Friday, November 04, 2005

On the Air -- John Dunning

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.


broadcastellan said...

Yes, Dunning's book is a must for friends of OTR. Are you familiar with his thrillers? I read Two O'Clock, Eastern Wartime a few years ago and enjoyed its radio angle. As much as I get a kick out of Morse's serials, I never finished his I Love a Mystery novel, Stuff the Lady's Hatbox. Thanks for staying tuned, Bill. Cheers, Harry

Anonymous said...

Bill, Talk OTR all you want! I'm a huge fan of Gildersleeve, too (I think I like Willard Waterman's interpretation of the role better than Harold Peary's). Phil Harris & Alice Faye is another favorite comedy; I like too many of the mystery and crime shows to mention. I will add, however, that The Adventures of Philip Marlowe is playing in my MP3 box right now.

Unknown said...

I've actually read Stuff the Lady's Hatbox all the way through. In some ways it was like reading a script for the show, not as satisfactory as hearing it on the air, somehow.

lucylocket said...

Thanks for the link to the "I Love a Mystery." A nice way to spend a lazy Saturday afternoon.