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 examinations of the world of newspapers and investigative reporting, first comedy, then something a little more dramatic.  The newspaper comic strip “Blondie” was created by Chic Young and started running in 1930.  It is still running, as I record this, almost 92 years later.  It features the domestic mis-adventures of the eponymous Blondie, and her husband Dagwood, Bumstead.  And, in this case, their children, son Alexander and daughter Cookie.  The success of the comic strip launched a series of 28 “Blondie” movies, produced from 1938 to 1950, all starring Penny Singleton as Blondie and Arthur Lake as Dagwood.  The weekly radio series, also starring Singleton and Lake, ran concurrently on various networks and for various sponsors from 1939 to 1950.  This is a typical episode, with Dagwood accidentally getting involved in embarrassing shenanigans.  And I particularly enjoy some of the sound effects. Then real-life politician, writer, and newspaper publisher Will Rogers, Jr. plays a heightened version of himself on “Rogers of the Gazette.”  This episode also features young reporters hunting for scandal, and finding just a bit of crime and peril.

Episodes

Blondie
November 3, 1948
“Blondie and The Tattletale” aka “Alexander’s Scandal Sheet”
2:50

Rogers of the Gazette
December 30, 1953
“Investigative Reporters”
29:04


“The Adventures of Father Brown” was broadcast on the Mutual Network during June and July of 1945, so only a few episodes were ever produced.  It starred Karl Swenson as the titular priest and part-time detective. The show was based on the Father Brown mysteries, written by G.K. Chesterton starting in 1910 and continuing until 1936, some 50 short stories.  Chesterton was a British, Catholic writer and part-time lay theologian.  He loved mysteries, and he used his character of Father Brown to show that a man of faith could also be a man of logic.  After matching wits with the good padre, put your feet up and laugh with Groucho on “You Bet Your Life.”  Tonight, his guests include has a UPS delivery man and a former silent film actress, not to mention a neon sign manufacturer and an amateur handwriting analysist.

Episodes

The Adventures of Father Brown
“The Three Tools of Death”
July 22, 1945
3:05

You Bet Your Life
“The Secret Word is ‘Chair’”
May 26, 1954
32:48


We start off tonight with another episode of “Gunsmoke.”  Here, a mysterious couple shoot four other strangers in town, sending Marshall Dillon and Chester after them all around the West.   Then, on “The Kraft Music Hall,” Bing Crosby is joined by actor Keenan Wynn for lots of World War II-era laughs and songs.

Episodes

Gunsmoke
March 21, 1953
“Pussy Cats"
1:34

The Kraft Music Hall
July 13, 1944
Guest:  Keenan Wynn
31:39

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_-_GUNSMOKE__THE_KRAFT_MUSIC_HALL.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

 
 
 

"Once Upon a Time"

UK Airing: January 25, 1968

US Airing: September 14, 1968

 
 

"Fallout"

UK Airing: February 1, 1968

US Airing September 21, 1968

A previous Number 2 returns to the Village and is given permission to crack the Prisoner using Degree Absolute. When it fails, it appears that the Prisoner is put on trial, but it is actually his recent tormentors who are which ultimately leads to escape.

Pulling back the curtain, the production of this final episode is as disjointed as the two TV episodes themselves. The audio for "Once Upon a Time", recorded over a year ago, was lost and so John and writer Jim Beard attempt to discuss the key points of an episode that Jim in particular, is not fond of in the least. They also talk about McGoohan's thumbing his nose (or perhaps biting his thumb?) at ITV when they cut short the series with a finale that makes absolutely no sense.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.


“My Man Godfrey” is a classic screwball comedy from 1936.  Filmed and set during the Great Depression, it stars William Powell as Godfrey, a “forgotten man”:  one of the millions of unemployed and down-and-out at the time.  Carol Lombard co-stars as the daughter of wealthy family who soon employ Godfrey as their butler.  Both Powell and Lombard reprised their roles for this episode of “The Lux Radio Theater.”

The Lux Radio Theater
May 9, 1938
“My Man Godfrey”
2:48

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_-_MY_MAN_GODFREY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

We begin this evening with “The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe.”  This is a particularly clever and twisty plot involving a high-stakes card game.  Then on “The Jack Benny Program,” Jack is a little concerned that his contract for next season hasn’t been renewed yet.  Is he going to be replaced by his competition?

Episodes

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe
January 12, 1951
“The Killer Cards”
1:38

The Jack Benny Program
April 11, 1954
“Jack Hasn’t Received His New Contract”
31:36

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_-_NERO_WOLFE__JACK_BENNY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:00pm EDT

Tonight, we start off with a couple episodes of “The Goldbergs.”  Not the TV series set in the 1980s, but the long-running radio series from the 1930s and 40s.  The show tells the story of the daily life of the Goldbergs, a Jewish family living in New York and, later, Connecticut. The program was created by and starred Gertrude Berg.  When the program moved to television in the 1950s, she was the first recipient of the Emmy Award for “Lead Comedy Actress.”  “The Goldbergs” was a daily, 15-minute dramedy.  The family was explicitly Jewish and explicitly trying to assimilate -- a true media rarity at the time.  Like the best of the Golden Age of Radio, the episodes produced during World War II are a real window into home front America.  “The Goldbergs” in particular concentrated on themes of everyone working together.  How good a writer was Gertrude Berg? Listen to Molly’s speech to another mother at the end of the first episode.  In 2013, that episode was added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry for works that "are culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States."  Then on “Information Please,” are you up on famous chapter titles, political defeats, and the origins of idiomatic phrases?  Get ready to stump the experts.

Episodes

The Goldbergs
July 9, 1942
Episode 1297 aka “Sammy Goes Into the Army”

The Goldbergs
Circa 1942
Episode 1338
4:26

Information Please
June 21, 1943
“Guests: Dr. C. Mildred Thompson and Christopher Morley”
30:58


We start off tonight with everyone’s favorite medical drama, “The Story of Dr. Kildare.”  Here Drs. Kildare and Gillespie help an aging Western movie star with psychological difficulties.  Then we drop by 79 Wistful Vista for a visit with “Fibber McGee and Molly.”  Tonight, Fibber is very busy with big business as he takes huge orders for the mysterious AJB Company.

