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

For Thanksgiving, we present two Turkey Day-themed comedies.  First up, on “The Jack Benny Show,” Mary reads a poem she wrote just for 1939.  From 1939 to 1941, Thanksgiving was celebrated not on the fourth Thursday of the month, but the third.  Then Jack wonders what’s going on when the turkey he bought lays an egg as big as a cantaloupe.  “The Great Gildersleeve” was always filled with topical laughs.  As Thanksgiving approaches, Gildy hopes to get a coveted “B Ration” gas card, nephew Leroy has to perform in the school Thanksgiving play, and it becomes harder and harder to actually find a turkey.

 

Episodes 

The Jack Benny Show

“Jack Discovers He Has Purchased an Ostrich for Thanksgiving Dinner”

November 19, 1939

4:29

 

The Great Gildersleeve

“Thanksgiving Dinner”

November 22, 1942

38:21

Comments[0]

 

With the World Series almost upon us, we thought we’d give you a tale of baseball that culminates at the World Series.  “The Lux Radio Theater” brought listeners abridged versions of popular films of the day.  This time it’s “It Happens Every Spring,” with Ray Miland reprising the role he created in the 1949 film of the same name.  Miland plays a mild-mannered college professor who stumbles up on wood repellent.  When secretly applied to baseballs, it makes him a pitcher that no one can hit.  Play ball!

The Lux Radio Theater

“It Happens Every Spring”

October 3, 1949

4:55

Comments[0]

We think of Ray Bradbury as a fantasist or a science fiction writer.  But he was equally adept at crime drama.  One of his first sales was “Killer Come Back to Me” to Detective Tales in July of 1944.  Less than two years later, it was adapted for the radio by the “Molle Mystery Theatre.” This hard-boiled noir tale of killers, dames, and stolen identities takes a number of clever twists and turns.  But does crime ever pay?  Then on “Meet Me At Parky’s,” everyone’s favorite Greek restauranteur decides to help out with a teacher shortage.  He may be known for his malapropisms in English, but if he’s going to teach his native Greek nothing could possibly go wrong, right?

 

Episodes

 

Molle Mystery Theatre 

“Killer Come Back to Me”

May 17, 1946

3:23

 

Meet Me At Parky’s

“Teachers Wanted”

November 10, 1946

35:58

Comments[0]

 We start with another thrilling science fiction tale adapted for radio on “X-Minus One”:  “A Logic Named Joe,” based on the short story by Murray Leinster that first appeared in “Astounding Science Fiction” in March of 1946.  Fifty years before the internet, Leinster’s story predicted the use of household computers (“logics”) and the dangers and privacy concerns that would arise once they were networked together.  Then the quips never stop when the one, the only Groucho Marx hosts “You Bet Your Life.”  A train conductor and a longshoreman, then a diamond merchant and a dime-store saleswoman provide fodder for a flood of one-liners and snappy ad-libs from the funniest man on radio.

 

Episodes

 

X Minus One

“A Logic Named Joe”

December 28, 1955

4:19

 

You Bet Your Life

“The Secret Word is Money”

March 22, 1950

32: 38

Comments[0]

It’s summer time, so I’m giving you a bunch of summer-themed shows.  First off, Eve Arden returns as everyone’s favorite sardonic English teacher, Our Miss Brooks.  She’s on her summer vacation, but just can’t seem to connect with her would-be paramour, science teacher, Mr. Boyton.  Then two episodes of the slice-of-life dramedy, Vic and Sade.  First, with only six months until Christmas, everyone is trying to sell holiday cards.  Then the family joins in on a simple study of the minutiae of life, discussing everything from sweaters to hail to bacon sandwiches.

 

Episodes

 

Our Miss Brooks

 

“Summer Vacation”

 

September 4, 1955

 

2:57

 

Vic and Sade

 

“Grandpa Snyder’s Christmas Cards”

 

June 1, 1939

 

37:45

 

“Bacon Sandwiches”

 

August 14, 1940

 

47:20

Comments[0]

Thanks to Kliph Nesteroff’s brilliant new book, “The Comedians: Drunks, Thieves, Scoundrels, and the History of American Comedy” for making me aware of a comedian and an OTR show I had never heard of before. Harry Einstein, who is the father of comedians Albert Brooks and Bob Einstein (a.k.a. Super Dave Osborne) had a successful career in the 1940s and ‘50s working under the persona of Parkyakarkus – “Parky” for short. The conceit was that Parky was a malapropism-prone Greek restaurant owner in Hollywood. Parky appeared on the Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson shows, and then, from June of 1945 to July of 1948, on his own show, “Meet Me At Parky’s.” 

