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'The Big Show' presented a weekly mixture of comedy, drama and music from such guest stars as Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas, Groucho Marx, Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Judy Garland and Fred Allen - the latter graduating to semi-regular/contributing writer status. In fact, each program found the guests introducing themselves by name; the introductions completed with…

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'The Big Show' presented a weekly mixture of comedy, drama and music from such guest stars as Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas, Groucho Marx, Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Judy Garland and Fred Allen - the latter graduating to semi-regular/contributing writer status. In fact, each program found the guests introducing themselves by name; the introductions completed with…

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'The Big Show' presented a weekly mixture of comedy, drama and music from such guest stars as Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas, Groucho Marx, Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Judy Garland and Fred Allen - the latter graduating to semi-regular/contributing writer status. In fact, each program found the guests introducing themselves by name; the introductions completed with…

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'The Big Show' presented a weekly mixture of comedy, drama and music from such guest stars as Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas, Groucho Marx, Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Judy Garland and Fred Allen - the latter graduating to semi-regular/contributing writer status. In fact, each program found the guests introducing themselves by name; the introductions completed with…

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'The Big Show' presented a weekly mixture of comedy, drama and music from such guest stars as Jimmy Durante, Ethel Merman, Danny Thomas, Groucho Marx, Fanny Brice, Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Rudy Vallee, Judy Garland and Fred Allen - the latter graduating to semi-regular/contributing writer status. In fact, each program found the guests introducing themselves by name; the introductions completed with…

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The series was a star vehicle for Dinah Shore, the Tennessee-born pop vocalist who'd climbed steadily up the ladder since her network debut in the late 1930s. Shore blended a jazz-conscious approach to the pop hits of the day with a breezy, easy-to-take microphone personality that made her a sensation on radio and records -- and her sense for comedy, honed by an early apprenticeship with Eddie Can…

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Like New Orleans Dixieland music? If you do, then you will love these thirty minute programs from the NBC Radio Network, broadcast in 1941.Featured are the bands of Henry Levine and Paul Lavalle, vocals by Diane Courtney, with such hosts as Gino “Long Locks” Hamilton, and Jackamo “Satchel Trousers” McCarthy. The main attractions are the wonderful Dixieland band arrangements of Paul Lavalle and Hen…

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Cloak and Dagger was an NBC radio series, a foreign intrigue adventure adapted from the book Cloak and Dagger: The Secret Story of the O.S.S. by Corey Ford and Alistair McBain. Stories on Cloak and Dagger came right out of Washington files of the Office of Strategic Services. A 1950 newspaper article commented, The stories dramatized each week are true, and yet as fantastic as any fiction writer m…

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Volume 2 of the Dangerous Assignment radio program! A modern day soldier of fortune finds mystery and intrigue in lands strange and romantic on - Dangerous Assignment!” This ad copy for NBC’s globe-hopping adventure series captured the essence of the program perfectly. Steve Mitchell, played by Brian Donlevy in a two-fisted and pulpy style, is the sort of hero America looked for in entertainment i…

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Volume 4 of the Dangerous Assignment radio series! Yeah, danger is my assignment. I get sent to a lot of places I can’t even pronounce. They all spell the same thing, though. Trouble.” In this opening line heard on various episodes, Steve Mitchell, special agent for an unnamed agency protecting America from foreign threats, describes Dangerous Assignment perfectly. Focused on Mitchell’s adventures…

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Volume 5 of the Dangerous Assignment radio program! A modern day soldier of fortune finds mystery and intrigue in lands strange and romantic on - Dangerous Assignment!” This ad copy for NBC’s globe-hopping adventure series captured the essence of the program perfectly. Steve Mitchell, played by Brian Donlevy in a two-fisted and pulpy style, is the sort of hero America looked for in entertainment i…

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From the day it debuted on NBC in 1943, Molle' Mystery Theater intended to bring listeners the best produced mystery programs possible. Until the show moved to CBS in 1948, it succeeded in doing just that. Combining quality adaptations of mysteries by both classic and modern authors with the top radio talent at the time and high end production values, Molle' Mystery Theater produced suspenseful th…