Episodes

The Story of Dr. Kildare
February 23, 1951
“Buck Houston, Cowboy Star”
1:39

Fibber McGee and Molly
January 4, 1944
“AJB Company Western Branch Representative” aka “Representative for AJB Company”
29:05


We start off with a tale well-calculated to keep you in … “Suspense.”  In this twisty episode, tough guy actor Edward G. Robinson stars as both himself and as a humble little nothing of a man who has big ideas.  Robinson made his mark playing gangsters in movies like “Little Caesar” and “Key Largo,” not to mention the corrupt overseer Dathan in “The Ten Commandments.”  This episode is so clever and audacious.  Until the very end, the listener wonders what they are going to do with this.  How are they going to pull it off?  It’s a classic.  Then we return to “The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.”  Usually, it’s Phil who gets caught up in the ridiculous shenanigans.  This time it’s Alice, and she has some fantastic lines.  This episode directly follows the previous week’s wherein the character of Frankie Remley was forced to change his name to the actor’s actual name of Eliot Lewis.

Episodes

Suspense
October 17, 1946
“The Man Who Thought He Was Edward G. Robinson”
3:16

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show
October 12 1952
“The Stolen U.S. Mail”
32:50


The school bell is ringing, so let’s check in with a handful of very bright youngsters on “The Quiz Kids.”  I hope you know your baseball scoring rules, animals associated with each of the 48 (!) states, and that favorite topic of 8th graders everywhere: opera.  Then on “The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show,” the couple returns from vacation to find that Phil’s pal Frankie Remley has turned the Harris’ house into a hotel – and that’s not all he’s changed. 

 

Episodes

The Quiz Kids
August 15 1948
“If Dewey Is Elected, What Will He Wear Into the White House?”
2:06

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show
October 5, 1952
“Hotel Harris” aka “Remley is Elliot”
33:25


We start off tonight with another “X Minus One” adaptation of a classic science fiction short story.  This time it’s Tom Godwin’s “The Cold Equations,” a controversial tale that’s still a subject of discussion.  Then on “The Great Gildersleeve,” Mr. Peavy finally gets a day off while Gildy minds the drug store.  What could possibly go wrong?

 

Episodes

X Minus One

August 25, 1955

“Cold Equations” 

2:02

The Great Gildersleeve

February 7, 1951

“Day Off for Peavy – 30th Anniversary”

26:18


We start off tonight with another episode of that wonderful quiz show, “Information Please.”  This is an Armed Forces recording, which means that the original was recorded and then all the ads were taken out and replaced with short classical music breaks.  Are you up on the publication dates of certain famous literary works, the details of perfume production, and the strange behaviors of animals?  Then on “The Adventures of Ellery Queen,” Ellery finds himself investigating a twisty tale of diamond snuggling and murder.

 

Episodes

Information Please

October 2, 1944

“Guests:  Christopher Morley and Esme Davis”

2:26

The Adventures of Ellery Queen

September 7, 1947

“Number Thirty One”

33:14


“Mr. and Mrs. North” featured a married couple of sleuths.  They began their career in short stories written by Richard Lockridge in the 1930s, but soon progressed to novels, a movie, a Broadway play, an Edgar-Award-wining radio show, and eventually television in the 1950s.  They have affection for each other, and Mrs. North plays just as much a part in the stories as does her husband.  Then, with the success of the “The Jack Benny Program,” it was only natural there be spin-offs.  Singer Dennis Day got his own show in 1946.  “A Day in the Life of Dennis Day” features the Irish tenor not as Benny’s employee, but rather a drug store employee in a fictional small town.  But he’s still rather naïve, and you can bet he still sings.

Episodes

Mr. and Mrs. North

January 4, 1951

“Die Hard”  

1:57

 

A Day in the Life of Dennis Day

December 17, 1947

“Dennis Helps Mrs. Anderson Become President of the Ladies Club”

28:29


I like to start off the new year with these adaptations by “The Lux Radio Theater” of light, amusing tales.  “The Canterville Ghost” was a short story written by Oscar Wilde in 1887. Over the years, there have been numerous adaptations.  The latest version just aired in the U.K. on the BBC and starred Anthony Head of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” as the title character.  I assume this will be coming to American television soon.  So, in anticipation, here is the 1945 rendition, which features a lot of World War II-era material. 

 

The Lux Radio Theater

June 18, 1945

“The Canterville Ghost”

2:31

 


Even tough-guy detectives sometimes get involved in sentimental or humorous situations during their Christmas episodes.  And the fabulous, freelance insurance investigator of “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar,” is no exception.  Then it’s time for the cast of “The Jack Benny Program” to put on a play about letters to Santa before Jack and Mary go Christmas shopping at a department store.

 

Episodes

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

December 23, 1956

“The Missing Mouse Matter”

1:39

 

The Jack Benny Program

December 17, 1939

“Christmas Shopping for Perfume and a Necktie”

32:38


Welcome to another Christmas season on “Presenting the Transcription Feature.”  We’ll be doing one mystery and one comedy during each of this month’s episodes.  We begin with Sydney Greenstreet as that mighty, if lazy, private investigator, the titular hero of “The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe.”  This episode might be little darker than most Christmas stories, but it’s still a good mix of coziness, tough-guy action, and Wolfian brain power.  Then we go Christmas shopping with “The Great Gildersleeve.”  Try as he might, he just can’t seem to economize this year.

 

Episodes

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe

December 22, 1950

“The Slaughtered Santas”

1:50

 

The Great Gildersleeve

December 15, 1948

“Christmas Shopping” aka “Economy This Christmas”

32:09

 


This year would have been the 101st birthday of actor Ricardo Montalbán. We mark it with an episode of “Family Theater,” in which he plays the real-life hero / outlaw of Old California, Joaquin Murietta. Murietta was almost certainly the inspiration for the fictional hero / outlaw of Old California, Zorro. Then it’s Thanksgiving with all the gang on “The Jack Benny Program.” In this classic episode, Jack dreams he has been put on trial for the murder of a turkey. Both Phil Harris’ signature tune “That’s What I Like About the South,” and the Andrews Sisters’ hit “The Lady From 29 Palms,” get witty parodies.
 
Episodes
Family Theater
June 21, 1950
“Joaquin Murietta”
2:47
 

The Jack Benny Program
November 30, 1947
“Turkey Dream”
33:06


This October 27 marks the 163rd birthday of President Theodore Roosevelt.  T.R. is a mass of contradictions.  He was born sickly, but, through sheer force of will, built himself up to a big, bull moose of a man.  He was a One Percenter deeply concerned with the plight of the poor.  He was a native of Manhattan who went to Harvard, yet was passionate about the great outdoors and created the U.S. Forest Service which administers our National Parks.  On this

episode of “Biographies in Sound,” NBC radio interviews historians and contemporaries in order to gain insight into the man and his times.

