A collection of podcasts exploring the culture in pop culture. Our shows range from the general (flagship show The Chronic Rift) to the specific (The Batcave Podcast). We look at literature (Dead Kitchen Radio), movies (The Weekly Podioplex), family (Generations Geek), gaming (The Cardboard Jungle), and more.

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Syndication

 Tonight we present two quiz shows recorded a little over a decade apart, but featuring the same contestant.  In the 1940s young Margaret Merrick was a frequent panelist on “The Quiz Kids,” where it was no secret that she had had polio.  Before we had the term, she was a “poster child” for what was then called “infantile paralysis.”  Margaret then appears with her husband on Groucho Marx’s “You Bet Your Life,” where she talks about her youth and the couple tackle questions about numbers in everyday life.

Though polio has nearly been eradicated worldwide, The March of Dimes still exists.  It’s currently dedicated to preventing premature birth and birth defects.  You can donate here.

 

Episodes

 

The Quiz Kids

January 24, 1943

“Would You Be Pleased If Varicella Paid You A Visit?”

3:26

 

You Bet Your Life

October 21, 1953

“The Secret Word is ‘Name’”

33:12

Comments[0]

A few weeks back, we presented the radio drama version of the classic film, “Sunset Boulevard.”  Tonight, “The Jack Benny Program” is going to render (in the best sense of the word) its version.  Mary is out sick, but her real-life sister, Babe, is on hand to play the Gloria Swanson role.  Then we present three episodes of the little-known Basil Rathbone series, “Word Detective.”  These three-minute investigations into word origins were really just ads for the Underwood typewriter company, but they are informative and entertaining nonetheless.

Episodes

 

The Jack Benny Program

March 25, 1951

“Sunset Boulevard”

2:33

 

Word Detective

November 2, 1959

“Tangerine”

November 5, 1959

“Melba Toast”

November 6, 1959

“Stoic”

32:34

Comments[0]

This week, we have two programs we’ve never presented before.  Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall had their own adventure radio series in the 1950s, “Bold Venture.”  It was part “Casablanca” and part “African Queen.”  Bogie plays the proprietor of a Havana hotel frequented by conmen, gamblers, and treasure hunters, and every week brought the couple adventure and excitement.  Next, it’s America’s favorite bow-tie-wearing redhead, “Archie Andrews.”  Light on the adventure, but high on the domestic comedy and teen-aged shenanigans, here Archie finds the simple act of getting dressed for a date to be quite a challenge.

 

 

Episodes

 

Bold Venture

April 23, 1951

“Spanish Gold”

02:47

 

Archie Andrews

July 10, 1948

“Archie Gets Dressed for a Date”

30:27

Comments[0]

 “Sunset Boulevard” is justifiably regarded as one of the finest films ever made.  The tale of faded silent-era film star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson), desperate to make a comeback, and the screenwriter she dragoons into working for her (William Holden) has been a favorite with critics and viewers since its premiere in 1950.  Although the film noir classic loses its striking visuals in this radio adaptation, the fact that it sticks so closely to the original dialog and has

Swanson and Holden reprise their Academy Award-nominated roles makes listening to this “Lux Radio Theater” production the next best thing to watching the film.

 

Episode

 

The Lux Radio Theater

September 17, 1951

“Sunset Boulevard”

2:06

Comments[0]

Among other topics, “Information Please” asks about measures of length in common metaphorical phrases, “Huckleberry Finn,” and then-recent current events of 1939.  Next we present for the first time, “The Jimmy Durante Show.”  Jimmy is interested in politics, so he travels around the nation celebrating the 50 states and trying to get his show business friends to pledge their votes.

Episodes

 Information Please

July 11, 1939

“Guest: Elliott Roosevelt”

01:44

 

The Jimmy Durante Show

April 21, 1948

“Jimmy Solicits The Show Biz Vote” aka “Guests:  Lou Clayton and Eddie Jackson”

33:43

Comments[0]

 On “X Minus One” big-game hunters go after the biggest of game:  dinosaurs.  It’s time-travelers vs their prehistoric trophies in “A Gun for Dinosaur.”  Then on “The Great Gildersleeve,” Gildy helps out with the neighborhood women’s Red Cross committee.  What could possibly go wrong?

 

X Minus One

March 7, 1956

“A Gun for Dinosaur”

02:13

 

The Great Gildersleeve

March 11, 1945

“Chairman of Women’s Committee”

33:27

Comments[0]

For the 100th episode of “Presenting the Transcription Feature,” we present two of the best programs from the radio’s golden age:  “Dragnet” and “The Jack Benny Program.”  First up, detectives Friday and Romero track a hold-up man all around town, using brains and patience while ducking bullets and punches.  Then Jack and the cast have lunch at a drug store, providing plenty of opportunities for cheapness, mispronunciations, and a visit from entertainment legend Eddie Cantor.

Dragnet

December 14, 1950

“The Big Break”

02:53

 

The Jack Benny Program

May 8, 1949

“Jack is Upset with the Cast”

33:20

Comments[0]

After World War II, there was a severe housing shortage that criminals took advantage of.  In this episode of “Boston Blackie,” our hero tries to right that wrong.  Then on “Vic and Sade,” first young Rush wants to invest in a lifetime pass to the movies, then Vic is delighted to learn that his face will be on the cover of his industry magazine.

  

Episodes

 

Boston Blackie

September 17, 1946

“The Apartment Swindler”

1:47

 

Vic and Sade

December 17, 1940

“A Bijou Lifetime Pass”

 

May 2, 1941

“Vic’s Picture on Quarterly Cover”

30:13

Comments[0]

It’s the battle of the sexes on “The College Quiz Bowl,” with women’s college Mt Holyoke vs. then-men’s college Colgate (Colgate went co ed in 1970).  How well do you know your famous men nicknamed “Fox,” Greek myths, and British poets?  Then on “Our Miss Brooks,” Connie has to work hard to get her beau, Mr. Boynton, to ask her out for Valentine’s Day dinner.

 

Episodes

 

The College Quiz Bowl

November 9, 1955

“Mt Holyoke vs. Colgate”

01:44

 

Our Miss Brooks

February 19, 1950

“Valentine’s Day Date”

26:02

Comments[0]

Let's start the new year with an episode of “Information Please.”  It's 1939, and we're still in the middle of the Great Depression.  Do you know your “Gulliver’s Travels,” love songs, and baseball pennant-winners?  Then we’ll return to Wistful Vista for another visit with “Fibber McGee and Molly.”  It’s a new year for them as well, and they’re planning to host a sleigh ride.

 

 

Episodes 

Information Please

April 18, 1939

"Guest:  H. V. Kaltenborn"

1:43

  

Fibber McGee and Molly

January 11, 1949

“Organizing a Sleigh Ride”

30:26

Comments[0]