I’ve added a new link to the sidebar, for the RadioGoldIndex.
The Radio Gold Index is an incredibly helpful radio research tool. It provides information on an exhaustive collection of golden age radio. The two most helpful functions in the site are the ability to search by program and to search by artist. With either search, you pull up a list of shows that usually include a synopsis of the plot and the known cast of the show. Thus, for most of old radio shows, the Radio Gold Index is the closest thing to episode guide, they’ve got.
The story of the proprietor, Mr. J. David Goldin, his involvement in radio preservation, and how he accumulated his extensive collection is also a fascinating story in itself. One of my favorite parts of the story is where Goldin finds himself a victim of some journalistic mythmaking:
A former reporter for the Boston Globe did a story about me once in a trade publication. Describing me as “a young man (who) worked weekends at an important New York radio station,” he quoted me as saying that I “showed up at the rear of the radio station…loaded (transcriptions of) old shows into the back of a truck” and made a small fortune by “pilfering” those great old shows. Before calling my lawyers, I tracked the writer to his retirement home in Florida and gave him a call. We had a pleasant chat and he later admitted (in writing) that his “facts” were based on an interview he did with me “20 or 25 years ago” and that “I was relying on my memory (of that interview). There may have been some minor errors.”
Minor errors would be an understatement. Goldin describes the actual way he accumulated his collection and the truth makes for less journalistic fodder, but is still a fascinating read that I enjoyed for the pure value of understanding where these shows come. You can read the rest of the story here.
Of course, Goldin’s database isn’t perfect and he concedes as much on the front page. There are a few errors to be found such as Goldin listing a Sam Spade Episode from 1949 as guest starring Jack Webb when Webb’s show Johnny Madero was mentioned but Webb himself never made an appearance. The problem is that The Radio Gold Index is so respected that its errors are copied by other sites.
However, even with the occasional hiccup, it is still a fascinating, mostly accurate tool that gives you a window into the history of the golden ages greatest shows.