 

Episode

 

Biographies in Sound

November 14, 1957 

“They Knew Theodore Roosevelt”

3:27


“Lights Out” was one of radio’s earliest suspense anthology dramas. A lot of its earlier episodes were criticized as being, frankly, gross, but this one is more restrained. It’s just plain creepy. Set in the typing pool / script department of a creepy radio show, it’s also one of the most meta. Then, on “The Jack Benny Program,” Dennis Day negotiates his contract, Rochester buys a race horse, and the gang puts on an Ozark melodrama.

Episodes

Lights Out

May 11, 1943

“Murder in the Script Department”

2:58

 

The Jack Benny Program

June 2, 1940

“Hillbilly Feud”

26:29


“The Columbia Workshop” was the CBS network’s series of experimental radio dramas, frequently adapting literary works. The show openly experimented with format, sound effects, and the power of music to convey emotion and theme. Tonight, we present an adaptation of a short story by the British fantasy writer Lord Dunsany. The music is by Bernard Herrmann. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he went on to score movies like “Citizen Kane, “The 7th Voyage of Sinbad,” and “North by Northwest.” Then, we return to comedy-in-academia with “The Halls of Ivy.” Dr. Hall appears to have won a major literary award, and both the school and his wife have big plans.

Episodes

The Columbia Workshop

December 19, 1936

“The Gods of The Mountain”

3:00

 

 The Halls of Ivy

April 28, 1950

“The Scofield Prize”

33:07


We start off with another classic episode of “Dragnet.” There’s a good mystery with a high-stakes villain, and I really enjoy all the throw-away, one-liner character moments. Then on “The Aldrich Family,” a typical high school situation turns in to a classic sit-com misunderstanding. But this one is executed particularly well.

Episodes

 

Dragnet

January 4, 1951

“The Big Holdup”

1:34

 

The Aldrich Family

December 11, 1947

“School Ring” aka “Henry Wants a School Ring”

31:47


There was no shortage of private detectives during the golden age of radio. We’ll start tonight with an entry new to our program: “Michael Shayne, Private Detective.” You’d never guess by listening to his tough but lovable voice here that star Wally Maher was the voice of Screwy Squirrel and the Turkey in the classic 1945 Tex Avery short “Jerky Turkey.” Tonight, he takes on a tricky case at a local college. Then on “You Bet Your Life,” Groucho Marx complains to a pharmacist about the amount of cotton in pill bottles, then banters with a Hollywood baker and a couple who have eight children.
 

Episodes

Michael Shayne, Private Detective

November 5, 1946

“Return to Huxley”

2:23

 

You Bet Your Life

October 28, 1953

“The Secret Word is ‘Chair’”

28:40


"The Girl Who Was Death"

UK Airing: January 18, 1968

US Airing: September 7, 1968

The Prisoner appears to have returned to London and is sent on a mission to find Professor Schnipps' rocket that is set to destroy London. But he must contend with a lovely female assassin first.

John and writer Jim Beard discuss this episode that both agree is fluff, but one finds it charming while the other just can't wait to get it over with. They also talk about McGoohan's pervious series, Danger Man, some of the better elements of this episode.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: OUAV_-_The_Girl_Who_Was_Death.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:22am EDT

Time to return to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “The Lone Ranger.” This time the Masked Man and Tonto intervene with competing gold strikes threaten to turn deadly. Then we see how things are going for “The Great Gildersleeve” and family. Inspired by such self-starters as Abraham Lincoln, Gildy decided to make something of himself, possibly even in politics.

Episodes

The Lone Ranger

June 6, 1941

“Gold Strike in the Chattos”

1:32

 

The Great Gildersleeve

October 22, 1947

“Congressman Gildersleeve”

31:15


We return to the world of crusading journalism with “Big Town.” Edward J. Pawley takes over from Edward G. Robinson as Steve Wilson, managing editor of “The Illustrated Press,” the leading newspaper in some Big Town. This episode proves conclusively that crime doesn’t pay and there is no honor among thieves. Then on “Fibber McGee and Molly,” Fibber thinks he’s found a sure-fire way to avoid taxes. Will the study of his town’s most ancient laws put him in clover or will he be eating crow?

Episodes

Big Town

November 9, 1948

“The Fatal Chain”

1:48

 

Fibber McGee and Molly

May 19, 1953

“Old Law to Escape Taxes”

32:38


On “Rogers of the Gazette,” Will Rogers, Jr. returns as the editor of that fictional small-town newspaper, the “Illyria Weekly Gazette.” Along with dispensing homespun common sense and aphorism-filled advice to the betterment of his readers and fellow citizens, this week he’s solving a minor mystery: is Abraham Lincoln complaining about the maintenance of the town’s city hall clock? Then on “Archie Andrews,” Archie and Jughead’s passion for using all the latest slang in conversation isn’t going over so well with the rest of Riverdale’s residents.

Episodes

Rogers of the Gazette

November 11, 1953

“The Town Clock”

2:07

Archie Andrews

May 18, 1946

“Jive Talk” aka “Hip Talk”

32:22


UK Airing: December 29, 1967

US Airing: No Network Airing

The Prisoner is trapped in a town called Harmony after trying to resign as the sheriff of another town. Sound familiar? It does to the viewer, but the Prisoner isn't twigging to what's happening.

John and writer Jim Beard discuss the Western and what it means to each of them, the completely wasted opportunity in the writing of the ending of the story, and the symbolism of washing hands.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: OUAV_-_Living_in_Harmony.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

 Episodes  

Suspense

October 25, 1945

“A Shroud for Sarah”

1:43

 

The Jack Benny Program

November 19, 1944

“From Corona Naval Hospital”

32:24


UK Airing: December 22, 1967

US Airing: August 3, 1968

The Prisoner finds himself in another body, but back in London. He must convince the woman he loves that he is himself while tracking down the man who invented the process that put him in another body.

John and writer Jim Beard discuss Jim's wanting to remove this episode from the entirety of the series, John's only real issue with it being the end scene, and a possible explanation for The Prisoner's hostility to women.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: OUAV-Do_Not_Forsake_Me.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 10:45am EDT

We start off with more of Old Time Radio’s quintessential medical drama, “The Story of Dr. Kildare.”  A tricky operation performed at a hospital is one thing, but a simple operation performed at in an unusual location is another.  How will Dr. Kildare remove an appendix from a man who is miles away at sea?  Then on “Duffy’s Tavern,” the Great Gildersleeve himself drops by to listen to another one of Archie’s business opportunities.

