Special Features

Here you will find what I hope is an ever-growing eclectic mix of recordings and other items that should be of interest to those of us in the Old Time Radio hobby.

When does NTR become OTR

In the Old Time Radio community, 1962 is generally considered the end of that era when Suspense and Your's Truly Johnny Dollar ended their runs. Yes, there were a few shows that went over that line, such as Arthur Godfrey, but 1962 seems reasonable and, in my own collecting, I separate OTR and NTR on that date. On this site of mine, OTR Annex, I post material from 1962 and earlier, with some exceptions, such as are found below, because these recodings from the 1960s and 1970s are now 50-years old which is older than OTR was when I started collecting it. All that said, I'm adding some NTR that might be of interest to OTR fans.

Recovering some old cassettes

Posted: February 1, 2023

When I started saving OTR, before I really started my collecting phase, I'd record local rebroadcasts on either my Panasonic RS-760S reel-to-reel or my parents' Wollensak cassette recorder. I have a handful or these cassettes, the Certron brand, and wanted to go through them but with every tape the splice between the tape and its leader had dried out, broken, rendering the tape unplayable. I threw them all in a box, kicking that can down the road for another day, usually something to deal with in the depth of our winters. It's been sub-zero where I live and I decided it was time.

These Certrons are cheap, really cheap, and the only cassettes I've encountered with this dried leader splice problem. I've repaired hundreds of 8-track tapes so I'm familiar with the process but these tapes are a bear. Instead of the shell being held together with screws, they are either glued or ultrasonically welded meaning that brute force is the only way in. Luckily, they crack open mostly along the glue line. I resplice them, using adhesive tape to hold the shell together, and then they play just fine. I realize that as I digitize them this might be the last time these tapes are ever played.

As far as I can tell, I recorded these tapes in 1970-71 from KPPC, an underground-style station broadcasting from Pasedena, CA. There aren't any great OTR finds but there are a few goodies. Some of the shows I saved are incomplete but on some there is the voice of Harvey Tow, in the character of Cousin Zino, announcing the programs. He is heavily featured on the collection of tapes from the OTR Marathon listed below. Two other excerpts of interest are a bit of music from the 60,000,000 Buffalos and a commercial for the California Tape Exchange.

I wasn't familiar with that group but it turns out that their singer, Judy Roderick, finished off her career here in Montana before her untimely death in 1992. I also found that her group used to share the billing, and sometimes the stage, with the band Zephyr, competing with their singer, Candy Givens. Zephyr is noted for its guitarist, the late, great Tommy Bolin. Here is the excerpt of the Buffalos from that tape:

Country Girl Again (excerpt)-60,000,000 Buffalos

The other piece of interest is this commercial for California Tape Exchange in Glendale, CA, advertising for a service, Tape-a-Mate, where they copy your records to tape, either 8-track or cassette. This was time when the copyright issues around making copies of music were largely ignored as most of the poulation, if they had a tape machine, did not have record capabilities. It's amusing hearing this today:

Commercial for California Tape Exchange

Here are the some of the tapes, in full. Some I have listed but not included because of copyright restrictions. I didn't look up the dates and titles, just included what I wrote on the label back in the day.

The Shadow-Pencil_John
The Shadow-Old woman's Xmas
The FBI in Peace and War - The Traveling Man
Academy Award - Suspicion
Inner Sanctum - The Judas Clock
The Shadow-The Black Abbot
Fred Allen - guest George Jessell
Inner Sanctum - King Midas Diamond
The Falcon
Sherlock Holmes - The Bruce Parkington Plans
Red Ryder
A Date With Judy
The Shadow - The Glowing Man Duffy's Tavern and an excerpt of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar
The Mercury Theater - The 39 Steps
The Mercury Theater - The Immortal Sherlock Holmes

Christmas on Radio

Posted: December 8, 2022

It's that time of year when certain programs, either on radio or in film, are presented to celebrate the season. Here are a few classic offerings.

