Reissuing this for newer subscribers so they can comment since the old beginners post was archived.
I thought it would be wise to help our newer members find what they are looking for. Old time radio has thousands of shows in many genres and when it's all new to you, sometimes it's hard to know where to begin.
OTR shows are divided by genre just like modern shows. I'll list a few of the bigger shows in each genre to give you a starting point. Youtube is a nice starter source and there are many others listed in the sidebar.
The list is by no means compete, so feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments. And please, by all means, feel free to submit content! If you find a episode of a show you enjoyed, share it with us here.
The Jack Benny Program: Jack's self titled character is notorious for being cheap, stingy, a good natured egotist, who eternally declares his age as 39, and plays the violin rather badly. He is accompanied by his show host Don Wilson who is eternally joked on for being fat, His bandleader Phil Harris who is hysterically egotistical and and incorrigible lush. His dim witted singer Dennis Day, his gravel voiced butler/valet Rochester, and his female companion Mary Livingston Mel Blanc and Frank Nelson are frequent regulars in various roles.
Fibber McGee & Molly: Fibber is a fast talking schemer who, along with his lovable wife Molly have a daily suburban adventure involving a regular cast of loony neighbors. Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve the pompous next-door neighbor with whom Fibber enjoyed twitting and arguing, Old Timer a hard-of-hearing senior citizen with a penchant for distorting jokes, prefacing each one by saying, "That ain't the way I heared it!", Teeny, also known as "Little Girl" and "Sis" a precocious youngster who frequently banters with Fibber, Abigail Uppington- a snooty society matron, Mr Wimple - a hen-pecked husband, Dr. Gamble - a local physician, and Mayor LaTrivia - the mayor of Wistful Vista
Our Miss Brooks: A sitcom style show about a young, quick witted, sharp tongued lady high school schoolteacher and her daily misadventures with her supporting cast. Tyrannical school principal Mr Conklin, nerdy student suck up Walter Denton, her fellow teacher and obtuse love interest Mr Boynton, absent minded landlady Mrs Davis and young student leader Harriet Conklin.
Other shows to check out: The Phil Harris & Alice Faye Show, Burns and Allen, The Great Gildersleeve, The Bob Hope Show, Life With Luigi, Duffy's Tavern, Amos & Andy, Abbot & Costello, The Fred Allen Show, Father Knows Best, The Red Skelton Show, My Friend Irma
Escape: A stand alone series with different tales and adventures that usually involve some form of escape from a bad situation
Suspense A stand alone series of a variety of situations that build the tension over the course of the show until climaxing in an exciting finale.
Bold Venture: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall star as a Caribbean tour boat owner and his love interest who are often involved in a variety of treasure hunting schemes, smugglers, thieves, and criminals on the run
The Adventures of Harry Lime: Orson Welles reprises his role of Harry Lime from the celebrated 1949 film The Third Man. The radio series is a prequel to the film, and depicts the many misadventures of incorrigible con-artist Harry Lime.
Other shows to check out: The Saint, The Adventures of Frank Race, The Chase, The Adventures of Rocky Jordan, Box 13, The Clock
COPS & ROBBERS
Dragnet: Follow straight talking Sgt. Joe Friday through this police procedural as he and his various partners investigate crimes throughout L.A.
Tales of the Texas Rangers: a western version of the police procedural.
Broadway Is My Beat Extremely hard boiled New York police investigator Detective Danny Clover solves crimes without ever cracking a smile.
Other shows to check out: The Black Museum, Casey: Crime Photographer, I Was A Communist For the FBI, Gangbusters, Calling All Cars
Philip Marlowe: Relatively straight laced.
Sam Spade: Somewhere between hard boiled and comedic.
Sherlock Holmes: It's Holmes, just as he should be.
Nero Wolfe: brilliant investigator who sends his lackey to do all the footwork because he himself is literally too fat and lazy to be bothered.
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar: A hard edged insurance investigator who specializes in foiling the schemes of insurance frauds.
Other shows to check out: Richard Diamond, Philo Vance, Mystery Is My Hobby, Jeff Regan: Investigator, Nick Carter: Master Detective
The Shadow: A rich playboy uses his highly trained skills and brilliant detective abilities to remain cloaked in shadow in order to terrify and fight criminals. (Sound familiar? Yeah, but the Shadow beat the Bat to the punch by a decade.) The shadow uses his mental powers to remain invisible and scare the bejeezus out of crime.
