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Old-Time Radio's 60 All-Time Favorites

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Old-Time Radio's 60 All-Time Favorites

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Old-Time Radio's 60 All-Time Favorites
From Radio Spirits
ISBN: 1-57019-358-4
20 audio cassettes - 30 hours of play time

Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - October 31, 2001

This collection of old-time radio shows from Radio Spirits is aptly named Old-Time Radio's 60 All-Time Favorites. This collection contains 60 shows, which represents some of the best that radio theater had to offer. The shows selected for inclusion in this collection cover just about every genre, including suspense, mysteries, detective stories, comedies, westerns, science fiction, drama, and variety shows.

The shows in this collection aired between 1937 and 1959. The individual episodes selected to highlight each show serve to exemplify the style and basic plot structure of each show. For example in the episode Fibber Bakes Molly a Birthday Cake, you are introduced not only to the main characters of the Fibber McGee & Molly show, but you also get a distinct feel for what 'type' of show it was. Be forewarned, one episode of any of these shows will only wet your appetite. You must be prepared to search out more episodes so that you can enjoy more of these great shows.

The number of the shows contained in this collection makes it cumbersome to list them all, but to give you a sampling, here is a short list of some of the shows: The Abbot & Costello Program, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Adventures of Sam Spade, The Cisco Kid, Dragnet, Dimension X, The Fred Allen Show, Frontier Gentleman, The Green Hornet, The Jack Benny Program, The Life of Riley, The Lone Ranger, My Friend Irma, Our Miss Brooks, The Red Skelton Show, Richard Diamond: Private Detective, The Screen Director's Playhouse, The Screen Guild Players, The Shadow, Suspense, X-Minus One, and Your Hit Parade, to name but a few of these outstanding shows.

Some of the episodes selected were especially significant. For example, the episode included from The Bob Hope Show is actually the last radio show that Bob Hope did. On the other end of the scale, the episode selected to represent the science fiction show Dimension X was The Outer Limit, which happens to be the first show aired in the series. All this information, and much more, is contained in a 64-page booklet included with the collection. This booklet was written by Anthony Tollin. It contains general and historical information about the shows themselves, as well as information about the specific episode from each show included in this anthology. The booklet includes information about the run of a particular show, background information about the show, and who its principal actors were. Also included is information on the individual episodes, including its air date, who starred in it, who wrote and directed the episode, who handled the music, and who the episode's announcer was. This booklet also contains an assortment of fascinating photos of many of the stars featured in this collection.

In addition to being spellbound by the sheer wonder of the shows, including the writing and the acting, you may be amused by listening to some of your favorite actors, and to discover others who may not have been famous when they first performed in these shows, but who have since become household names. Stars that you will encounter while listening to these shows include the likes of Joseph Cotten, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Becall, Ed Begley (from way before their was an Ed Begley Jr.), Mel Blanc, Orson Welles, Lesley Woods, George Burns, Jack Webb, Les Damon, Carmen Miranda, Jeanette Nolan, Harry Bartell, Eddie Anderson, Hans Conried, Eve Arden, Raymond Burr, Dick Powell, Agnes Moorhead, and James (Jimmy) Stewart. This list is by no means complete. And don't forget, many of these shows had musical components that enabled you to enjoy the sounds of such perennial favorites as Frank Sinatra.

If you are new to the realm of old-time radio, this collection will introduce you to some of the best old-time radio shows. Simultaneously, this collection also serves to illustrate the wide breadth of genres and styles that once graced the airways. If you grew up listening to these wonderful shows, this collection will help transport you back to the days of yore, there to discover old favorites, and maybe even some shows you missed. Either way, I highly recommend this collection. There is a little something for everyone here, including children. All these shows are suitable for family listening, and you'd be amazed at how children raised on MTV and cartoons will quiet down, their ears glued to the tape player, when they become entrapped by the spell woven by the thrilling adventures, wondrous tales, and good-humored hijinks found only in these old-time radio shows!

This collection comes housed in a sturdy collector's case that contains a complete listing of all the shows, and episodes, to be found in this marvelous collection of Old-Time Radio's 60 All-Time Favorites. And perhaps, most importantly, the sound quality of these tapes is excellent.

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