Jason Weisberger is Boing Boing's publisher. He often does what he ought, instead of what he should. On instagram and twitter he is @jlw

22 Responses to “The Shadow knows...”

  1. jarmstrong says:

    On family road trips in the Chevy conversion van, we listened to The Shadow radio show–and others–on cassette tapes we picked up from the library or the Cracker Barrel. We absolutely loved them.

  2. anonymity86 says:

    My favorite is “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar”.

    By the way, watch the Nero Wolfe TV series from A&E, almost as good as the books!

    •  YTJD was the last running radio show and ended in the early 60s there is an iOS app of Johnny Dollar that is pretty good with most if not all the episodes for a good price. The 2-4 seasons had Edmund O’Brien (of DOA and THEM!! movie fame) as Johnny Dollar were very gritty and dark. The design of the show revolved around the expense account of Johnny Dollar an insurance investigator for those who never heard it. The sound quality of the latter shows is superb for those that have a problem with some background and radio interference noise (but your ear will soon filter that stuff out automatically if you persevere).

      There was also a great Nero Wolfe radio show that was very well produced back in the late 40′s.

  3. TheMadLibrarian says:

    The Shadow
    Dragnet
    The Green Hornet
    Sherlock Holmes
    Lux Mystery Theatre
    Have Gun, Will Travel
    The Lone Ranger

    “The weed of crime bears bitter fruit….”  MUAHAHAHAHAH!

  4. Mister44 says:

    I LOVE the shadow. I have dozens of the old radio programs, Some on CDROM, some on tape.

  5. George Carlton says:

    You can find many of these old radio show available online for free, no need to pay

  6. Old Time Radio ( OTR.net ) has many of these. I love “I was a Communist for the FBI” and SPACE PATROL especially.

  7. BDiamond says:

    It’s not from the Golden Age of Radio, but I really liked the CBS Radio Mystery Theater back in the ’70s.

    •  CBS Radio Mystery Theater is finally being licensed for play and is on several radio internet radio streams. This is perhaps the pinnacle of radio theater with the old sound FX engineers and writers having very modern equipment to work with. Previous to it being licensed only bootleg copies of the show (with the original commercials were available which was cool and uncool YMMV). Hyman Brown the producer was one of the greats of radio theater he deserves a listen.

  8. Greg Tulonen says:

    I used to collect radio shows as a kid, on cassette tapes, which made it a relatively pricey hobby.  Now, you can score hundreds of shows for free, or mere pennies an hour.  “The Shadow” had an astonishing 17-year run, and like “Dr. Who,” featured several different actors in the title role.  (Yes, I know that’s not the Doctor’s name on Doctor Who.  Shut up, nerd.)  I also highly recommend “Suspense,” “Escape,” “X Minus One,” “The Whistler,” and (especially) “Quiet, Please,” a years-ahead-of-its-time chiller with disquietingly eerie horror stories.

    • Jonathan Badger says:

      Late to this, but I second “X minus one” — mostly SF, but with some surreal twisty stories that makes me think Rod Serling was a fan and used it as an inspiration for “The Twilight Zone”.

  9. Joe Littrell says:

    AM 1710 out of Antioch, IL – also streaming at http://radio.macinmind.com/ – has a regular schedulae of these shows, most of them timed for broadcast on the day they were originally broadcast, so you don’t get a lot of Christmas shows in August, and so forth…

    archive.org has a number available in their collection as well.

  10. baronkarza says:

    There are any number of free podcasts of these great old shows, via iTunes. Look for Relic Radio, a podcast which features two different half-hour shows of different kinds, with a short feature like “Five Minute Mysteries” or “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” sandwiched between the two longer shows. Relic Radio is a good bunch of podcasts, and the host usually tells us the air dates and items about each show, a nice plus. http://www.relicradio.com

    Avoid if possible the Humphrey-Camardella Productions podcasts, which feature astonishingly bad production values, usually getting the names of episodes wrong and featuring interminably long and poorly done commercials for their own collections of shows or laughably poor ads for audible.com.

  11. rossbilld says:

    Hundreds & hundreds of OTR (old time radio) shows are available in MP3 format, for free, at this web site: http://archive.org/details/oldtimeradio

  12. I am a big fan of OTR (old Time Radio shows) The Shadow is the bomb. There was a whole series of shows with a young Orson Welles as The Shadow, he would do the shows refusing to rehearse them to help maximize the tension and make them sound more dangerous he was astounding!! But all The Shadow radio shows were great and there was a pulp magazine of novelettes that is currently being reprinted as well as being Ebooks.  A vast number of old radio shows  are available at the Internet Archive for free streaming and download. There are also numerous internet radio streams specializing in all genres of OTR.

    Here’s my best tip for you there was  a radio show that was mostly sponsored by Crisco called Vic and Sade it was set in my home town of Bloomington, IL and it is the most surreal comedy show I’ve ever been exposed to. It is worth putting in time listening to them as it takes a few episodes to sink in, it was 15 minutes long and ran on weekday afternoons( housewives must have been taking psychedelics back then in the 1930′s and 1940′s if this show is any indication). The best ones IMHO are the later ones with Uncle Russell in them he is an amazing character the same actor appeared in Lum and Abner shows.

    The radio show version of Gunsmoke which precede the TV show by 7-9 years is truly great with William Conrad (starred in Tv’s Cannon) as Marshall Matt Dillon he was superb with dark insights about human behavior. It took me many years to finally get my mom to admit that Gunsmoke was the source of my name (she was a big western fan heck she was a fan of anything with horses in it) I was born well before the TV series began and before everyone named their kid Matthew.