“Jeff Regan, Investigator” was one the many shows that Jack Webb had a hand in. When he left to create “Dragnet,” it went off the air. But it was resurrected a year later starring Frank Graham. Not quite a comedy, but not too hard-boiled either, “Jeff Regan, Investigator” deftly balances the light and dark sides of P.I.s from the Golden Age of Radio. 

 

Episodes 

Meet Me At Parky’s 

“The New Landlady” 

June 17, 1945 

4:15 

 

Jeff Regan, Investigator 

“She's Lovely, She's Engaged, She Eats Soybeans”

July 9, 1950 

35:06

Comments[0]

The United States was only a couple months into World War Two when tonight’s episode of the classic comedy “The Great Gildersleeve” takes place.  In an effort to raise money for war-time relief, Gildy gets dragged into posing as a (female – what else?) fortune teller.  Despite the standard sit-com set-up, this takes some very funny twists and turns.  Then Orson Welles returns as Harry Lime in “The Lives of Harry Lime.”  Not quite the psychopathic murderer he was in the movie “The Third Man,” where he originated the role, here Welles’ Lime is more a charming, ne’er-do-well con man.  Tonight, has he met his match in a pair of similarly-charming con artists?

 

Episodes

 

The Great Gildersleeve

"Fortune Teller"

March 1, 1942

4:33

 

The Lives of Harry Lime

“The Double Double-Cross”

January 18, 1952

35:15

Comments[0]

“Dragnet” returns with a tale ofthe drug trade.  In 1951 marijuana was available for 75 centsa joint.  Detectives Friday and Romero are on the track of thekingpin behind the narcotics racket, “The Big Tomato.”  ThenFriday himself, Jack Webb, guest stars on “The Bob HopeShow.”  After Hope’s timely comedy monologue, he joins Sgt.Joe Friday in a homicide investigation.  Even if the onlystiff Bob’s ever seen stretched out was one on New Year’s Eve, witha nose like his, you bet he can smell a crime a mile away. 

 

 

Episodes

 

 

Dragnet

 

“The Big Tomato”

 

February 25, 1951

 

4:06

 

 

The Bob Hope Show

 

“Guest: Jack Webb”

 

February 4, 1953

 

36:06

Comments[0]

“Information Please” was the greatest quiz show in the history of Old Time Radio.  In this episode, there’s a lot of talk about the upcoming 1940 presidential election, plus yet another reference to the Dione quintuplets.  Then, in honor of the start of the baseball season, it’s time for an episode of “X Minus One,” the science fiction anthology program.  The 21st Century Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team find themselves at of the bottom of the standings.  How on earth – make that how on Mars – will they ever make it to the playoffs?

Episodes

 

Information Please

“Guests: Christopher Morley and James Roosevelt”

August 27, 1940

5:10

 

X Minus One

“Martian Sam”

April 3, 1957

34:54

Comments[0]

“The Romance of the Ranchos” was one of the more unusual series to be broadcast during the Golden Age of Radio. Sponsored by the Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles, each episode traced the history of a certain district of Southern California from the days of the Ranchos – when everything was still owned by Spain and Mexico in the 1700s – up to then-contemporary times, the 1940s.  Through a series of vivid historical vignettes, listeners would hear how these areas changed and grew to become well-known cities and neighborhoods.  This episode centers on the discovery of the La Brea Tar Pits, that bubbling pool of crude oil where mastodon and saber-toothed tiger bones were found at the start of the 20th Century.  Then Groucho Marx returns in another episode of the greatest comedy radio quiz show of all time, “You Bet Your Life.”  You’re sure to enjoy not only Groucho’s bon mots, but the true story of Bob von Kuznick, whose adventures in the Korean War amaze to this day.

 

Episodes

 

Romance of the Ranchos

“Rancho La Brea”

April 19, 1942

5:15

 

You Bet Your Life

The Secret Word is “Car”

December 16, 1953

34:14

Comments[0]