Old Time Radio Tuesday – Dr. Tim, Detective

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.

One of the great things about being a fan of Old Time Radio is that there are always new and interesting shows out there waiting to be discovered. For me, today’s spotlight show, Dr. Tim, Detective is just such a show. Up until just a few days ago I had never even heard of it. Actually, I only ran across it because I was looking for something new and different to write about for today’s entry.

Of course, there may be a reason I didn’t know about it. So far, my research on the show hasn’t turned up much information except for this excerpt taken from the Sept. 3rd, 1950 edition of the Rockford (IL) Morning Star:

“Dr. Tim, Detective,” a radio series to present health education by means of mystery-dramas to interest Rockford’s school age boys and girls, will be presented weekly on Mondays at 6:15 p.m. over radio station WROK beginning Labor day.

Dr. R.J. Mroz, president of the Winnebago County Medical society, announced the 13-week dramatized series, especially produced for young listeners, is being presented through the public relations committee of the medical society. It is offered through the co-operation of the Rockford radio council, sponsored by the Central Illinois Electric and Gas company and station WROK.

Each episode will be a mystery-drama dealing with a disease or health subject. It will be presented through the scientific detection of “Doctor Tim, Detective” and his young friends, “Sandy” and “Jill.”

Some of the subjects to be included are safe water supply, rabies, blood fractions, rheumatic fever, the home medicine chest and contaminated foods.

It appears that a total of 13 episodes (standard for a show at the time were produced, running from Aug 28, 1950 Nov 27, 1950, and of those, seven apparently still survive today.

Now, you may notice that some references (and some of the shows that I’ve posted below) give a date of 1948, but I suspect that that date was just a guess, and that the above information is correct. Nonetheless, I’d love to hear from someone who might have more definitive information on the program.

As far as the quality of the show, well, it certainly fits the “educational” part of its billing, though it does seem to be a little light on the mystery aspect. Still since it was designed mostly for children, the balance seems appropriate.

Let’s give a listen, shall we?

Happy Throwback Thanksgiving! – Thanksgiving With Jack

Between this blog and my previous one, Professor Damian’s Public Domain Treasure Chest, I’ve been writing about movies for quite a while now. Because of that, there are a lot of posts that have simply gotten lost to the mists of time. So, I figured I’d use the idea of “Throwback Thursday” to spotlight some of those older posts, re-presenting them pretty much exactly as they first appeared except for updating links where necessary or possible, and doing just a bit of re-formatting to help them fit better into the style of this blog. Hope you enjoy these looks back. 

Here’s a special Thanksgiving edition of Throwback Thursday, And I hope that all of you, whether traveling or at home with your family or wherever the day might find you, are safe and happy.


Old Time Radio Thursdays – #020: Jack Benny Celebrates Thanksgiving

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. Old Time Radio Thursdays 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.

Last week we started our Thanksgiving celebration with a sampler from various shows as they celebrated the Thanksgiving holiday, and we’ll pick that back up next week, but I thought this week we’d actually take a look at how one long-running comedy show featured the holiday throughout the years.

The Jack Benny Program has long been one of my favorite Old Time Radio comedy shows, and obviously, considering how long the show ran, I am not alone in that feeling. Since the setup of the show was that it basically chronicled the stars lives as they went through them, it was only natural that each year there would be a show featuring how the gang celebrated the holidays. So, here’s a look at how they did that over time.

Next week? Even more Old Time Radio shows to be thankful for.

Until next time, Happy Listening!

Old Time Radio Tuesday – Talking Turkey Day

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.

(Just a quick aside – it occurs to me I may soon have to change that introduction to not only explain what I mean by “Old Time Radio”, but even what the concept of radio itself is. Now that everyone gets their music from streaming services and the like, does anyone even listen to the radio anymore? Ah, but that’s a post for another day.)

Well, we’re just over a couple of weeks out from Thanksgiving, so that seems like a good time to take a look back at how some of the great radio shows of the past celebrated the holiday. Which means, lucky you, no long-winded history lesson from me today, just a selection of shows that hopefully you won’t think are turkeys.

Let’s dig in, shall we?

 

OTR Tuesday – Ma Perkins

mp1Of course, we’re all familiar with the concept of the soap opera. It’s a serial, either daily or weekly, that usually dramatizes (often overly so) the lives of a generally small group of people linked to gether in some way. They might live in the same city, work together in a hospital, or even just be members of the same family. The daily soaps especially are known for their rushed production and generally lower production values than night time programming, but they still have an incredible number of followers who will make it “appointment tv” to make sure they don’t miss their “stories”.

(A quick aside: I put the word “stories” in quotes there not to imply anything abput the plots of these shows which can, at times and over the years become quite intricate, but because that’s the phrase my grandmother used to use to describe them, and I’ve heard it used quite often since.)

Of course,like a lot of our entertainment options,the soap operas began on the radio where they were broadcast to provide entertainment to housewives as they went through their day. As a matter of fact,that’s where the phrase “soap opera” comes from as often the shows were accompanied by advertisements for laundry detergents and other household cleaners that the women would use while doing their daily cleaning.

mp2
The cast of Ma Perkins

One of the earliest and longest running soap operas was Ma Perkins, which was broadcast on the NBC network from 1933 to 1949 and on the CBS network from 1942 to 1960.Now you may notice some overlap there, and yes, it’s true. For awhile the show was so popular that from 1942 to 1949 it was carried by both networks. In total, 7,065 episodes were produced.