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Volume 1 of Nightbeat Frank Lovejoy stars as hard-nosed Chicago Star newsman Randy Stone, a reporter who looks for the human stories behind the headlines. Lovejoy’s distinctive voice and manner, combined with excellent scripts and performances by radio veterans like Lurene Tuttle, Peter Leeds, and Jeff Corey, give the series an unusual and engrossing style - literally film noir for the mind. One w…

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Volume 2 of Nightbeat Frank Lovejoy stars as hard-nosed Chicago Star newsman Randy Stone, a reporter who looks for the human stories behind the headlines. Lovejoy’s distinctive voice and manner, combined with excellent scripts and performances by radio veterans like Lurene Tuttle, Peter Leeds, and Jeff Corey, give the series an unusual and engrossing style - literally film noir for the mind. One w…

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Volume 3 of Nightbeat Frank Lovejoy stars as hard-nosed Chicago Star newsman Randy Stone, a reporter who looks for the human stories behind the headlines. Lovejoy’s distinctive voice and manner, combined with excellent scripts and performances by radio veterans like Lurene Tuttle, Peter Leeds, and Jeff Corey, give the series an unusual and engrossing style - literally film noir for the mind. One w…

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In the 1940s, there was no shortage of teen misadventures in the movies or on the air. But America’s most enduring teenage character originally came from the comics - and his name is Archie Andrews. Ever since his debut in 1941, Archie and his pal Jughead, as well as his girlfriends Betty, Veronica, and the rest of the gang at Riverdale High, have brought warm and lighthearted entertainment to mil…

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“The Great Gildersleeve” is a favorite of radio fans, with fine writing, engaging characters, and a brilliant blend of comedy and drama that set a high water mark for classic situation comedy. Set in the small town of Summerfield, Willard Waterman is featured as the local Water Commissioner, struggling to successfully raise his niece Marjorie (Marylee Robb) and his precocious nephew Leroy (Walter…

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Although the title of the program was The Great Gildersleeve, as much of the charm of the show came from the supporting cast and townsfolk of Summerfield as it did from Gildy. Of course, Leroy and Marjorie, Gildersleeve’s charges, and Birdie Lee added a particular spark to the comedic family antics of the show, Summerfield itself boasted a few citizens that also made their mark. From Forrest Peave…

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Many of the performers on The Great Gildersleeve would not ring any significant bells with anyone who wasn’t an old time radio fan. A few actors, however, went on to rather promising careers from the program. Gale Gordon, known mostly today for his role on I Love Lucy played Gildy’s wealthy, pompous neighbor, Rumson Bullard. Jim Backus also portrayed Bullard beginning around 1952, possibly as trai…

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Although best remembered as The Great Gildersleeve, Harold Peary was as much a singer by trade as an actor initially. One of his earliest radio roles was on an NBC station in San Francisco. Using both his ability to mimic accents and his singing voice, Peary appeared on air as The Spanish Serenader. Playing off of Peary’s singing ability, The Great Gildersleeve introduced a group that often regale…

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While many radio comedies went for the convenient model of stringing one liners and gags together, and some did this quite successfully, The Great Gildersleeve went in a more difficult direction. The humor in the program not only came from the catchphrases that developed or Gildy’s laughter or tumultuous love life. What makes The Great Gildersleeve still humorous to listeners even today was the fa…

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The Great Gildersleeve, thanks to its writers and actress Lillian Randolph, did something that other shows either shied away from or could not do as successfully. A singer, Randolph was often heard on Al Jolson’s radio show. Her big break in radio – landing the part of Birdie on The Great Gildersleeve – was due to a fortunate in-studio fall. When she heard that auditions were being for the part, s…

