OTR Tuesday – The History of Old Time Radio

The short intro: For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, Old Time Radio is the phrase generally used to refer to the time when radio was (mostly) live, and was full of a variety of different shows, as opposed to simply being a means for record labels to use robots to promote the top records of the day. OTR  Tuesday is my chance to explore some of those old radio shows, their connections (both old and new) to movies, and hopefully to encourage some of the rest of you to take a look at a probably unfamiliar source of entertainment that I truly love. If you want more info on OTR, and some examples of the variety of shows that were made, be sure to check out this introductory post.

This seems like a good time to revisit a couple of earlier posts that looked back at the history of what we affectionately call Old Time Radio.

First up is a three part audio documentary entitled The First Fifty Years. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about the origins of this beyond the little bit of information given to us in the opening by the host, Ben Brooks, who says he was a radio and television columnist for the New York Daily News. The documentary was obviously produced in the early 1970’s in order to celebrate the first broadcast of radio station KDKA which took place in November 1920.

Next up: Here’s a video documentary about both the history of radio and the impact it had on those who grew up listening to it.

One of the most important yet all-too-often overlooked features of Old Time Radio is the sound effects, and thee way that they helped to shape the pictures that were being created in one’s mind. Without them, radio would have been just a bunch of people talking to each other or describing what was going on, but with them… wow, what a difference!

Again, I don’t have a whole lot of information on this short, which is entitled Back of the Mike, except that it was created in 1937 (or 1938, dates vary) and was sponsored by / is an ad for the Chevrolet division of the General Motors Corporation.

Noe here are a couple of more network specific behind the scenes looks:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little look at the history of OTR, and be sure to check back in next time when we’ll revisit another great radio show.




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