Old Time Radio Clippings

I did a search on Google and found some pretty fascinating Old Time Radio news articles on Google News reader.

Kit MacFarlane has a fascinating piece on the Pete Kelly’s Blues Old Time Radio show. You rarely get this much detail on a show, so enjoy. We’ll probably end up doing “Kelly” in a few years.

The Washington Examiner notes that 79 years ago Monday, Sherlock began its radio run.

Chuck Miller blogs about the CBS Radio Mystery Theater with some interesting thoughts on Copyright status, alleging the shows are not in the public domain. I don’t know if he’s totally correct. You can debate whether the shows made before January 1, 1978 are in the public domain, but those made after January 1, 1978 aren’t. However, CBS has shown little interest in enforcing its copyright and if CBS doesn’t care, no one else will either. Even if Mystery Theater were considered “in the public domain,” it wouldn’t matter much for this show as we don’t really do Anthology shows here.

A couple stage productions of Old Time Radio were in the news. “Meet me in St. Louis” was premiered by “Fake Radio Los Angeles” to a generally favorable review in the Times. Los Angeles Theater Works visited Asheville, North Carolina and performed two old time radio plays including the panic-inducing War of the Worlds. The performance featured John DeLancie (and yes, Trekkies, he is “Q” from Star Trek: The Next Generation.)

The Journal-Times reports on a new radio drama effort. I was amused that they referred to the effort as “the brand new old-time radio version” of the Hanna Barbara cartoons, as I don’t think they realized what a paradox their adjective was. 🙂 Still, any brand new radio dramas are welcomed and I have to imagine that Hanna Barbara’s copyright holders are cooperating, so if you live in the Kenosha, Wisconsin area, you’re in for a treat.

Old Time Radio For The World

My old time radio podcasts get listeners not only throughout the United States, but around the world. I see countries such as Canada, Australia, the UK, and South Africa in the stats report, countries whose citizens know what great radio drama sounds like. 

Of course, there are other countries where English isn’t even spoken and these shows are download. One of the biggest downloading countries is China. Both my Superman and Dragnet podcasts are big in China. I’ve often attributed to this to China opening up and curiosity about the West and its culture.In addition, some downloads may come from Hong Kong, which has a very large bilingual population, having spent several decades under British Rule.

Today, my imagination kicked in and came up with another reason to download Old Time Radio from non-English speaking countries-as a way to help learn conversational English. English, is the International language of commerce and is learned by many in China. However, with local dialects predominating in many regions of the country, it must be a challenge for some people to maintain  their knowledge learned in school. I know my one semester of Russian has pretty much gone down the memory hole. If a language is not part of your life, it’s quickly forgotten.

Jack Webb’s policemen are consumate professionals. They provide excellent examples of smooth, crisp, conversation. Thus listening to Dragnet is a great way to stay immersed in the language.

However, one thing began to worry me on the new show.  Pat Novak. I imagined a man travelling from China to the U.S. for a trip and talking to modern Americans in the parlance of the most hard boiled detective of the 1940s.  As fair warning, foreign guests: we don’t talk like that anymore. In fact, I don’t think we ever did.

Whether listeners from other nations are wanting to brush up on their English, learn about American culture, or just enjoy a great drama, thank you for listening. I never cease to be amazed that podcasts uploaded in Boise, Idaho are listened to the world over.

Somebody’s Got an Anniversary Coming Up

September 2010 will be special. It’s the anniversary of a beloved detective.  In September of 1910, G.K. Chesterton wrote a short story that appeared in the Story Teller. The story featured an unassuming priest who had a knack for solving crimes. And so was born, Father Brown.

Father Brown made more than 50 appearances in short stories, which were complied into five seperate books. Father Brown has been in movies, and with a greater staying power than his contempories. 

For a detective franchise to turn 100 is an extraordinary thing. The only other detective I know of who has been around longer has been Brown’s fictional countryman Sherlock Holmes.

You can rest assured that next year, we will celebrate the first appearance of Father Brown. Ideally, it’d be in September, but there are two episodes of the Old Time Radio Adventures of Father Brown that starred Karl Swenson and we will work these episodes in to our programming sometime next year.

Father Brown was the first of many clerical detectives. This site has a ponderous list of clergy detectives, most of which would get into some interesting theological discussions with the good padre. However, they all owe their very existence to the first clergyman of detective fiction.

Watching this video clip of Father Brown, his influence as the unassuming albeit brilliant detective is clear. Lieutenant Columbo owes quite a bit to Father Brown.

EP0000:Screen Guild Theater: Call Northside 777

Jimmy Stewart plays a cynical reporter turned crusader who seeks to clear a man wrongly convicted of murdering a police officer. This episode was based on the 1949 Edgar Award Winning Movie of the same name.

Original Air Date: October 7, 1948

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The movie can be purchased here.

Pat Novak for Hire-Fan Video

There’s quite a bit to commend this performance. It’s not exactly Webb, but the guy’s got the right style. I was just surprised to find it out there.  Nicely done.