Ma Perkins was a widow who owned and operated a lumber yard (which she had presumably inherited from her husband in the small town of Rushville Center located somewhere in the south. She was the mother of three children, Evey, Faye, and John. Ma was portrayed through the entire run by Virginia Payne, who was 23 then the show started and never missed a show until it came to a close when she was 50.

However, even regular listeners would not have known the star by name, because even though everyone else would get their name read during the closing credits, the announcer would simply end with “…and Ma Perkins.” As a matter of fact, the only time Payne’s name was mentioned was in the last show when Payne took to the airwaves as herself to make a farewell speech to the audience.

It’s often noted that due to their very nature, daytime soaps tend to drag out their plot-lines often to an excruciating extent. After all, people might not be able to tune in every day, and if viewers miss too much that happens in a particular day or week, they might get so confused they simply tune out. This was especially true for Ma Perkins,where storylines could go on for three or four months without any resolution. At the same time, loyal listeners were rewarded for their tenacity with such over-the-top plots as when Ma exposed a black market baby-smuggling ring or when she gave safe shelter to Soviet political dissidents in her home.

Generally, though, the stories were more low-key, and simply dealt with Ma dealing with the crises that affected her friends and family.

Here’s a selection of episodes:

 

 

Old Time Radio Tuesday – It Pays to Be Ignorant

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.

ignorantI’m thinking that now that we’re all done with the spooky Halloween season we could all use a bit of levity. That’s why this week’s feature show is It Pays to be Ignorant. IPTBI is a sort of parody of all those panel shows such as Quiz Kids and Information Please which allowed their panels to show their erudition. In the case of It Pays…, well, let’s just say that if one of the panelists was asked to use “erudition” in a sentence the answer would probably be something along the lines of “Erudition do that right”. (Spoken as “‘Ere you dishn’ do that right”.)

The show lasted for a total of nine seasons, from 1942 to 1951, though it did change networks three times during that period and had a number of different sponsors.

Hosted by quiz-master Tom Howard, the show featured “a board of experts who are dumber than you are and can prove it” which consisted of Harry McNaughton, Lulu McConnell and George Shelton. Howard and Shelton were both vaudevillians, while McConnell and McNaughton were mostly known for their stints on Broadway in comedy and musical revues.

The basic format of the show was quite simple. It would open with a few jokes, the panelists would be introduced, and then Howard would begin to ask them questions. even though quite often the question would have the correct answer contained within it e.g. “What animal does a blacksmith make horse shoes for?” or “What town in Massachusetts had the Boston Tea Party?”, the panelists would inevitably give an incorrect answer, but would then provide some outrageous rationale for their answer often leading to a minutes-long diversion which often led to insults being hurled at them by the other panelists.

During the last two years of its run, there was also a television version of the show with the same cast. It was also revived on television for a run during the 1973-74 season, that version starred Joe Flynn (Captain Binghamton on McHales Navy) as the quiz-master along with Jo Anne Worley, Billy Baxter and Charles Nelson Reilly as the panelists.

Okay, that’s enough erudition from me. Now let’s all just settle back and get ready to get ignorant.

And here’s a bonus for you – one of the TV episodes:

Old Time Radio Tuesday – Halloween Roundup

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.

It’s that time of year again, time to celebrate some of the Spookier offerings from the golden age of radio. I’ve tried to pick a mortician’s dozen of episodes for this time around that I don’t think I’ve featured before. So relax, close your eyes, and let your imagination take hold…

 

Old Time Radio Tuesday – Three Skeleton Key

tskThe 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.

Usually for OTR Tuesday I post a whole bunch of shows covering a particular genre or a specific series, but I thought today, since we’re well into the spooky season, and especially in light of this week’s release of Robert Eggers’s movie The Lighthouse, it would be a good time to take a look at one of the true classic episodes of the era.

For those unfamiliar with the show Escape, it was broadcast on the CBS radio network from July 7, 1947 to September 25, 1954. Escape was an anthology series, presenting a new story each week, many of them adapted from short stories such as Daphne du Maurier’s “The Birds”, Carl Stephenson’s “Leiningen Versus the Ants”, Algernon Blackwood’s “Confession”, Ray Bradbury’s “Mars Is Heaven”, and Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game”.

On of the most popular episodes of Escape was their adaptation of French author George Toudouze’s short story “Three Skeleton Key”. In the story, three men are trapped inside a lighthouse by a horde of thousands of hungry and angry rats. It was first broadcast on November 15, 1949, and was subsequently rebroadcast (with different casts) a number of times, and it also made the leap to Escape‘s “sister show” Suspense.

The version I’m posting below is from March 17, 1950, and stars Vincent Price in the role of Jean.

Okay, that’s definitely enough words from me. Now just sit back, turn out your lights, and have yourself a little… escape… if you can…

By the way, if you enjoy this episode, be sure to check out my previous posts featuring Escape. You can find them here and here.