Tag Archives: old time radio

Night Beat: A World All of His Own

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“Night Beat,” like “The Six Shooter,” is an Old Time Radio series that I had never really heard much about. Everyone knows about the Lone Ranger, Jack Benny, the Shadow, etc, but there are gems out there that are not as well known that we stumble upon accidently. In this case, I decided to seek out the series when I saw that Radio Archives released a book based on the show and written by several New Pulp authors. I’m glad I did, as the series has proved to be excellent. Frank Lovejoy, who had played radio super hero the Blue Beetle previously, stars as Randy Stone, a night reporter for the Chicago Star. The show originally ran on NBC from February 6 – November 10, 1950. It was brought back for a special broadcast in March 1951, and then returned from May 18, 1951 until September 25, 1952.

In this episode, William Conrad guest stars as a punch-druck former boxing champion. Besides being Matt Dillon on radio’s “Gunsmoke” (and the narrator for “Rocky & Bullwinkle”), Conrad guest-starred in many Old Time Radio series, and often multiple times in multiple roles. I’ve heard him in many shows over the years, but this performance is quite a standout. This episode has been called “heart-wrenching,” and I cannot argue that statement. I hope you enjoy it.

NIGHT BEAT
“A World All of His Own”
February 20, 1950
Cast: Frank Lovejoy, William Conrad, Lurene Tuttle, Larry Dobkin, Bill Lally, Leo Cleary
Writer: Russell Hughes
Director: Warren Lewis

Download & listen:

More “Night Beat” can be found here:
http://archive.org/details/NightBeat

Lone Ranger: The Return of Cavendish

Today, my favorite episode of my favorite series – The Lone Ranger.  The Lone Ranger is my favorite character, which is part of why it is my favorite series.  A large part of why the character is my favorite, aside from his heroic nature, has to do with my family.  As a kid, my dad and my grandfathers enjoyed westerns and sports, all of which I found boring.  I loved super heroes and cartoons.  The Lone Ranger was a show (the Clayton Moore TV series, of course) that I could watch with any of them.  I have fond memories of watching that show, and it didn’t matter if I was at home or at one of their houses.  If the Lone Ranger was on, we could watch it.  That’s a big part of why I love the character.

In the last couple years, as I’ve listened to more and more of the radio shows,  Brace Beemer has really become “my” Lone Ranger. His commanding voice is what makes everyone he encounters listen to him. Clayton Moore was great on TV, but Beemer was the man, in my opinion.

The Lone Ranger debuted in late January 1933 on WXYZ out of Detroit. Of the 3,377 original episodes produced, only 2,606 were ever recorded. Of those, only around 1,850 episodes are believed to still survive. Beemer took over the role in April of 1941 after Earle Graser, who had been the Ranger since April of 1933, died in a car accident. Beemer continued in the role until the series went off the air in May 1956.

The Lone Ranger gets a bad rap these days due to “the mistreatment of Native Americans.” Anyone who has listened to or watched more than a couple shows can tell you that is not the case. Tonto is the Ranger’s partner, not his slave. Most of the time if Indians are accused of wrong doing, there are evil white men behind it and the Lone Ranger helps prove the Indians innocence. That has nothing to do with this episode, but I thought it worth mentioning.

This episode, “The Return of Cavendish,” celebrates the 20th anniversary of the show. The show recounts the Ranger’s origin and features the dramatic final confrontation between our hero and his greatest enemy. It gives me chills each time i listen. I hope you enjoy it.

THE LONE RANGER
“The Return of Cavendish”
January 30, 1953
Cast: Brace Beemer, John Todd, Fred Foy
Writer: Fran Striker
Director: Charles D. Livingston

Download & listen to this episode:

More Lone Ranger episodes:
http://archive.org/details/The_Lone_Ranger_Page_03

Abbott & Costello: Costello is Invited to Join the Yankees

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“HEY ABBOTT!” Bud Abbott and Lou Costello make up one of the greatest comedy teams of all-time. My aunt had a record set of various routines that I used to listen to when I was a kid, long before I had seen their movies or TV show, and even longer before I was aware of their radio show. I realize now that most of those routines came from the radio show (possibly earlier). This episode features the grand-daddy of Abbott & Costello routines, “Who’s on First?”

This routine had, of course, been used several times on radio and on film prior to this specific episode. There were effectively no reruns in those days, though, so if you had a popular bit that people enjoyed you simply worked it into another show. An injury to Joe DiMaggio gave Abbott & Costello a platform to reuse the skit under the pretense that Lou would take Joe’s place on the Yankees.

The duo worked on radio in some for or another from 1938 until they moved to TV in 1951. Many of their routines still hold up today. I hope you enjoy.

ABBOTT & COSTELLO
“Costello is Invited to Join the Yankees”
April 17, 1947
Cast: Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Marilyn Maxwell, Skinnay Ennis, Michael Roy

Download & listen:

More Abbott & Costello here:
http://archive.org/details/Abbott_And_Costello_otr

Six Shooter: Trail to Sunset

Today I want to share one of my favorite episodes of “The Six Shooter,” Jimmy Stewart’s western series. First, some background on the show:

Beginning September 20, 1953, “The Six Shooter” starred Jimmy Stewart as roaming cowboy Britt Ponsett. It ran on NBC for 39 episodes. Stewart had previously played the character in a popular episode of “Hollywood Star Playhouse.” Frank Burt, series creator, wrote the scripts, Basil Adlam provided the music, and Jack Johnstone directed. It was an intelligent western, rather than action-packed shoot-’em-up.

“Trail to Sunset” is a favorite of mine because it is quite different from anything else I have heard. Lynch mobs are, of course, a common plot device in westerns. The Lone Ranger and Marshall Dillon stopped them frequently. I’ve never heard a lynch mob story from this angle before – what if the lynch mob was successful, but had the wrong man? It’s a very subtle episode, primarily conversation, but I find it to be a very powerful episode as well, raising questions of moral and ethical nature. If you listen, I hope you find it as good an episode as I do.

THE SIX SHOOTER
“Trail to Sunset”
January 31, 1954
Cast: James Stewart, Robert Griffin, Harry Bartell, Lamont Johnson, Howard McNear, Forrest Lewis
Writer: Frank Burt
Director: Jack Johnstone

Download and listen to this episode:

The rest of the series can be found here:
http://archive.org/details/OTRR_The_Six_Shooter_Singles