 

Episodes

 

The Story of Dr. Kildare

August 17, 1950

Appendicitis Operation at Sea

1:53

 

Duffy’s Tavern

November 24, 1944

“Guest: Harold Peary”

29:04


UK Airing: December 15, 1967

US Airing: August 24, 1968

The Prisoner is subjected to a process that will lobotomize him when he refuses to conform with the Village and its people.

John and writer Jim Beard discuss the episode that on the surface, is a perfect example of what the show is all about. And yet, there are elements that the two have issues with, and they discuss it in detail on this podcast.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: OUAV_-_A_Change_of_Mind.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

"Dreams of Flight"

December 13, 1975

Chala likes to design airplanes and wants to enter the school competition, but her competition is willing to go to any lengths to make sure she doesn't. To make matters worse, Chala's brother is not supportive of her "Dreams of Flight".

We come to the end of the first season of Isis with a story whose moral doesn't exactly match the plot. Is this a story about accepting that all people are deserving of respect or is this a story about accepting that woman are as capable of doing anything a man can do? John and Richard discuss this as well as the the story arc of Cindy Lee and the conclusion of the first season of Isis.

It's all here and we want to hear from you on what you think of the episode. Write us as ShazamIsisPodcast@gmail.com.

Moral: "People who come from different backgrounds or from different countries deserve the same respect we give everyone else. Putting someone down because they speak a different language or are a different color just doesn't make sense. What does make sense is treating people just the way we want them to treat us."

Guest Cast

Cynthia Avila as Chala

Paul Hinkley as Mark

Tom Williams as Bill

Fabian Gregory as Raoul

Direct download: Shazam_Isis_-_Ep_45.mp3
Category:Shazam/Isis Podcast -- posted at: 8:09am EDT

"Professor Goodfellow's GEEC"

Aired: September 23, 1973

 

Professor Goodfellow has developed the means to make humanity's life so much more simpler - the GEEC - a computer system that will run the world and handle all the tasks that occupy humanity and keep them from reaching their full potential. He offers it for free to the world when the US government passes on getting involved. At first, it all seems fine, until a malfunction causes worldwide havoc. While Superman and Aquaman race to rescue as many people as possible, Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman must infiltrate the GEEC complex and shut the computer down.

 

Sounds great, doesn't it? On paper, it is a great idea, but as John is joined by 13th Dimension webmaster Dan Greenfield to discuss this episode, they discover that being a Saturday morning cartoon in the thick of Congress's crackdown on violence, the story is simplified and so much is missing. They talk about the story ideas missing in the concept, the appearance of Plastic Man, and comment on the phenomenon of computers gone bad in the 60s and 70s.

John references The Ultimate Super Friends Companion by Will Rodgers. Check it out for yourself by purchasing a copy via Amazon.

 

Dan Greenfield is the editor and co-creator of 13thDimension.com, a website devoted primarily to comics and pop culture, past and present. To him, the basic food groups are Batman, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek (the Original Series), James Bond, the Beatles and the Stones. But if he had to he'd be able to subsist on Batman alone. Channel 11 in New York was his favorite syndicated channel as a kid -- you can guess why -- followed closely by Channel 5. Channel 9 didn't really enter into it unless he was home sick and there wasn't much else on. He's married to his remarkably patient wife Wendy and his best sidekick is his son, Sam. They have two cats,Lex and Zod.

 

Links

13th Dimension Website

Facebook page

Twitter

 
Direct download: WGSFP_-_Prof_Goodfellows_GEEC.mp3
Category:The World's Greatest Super Friends Podcast -- posted at: 10:04am EDT

UK Airing: December 8, 1967

US Airing: August 10, 1968

The Prisoner learns of a plot to kill Number Two on the eve of his retirement. Does he act on it or does he allow it to proceed?

John and writer Jim Beard discuss the episode that has its good and bad points.  They talk about the idea of previous Number Twos we haven't seen, the strong ties to Doctor Who's "Marco Polo", and the question of if it's worth bringing The Prisoner to your side by this stage in the series.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: OUAV-Its_Your_Funeral.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 7:55am EDT

Episodes

Information Please

December 12, 1941

“Guest: Dr. George N. Shuster”

1:37

Gunsmoke

February 21, 1953

“Meshougah”

29:29


UK Airing: December 1, 1967

US Airing: August 31, 1968

 

The Prisoner matches wits with the new Number Two as Two tries to be the Hammer to The Prisoner's Anvil.  But who is really the Hammer?  

John and writer Jim Beard discuss the impact this episode had on Jim as a young person and why it is a favorite of Jim's father.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: OUAV-Hammer_Into_Anvil.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 8:02am EDT

Episodes 

Jeff Regan, Investigator

November 13, 1948

“The Guy From Gower Gulch”

2:32

 

The Jack Benny Program

January 17, 1954

“Jack Gets A Parking Ticket”

32:45


Let’s return to “The Lux Radio Theater” for an adaptation of the brilliant 1944 film noir mystery, “Laura.”  You can miss a lot in an audio adaptation of a film noir, but luckily this version features the two main stars and one of the supporting players.  Dana Andrews and Gene Tierney return, as does Vincent Price.  Otto Kruger Takes over Clifton Webb’s role.  Close your eyes and enjoy.

The Lux Radio Theater

February 5, 1945

“Laura”

1:53


UK Airing: November 24, 1967

US Airing: August 17, 1968

 

The Prisoner appears to have the upper hand as he manages to recruit a team to aid him in his quest to escape. But is a woman who loves him a little too easily the mole in the escape group or is the Prisoner just another pawn in a game he cannot win? John and writer Jim Beard discuss what many consider a quintessential episode of the series and your two hosts agree. There is also a level of humor that we don't often see in the series, but it works.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: Once_Upon_a_Village_-_Checkmate.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 9:09am EDT

Episodes

The Jack Benny Program

December 24, 1944

“Trimming A Tree”

2:17

 

The Great Gildersleeve

January 1, 1947

“Big New Year’s Costume Ball”

32:32


Normally, we include a brief synopsis of the episode to remind folks what it is we are talking about, but John and writer Jim Beard found themselves hard pressed to determine what exactly the plot was of this story. It appears that this is made up of several story threads that never really seem to come together in a satisfying way. Many argue that The Prisoner was weird for weird's sake and this episode could make a strong case for that.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: OUAV_-_Dance_of_the_Dead.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 6:02am EDT

Episodes

Archie Andrews

December 17, 1949

“Christmas Shopping”

1:32

Big Town

December 21, 1948

“Prelude To Christmas”

