Kick Back With Old Time Radio Shows

2009 bombards people with screens; whether you’re picking up your phone, checking your mail, watching the news, going to a movie, or reading this blog, you likely encounter upwards of three screens everyday. So it’s good to take a break from modern technology, even if that means visiting Internet Archive to do so. Yes, it’s a Web site, but it also holds a plethora of entertainment from bygone years, including a large collection of old time radio shows.

Choose a radio show, hit play, and gently close your laptop or spin away from your desktop. Imagine that you’re pre-television and pre-internet, grab some coffee or tea, and enjoy the lost art of the radio show.

There are plenty to search through, but here are a few standouts:

  • A Case For Dr. Morelle: 12 episodes of the BBC classic from the 1950s about a criminologist psychologist. CSI fans, listen up.
  • Red Skelton: A timeless comedian from the 1930s and ’40s, this broadcast includes interesting Rollies Cigarette ads claiming that “medical science offers you proof positive no other cigarette is safer to smoke.”
  • Charlie Chan: A radio show documenting detective Charlie Chan, a Chinese-American who has the “wisdom of the east, science of the west.”
  • The Voyage of the Scarlet Queen: Deemed the Star Trek of old time radio, this radio show logs the adventures of the master and first mate of a ship traveling around the South Pacific.
  • WKBW Halloween Show: A much more contemporary show from 1973. This broadcast is from Halloween night, celebrating the 8th annual radio show broadcasting horror stories. This show kicks off the horror marathon with War of the Worlds.
  • –Cara Binder

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    75 Responses to Kick Back With Old Time Radio Shows

    1. BellonaTimes says:

      Thanks to archive.org, I’ve become so much of an OTR junkie that I’ve now got 11 GB of it on my computer. I burn it to CDs and listen to it away from my pc. I even started an OTR blog, Theater Mined. Great to be able to have classic entertainment without needing a viewing screen.

      My favorite shows include The Halls of Ivy, Jack Benny Program, The Big Show, Suspense, X Minus One, Bright Star, and Lux Theater. There’s a Ford Theater production of Carmen Jones from 1948 that I loved so much I played it twice in one week. There’s the Dinah Shore show that has everybody from Groucho Marx to Lily Pons as guests.

      I need to check out Voyage of the Scarlet Queen, sounds cool.

      • Powers says:

        I deleted all my games from my iPhone do I can have 15 gb of otr on here I was hooked from that first dragnet show my favorites are tales of texas rangers dragnet broadway is my beat and most currently this is your FBI (: long live archive.org and all it’s work to keep these jems around

    2. drflavio309 says:

      I too am hooked on otr… my fav’s are yours truly Johnny dollar and phillip marlowe…. i listen to them every night, I am missing about 7 shows in the johnny dolllar series other than that I have them all, way more than the avg. listener, it has given me hours of great entertainment…..
      I blog on word press too but on NASCAR top of the box.. check it out some time..

      the dr.

    3. radiofan says:

      i also love the otr. questions where can i find the really old radio id weaf new york? i want it for my collection
      my favorites are
      little orphan annie wish more existed.
      aldrich family
      you bet your life
      burns and allen.
      any shows from 1920s i want to hear.
      so many more shows i keep hearing more i like,

    4. Howard Salat says:

      Is it possible somehow to find the WBAI radio shows -”Its Your World & You Can Have It”? Also the riotis British routine about lifting some heavy material from the road to the roof by means of pulleys & of course the Faith Healer spoof.
      please respond.
      Thank you,
      Old Listener (Howard Salat).

    5. Nicole says:

      Hey for all those otr fans (if you haven’t heard of this already) AM 1710 Antioch plays a mix of shows 24/7. I believe the site is radio.macinmind.com for the schedule. It has such a great variety of shows and in between music. I also have several links to sites that you can listen to shows for free or purchase cd’s too.

      • Joe says:

        Thanks a lot for those excellent leads, Nicole. I would also appreciate seeing those links you referred to. God love you. Joe

    6. Tom Mullan says:

      Do you mean “The Bricklayers Lament” by Gerard Hoffnung. I have it on my PC. But don’t know how to get it to you.

    7. Sara Long says:

      I hope you’ll take a few minutes to explore some of the and well-used respected websites devoted to OTR and its fans and collectors. Just Google “OTR” and you’ll find them. One of the best ways to find out about shows — about their histories, actors, dates of running, and how many episodes are still available, etc. is in the wonderful book calledc “On the Air” by John Dunning. You may find it in many libraries or order it thru one of the online book stores. And my all time favorite website for information on shows is here: http://www.otrsite.com.
      Jerry Haendiges has so much information and is really nice about answering questions about OTR. Keep on collecting AND learn about the genre. It’ll keep you happy for a long time to come!

