Many stars and shows made the transition to television, proving just as popular on the tube as they had been on the radio, but others - for a variety of reasons - didn't make the switch. The comedy team behind one extremely popular show, in fact, made the decision NOT to go to television - and, by 1953, they assumed they were on the verge of a well-earned retirement.
Jim and Marion Jordan had been the stars of Fibber McGee and Molly for nearly twenty years. The series had been a ratings grabber almost from the start, entertaining millions of listeners from that familiar address at 79 Wistful Vista. At the urging of Johnson's Wax, their long-time sponsor, they had actually filmed a TV pilot, but both were dissatisfied with the results. Fact was, after twenty years in radio - and a decade or so of vaudeville before that - the Jordan's, weren't particularly interested in putting on make-up, memorizing lines, and sweating under hot lights in a TV studio.
Their network, however, had other ideas - and so, in the fall of 1953, The Fibber McGee and Molly Show was reborn as a fifteen-minute daily series on NBC Radio. Starring Jim and Marion, along with co-stars Bill Thompson, Arthur Q. Bryan, and a host of talented radio veterans, the prerecorded show began airing twice a day five times a week - once in the early afternoon and once in the early evening. The result was three more seasons of hilarious entertainment, heard by a surprisingly large listening audience that enjoyed the antics of Fibber and Molly thru the spring of 1956.
Despite being prerecorded, once episodes of this new series were aired, the shows went into a vault at NBC Hollywood seemingly never to be heard again. Luckily, a few years ago, RadioArchives.com unearthed almost the entire run of the series - almost 480 episodes - on the original NBC transcription discs, the same recordings used to air the shows originally in the 1950s.
The thirty-one shows in Fibber McGee and Molly: The Lost Episodes, Volume 15 haven't been heard since they originally aired over sixty years ago - and they're just as delightful and entertaining now as they were way back then. If you've been collecting these long-lost shows in the earlier sets released by RadioArchives.com, you'll want to get this latest collection to enjoy with your whole family.
"The Cinnamon Bear" is, arguably, the best holiday series ever developed for radio. Containing all of the elements of a classic children's fantasy, combined with radio's unique ability to create vivid mental images in the minds of its listeners, it continues to delight both young and old. And now, for the first time, you can hear and enjoy "The Complete Cinnamon Bear" -- including all twenty-six original and unedited shows, the original 1937 promotional recording, and all of the songs from the series as transferred from an original set of 78 RPM recordings. Each of the programs has been digitally transferred directly from a set of original 16" broadcast transcriptions and painstakingly restored for outstanding audio fidelity - truly the best-sounding version of the series that has ever been released. It's yet another triumph for Paddy and his band of travelers as, after well over seventy years, they once again carry on their magical search for the silver star.
Philip Marlowe's first regular weekly series, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, premiered over NBC Radio June 17, 1947 as a summer replacement for The Bob Hope Show, and starred actor Van Heflin as Chandler's famous creation. The author wasn't particularly thrilled with either Heflin or the series, remarking to his contemporary, Erle Stanley Gardner (creator of Perry Mason), "It was thoroughly flat." The Marlowe character would then return to the airwaves on September 26, 1948 in a series for CBS with radio veteran Gerald Mohr as the titular sleuth.
Mohr was an accomplished performer whose impressive acting range in radio covered both drama and comedy, and he clearly made the role of Marlowe his own; a brash, forceful tough-guy who could let fly with the occasional wisecrack. Although the series was not considered a prestige show, it was fortunate to have experienced professionals at the helm - such as producer-director Norman MacDonnell and music director Richard Aurandt. The scripts were tough, gritty and focused on hard-hitting "blood-and-thunder" action, with scribes like Gene Leavitt, Robert Mitchell, Mel Dinelli and Kathleen Hite contributing much of the program's dramatic content. The supporting players for Marlowe were also first-rate, showcasing many of the distinguished actors and actresses from Hollywood's Radio Row, including Lawrence Dobkin, Jeff Corey, Betty Lou Gerson, Lillian Buyeff, Junius Matthews and Harry Bartell, to name but a few. Roy Rowan capably handled the show's announcing chores. Fortunately for radio fans, many episodes of the series have survived today — including the twenty broadcasts in this second collection of restored and remastered programs from Radio Archives.
