Before everyone had a smart phone or tablet with instant movies on it, we had DVD players to play our rental movies on. Before we had DVD players, we had videotapes with a less than perfect picture. Before videotapes, we had color tv’s that seemed to be too green or too red. Before those, we had little black and white tv’s with a lot of “snow”. And before that, we had… the radio.
In the 1920s, vacuum-tube radios started transmitting programs from a handful of stations. People began to hear bedtime stories, sports games, presidential addresses, news, and dramas from this new device. In the 1920s, Americans were treated to Amos ‘n’ Andy, the Grand Ole Opry, The Dodge Victory Hour, National Farm And Home Hour, Great Moments In History, and others (about 45 total).
By the 1930s, radio exploded as families rushed to add this modern marvel to their homes. There were more than 170 programs airing by then, including: Abbott and Costello, Ellery Queen, Burns and Allen, Lone Ranger, Lux Radio Theatre, Mickey Mouse Theater Of The Air, Sherlock Holmes, Charlie Chan, Red Skelton, Dick Tracy, Death Valley Days, The Shadow, Fibber McGee and Molly, Strange As It Seems, Tarzan, The Green Hornet, The Jack Benny Program, and of course, The War Of The Worlds.
In the 1940’s there was an even larger selection, with a few hundred shows to choose from. Some of the most popular included: Dragnet, Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Father Knows Best, Dr. Kildare, Guiding Light, Hopalong Cassidy, The Bickersons, This Is Your Life, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, and Perry Mason.
By the 1950’s, the new craze was television sets. Some of the radio shows, like Dragnet and The Lone Ranger, were moved over to television, where they lived on. But radio had lost some of its luster.
In 1974 CBS created the CBS Radio Mystery Theater to keep old-time radio alive, and hopefully interest a new generation in. They created 1,399 new radio dramas from 1974 to 1981. Now all of the episodes are totally free to listen to, download or even burn onto CD’s. You can find all of them at:
So if you’d like something a little different to listen to while you drive or work around home, this is a great site to check out. And the best thing is – it won’t cost you anything!