    8. david dubois says:

      i’m a truck driver and rely on otr on xm radio to maintain my sanity, (whats left of it). i also download many of my favorites from internet archive. i may have gone overboard though. i have about 12 gig of lights out, innersanctum, cbs mystery theatre, dimension x, and x minus one. i’ve downloaded some shows that are apparently obscure, such as black mass and tales from the morgue.

      • The Bridge says:

        Wow, another “Black Mass” fan, so very hard to find, and so well done. I only have one, wich a fellow collector of OTR sent me many moons ago. It’s the one where the character swallows part of the frog.

    9. Doug Bowman says:

      I have become addicted to these old programs and find them nostalgic and compelling. I particularly like CBS Mystery Radio Theater, Nero Wolfe, Theater Five, and the Henry Morgan show

    10. Frank Mallone says:

      Not to be pedantic, but Red Skelton would have been sponsered by *Raleigh* Cigarettes, as in Sir Walter Raleigh and Releigh, NC.

    11. P. Powell says:

      I’m trying to find a show I heard about 15 years ago that was originally broadcast in the 30s or 40s called the “The 48 [or 36, maybe] Hours of Christmas”. Do you know of such a broadcast and how I might get a copy? Thanks!

    12. Sharon Shurley says:

      I discovered OTR about 4 years ago, and I really love it. I am retired now, and I listen to the old radio programs every afternoon. My absolute favorite is The Jack Benny Program, but I also like Phil Harris and Alice Fay, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar, Dragnet and Jeff Regan. I can’t explain it, but I find the old radio programs relaxing and soothing, regardless of the content. We always had TV when I was growing up, so I missed out on all the great radio programs. I grew up thinking radio was just for music. lol!

    13. Clint Benny says:

      I also love OTR, but there is one show I have been unable to locate: Last Man Out. Does anyone know where I could get this?

    14. steve dills says:

      I just love all of the OTR available through this Archive. I have become especially enamored of old-(30 years plus) MLB games. I haven’t found nearly as many NFL or NBA orABA games for that matter — anybody got any good tips for locating old football or basketball game audio? thanks!

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    16. Brian Cole says:

      kkjaradio.com has wonderful old programs.
      audionoir.com also has a good selection of detective & mystery programs.

    17. Tad says:

      Thank you all for a lovely listening experience. I absolutely adore these old time radio shows. Ta to every submitter. Tad.

    18. Phil Smith says:

      Thanks to all who contributed to the OTR and thanks to the artists, long gone. Amazingly their talents are still bringing tears, laughter and wonder to the senses without the need of a cathode tube or plasma screen. In fact I would guess most people would enjoy their own images that their brain conjures up on the spot whilst listening to such shows. If you have not tried listening to a show go for it you may surprise yourself how much you enjoy it!

      Thanks again to all……………..

    19. James Morgan says:

      Never saw such a difficult website.
      Finnally gave up looking for O T R shows
      Your system is a nightmare !

    20. bmb says:

      looking for “Mr. Keene tracer of lost persons”

      and a series done [ i think] by British actor, Herbert Marshall “Bull Dog Drummond”

      kids program: “jack, Doc & Reggie” they solved mysterious happenings, they were young but not little boy or girl voices .

      also any Lux Radio Dramas : dramatized movies, stories ande books. Tujhe Academy Awards used to be broadcast in that time spot.

      Saturday program,s: [1] nila mack’s Fairy tale Threater.
      [2] a drama show which always began in Grand Central station, after 125th st, “… the train dived with a roar into the tunnel which burrows beneath the glitter and swank of Park Ave to enter Grand Central Station, the cross roads of a million private lives daily…”

      • walterf says:

        Reply to BMB

        You will find the complete set of Mr Keene at Calfkilleroldtimeradio.com and both Mr Keene and a number of Bulldog Drummond on Internet Archive.org

    21. Sara says:

      I think you need to remove the link on the KickBack with old radio shows where you are recommending ” The Paul Temple show” since the content is being contested and is NOT available thru this website.

    22. jr says:

      help? hello. there is a sci-fi show about a man who is visited by an alien (i think). The alien warns him not to (Alien word)…and is cut off before he can explain what the alien word means. Finally, at the end of the show we figure it out – the man is not supposed sneeze.
      Can you tell me the name of this show? Thanks for any help.
      please e-mail me @: 140dolphins@gmail.com

      JR

    23. Jim Dolan says:

      I have a suggestion for OTR fans. Check out the Alltime Oldies Radio Theater Channel @ http://www.alltimeoldies.com. Good selection of programming with good sound.

