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

“Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders” was a kid’s radio show set in “the modern West.”  Bobby was a 12-year-old who had inherited a Texas cattle ranch, the B-Bar-B.  He and his ranch hands struggled against rustlers and other sorts of appropriately western, but mid-20th-Century, hazards.  This episode prominently features a young Don Knotts playing crusty old-timer Windy Wales.  In Windy, you’ll hear the roots of Knotts’ Nervous Man character, who eventually morphed in Deputy Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show.”  Then Bing Crosby hosts the “The Kraft Music Hall,” the radio program that solidified his place in radio history.  Crosby hosted the variety show for a decade, singing standards and popular tunes of the day as well as cracking wise with plenty of guest stars.  This time, he hosts young Donald O’Connor, who’s about to go into the Army.  Bing open with the post-war classic “San Fernando Valley,” then he and O’Connor mix it up with “Small Fry.”

 

Episodes

 

Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders

“The Killer Wales”

December 28, 1949

4:32

 

 

The Kraft Music Hall

“Guest Donald O’Connor”

February 24, 1944

34:21

Comments[0]

We start off the new year with The Jack Benny Show.  Jack, Mary, and the gang are celebrating the change-over from 1938 to 1939.  They survey the previous year, which included Howard Hughes flying around the world and “Wrong Way” Corrigan, who left New York for California, but ended up flying to Ireland.  Then  before Jack Webb was Sergeant Joe Friday on Dragnet, he was the titular hero of Pat Novak, For Hire.  Pat was a sort of un-detective.  He ran a boat rental place on the San Francisco Bay, but solved crimes and problems to raise extra cash.  Pat’s tough guy, hard-boiled lingo is a far cry from Friday’s “Just the Facts” persona.

 

Episodes

The Jack Benny Show

“Goodbye 1938, Hello 1939”

January 1, 1939

4:20

 

Pat Novak, For Hire

“Wendy Morris”

May 5, 1948

34:55

Comments[0]

Christmas is over.  Its time for some Old Time Radio post-Christmas reflections and preparation for New Year’s.  We start with Eve Arden starring in Our Miss Brooks.  During Christmas vacation the sardonic English teacher has plans to exchange the dreadful presents she received for something a little more useful.  And so does everyone else.  Then on Dragnet we feature the adventure of a con racket that starts in the middle of December and goes all the way through to a New Year’s Eve party.  You’re a detective sergeant.  You take a cup o’kindness yet for auld lang syne.

 

Episodes

 

Our Miss Brooks

“Exchanging Christmas Gifts”

December 31, 1950

3:30

 

Dragnet

“The Big Betty”

November 23, 1950

34:13

Comments[0]

It’s December, so it’s time for some Christmas-themed episodes.  We start off with The Harold Peary Show.  Peary had been a huge success starring in The Great Gildersleeve, but left due to a contract dispute.  This eponymous series was an obvious attempt to copy Gildersleeve.  The show only lasted one season but did result in a couple of great episodes including this Christmas one which features Harold and reformed thief.  Then “The Robin Hood of Modern Crime,” Simon Templar, in the form (well, voice) of Vincent Price returns in another action-packed episode of The Saint. It’s Christmas Eve and Simon has an appointment to play Santa for a bunch of under-privileged tiny tots.  Nothing could possibly go wrong.

 

Episodes

 

The Harold Peary Show

“Santa At The Children’s Christmas Party”

From Dec 20, 1950

2:58

 

The Saint

“Santa Claus Is No Saint”

December 24, 1950

36:51

Comments[0]

It’s the beginning of the holiday season on “Presenting the Transcription Feature.”  Thanksgiving is not too early for the Lux Radio Theater adaptation of Miracle on 34th Street, featuring the movie’s original stars: Maureen O’Hara, John Payne, and Edmund Gwenn.  Remember that the show’s inciting incident is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the rest of the story plays out over the month of December.  So, as you prepare that turkey and those yams, tune in to some classic old time radio.

 

Episode

Lux Radio Theater

“Miracle on 34th Street”

5:30

Comments[0]

This time on Presenting the Transcription Feature, here’s a double dose of Jack Benny and the young geniuses of The Quiz Kids.  First up on the Jack Benny Program, Jack’s cast matches wits with the visiting Quiz Kids with the usual zany results.  Then, just a week and a half later, Jack makes a guest appearance on The Quiz Kids.  Is he smarter than a 9th grader?

 

Episodes

 

The Jack Benny Program 

"Quiz Kids vs. Jell-O Kids"

April 6, 1941

2:05

 

The Quiz Kids

"Guest: Jack Benny"

April 16, 1941

32:32

Comments[0]

​There’s two Halloween episodes for your enjoyment on this installment of “Presenting the Transcription Feature.”  First, the wholesome world of small-town America is shaken by a string of Halloween tricks on The Alrich Family.  Who’s letting the air of car tires?  Who’s ringing doorbells and running?  Could it be that scamp Henry Aldrich?  Before Halloween was all about candy, it was all about tricks.  Then Eve Arden stars as Our Miss Brooks, the comedic and sardonic, but beloved, English teacher making her way in yet another small town.  Nothing seems to go right for her, her students, or her principal, as they plan a Halloween party.

 

Episodes

 

The Aldrich Family

“Halloween Prank Backfires”

October 31, 1940

3:35

 

Our Miss Brooks

“Halloween Party”

October 30, 1949

36:00

Comments[0]

Presenting another radio adaptation of a Hollywood classic from the Screen Guild Theater, starring the film’s original leads.  Tonight it’s Champagne for Caesar with Ronald Colman as unemployed genius Beauregard Bottomley who appears on television quiz show hosted by Art Linkletter.  As the amount of money Bottomley wins increases, it threatens the very business of the show’s sponsor, played with sneering relish by Vincent Price.  A must-hear episode for fans of game shows as well as Old Time Radio.
 
The Screen Guild Theater
“Champagne for Caesar”
October 10, 1950
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 This week we present the final step in the saga of “The Walking Man” contest when winner Florence Hubbard appears on The Jack Benny Program.  Those who have been listening closely for the past few weeks will have their attention rewarded as several old themes and topics are referenced. Then Academy Award-winning actor Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume star in their comedy-drama series set at a small Midwestern college, The Halls of Ivy.  Colman plays the college’s president, sagely dispensing advice to the undergraduates.  Lessons will be learned and heartstrings will be tugged.
 
 
Episodes
 
The Jack Benny Program
“Winner of The Walking Man Contest”
March 14, 1948
4:07
 
The Halls of Ivy
“Faculty Raffle”
June 28, 1950
36:25
Comments[0]

This week we present two episodes centering on possibly the most popular radio contest of the 1940s, “The Walking Man.” TWM was a contest to benefit The American Heart Association and took place on the radio show Truth or Consequences.  For eight weeks, along with the usual game show shenanigans, listeners were invited to guess the identity of a prominent figure based solely on a rhymed clue and the sound of his walking.  Spoilers:  It was Jack Benny.  Here is the episode of TOC where a listener correctly guesses Benny.  Check out the haul of prizes that had accumulated over the preceding weeks.  Next listen to the episode of The Jack Benny Program which was broadcast less than 24 hours later.  It had had to be almost entirely rewritten overnight because not even Jack’s wife, let alone his writers, knew in advance that he was The Walking Man.

 

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Episodes

 

Truth or Consequences

“The Walking Man is Revealed”

March 6, 1948

6:15

 

The Jack Benny Program

“Jack Benny is The Walking Man”

March 7, 1948

37:38

Comments[0]