    Also check out Fibber McGee and Molly radio shows especially the ones from 1939 to 1949 or so they are the very best of the OTR comedy and defined the situation comedy there are no stinkers to be had. All of the Fibber McGee and Molly shows are funny with masterful performances by all the cast members as well as top notch music by Billy Mills and his Orchestra and the phenomenal singing group The King’s Men (you can even hear Les Paul playing guitar in some of them). Don’t open FIbber’s closet because the sound FX guys pulled out all the stops and made a huge racket with everything including the kitchen sink! The sound FX used in old radio shows is amazing and apparently a lost art. It takes time to learn to listen to radio shows of this type as it not only requires a bit of imagination IMHO it actually exercises you brain in a way no other media does.

    I hope you all give it a try, you will not be disappointed in this great legacy left to us by it’s creators.

  13. Deidzoeb says:

    Bold Venture. 1951-52 original series. Humphrey Bogart as a shady charter boat captain operating out of pre-Castro Cuba. Lauren Bacall plays his 17 year old “ward”. Adventure and hijinx ensue.
    http://archive.org/details/BoldVenture57Episodes

    Pete Kelly’s Blues. Only five or six episodes seem to survive, but this is the cream of the crop. Jack Webb as a trumpet player in 1920s Kansas City, constantly getting roped into mysteries and danger. The dark tone and wisecracks are so infectious, you can set a raw egg next to the speaker while this plays and it’ll be hardboiled by the end of the show.
    http://archive.org/details/PeteKellysBlues

    Lux Radio Theater. To promote films back in the day, they’d often broadcast a radio version with the same cast from the film. The biggest names of the day. They’re cut down to one hour, but you can hear Jimmy Stewart in It’s A Wonderful Life, William Powell & Myrna Loy in The Thin Man, Alan Ladd in Shane and This Gun For Hire, Errol Flynn in Captain Blood, and a few interesting choices of recasting like Edward G. Robinson as Sam Spade in the Maltese Falcon, or Alan Ladd as Rick in Casablanca. Also helpful if you’re too lazy to read the Cliff’s Notes on something like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations.

  14. mbourgon says:

    I came to mention a cult comedy radio show worth seeking out (Frantic Times, best well known for The Boot To The Head, but I think my favorite have to be the Quennel skits).  And yes, YTJD is pretty awesome also.  I’d also recommend the Shadow novels, which are far superior to the radio shows – the Shadow comes off more a force of nature than a person, and the stories have a bit more oomph.  

    • Nadreck says:

      And, in addition to the hundreds of Shadow novels (often published on a bi-weekly schedule by the same author!) don’t forget the fabulous Mike Kaluta comic books!

  15. Nadreck says:

    I could go on forever about Old Time Radio!  I like to listen to it on the many streaming Internet Radio Stations because it’s closest to the original experience of “tuning in” something at a specific time of day.  My favourites (and there are *many* others) are:
    http://radio.macinmind.com/
    http://wnar-am.com/
    http://www.yesterdayusa.com/
    http://www.otrnow.com/otrnow/index.htm
    http://www.vintageradioclassics.com/broadcast/archive.html
    http://cjkell.squarespace.com/

    If you don’t know your Old Time Radio you don’t know your Pop Culture.  It was one of the major wellsprings of and the first really wide-spread networks of Pop Culture.  Some of the many links from it are:
    - The “Chandu the Magician” show was directly responsible for Marvel Comics’ “Dr. Strange”
    - A young director called Blake Edwards produced a Private Eye show with lots of singing called “Richard Diamond, Private Detective” wherein he developed the themes and style that he would use later in TV and movies.  The TV version of Richard Diamond, which he also directed, started the careers of Mary Tyler Moore and Dave Janssen.
    - If you watched Saturday Morning Cartoons in the 60s and 70s you’re familiar with the voices of omnipresent radio voice actors Virginia Gregg and Paul Frees.  Virginia Gregg was especially prolific in all mediums and was the voice of many hundreds of characters on the old radio shows.  There’s one (of many) CD collections of her work that has 380 episodes.
    - The incredibly popular “Amos and Andy” show was the one of the first, if not the first, mass media show portraying African Americans as doctors, lawyers, judges and business owners.  The episode with Amos’s brutal interrogation by the police was a bit too realistic for the National Association of Chiefs of Police who forced the network to turn it into a “dream episode”.

    I would go on but it’s time to tune in another episode of Nero Wolfe: starring Sidney Greenstreet!

  16. Roy Mathur says:

    The Shadow (with Orson Welles as the Shadow) can be downloaded FREE from Archive.org, see-

    http://roymathur.wordpress.com/2012/12/06/shadow-audio-comics-noir-pulp-fans-rejoice-as-old-school-hard-nuts-in-hats-kick-bottom/

    Speak to the hat.

  17. Randall Neff says:

    There is an enormous amount of old time radio at archive.org. Also a number of websites that sell packed mp3s on CD. The ‘Big Broadcast’ on wamu.org is four hours on Sunday night of old time radio shows with commentary by Ed Walker, and is archived for a week. Always Johnny Dollar, Dragnet, and Gunsmoke, then a selection of other shows. This is a great introduction.
    http://wamu.org/programs/the_big_broadcast

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