    24. just got my library card , love old time radio, guess its obvious Im old , lol , thanx guys for all your great shows you post , Im in greater Roswell New Mexico april 28th 2010

    25. For bmb who mentioned a “kids program: “jack, Doc & Reggie” they solved mysterious happenings, they were young but not little boy or girl voices “, that was “I Love A Mystery”, not a kids show, but one of the finest radio serials ever produced. There are a number of episodes out there. Btw, Tony Randall was the voice of Reggie.

    26. Jim Loeffler says:

      Cannot figure out how to transfer programs from my computer to my mp3 player …..I have tried overdrive but no luck ……..Can you help me on this?

    27. media says:

      Stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
      Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.
      Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin’ alive.

    28. Mike Newton says:

      I used to use the Internet Archives for old time radio programs a lot more before I found other sites. I also use John Dunning’s Encyclopedia of Old Time Radio with a calendar grid pasted in the front. By matching the broadcast date of a particular program with the calendar, I can find the original day of the week the program was heard.

    29. Kapuska says:

      I think you need to remove the link on the KickBack with old radio shows where you are recommending ” The Paul Temple show” since the content is being contested and is NOT available thru this website.

    30. erotik klip says:

      The Paul Temple show” since the content is being contested and is NOT available thru this website.

    31. remove the link on the KickBack with old radio shows where you are recommending ” The Paul Temple show” since the content is being contested and is NOT available thru this website.

    32. “Charlie Chan” talk about wisdom of east, science of west.I think it must be full of difference between east an west.To create a radio show like that need what great courage.

    33. danindenver says:

      I can see James Morgan’s POV.
      I’m having trouble trying to simply browse the collection and I get the feeling that someone doesn’t want me to.

      Also, I followed Jeff’s link to oldtimeradio and found HaveGunWillTravel. Looks great, but my W2K comp is a bit slow, so I tried to duplicate the address over on my Linux mcn and got a different page!

      The URL doesn’t work, but the breadcrumbs at the top of one page say:
      Audio Archive > Old Time Radio > Have Gun Will Travel

      The other page says:
      Audio Archive > Community Audio > Have Gun Will Travel

      Is there an overall theme to this that I’m not seeing?

    34. ROB says:

      Really enjoy this whole site old radio and tv Thank u for it being here at 55 brings back a lot to me…

    35. Beautiful
      Thanks to his subject
      Greetings to all

    36. haberler says:

      Thanks to his subject…

    37. Adam 60z says:

      If you’re into radio drama, the 1960s, and Twilight Zone themes you should check out Theater Five. The guy who was the voice of Speed Racer is featured in many episodes, and it’s a great creative series.
      Other faves here: You Bet Your Life of course, Live of Riley, Campbell Theater (with Orson Welles(.

    38. e-sorgu says:

      Thant you for this post. Good blog ;)

    39. Old Listener says:

      It was not Rollie cigarettes that sponsored Red Skelton, it was Raleigh, as in Sir Walter.

    40. Gildy Girl says:

      Greetings Everyone!

      I’m definitely what you’d call an “Old Soul”. I love antiques and all things nostalgic from a time when people were mostly pleasant, decent and respectful. I’m in my 30′s and have always wished I was born back in the 30′s! Some of my favorite OTR shows are, The Great Gildersleeve, Suspense, X Minus One, Burns and Allen, Dragnet, This is Your FBI, The Whistler, Dimension X, Lux Radio and Campbell’s Playhouse. I’m constantly looking for similar themed shows and I LOVE this website! I’ve gotten about a years’ worth of OTR shows from here and the selection and sound quality is SUPERIOR to that of most other OTR websites. Great Job I.A.!!

    41. Walter Krankheit says:

      One of the Saturday programs, like “Grand Central Station” was Let’s Pretend” sponsored, I think, by Cream Of Wheat. Is that still around someplace in cyberland? I can also remember listening to evening programs with the old Atwater-Kent radio sitting on the floor behind an easy chair during WWII. If the little light on the dial was visible from outside during the blackouts, We couild expect an angry visit from the neighborhood air raid warden…

    42. intermktgrp says:

      thanks for sharing this perfect article

    43. Mike Curtis says:

      Since we just passed the 10 year mark since 9-11 I think that it is approriate to visit this page.

    44. bjmn says:

      I love this website more and more each time you post these kind of articles!

    45. Jeepy says:

      I love old time radio too. I am 70 years old and I remember.

      • Harry Gans says:

        The Witches Tale, Duffy’s Tavern, Fred Allen….good listening.
        Titus Moody,in Allen’s Alley, didn’t have a radio because, “I don’t hold with
        furniture that talks.”

    46. Haberler says:

      thanks for sharing this perfect article

    47. bryn says:

      i used to listen to riders of the range on bbc is it available?