Old-time radio enthusiasts are in near unanimous agreement that, during its heyday, "The Lux Radio Theatre" (1934-55) was radio’s most important dramatic hour. The series commanded the crème de la crème of Hollywood’s silver screen stars, the biggest budgets, the best writing, directing and sound effects, and no less than Hollywood’s foremost film director, Cecil B. DeMille, as the program’s master of ceremonies.
"The Lux Radio Theatre" premiered on the Blue Network October 14, 1934 with a production of "Seventh Heaven" starring Miriam Hopkins, but switched to CBS Radio on July 29, 1935 for what would become a nearly twenty-year run on Monday nights at 9:00 PM. (It would switch to NBC - and a Tuesday night berth - in its final season beginning in the fall of 1954.) The show was originally designed to be an anthology of the Broadway stage, but the ratings and critical acclaim remained rather tepid because of the competition required to lure big-name stars visiting the East Coast to appear on the program. Many celebrities preferred to visit the Rudy Vallee or Al Jolson variety hours, where they would have a considerably lighter workload of singing or yukking it up with the host.
As "The Lux Radio Theatre" neared the end of its lengthy radio run, some anonymous bean-counter guesstimated that, over the course of the series, Lux had gone through 52,000 pages of scripts, 496 stars (Fred MacMurray and Loretta Young made the most appearances, with 26 and 25, respectively), 1,467 supporting players, 18,667 music cues and 22,667 special effects. Naturally, for the ten programs included in this collection, this is just the tip of the iceberg. But the listener of today certainly won’t be disappointed with the fine audio quality and first-class star lineup brought to you in this newly restored and remastered showcase by Radio Archives.
This is the novel that introduced the Depression-era character of Tito Caliepi, the hunchbacked street-corner violinist disguise that over the next year or so of the series metamorphosed into the twisted, fearsome figure of the Spider who terrorized the underworld for ten unrelenting years.
So if you’ve never listened to a Spider audiobook––even if you have––and you’re looking to jump aboard, we highly recommend Citadel of Hell, one of the great fast-moving Spider novels of 1934.
For this special occasion, we told voice actor Nick Santa Maria to crank it up and give it his all. And he sure does! This exciting audiobook also includes two short stories, “Killer’s Knout” by Anson Hatch and G. T. Fleming Roberts’ “The Standing Corpse.”
This is the fourth issue in the Dusty Ayres series. One minute those Yank ships were zooming up toward that crimson plane. The next, they were tumbling earthward, shattered wrecks — their pilots dead! What was the strange green ray that had destroyed them? Death stalks America as Dusty Ayres sets out to hunt the most gigantic weapon of doom ever launched against the world! Captain Dusty Ayres, ace pilot for the U.S. Air Defense flies in the Silver Flash, an advanced craft of his own design. With his two pals Curly Brooks and Biff Bolton, they battle some of the most diabolical mad scientists and their weirdest inventions. These exciting stories took over the Battle Birds magazine from June 1934 through the July/August issue of 1935, changing the magazine name to Dusty Ayres and his Battle Birds. And now Dusty Ayres and his Battle Birds is back, reissued for today’s readers in electronic format. $2.99.
Jimmy Christopher is on the side of good - and we're lucky to have him! Averting disaster is his stock in trade, and he accomplishes the impossible on a daily basis. The keen incisive mind of a detective par excellence, the nimble fingers of a master of sleight of hand, and the deadly skills of a world-class fencer are brought to bear on those who would do America harm. In this thrilling tale, learn of the sinister plot of The Darkness, as a terrorist legion threatens to choke out America's hope and confidence. Gasp in astonishment as Manhattan shuts down completely! Grip the edge of your seat as you hear the President's speech interrupted by a fear-monger's announcement of terror! Learn in grim silence of the horrors which await us all on the Thirteenth Darkness! A fast-paced, well-written tale of action and adventure awaits you as you glimpse the future as seen through the lens of the past. Be there for each exciting chapter of Operator #5 -- The Masked Invasion!