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Old-time radio

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Old-Time Radio or The Golden Age of Radio is a term used to refer to radio programs that were broadcast during the 1920s through the late 1950s (with some outlying programs produced earlier and later) in the United States, as well as the United Kingdom and Canada and some other countries.

During these time periods, before the widespread adoption of television, radios became available across the United States. Initially, radio was regarded as a "low" medium and not much cared-for by American corporations. With the rise of the movie industry, America's appetite for mass entertainment grew, and soon the breeding ground of Vaudeville was serving radio as well as movies.

Early radio shows reflected Vaudeville origins and usually featured variety shows, with music, slapstick or ethnic humor, and often suggestive situations. As the medium matured, sophistication increased, and by the mid-1930s radio featured all the trademarks of other forms of American entertainment: comedy, drama, horror, mystery, romance, music, and so on.

Among the best-known of the early radio performers were comedians: Jack Benny, Burns and Allen, Amos and Andy, Abbott and Costello, and Fibber McGee and Molly. The Lux Radio Theater[?] included adaptations of Hollywood movies, performed before a live audience, often with the same stars that appeared in the original movies. Later shows included highly succcessful suspense series such as the aptly-named Suspense, Escape![?], Mysterious Traveler[?], Inner Sanctum[?] and many others.

Old-time radio survives largely because the Armed Forces Radio Service often requested disk transcriptions to be sent to "our forces overseas," and transcription disks were also distributed to many stations that broadcast in different time zones. Many of these disks ultimately ended up in the hands of collectors who carefully saved these disks. Today, these recordings are collected on tape and via MP3 files on computers.

Old-time radio is famously remembered by most Americans of the right age for at least a few trademark sounds, phrases and events: the famous broadcast of War of the Worlds by Orson Welles, which supposedly caused a panic in New York City; the "creaking door" which opened each episode of Inner Sanctum; Jack Benny's famous call for "Rochester" (and the famous answers of Eddie Anderson, as much a star of the program as Benny himself); the clipped speech of Jack Webb on Dragnet; the call of the Lone Ranger: "Hi-Yo, Silver!"; the cackle of The Shadow: "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows..."

An especially useful external link for finding more resources relating to old-time radio is http://www.old-time.com (http://www.old-time.com).

Main Old-Time Radio Shows by Category
Comedy & Variety Drama & Suspense
The Jack Benny Show Nightbeat
The Fred Allen Show Suspense
Fibber McGee and Molly The Whistler
Lum and Abner Quiet Please
Amos and Andy
Col. Stoopnagle & Bud
Burns and Allen Escape!
The Phil Harris Show Inner Sanctum
The Great Gildersleeve Lights Out
The Bob Hope Show The Mysterious Traveler
You Bet Your Life The Shadow
Bob & Ray CBS Radio Mystery Theater
Duffy's Tavern Detective/Police
The Life of Riley Dragnet
Our Miss Brooks The Adventures of Philip Marlow
Adventure Broadway Is My Beat
The Lone Ranger Box 13
Challenge of the Yukon Western
Tarzan of the Apes Gunsmoke
Superman Have Gun, Will Travel
I Love a Mystery All Star Western Theater
Science Fiction Tales of the Texas Rangers
X-Minus One The Six Shooter
Dimension X Frontier Gentleman

See also: Radio programming, Radio



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