30:24


 

 Episodes

Claudia

November 27, 1947

“Thanksgiving Dinner”

December 1, 1947

“We’re Just Looking”

2:30

 

Philco Radio Time

November 27, 1946

“Guest: Judy Garland”

32:47


Episodes

The Jack Benny Program

November 30, 1952

“Thanksgiving Pilgrims”

1:35

 

The Abbott and Costello Program

November 23, 1944

“Thanksgiving Dinner at Bud’s House”

31:42


Episodes

Let George Do It

August 16, 1948

“The Ghost on Bliss Terrace”

1:51

 

The Great Gildersleeve

November 1, 1950

“Election Day”

32:34


The stars of the popular movie series, Lew Ayres as Dr. James Kildare and Lionel Barrymore as his friend and mentor Dr. Leonard Gillespie, reprised their roles for radio. Together, they interacted with people from all walks of life who had all manner of difficulties, medical and other. Then we return to “Life With Luigi.” J. Carroll Naish plays the optimistic, yet naïve, Italian immigrant trying to adapt to a new life in America. Tonight, he’s hoping to use the new technology of television to drum up business.

 

Episodes

 

The Story of Dr. Kildare

February 9, 1951

“Anthrax Infection”

2:28

 

Life With Luigi

January 24, 1950

“Using Television to Increase Business”

30:30


“The Judy Canova Show” was one of those radio sitcoms with a stage and radio star playing a heightened version of herself living in Hollywood hoping to made good. In this episode, Judy is eager to become the New Year’s Rose Queen. That leads to dream sequence, featuring Mel Blanc handling multiple voices, with Judy in a Queen of the Klondike pageant. Then “The Quiz Kids” amaze with their general breath of knowledge and math skills. This episode includes an interview with a Kid who actually has gone to Hollywood and made good. Smylla Brind had appeared on the show a number of times, but, as we hear, she’s changed her name to Vanessa Brown and is now an actress under contract to 20th Century Fox.
 
Episodes
 
The Judy Canova Show
December 14, 1946
“Queen of the Rose Bowl”
3:46
 
The Quiz Kids
July 21, 1946
“If a Brick Weighs One Pound Plus One Half Brick, How Much Does The Brick Weigh?”
34:50

"Many Happy Returns"

UK Airing: November 10, 1967

US Airing: July 20, 1968

 

The Prisoner awakens in a Village that is completely empty with all power cut off. After making sure it isn't a trick, he sets out to escape and makes his way back to London where his only ally is the woman who now lives in his home and drives his car.

John and writer Jim Beard discuss this unusual episode in detail, including a comparison with "The Chimes of Big Ben", the appeal of Georgina Cookson as Number Two and The Prisoner's Lotus Seven.

Comment on this podcast by writing us at thechronicrift@gmail.com or by leaving your thoughts right here on the page.

Direct download: Once_Upon_A_Village_-_Many_Happy_Returns.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 4:46pm EDT

 We start off with the original old-time radio western, “Death Valley Days.”  In this episode, a female prospector goes to extraordinary lengths to prevent claim jumpers.  Then on “The Jack Benny Program,” Rochester is cleaning Jack’s den while Jack travels to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew his driver’s license.

Episodes

Death Valley Days

June 16, 1939

“Shoo Fly” 

2:11

 

The Jack Benny Program

November 16, 1947

“Cleaning Jack’s Den”

28:32


Episode 58—Geek Actors Live on Stage

Science fiction writer and editor Scott Pearson’s cohost Ella Pearson puts the “geek” in “theatre geek,” sharing stories of living in London and seeing various plays live on stage which featured actors we all know and love from genre movies and TV.

Segments

02:56 English Actors vs. American Actors

04:04 Scott’s Adventures at the Theatre, Pt. 1

06:56 Martin Freeman in The Dumb Waiter

10:21 Scott’s Adventures at the Theatre, Pt. 2

10:56 Danny Dyer in The Dumb Waiter

12:54 Rupert Graves in Victoria Station

13:51 Celebrity Distractions

15:59 Scott’s Adventures at the Theatre, Pt. 3

17:20 Charlie Cox, Zawe Ashton, and Tom Hiddleston in Betrayal

23:09 Go to the Theatre

23:34 Tom Hiddleston and Shakespeare

24:56 Ella IS Frau Schmidt

25:56 Arthur Darvill in Sweet Charity (plus Hiddleston in Coriolanus)

31:40 Scott’s Adventures at the Theatre, Pt. 4

33:42 Missed Plays

34:50 Halley Atwell in Rosmersholm

37:42 At the Stage Door

39:58 Favorite Performances

Direct download: GenGeek58.mp3
Category:Generations Geek -- posted at: 11:47am EDT

"The General"

UK Airing: November 3, 1967

US Airing: July 13, 1968

 

The Prisoner goes on a quest to find "The General", the force behind a learning method that is being adopted by the entire Village.  But what is the purpose of this learning method and why does it seem more devious than it first appears?

John and writer Jim Beard discuss applied learning techniques, the music of the series, and the types of episodes one finds in this series in an episode that does not match John's memories of watching it growing up and has never been a favorite of Jim's.

Take a moment to comment on the episode here or by writing thechronicrift@gmail.com.

Direct download: Once_Upon_a_Village_-_The_General.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 10:30am EDT

"The Schizoid Man"

UK Airing: October 27, 1967

US Airing: July 6, 1968

The Prisoner awakens to find himself in a new home with a new look and everyone calling him Number Twelve.  And who is this Number Six who looks exactly like him?

John and writer Jim Beard discuss the appearance of actress Jane Merrow, the use of Rover, and McGoohan's performance as both The Prisoner and Number Twelve.  

Take a moment to comment on the episode here or by writing thechronicrift@gmail.com.  

Direct download: Once_Upon_a_Village_-_The_Schizoid_Man.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 6:48pm EDT

Vincent Price returns as Simon Templar, aka “The Saint,” the Robin Hood of Modern Crime, solving tricky problems for all sorts of folks.  Here the case of a kidnapped heiress takes him to an exclusive finishing school where romance has led to danger.  Then on “The Great Gildersleeve,” a fishing expedition lands Gildy and Leroy hot water.