"It's a Wonderful Life"

from Lux Radio Theater, March 10, 1947, starring Jimmy Stewart
Click Here

from Screen Director's Playhouse, May 8, 1948, starring Jimmy Stewart
Click Here

"A Christmas Carol"

from Campbell's Playhouse, December 24, 1939, starring Lionel Barrymore
Click Here

The Jack Benny Program

Jack shops for a wallet for Don. December 19, 1948
Click Here

"Holiday Inn"

from Screen Guild Players, January 11, 1943, starring Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore.
Click Here

The OTR Marathon from 1972

Posted: July 3, 2022

50 years ago tomorrow, on July 4, 1972, radio station KPPC in Pasedena, CA handed its broadcast day over to Harvey Tow who, in the persona of "Cousin Zino," played uninterupted OTR for about 24 hours.

As a novice collector of OTR, I decided to grab as many programs as I could and set up my Panasonic RS-760S reel-to-reel tape recorder, loaded with a 7" reel with 3600' of tape, with the speed to 1-7/8 ips to give me 3 hours of recording time before needing to flip the tape over, and started recording. I had also set it to record just one of the stereo channels at a time which should yield about 12 hours of recording time on that one reel. When that reel was full, I put a second reel on.

I did listen for a while as the shows were played and would occassionally stop the tape at the end of each show, starting up again as the next show began, but for much of it I just let it run and picked up Cousin Zino's comments along the way.

On the 50th anniversary of that recording, I decided it was time to share it online. Luckily, being collector that I am, I still have those tapes and that reel-to-reel machine. However, the machine has seen better days so I used my Akai X-2000s to do the transfer to digital.

Click here to go to the 1972 OTR Marathon page.

Gene Roddenberry's Shows

Posted: May 8, 2022

Gene Roddenberry is known as the creator of the "Star Trek" franchise but many aren't aware of his work in the later days of radio. Here are seven "Have Gun, Will Travel" programs that he wrote:

Have Gun, Will Travel - Road to Wickenberg - 58/11/30
Have Gun, Will Travel - Ella West - 58/12/07
Have Gun, Will Travel - The Outlaw - 58/12/14
Have Gun, Will Travel - Hanging Cross - 58/12/21
Have Gun, Will Travel - Helen of Abajinian - 59/01/04
Have Gun, Will Travel - The Monster on Moonridge - 59/03/08
Have Gun, Will Travel - Maggie O'Banyon - 59/04/05

Phono Trix Sales Information

Posted: December 27, 2020

A friend gave me a few reel-to-reel tapes that came from who-knows-where, my favorite kind of tapes since there is such an adventure in found sounds. This little reel was pretty interesting. It is an instructional lecture to distributers of the Phono Trix tape recorder on how to increase sales in the coming year. My guess is that this is from the early 1960s.

Phono Trix Sales Information (20:12) (28 MB)

KNX Excerpts

Posted: August 30, 2020

I've been slowly working my way through the hundreds of reels of tape I have acquired over the past 40+ years. Many of these contain bits and pieces of stuff I recorded off-the-air. These were sometimes done intentionally for saving or time-shifting and sometimes just found on the end of reel after whatever I had recorded before it.

While not specifically Old Time Radio, these are older recordings than OTR shows were when I first started collecting them. Here are several files from Los Angeles station KNX.

The Mike Roy Show

Mike was a chef and had this great cooking show on KNX in the 1960s. He answered listeners questions and had conversation with his co-host, Denny Bracken. Mike also published some cookbooks that I remember were popular at the time. I don't have the exact date for these but I believe they were from 1967.

Mike Roy 1 (6:61)
Mike Roy 2 (24:44)

KNX News

And here are excerpts from several newscasts from KNX.

News excerpt August 27, 1987 (11:51)
News excerpt March 15, 1991 (11:31)
News excerpt Date unknown(00:51)

The NBC Tape Find

Posted: September 7, 2018

An "Air - Master of the "Chase and Sanborn 102nd Anniverasy Show" found.

The NBC Reel

The OTR Database Project

Posted: February 3, 2015

Here I will describe the ongoing process of building a searchable database of my OTR collection.

The OTR Database Project Page

Another look back at Ray Briem. Subject: Fred Allen

Posted: May 15, 2013

In this show he interviews Robert Taylor who had recently published a biography of Fred Allen. John and Larry Gassman from SPERDVAC are also there.

This recording is from November 11, 1989 and runs 2 hours. Click here to play or right-click to download (File size: 28 megabytes)

Johnny Dollar's Expense Account

Posted: March 15, 2013

For quite a few years I've wondered, "How much would all of Johnny Dollar's expense accounts total up to?" It wasn't until I retired this past year that I decide to find out.