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According to an article in 1949, Hal Peary credited noted actor John Barrymore with being responsible for The Great Gildersleeve. Six months after Fibber McGee and Molly moved to California, Peary was back in Chicago, where he met Barrymore while the latter was in a play. When asked by Barrymore why he’d left Hollywood, Peary stated he was so versatile, he couldn’t find enough to occupy him. Barry…

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Writing team Sam Moore and John Whedon left The Great Gildersleeve in 1947. Although a string of writers came behind them, the core of the show, the true heart of the program didn’t shift. Gildersleeve and his family and friends were so fully realized by this point that writers simply had to keep the stories fresh and new in content; the characters were almost alive enough to do that on their own.…

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In its sixteen year run, The Great Gildersleeve not only grew from what was simply a two dimensional character into a fully realized show. It also established a whole host of tropes that would influence situation comedies to come, most notably that of the rather crazy relative coming in a time of need to take care of children that aren’t his. It also refined some aspects of comedy, including blend…

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The Great Gildersleeve had a sixteen-year run on the air. Unlike most comedies, this show changed and shifted in ways that allowed the audience to experience, even grow up with the characters. Listeners tuned in as Leroy and Marjorie grew up, even getting to be a part of Marjorie and Bronco’s marriage and the birth of their children. Gildy himself grew from a two dimensional laugh to a fully reali…

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“The Great Gildersleeve” is a favorite of radio fans, with fine writing, engaging characters, and a brilliant blend of comedy and drama that set a high water mark for classic situation comedy. Set in the small town of Summerfield, Willard Waterman is featured as the local Water Commissioner, struggling to successfully raise his niece Marjorie (Marylee Robb) and his precocious nephew Leroy (Walter…

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Volume 3! The Great Gildersleeve is not only a fantastic comedy, but it’s also a fascinating study in how a character can evolve. Originally, Gildy was created simply as a comic foil on Fibber McGee and Molly. To give him a reason to move, however, writer Leonard Levinson gave Gildy a suddenly deceased brother who had two children in Summerfield. But this sudden transition to being caregiver and f…

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Volume 4! The Great Gildersleeve is not only a fantastic comedy, but it’s also a fascinating study in how a character can evolve. Originally, Gildy was created simply as a comic foil on Fibber McGee and Molly. To give him a reason to move, however, writer Leonard Levinson gave Gildy a suddenly deceased brother who had two children in Summerfield. But this sudden transition to being caregiver and f…

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Volume 5! The Great Gildersleeve is not only a fantastic comedy, but it’s also a fascinating study in how a character can evolve. Originally, Gildy was created simply as a comic foil on Fibber McGee and Molly. To give him a reason to move, however, writer Leonard Levinson gave Gildy a suddenly deceased brother who had two children in Summerfield. But this sudden transition to being caregiver and f…

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Volume 6! The Great Gildersleeve is not only a fantastic comedy, but it’s also a fascinating study in how a character can evolve. Originally, Gildy was created simply as a comic foil on Fibber McGee and Molly. To give him a reason to move, however, writer Leonard Levinson gave Gildy a suddenly deceased brother who had two children in Summerfield. But this sudden transition to being caregiver and f…

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Volume 7! The Great Gildersleeve is not only a fantastic comedy, but it’s also a fascinating study in how a character can evolve. Originally, Gildy was created simply as a comic foil on Fibber McGee and Molly. To give him a reason to move, however, writer Leonard Levinson gave Gildy a suddenly deceased brother who had two children in Summerfield. But this sudden transition to being caregiver and f…

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Volume 8! The Great Gildersleeve is not only a fantastic comedy, but it’s also a fascinating study in how a character can evolve. Originally, Gildy was created simply as a comic foil on Fibber McGee and Molly. To give him a reason to move, however, writer Leonard Levinson gave Gildy a suddenly deceased brother who had two children in Summerfield. But this sudden transition to being caregiver and f…

