There’s nothing like stepping back in time and listening to old-time radio shows. For some people, it’s a trip down memory lane. For many others, it’s a whole new world since they’ve never had an opportunity to experience the programs before.
People forget there was a time before television, cable and internet. Families would gather around their radios and anxiously await their favorite programs.
Radio shows included comedy, romance, games shows, music, and many other formats.
Music shows such as the Grand Ole Opry became national past-times. The program debuted in 1939 and quickly became the most popular show of it’s time. It included not only country music singers and groups, but also comedians such as the beloved Minnie Pearl.
Gospel music radio shows were also popular featuring such groups as the Blackwood Brothers Quartet. Nothing shows the impact of the radio on gospel music any more than Albert Brumley’s song “Turn Your Radio On”.
Many westerns started out as radio shows. William Conrad played sheriff Matt Dillon in Gunsmoke from 1951 to 1962. Roy Rogers and The Lone Ranger were also popular radio westerns.
An act that surprisingly was a huge hit on the radio was ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his side-kick Charlie McCarthy. They were given their own show in 1937 and it ran until 1956. Audiences loved their banter so much, they sometimes forgot it wasn’t actually two people.
Another favorite radio show genre was the mystery show. These included Ellery Queen, Charlie Chan, The Thin Man, and I Love a Mystery. A favorite of the genre was Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce playing Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. They had already played the roles on film but recreated them for radio in the 1940s. Of the 218 episodes they recorded only about 50 remain.
Jeff Regan, played by Jack Webb, was another popular radio detective. Webb had previously played radio detectives Pat Novak and Johnny Modero. He later played Sergeant Joe Friday on the Dragnet radio and television series.
And who well ever forget the voice of actor Frank Readick asking, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows”.
For years these shows had faded into obscurity. It was nearly impossible to find a way to conveniently access copies. But thanks to the internet, it’s now possible to listen to these radio shows once again. Whether you prefer the comedy of Jack Benny, classical music, or roaming the streets of Dodge City – it’s all available in old-time radio shows.
Visit Mysteryshows.com for thousands of free Old Time Radio shows
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