 

Episodes 

 

The Saint

November 5, 1950

“Miss Godby’s School for Girls” 

2:37

 

The Great Gildersleeve

May 5, 1948

“Fish Fry”

32:00


 We start off with the first episode of “Big Town.”  Edward G. Robinson creates the role of Steve Wilson, the crusading, yet sometimes muckraking, editor of a big city newspaper.  There’s dark humor, drama, and plenty of melodrama.  Then Joan Davis, who would eventually star in the early television classic comedy “I Married Joan,” begins her career in radio.  She plays the proprietress of a small village store in “The Sealtest Village Store.”  She’s prone to all the difficulties an unmarried woman in radio comedy had to face, but there’s some great laughs and songs.

Episodes

 

Big Town

October 19, 1937

“Steve Wilson Is Shot”

3:44

 

The Sealtest Village Store

June 7, 1945

“Sell Bonds, Win a Screen Test”

35:05


"Free For All"

UK Airing: October 20, 1967

US Airing: June 29, 1968

 

The Prisoner is thrust into the politics of the Village as he runs for the position of Number Two.

John and writer Jim Beard discuss an episode that was produced second and yet aired fourth and that bothers Jim.  They discuss how the episodes actually played out on television regardless of production, how this episode is timeless in its commentary on elections, and the dig the episode takes at the Fifth Estate.  

Take a moment to comment on the episode here or by writing chronicrift@gmail.com.  One source used for this episode was The Official Prisoner Companion by Matthew White and Jaffer Ali.

Direct download: Once_Upon_A_Village_-_Free_For_All.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 3:27pm EDT

 “Lux Radio Theatre” presents yet another star-studded adaptation of a cinema classic.  This time, it’s the 1950 film “All About Eve.” Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, and Gary Merrill reprise their roles from the Academy- Award-wining film originally written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

 

Lux Radio Theater 

October 1, 1951

“All About Eve”

2:14


"A. B. and C."

UK Airing: October 13, 1967

US Airing: June 22, 1968

 

Number Two has only one more chance to get the information they need from The Prisoner.  He turns to a new brain scanning technique of Number Fourteen's for help.

John and author Jim Beard discuss the direction of this episode, how it is a much smoother episode than fan favorite, "The Chimes of Big Ben" and continue their discussion of episode order in light of how this episode plays out.  Please make sure you comment here or by writing us at chronicrift@gmail.com.

Direct download: OUAV_-_ABandC.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 8:32am EDT

Episode 57—The Immersive War of the Worlds

Science fiction writer and editor Scott Pearson’s cohost Ella Pearson recounts surviving a Martian invasion with a walkthrough of her visit to Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of the War of the Worlds: The Immersive Experience. Sets, actors, and VR headsets put her into the middle of a nineteenth-century London swarming with Martian tripods! Warning: spoilers for people lucky enough to be able to attend the Immersive Experience themselves.

 

Segments

00:27 Intro

01:04 A Musical War of the Worlds?!

03:15 An Immersive Overview

15:25 The Invasion Begins

17:35 Looking for Carrie

19:45 Evacuating London

21:00 Captured by Martians

26:00 Going Underground

29:00 Into the Air

30:15 The End of the Martians

31:10 Surviving the Invasion

32:13 Down the Pub

33:18 Final Thoughts

Direct download: GenGeek57.mp3
Category:Generations Geek -- posted at: 7:51am EDT

We start off with another episode of “The Aldrich Family,” that domestic sitcom featuring the adventures of teen-ager Henry Aldrich.  This episode, centering on a neighborhood wedding, is several notches above the usual fare, with some particularly clever lines and funny misunderstandings – all the elements you need for a solid sitcom.  Then let’s test our collective brainpower with an episode of “Information Please.”  Are you up on famous elopements, occupations of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence, and schoolteachers in fiction?

 

Episodes

The Aldrich Family

May 13, 1948

“Date with Helen Forbes” 

aka “Wedding Day Date with Helen Forbes”

1:47

Information Please
August 1, 1941

“Guests:  Lyman Bryson and Henry Noble McCracken”

30:18


 "The Chimes of Big Ben"

UK Airing: October 6, 1967

US Airing: June 8, 1968

 

One of the fan favorites, in the second episode of the series, The Prisoner has a chance to escape thanks to meeting a prisoner who a similar background to our hero.

John and author Jim Beard discuss the plot choices of this particular story, pose the questions, "Does anyone really ever leave?", and "Is the viewer as much a prisoner as The Prisoner himself?".  Please make sure you comment here or by writing us at chronicrift@gmail.com.

Direct download: Once_Upon_A_Village_-_The_Chimes_of_Big_Ben.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 9:03pm EDT

 Groucho Marx kicks things off with an episode of “You Bet Your Life.”  He trades barbs with a taxi driver from Vienna, and an Irish-American Texan tells how he met his wife when he ruined her cake at a St. Patrick’s Day party.  Then, on “Vic and Sade,” their teen-aged son Rush is staying up late hoping to finish off the leftovers from a neighbor’s party.  Later, both Rush and Vic have to fight the temptation to draw a mustache on a sleeping man.

Episodes

 

You Bet Your Life

December 6, 1950

“The Secret Word is ‘Hair’”

2:08

 

Vic and Sade

1940

“Too Many Faces in the Windows” 

aka “Ice Cream and Salted Peanuts at Midnight” 

“Mr. Sludge Grows a Mustache”

aka “Sleepers Beware”

31:48


"Arrival"

UK Airing: September 29, 1967

US Airing: June 1, 1968

 

Your Chronic Rift host, John S. Drew, is joined by author/editor Jim Beard to explore this cult limited series in the first of our limited series summer podcasts.  You know Jim from such podcasts as The Batcave Podcast, The Hornet's Sting Podcast, and right here on The Chronic Rift.  Together, as a pair of fans with some knowledge of the series between them, they will explore each episode and try to come up with their only answer to what it is we all want - information.

In the first episode, John and Jim discuss the pilot episode, the Village, and Patrick McGoohan as an actor.  Please make sure you comment here or by writing us at chronicrift@gmail.com.

Direct download: Once_Upon_a_Village_-_001_-_Arrival.mp3
Category:Once Upon a Village -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

 We start off this week with some clever science fiction in the form of “X Minus One.”  In this episode, some hapless humans find themselves at the mercy of an alien lifeboat bent on saving their lives no matter what.  It’s an adaptation of Robert Sheckley’s “The Lifeboat Mutiny.”  Then, on “The Jack Benny Show,” Jack obsesses about the $4.75 he lost on a horse race, and the event manifests itself in the form of a hilariously strange dream. Also, the gang sings a parody of that ballad of a fighting Irishman, “Clancy Lowered the Boom.”