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Volume 9! The Great Gildersleeve is not only a fantastic comedy, but it’s also a fascinating study in how a character can evolve. Originally, Gildy was created simply as a comic foil on Fibber McGee and Molly. To give him a reason to move, however, writer Leonard Levinson gave Gildy a suddenly deceased brother who had two children in Summerfield. But this sudden transition to being caregiver and f…

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Big-nosed, brash, and boisterous, beloved entertainer Jimmy Durante parlayed a career in vaudeville, nightclubs, and Broadway shows into a radio career highlighted by many successful programs throughout the 1930s and 1940s. After spending the war years paired with crewcutted comic Garry Moore, the Great Schnozzola went solo in 1947 in an hilarious series for Rexall Drugs that also featured Arthur…

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Big-nosed, brash, and boisterous, beloved entertainer Jimmy Durante parlayed his experience in vaudeville, nightclubs, and Broadway shows into a radio career highlighted by many successful programs throughout the 1930s and 1940s. After spending the war years paired with crewcutted comic Garry Moore, the Great Schnozzola went solo in 1947 in an hilarious series for Rexall Drugs that also featured “…

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He butchered the English language. He sang as if he gargled with gravel. He dropped pearls of wisdom disguised as one-liners. And he had a nose that got everywhere ten minutes before he did. All of this and a genuine love for his craft and the people who enjoyed it made Jimmy Durante a star in the Golden Age of Radio and still keeps him in the minds and hearts of fans today. The Jimmy Durante Show…

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In 1947, Nelson Eddy took over the summer series of Kraft Music Hall. Nelson Eddy, a classically trained baritone, is best remembered today for his nineteen films. Nelson Eddy was the highest paid singer in the world in his heyday, earning $10,000 for a single concert. In his last two seasons with Kraft Music Hall, Nelson Eddy was joined by co-host Dorothy Kirsten, an operatic soprano. Rounding ou…

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Volume 1 of The Old Gold Comedy Theatre Screen legend Harold Lloyd hosts “The Old Gold Comedy Theatre,” a 1944/45 NBC anthology series featuring some of the top names in film and radio. Presenting half-hour versions of popular film comedies in much the same way that “The Lux Radio Theater” did with drama, this delightful and star-studded series was long considered a “lost show” until an almost com…

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Volume 2 of The Old Gold Comedy Theatre Screen legend Harold Lloyd hosts “The Old Gold Comedy Theatre,” a 1944/45 NBC anthology series featuring some of the top names in film and radio. Presenting half-hour versions of popular film comedies in much the same way that “The Lux Radio Theater” did with drama, this delightful and star-studded series was long considered a “lost show” until an almost com…

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First appearing in 1896, Frank Merriwell was a hero and role model for the youth of his time. As described by his creator, Gilbert Patton, 'the name was symbolic of the chief characteristics I desired my hero to have: Frank for frankness, merry for a happy disposition, well for health and abounding vitality.' Merriwell was an athlete, a sports star, and a good student, popular with his peers for h…

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First appearing in 1896, Frank Merriwell was a hero and role model for the youth of his time. As described by his creator, Gilbert Patton, 'the name was symbolic of the chief characteristics I desired my hero to have: Frank for frankness, merry for a happy disposition, well for health and abounding vitality.' Merriwell was an athlete, a sports star, and a good student, popular with his peers for h…

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Though radio audiences were dwindling, in 1953, something amazing happened to Jim and Marian Jordan. The team who had made “Fibber McGee and Molly” an institution found themselves reborn in a daily quarter-hour comedy series for NBC Radio. Still based in the town of Wistful Vista, this revamp of the weekly series found the McGee’s encountering a never-ending array of colorful and eccentric charact…

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Tales of the Texas Rangers, a western adventure old-time radio drama, premiered on July 8, 1950, on the U.S. NBC radio network and remained on the air through September 14, 1952. Movie star Joel McCrea starred as Texas Ranger Jayce Pearson, who used the latest scientific techniques to identify the criminals and his faithful horse, Charcoal, to track them down. The shows were reenactments of actual…

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