The first thing I did was to round up all the "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar" shows I had in my collection and place them in a single directory. Next, I downloaded all the shows from www.archive.org that the Old Time Radio Researcher's Group had there and placed them in another directory. I ended up with over 700 broadcasts which, when the multi-part shows where grouped together, came to just over 500 shows to examine.

Next, I assembled a log in a spreadsheet program. I built the log from a few that I found online, being primarily concerned with show number, title, and date with all in a consistent format.

Then came the time-consumming process of listening to the end of each program to hear Johnny read off the total of that story's expense account. Occassionaly he would toss it out, doing that portion of the job at no charge, or tell the client to total up the items themselves. When I heard the total, I would enter it in the spreadsheet.

Once I had the data complete, I wrote a program, in PHP, that converted and uploaded the spreadsheet into a table in an online MySql database. Then I wrote the web page, mostly in PHP, that displays the data and allows for sorting by column, both ascending and descending.

You can view the page here:

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar - Expense Account Summary

My OTR Presentation

Posted: December 24, 2012

I was invited to make a presentation on the history of radio at the Western Heritage Museum, here in Billings, MT. This was part of their noon time lecture series that looks at local history. While I have used this presentation numerous times in different venues with different focuses, I did want to get into how I've used "found recordings" to learn more about local history. That is the Paper Tape collection I feature on this web site..

I had several requests that I post the video of the presentation online. This recording is from November 15, 2012 and runs about an 1 hour.

Click here to watch the video. Your browser should handle the viewing function or you can right-click the link and download it. It is 95 MB in the MP4 format.

Click here to access the audio only in MP3. It's 13 MB.

A look back at Ray Briem

Posted: December 16, 2012

Ray Briem was the king of late night radio for many years. Based out of KABC or KLAC, he was a friend to those of us who toiled away on the mignight shift. Ray passed away recently and I thought I'd post one of his shows that features Old Time Radio. In this show he interviews George Balzer, a writer for Jack Benny, and John and Larry Gassman from SPERDVAC.

This recording is from June 25, 1988 and runs 1 hour, 57 minutes. Click here to play or right-click to download (File size: 10 megabytes)

Television interview about this site

Posted: December 4, 2012

Our local CBS affliate, KTVQ, interviewed me about the tapes I feature on the Paper Tape Archive page. You can view the video on their site here. The story ran Sunday, December 2, 2012.

1991 Interview with SPERDVAC

Posted: November 25, 2012

I was digging around in a box of old cassettes and came across this recording that my mother made for me. It is an interview with Susan Crawford, a member of SPERDVAC, on the Paul Wallach Show. This was broadcast on April 18, 1991 on KIEV 870 in Glendale, CA. The station as it was no longer exists and Paul Wallach passed away in 2002.

In this recording, which runs 42:36, the very beginning is missing and I've removed the local commercials and coverage of the race results at Santa Anita. Paul and Susan discuss and play exerpts from many of the shows of the Golden Age of radio.

Click here to play or right-click to download (File size: 10 megabytes)

October 30, 1938

Posted: November 2, 2012

Most of us readily recognize that title date for the broadcast of the Mercury Radio Theater's version of "The War of the Worlds." While there are plenty of places where one can download that show, I made a copy with a twist.

Broadcasting on NBC at the same time was the Chase and Sanborn Hour with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. I have combined the two programs into one stereo mp3 with the Mercury Theater in the left channel and Chase and Sanborn Hour in the right.

You can now use your mp3 player's "balance" control to listen to just the Chase and Sanborn show until Nelson Eddy starts to sing and then "channel surf" over to the Mercury show and hear what listeners encountered picking that show up in progress.

Click here to play or right-click to download (File size: 27.9 megabytes)

Norman Corwin and Ray Bradbury

Posted: June 13, 2012

Listen to an interview with Norman Corwin and Ray Bradbury from March 31, 1989. This is from the show "Hour 25" on KPFK (Los Angeles). The show was 2 hours in length but I've just taken the interview portion which runs 1 hour 38 minutes.

Click here to play or right-click to download (File size: 46.2 megabytes)