too young to have grown up listening to Old Time Radio but you'd be wrong.  Despite being only 32, I clearly remember listening to shows like Gunsmoke, Suspense!, Lum and Abner, Dragnet, Fibber McGee and Molly, Dimension X, The Life of Riley, and many others every Sunday night. You see, I was lucky enough to live within radio reach of WAMU, the radio station of American University in Washington, DC.  Every Sunday evening starting at 7pm, I'd tune in my radio to 88.5 FM and hole up in my bedroom to listen in to The Big Broadcast, featuring radio programs from the 1930s-1950s.  My sister was usually in her room listening, and the program was generally on in whatever room my parents were in as well.  We all loved following the dramas and comedies from week to week.

When I moved to college I was too far away to listen in.  Then I got married and moved to a nearby city, and still I was out of range.  After all those years of not listening, I've gotten out of the habit of putting my radio on each Sunday night and I definitely miss it.  But get this - there is a company out there who specializes in making those old programs available to listeners today! It's called OTR Catalog and you can check them out at this link.  I was so excited when they emailed me about trying out their site

It's not just the dramas and comedies from the 1930s-1950s that you can listen to though.  The site also offers important news broadcasts as well, like complete coverage of the Nazi Invasion of Poland in 1939, the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, and the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944.  Plus there are programs from the Depression Era Federal Writers Project, including interviews with former slaves. In addition, there are dramatizations of famous plays and works of literature.  In my opinion, there's something in Old Time Radio for everyone! (Sometimes you'll even catch an old commercial that wasn't edited out - those are a blast to listen to as well.)

I encourage you to go visit http://www.otrcat.com/index.php.  Look in the top right of the page for the Daily Download to try a free program - I just listened to one of FDR's 1939 Fireside Chats!  Then browse the site and see what appeals to you.  You can listen to a sample of many of the programs to see if you like them.

I'm thrilled that I have the opportunity to listen to Old Time Radio again and  I'm looking forward to finding more great shows to order and enjoy.  Thanks OTR Catalog!

10 comments:

Trisha said...

That is so awesome. I'm heading over there right now.

Ryan G said...

I've bought a few things from them in the past. Orson Wells' Mercury Theater doing Dracula was the first one I bought. I used to get their catalog but don't anymore, I wonder why. I'm in love with all the old supsense and mystery shows from back then and never miss a chance to listen to them.

I found CBS Mystery Theater online a while back and have been listening to them as well. I'm just glad I'm not the only 30 something who likes this stuff.

GMR said...

Huh...will wonders never cease. Can't say that I've listened to them before or that I necessarily would, but I DEFINITELY know a few people that would! Off to check it out and recommend...thanks for sharing! ^_^

Marie said...

How fun. When I was a kid I liked to listen to THE WAR OF THE WORLDS- absolutely entrancing. I should give some radio programs a listen :-)

Heather J. said...

Trisha - YAY!

Ryan G - You know, I think we're a lot more alike than we realize. :) So glad to find another fan around my age!

GMR - Thanks for recommending them - I'm sure your friend will appreciate it.

Marie - Oooh that program is one of my all-time favorites! I think I have a cassette of it somewhere ...

Nan said...

Fantastic! I just watched a Ken Burns film called Empire of the Air about the beginnings of radio. You might enjoy it.

Alyce said...

That sounds great! We didn't have anything like that in our area when I was growing up. The only thing remotely similar was an am station that featured songs of the 30s and 40s - which I loved.

Heather J. said...

Nan - I'll have to check it out - I'm sure I'd enjoy it. (And by the way, it's great to see you here - I've been really bad about leaving comments lately so I've missed chatting with you on your blog.)

Alyce - You'd probably really enjoy it, and your boys might like some of the adventure stories too.

Bybee said...

When I was living in Germany as a little girl, I remember listening to Armed Forces Radio do some of these old shows. Cool stuff!

Heather J. said...

Bybee - How cool!

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