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

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Philo Vance was the star of a number of murder mystery novels and movies that were popular during the 1920s and ‘30s.  Like so many other investigators, he made the leap to radio and TV.  In this episode of The Adventures of Philo Vance, a newspaper reporter on her way to interview Vance about his career is mysteriously killed on in the back of taxi.  Whodunit and how will be up to Vance to figure out.  Then it’s another typical life in the week of Italian immigrant Luigi Basco on Life With Luigi.  Luigi may have a little trouble with English, but his affection and appreciation for his new home in America are unassailable.  This warm-hearted comedy about post-World War II émigrés is the perfect antidote for anyone feeling there’s nothing special about the United States.

Episodes

The Adventures of Philo Vance

“The Bulletin Murder Case”

October 5, 1948

3:24

 

Life With Luigi

“The Abraham Lincoln Letter”

February 7, 1950

32:50


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We return to good old Madison High for more of Eve Arden as Our Miss Brooks.  This time, the sardonic English teacher gets caught up in a protest over the school’s dress code.  Girls in slacks and guys in dresses!  What is the world coming to?  It’s a farce of the highest order.  Then return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear as, for the first time, we present The Lone Ranger.  Thrill as the Lone Ranger and Tonto help a young man and his widowed mother recover a small fortune left to them.  The secret to the location is in a very special saddle.

Episodes

Our Miss Brooks

“Dress Code Protest”

April 24, 1949

4:24

 

The Lone Ranger

“The Saddle”

June 5 1946

 

35:48


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We start off the new year with a different sort of quiz show:  Quiz Kids.  Here, the sort of tricky questions sent in by listeners that we’re familiar with from Information Please are answered by kids.  Mostly teens, but some quite young, and all with high IQs.  Then we move on to the ultimate in domestic sit-coms, Vic and Sade.  Set in a typical small town, we visit the family residing in “the small house half way up on the next block.” The comedy is very dry, focusing on the minutiae of everyday life.  In the first of these two 15-minute episodes, Vic and Sade, and their teen-aged son Rush, take part in a wartime scrap drive.  Then, as Vic and Sade wait for some friends to come over for cards and ice cream, Vic tries to decide if he should purchase an honorary title from his lodge.

 

Episodes

Quiz Kids

“A Mousetrap, a Buttonhook, and the Statue of Liberty”

November 7, 1948

 

2:27

Vic and Sade

“The Scrap Drive”

36:05

“Honorary Titles for Sale”

 

46:15


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For our second set of Christmas-themed episodes this month, we start off with The Jack Benny Program.  Jack does one of his traditional holiday-shopping episodes.  As always, he tries to go cheap, and he bumps into a lot of the show’s regulars doing their shopping as well. Then, on Have Gun – Will Travel, Christmas Eve finds Paladin interceding between an Indian chief and a White rancher who insists that the chief’s son is actually his boy, stolen many years ago.

Episodes

The Jack Benny Program

“Last Minute Christmas Shopping”

December 21, 1947

2:34

 

Have Gun - Will Travel

“The Hanging Cross”

December 21, 1958

 

32:36


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This December I’m going to run all Christmas-themed shows.  We begin with another episode of Fibber McGee and Molly.  This episode is nearly 70 years old, but we see that some things never change.  Fibber and Molly have to go to the post office to mail off some Christmas presents, and the lines were just as long and annoying then as they still are today.  Then Nigel Bruce as Dr. Watson recounts another of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.  It’s Christmas Eve and the good Doctor has agreed to dress up as Santa Claus (uh, Father Christmas) for a children’s party.  Will Holmes get to spend a quiet evening at home?  Not on your Fezziwig . . .

 

Episodes

Fibber McGee and Molly

“Mailing Christmas Packages”

December 10, 1940

3:44

 

The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

“The Night Before Christmas”

December 24, 1945

35:10

 


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For Thanksgiving, it’s two comedy episodes (because there just aren’t any good OTR dramas about Thanksgiving except dramatizations of The First Thanksgiving).  First off, meet Eve Arden in Our Miss Brooks, where she plays a refreshingly sardonic high school English teacher who’s not above occasionally offering a zinger at the expense of her students.  As Thanksgiving approaches, more and more people invite themselves to her place for dinner – where there’s nary a turkey to be found.  Then Jack Benny attends that great Los Angeles event, the annual pre-Thanksgiving football game between UCLA and USC.  Jack, Mary, and Dennis drive out to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Dennis gets lost, and Jack bumps into Frank Fontaine, doing his character of Mr. Silvoney, the inspiration for Pete Puma from the Looney Tunes cartoons.

 

Episodes

Our Miss Brooks

“Thanksgiving Weekend”

November 27, 1949

3:41

 

The Jack Benny Program

“Jack Tries to Buy Tickets to the USC – UCLA Game”

November 26, 1950

36:13

 


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We start off November with the return of The Great Gildersleeve.  This is the episode immediately following the Halloween episode from last time.  Gildy is still in the doghouse with Leila Ransom.  Meanwhile, it’s the middle of World War II, and nice cuts of meat are hard to find due to rationing.  When Gildy procures a prime pot roast, that roast’s fate on his table is far from assured.  Then Sydney Greenstreet debuts as Nero Wolfe in The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe.  As always, Wolfe is reluctant to take any case that will interferer with his orchids, his reading, and his gourmet meals.  When a woman arrives asking him to investigate a treasure map her father has bought, he dismisses her.  Then the bodies start to pile up . . .

 

Episodes

The Great Gildersleeve

“The Pot Roast”

November 7, 1943

 

3:54

 

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe

“Stamped for Murder”

October 20, 1950

32:12

 


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For the end of October, here’s two timely episodes.  On The Great Gildersleeve, it’s Halloween.  And that means pranks and parties.  Good old fashioned fun in the small town of Summerfield.  Then, in honor of the World Series, we check in with amateur detective Ellery Queen as he investigates a ballplayer’s stolen bat.

 

 

Episodes

The Great Gildersleeve

“The Halloween Party”

October 31, 1943

3:53

 

The Adventures of Ellery Queen

“The Adventure of the World Series Crime”

October 8, 1942

 

 


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It’s October, and, in honor of the World Series, this month I’ll be bringing you a couple of baseball-themed episodes.  First up is a CBS Radio Workshop adaptation of James Thurber’s “You Could Look It Up.”  Here, a baseball team’s manager tries an extreme tactic involving the strike zone in an effort to win a crucial game.  Then, on Dragnet, Friday goes undercover to bust a drug ring.

 

Episodes

CBS Radio Workshop

“You Could Look It Up”

July 7 1957

3:27

 

Dragnet

“The Big Meet”

October 26, 1950

29:03

 

 


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This time on Presenting the Transcription Feature, George Burns and Gracie Allen start things off.  George has inherited money that must be used for his college education.  So, at the age of 50, he’s attending college and none too happy about it.  To get him to stay, Gracie asks George’s pal Jack Benny to enroll as well.  Then Rex Stout’s famously fat (and famously brilliant) private investigator Nero Wolfe gets involved with a stolen Shakespeare First Folio.  What is a copy of it doing hidden in a volume of Spinoza that a cabby bought for 25 cents?

 

Episodes

Burns and Allen “George and Jack Go to College” November 29, 1945 6:24

 

The Amazing Nero Wolfe

“The Shakespeare Folio”

December 15, 1946

39:53

 


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