Episodes

X Minus One

September 11, 1956

“The Lifeboat Mutiny”

1:46

 

The Jack Benny Show

May 2, 1954

“Jack Loses $4.75 at the Race Track”

31:56


It’s National Library Week, from April 19th to 25th of 2020, so we’re going to present two transcriptions, one a thriller and the other a comedy, centering on libraries.  First up, in this episode of “Suspense,” movie star Myrna Loy, who you probably know as Nora Charles in the “Thin Man” movies, is a librarian whose investigations into a vandalized copy of “Gone With the Wind” seem to point to a kidnapping.  Then on “Fibber McGee and Molly,” Fibber receives a bill for an overdue library book, which he can’t find.

Episodes

Suspense 

September 20, 1945

“Library Book”

2:13

 

Fibber McGee and Molly

November 21, 1939

“Overdue Library Book”

33:52


Will Rogers, Jr. was an American politician, writer, and newspaper publisher. When he wasn’t involved in politics, he was frequently found acting in movies, television, and even radio.  Tonight we present “Rogers of the Gazette,” his series where he plays a modified version of himself. Here he runs the fictional small-town newspaper, the “Illyria Weekly Gazette,” and dispenses homespun common sense and aphorism-filled advice to the betterment of his readers and fellow citizens.  Then on “Our Miss Brooks” what could possibly go wrong when one of Connie’s students whips up a new form of egg dye?

 

Episodes

Rogers of the Gazette

August 12, 1953

“Land Deal”

2:13

 

Our Miss Brooks

April 9, 1950

“Dyeing Easter Eggs”

32:21


Here’s another bonus quarantine-themed episode for you to help pass the time.  We begin with “The Adventures of Horatio Hornblower.”  Horatio Hornblower started life in a series of adventure novels written by C. S. Forester from the 1930s to the 1960s.  Hornblower is a British officer in the Royal Navy during the Age of Sail, the Napoleonic Wars of the 1800s.  That’s the same time period as Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin or “Master and Commander” series.  If you like one, you’ll like the other.  Then, on “Fibber McGee and Molly,” all the usual gang has been quarantined at the McGee residence for a week due to measles.  Let’s check in and see if everyone is still on their best behavior.

 

Episodes

The Adventures of Horatio Hornblower

August 18, 1952 / May 8, 1953

“Quarantined for the Plague”

2:47

Fibber McGee and Molly

March 11, 1941

“Quarantined With Measles”

24:27


“If Freedom Failed” was a radio program created by the Armed Forces Radio Service. It depicted an alternate America in the 1950s that had been taken over by Communists. Each of the 26 episodes was inspired by actual events in Communist nations, but presented filtered through the prism of American life in fictional Springfield, U.S.A. This episode centers on a museum where historical facts are being altered to suit the Party.  Then on “Duffy’s Tavern,” actor Vincent Price drops by to visit “The Ham’s Club,” a dining establishment for actors only that barkeep Archie is trying to promote.

 

Episodes

If Freedom Failed
Episode 1, 1951
“A Matter of Fact”
2:37

Duffy’s Tavern
January 26, 1951
“Actor’s Club at the Tavern”
34:55


Here’s a special bonus episode for everyone stuck inside and starved for entertainment -- two episodes on the theme of quarantine.  First up on “Have Gun Will Travel,” Paladin helps a Native American man whose sick cattle result in others enforcing a quarantine around his land with their rifles.  Then on “The Jack Benny Program,” Jack is sick in bed, and the gang is NOT practicing “social distancing” as they keep dropping by to visit.

 

Episodes

 

Have Gun Will Travel

February 22, 1959

“Winchester Quarantine”

1:43

 

“The Jack Benny Program”

March 18, 1951

“Jack Talks About His Illness the Previous Week”

26:36


Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, it’s “Lux Radio Theatre” with their adaptation of the 1949 film “Top o’ the Morning.”  This tale of a singing insurance investigator – NOT Johnny Dollar – stars Dennis Day from “The Jack Benny Show.”  Academy Award-winner Barry Fitzgerald and nominee Ann Blyth reprise their roles as residents of the Emerald Isle caught up in Day’s search for the stolen Blarney Stone.

Lux Radio Theatre 

March 17, 1952

“Top o’ the Morning”

2:55


 “It Pays to Be Married” was a daytime game show aimed at housewives.  Five days a week, Jay Stewart interviewed couples from all walks of life who had faced and solved problems within their marriages. It was an inspirational, if generally light-hearted, program.  On tonight’s program, Jay interviews a Latvian war bride who had trouble adjusting to life in America.  Then Phil Harris and Alice Faye explain the marriage-centric origin of their radio show and tell the unexpectedly moving story of the birth of their first child.  Next, on “The Bob Hope Show,” Bob teams with fellow radio comedian Fred Allen.  The two bemoan television’s threat to their radio careers and decide to break into the new medium.

 

Episodes

It Pays to Be Married

January 27, 1954

“Guests:  Mr. and Mrs. John Scovern”

March 8, 1954

“Guests:  Phil Harris and Alice Faye”

2:31

 

The Bob Hope Show

February 7, 1950

“From the Vine Street Playhouse with Fred Allen”

32:30


 We start out with a very faithful adaptation of the one of the oddest short stories in American literature, Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener.” It’s the story of a Wall Street office clerk, Bartleby, whose job is to make copies of documents. Then one day, he doesn’t want to, saying simply "I would prefer not to."  Indeed, he would prefer not to do anything.  It’s an enigmatic tale presented by the “The NBC Theater.”  Then the cast of “The Danny Kaye Show” celebrates Valentine’s Day.  Danny portrays “Dan Cupid” in a sketch about the little cherub spreading love and sings one of his patented dialect songs about Russian acting coach Stanislavski.

 

Episodes

The NBC Theater

December 2, 1950

“Bartleby, the Scrivener”

2:52

 

The Danny Kaye Show

February 10, 1945

“A Valentine for Jack Benny”

32:52


During the Golden Age of Radio, there was almost no Afrocentric programming, and what little there was was comedy or music.  “New World A-Coming” broke that mold.  This series of docudramas was created by African-American journalist Roi Ottley and inspired by his Peabody-Award-winning book of the same name examining life in Harlem.  This episode takes on domestic service inequality as well as the inequality which took place in the armed forces during World War II.  Then on “You Bet Your Life,” Groucho grills two high school students about vocabulary they should know.  Next, a married couple sailing around the world recall how they met while in the Army.