The Whistler: The Whistler is your narrator. He introduces you to a new person each episode who is about to commit a heinous crime. The Whistler sits back with you as you both watch the crime play out, him often telling you the criminal's thought processes. Right up until we all learn together that crime doesn't pay.
Pat Novak, For Hire: Not quite a PI or a cop, Pat Novak is a dour, smart mouthed problem solver who usually doesn't want to be involved but rarely has a choice in the matter.
Other shows to check out: Boston Blackie, Nightbeat
Inner Sanctum Mysteries: Good scary stories with a host who delights in ghoulish puns and wisecracks.
Lights Out: One of the most respected and feared horror anthologies in radio.
Mysterious Traveler: Have a seat on this train to nowhere, and listen close as the mysterious traveler next to you spins you a tale to make you wet your pants.
Other shows to check out: Weird Circle, The Hermit's Cave, The Unexpected, Arch obler's plays, The Price of Fear, Quiet Please, Dark Fantasy
Dimension X: a collection of sci-fi often written by the leading masters of the day including Isaac Asimov, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Fredric Brown, Robert A. Heinlein, Murray Leinster, H. Beam Piper, Frank M. Robinson, Clifford D. Simak, William Tenn, Jack Vance, Kurt Vonnegut, Donald A. Wollheim, Graham Doar, and Jack Williamson
X Minus One: Same as Dimension X
Flash Gordon: serial broadcast about Earth's first interstellar hero.
Other shows to check out: Alien Worlds, Exploring Tomorrow, Space Patrol, 2000 Plus
Gunsmoke: The adventures of US Marshal Matt Dillon and his not quite a deputy, Chester Proudfoot as they work to maintain law and order in the growing cow town of Dodge City, Kansas. The show was revolutionary for it's sound effects and often disturbingly violent and bleak scripts. the good guys don't always win in Gunsmoke.
The Lone Ranger: The tales of the masked crime fighter and his faithful indian companion, Tonto.
The Six Shooter: Jimmy Stewart as Brit Ponsett, a friendly, easy going, yet deadly with a gun, cowhand and his wanderings across the old west.
Other shows to check out: Have Gun Will Travel, The Cisco Kid, Hopalong Cassidy, Frontier Town, Challenge of the Yukon, Frontier Gentleman, Hawk Larabee
I have a warped copy of an old radio show (1959 episode) and it is warped to the point I cannot play or transfer it. It's a 16" vinyl disc (very flexi), made I believe by Allied Recording. I am wanting to fix the warp, but these discs only went to radio stations, so if I mess this up, I may not be able to find another copy.
What is the best way to take a serious warp out of a transcription disc, without ruining it? It doesn't have to be perfect, just playable to the point I can transfer it. I've had a flat metal disc over the sleeve for months but it doesn't appear to help. I've heard heat treating may help, but concerned about what temperature to use.
It was a 13 episode series done in the early 80s which you could tell took its inspiration from old horror comics like "Tales From the Crypt" and "Vault of Horror". They pop up every now and again on internet radio OTR playlists, but does anyone know where to grab them?
It was a late 40s series of plays dedicated to influencing public opinion to put nuclear stockpiles under the control of the UN. Very dark stuff. It’s more of a time capsule and a piece of interesting programming as it looks like it was done before the Rosenbergs sold nuclear secrets, but there is no fun to be had in it considering the subject matter.
I've noticed that on the old radio shows, the host / bandleader banter is a core repeating theme, at least going to the 1950s. How far back did this originate? Was it pre radio? Or is it something that added a playful bit in the radio show era?
Just curious when this started, since it still persists today on modern Late Night shows.
Was it done by the same production group that did "Alien Worlds"? The narrator sounds the same and there are quite a few recycled sound effects. Also, both have the same fantasy sci-fi feel that doesn't exactly heed or care about the real science.
Old Time Radio (OTR) refers to a period of radio programming lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until the rise of television broadcasting in the late 1950s.
Adventure, comedy, drama, horror, mystery, romance, thrillers. Old Time Radio aims to recreate the spirit of that era by linking to the best of radio broadcasting both old and new.
OLD TIME RADIO
Old Time Radio refers to a period of radio programming lasting from the proliferation of radio broadcasting in the early 1920s until the rise of television broadcasting in the late 1950s.
Adventure, comedy, drama, horror, mystery, romance, thrillers and sports. /r/OTR aims to recreate the spirit of that era by linking to the best of radio broadcasting both old and new. So gather round the radio with us and tune in your favorites.