On the Air is a massive (over 800 pages) encyclopedia of Old Time Radio. John Dunning discusses every show you've ever heard of, and a few you haven't. I was lucky to get this book at a huge discount, thanks to having seen a mention of the sale on Ivan Shreve's Thrilling Days of Yesteryear. Only 19 bucks, plus postage, which makes it the biggest bargain I've found this year.
I don't write much about OTR here, but I grew up listening to radio as a kid, and sometimes I'm amazed at how many shows I must have heard at one time or another. Browsing through Dunning's book brings back a lot of memories.
The favorite show of one of my grandfathers, as I may have mentioned before, was Lum & Abner. But he was also a big fan of The Great Gildersleeve. His favorite character on the show, aside from Gildy, was Mr. Peavey, the druggist, and naturally Mr. Peavey became one of my favorites as well. This was all a long time ago. My grandfather died when I was six, which means that we're talking about things that occurred in 1947. Obviously I started listening to and enjoying radio when I was pretty young.
Don't worry. I'm not going to start listing all the shows I remember. What I will mention is that over on broadcastellan there's a on-going discussion of "The Thing that Cries in the Night," a serial presentation on I Love a Mystery. I'm listening to a chapter a day and following the discussion. You can listen for free right here if you're so inclined. There are some other shows archived, too. It's been a long time since I heard this serial, and I'm enjoying it a lot. We're up to Chapter Five now. Great stuff.