    48. bryn says:

      have we got riders of the range it was on the bbc around the time of dick barton.there i go giving my age away again! becoming a fan-watched cavalry last night wife wanted to know -dont you normally cheer the goodies -nah……..

    49. everyone says:

      there’s a link to the radio show ‘voyage of scarlet queen’ on your page, but when we click the link we discover that show is not available.

    50. Linda M. says:

      Thank you! You’re amazing. I love old time mysteries, horror, and detective shows.

    51. jwjb says:

      Thanks for archiving these Old Time Radio Shows of which I am a great fan.

      Currently, I am on episode 270 out of 480 for Gunsmoke as well as listening to many others as well.

    52. Quarl Inmon says:

      I was 5 years old when mom and dad bought their first black and white TV…..these radio shows remind me of my parents sitting around, with us kids, listening to the old Philco with the fire place blazing away. My dad was a cop so he could not join us every night but when he could it was memorable. I down loaded some of your shows, drove to the cemetary and just sat there next to their grave listening and remembing….thanks it brought back some great times.

    53. Kim's nom says:

      I love old time radio – but so does my brother who is 12 years younger than me, and so does his wife who is 10 years younger than him. I have a friend whose 35 year old son loves old time radio – and he is very much a person of this century when it come to technology, theater, and such. The point is, “to hear old time radio is to love it”. There is a wide range material, and even when it’s hokey, its still is entertaining!
      I am so happy that I can add this site to my favorites – I got rid of my cable months ago and now get library books on CD and movies/Brit TV on DVD – but my favorite is still old time radio!

    54. I have been into audio dramatizations and radio shows since I was a kid. I started creating my own versions of movies and TV shows on audio tape and cut out the parts that were more visually oriented, when I was 8 years old and I never stopped. I was delighted to discover the huge repository of OTR shows on archive.org. It’s really amazing. A sci-fi show that has truly taken me by surprised was The Vanishing Point. It’s really sophisticated and can be really scary. I highly recommend it.

      Cheers,

    55. Joe Cramer says:

      I experienced amnesia for two years and ever since the sounds of Old Time Radio have helped keep me grounded in my life experiences and bring to mind family memories with each episode. I have been searching for a short series from in the 1930′s I think regarding a man and wife accepting an offer they couldn’t refuse on thier own home and then proceed to build a new one in the countryside, on solid rock. The resulting circumstances and hurdles are hilaruious. Husband and wife not quite communicating. I lent it to someone and have been looking for it for years. Is there a site somewhere I could look? I’ve tried most of the usual commercial ones. I’d hate for it to be lost. If you could point a way I’d appreciate it.

      • brewster says:

        What a wonderful note, it warms our librarian hearts.

        As for the program you are looking for, I dont know. I bet there are old time radio communities that you could ask. Just a quick search on the net referenced this site: http://www.otr.net/

    56. Charles Edwards says:

      This isn’t a major event or anything even close, but I would like to correct the record regarding your blurb for the Red Skelton Show. Mr. Skelton’s program was not sponsored by “Rollie” cigarettes, but was, in fact, sponsored by “Raleigh” cigarettes. Each pack and carton carried the image of Sir Walter Raleigh who is credited with being the first to bring tobacco back to Europe from the New World. Raleigh cigarettes were the only brand I am aware of that offered a coupon on each pack (and a couple of more if purchased by the carton) that could be collected and exchanged for merchandise after the fashion of S&H Green Stamps. Marlboro tried a similar and more successful campaign years after Raleigh was taken off the market.

      • Donald Rehrer Jr. says:

        Actually Charles,there were coupons on Belair and Chesterfield cigarettes…and later on in the 1990′s Camel cigarettes. My dad smoked Chesterfields,and we had thousands of the litlle white coupons all over the house.

    57. There is a plenty of nice radio shows. A real travel to the past.

    58. Dan says:

      I was born in the early 1950′s and so grew up with LOTS of TV shows and over the years I got to see all of the re-runs made in the few years before I was born, however I had no opportunity to hear old radio programs until now via computer and I am very pleased, I had wanted to hear many of these shows for quite some time. This opens up a whole new world from the past and from history.

      • Donald Rehrer Jr. says:

        If you get an opportunity,Dan be surew to listen to the WWII news broadcasts,they’re quite interesting,and tell how things were going in the war,and also at home.

    59. Julian bishop says:

      I get asked to transfer old audio reel to reel onto audio cd.
      I came across a radio comedy program recorded off air, entitled the Brick layer”
      A sketch about a Bricklayer on a building site, he recants this tale to a live audience
      about the wheelbarrow full of bricks being heavier then this young apprentice.
      I don’t have any details but his voice reminds me of Jimmy Edwards of The Glums?
      and later Wacko the crazy headmaster with an enormous moustache.
      Thank you in advance to anyone who can help.

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