 

Episodes

New World A-Coming

June 18, 1944

“The Mammy Legend”

3:04

 

You Bet Your Life

January 30, 1952

“The Secret Word is ‘Food’”

28:24


SLXLM

“The Jack Benny Show” starts the year off right, with talk of Christmas presents and Jack and the gang going to the Rose Bowl for the New Year’s Day game.  Then on “Information Please,” are you up on are you up on famous dinner parties, the first words of poems, and the specialized slang of obscure professions?  Get ready to stump the experts.

 

The Jack Benny Show

January 5, 1941

“Rose Bowl Game – Stanford vs. Nebraska”

2:13

 

Information Please

January 23, 1942

“Guests: and Alexander Wolcott and Deems Taylor”

32:20


 Episode 56—All Aboard the Hogwarts Express

Science fiction writer Scott Pearson’s cohost Ella Pearson recounts her many Harry Potter-themed adventures while living in England: visiting places where J. K. Rowling worked on the books, spotting filming locations from the movies, making two trips to the Harry Potter Set Tour, and seeing the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

 

Segments

00:28 Intro

01:20 Rowling in Edinburgh

05:31 Digression: Doctor Who in Glasgow

06:21 Platform 9 3/4

08:40 Harry Potter Studio Tour

18:18 Interlude: A Wee Bit More o’ Scotland

18:58 Back in the Studio

35:15 Potter Nostalgia

37:25 Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Direct download: GenGeek56.mp3
Category:Generations Geek -- posted at: 8:12am EDT

We’re going to spend Christmas with “The Great Gildersleeve” and family.  Teen-aged Marjorie would rather go out on date, unexpected guests drop by, and we’re treated to Lillian Randolph as Birdie singing a Christmas spiritual.  Then Eve Arden returns as “Our Miss Brooks,” a high school English teacher who never gets a break, not even during the holidays.  In need of cash to attend a New Year’s party, she lets herself be talked in to babysitting job on the big night.

 

The Great Gildersleeve

December 23, 1945

“Christmas Eve at Home”

1:46

 

Our Miss Brooks

January 1, 1950

“Babysitting on New Year’s Eve”

32:18


What would Christmas be without Jack Benny going Christmas shopping and doing it on the cheap?  On this episode of “The Jack Benny Show,” Jack tries to decide between metal- or plastic-tipped shoe laces as a gift for Don Wilson.  Then on “Fibber McGee and Molly,” Fibber tries to make a fruitcake using an old family recipe, but his lack of skills (not to mention smarts) keeps getting in the way.

 

 

 

The Jack Benny Show

December 8, 1946

“Jack Buys Don Shoe Laces for Christmas”

2:06

 

Fibber McGee and Molly

December 16, 1947

“Aunt Sarah’s Fruitcake”

32:00


 Thanksgiving is coming for the great schnozzola and his handsome sidekick on “The Jimmy Durante and Gary Moore Show.”  We learn about Gary’s ancestor, Casanova Moore’s, efforts to invent the kiss. Then the cast gives a jazzy spin to the Miles Standish / John Alden / Priscilla Mullins love triangle.  Next up is “Duffy’s Tavern.” This is not specially a Christmas episode, but it references Christmas and centers on Archie’s plan to make a little money for the holidays.

 

Episodes

 

The Jimmy Durante and Gary Moore Show

November 22, 1946

“Thanksgiving Pilgrim Opera”

3:18

 

Duffy’s Tavern

December 21, 1951

“Archie to Buy a Split Atom”

32:53


Bob Bailey stars as the man with the action-packed expense account, that fabulous freelance insurance investigator, the eponymous “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.”  Johnny finds himself in Los Angeles, where the beneficiary of murdered penny arcade operator’s insurance is an aging movie queen from the days of the silent films.  The plot’s twists and turns take Johnny from Venice Beach to skid row to a swanky movie colony beach house.  

 

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar 

October 29 – November 2, 1956

“The Silent Queen Matter”

2:18


 Tonight we’re going to do something unusual. I’m going to give you two versions of the same World Series-themed episode of “The Bob Hope Show.” But don’t worry; you’ll get very little repeated material. The show as aired went out on October 11, 1949. We’ll play that second.  First you’ll hear the longer, unedited rehearsal for that episode, recorded a week earlier. Some of that audio was used in the final broadcast and some of the bits were re-recorded.  You’ll hear flubs, false starts, and ad libs.

 

Episodes

 

The Bob Hope Show

October 6, 1949

“Rehearsal”

4:17

 

The Bob Hope Show

October 11, 1949

“Guests: Jackie Robinson & Joe Page”

41:37


We start off with “You Bet Your Life.” Groucho talks with a woman who met her husband when she fell into his drum kit, a “spinster,” and a lighthouse keeper.  Then on “Romance of the Ranchos,” we visit the islands off the coast of southern California.  If you’ve read Scott O’Dell’s “Island of the Blue Dolphins,” you may be familiar with some of the strange goings-on in these islands’ past.

 

Episodes

 

You Bet Your Life

November 30, 1949

“The Secret Word is ‘Window’”

2:48

 

Romance of the Ranchos

February 4, 1942

“The Island of Santa Catalina and the Channel Islands”

34:45


 We start off with “Information Please.” Are you up on the wives of King Henry VIII, children in literature, Shakespeare, and soup?  Get ready to stump the experts.  Then on “The Abbott and Costello Show,” Lou returns to his old grade school, P.S. #15 in Patterson, NJ to appear in a production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

 

Episodes

 

Information Please

May 30, 1941

“Guests:  Jan Struther and Cornelia Otis Skinner”

1:41

 

The Abbott and Costello Show

November 16, 1944

“Lou Visits His Grade School”

31:03


"The Rescue of Athena One"
Airdate: March 15, 1974
Written by D.C. Fontana
Directed by Lawrence Doheney

Synopsis: Steve trains Kelly Wood, the world's first female astronaut, for her first mission in space.  Their relationship proves to be fractious, but when her craft experiences a malfunction, it's up to Steve to come to the rescue.  There's one other wrinkle in all this - bionics malfunction in zero gravity.  It's up to Kelly to bring the craft back to Earth.

John is joined by artist Jerry Lange and longtime fan Cathleen ONeiil to discuss this eighth episode of the series.  They discuss the fashion choice of including a painted flower on a spacesuit boot, the level of detail that went into the making of this episode, and how the song, "Midnight Train to Georgia" was about Lee and Farrah.  Plus, we get to the bottom of the Kelly Wood/Woods confusion, Jerry shares his photo from the Six Million Dollar Man fan club and Cathleen shares photos of her extensive collection, and we play a "Space" themed game of This or That.

Direct download: The_OSI_Files_010.mp3
Category:The OSI Files -- posted at: 6:14pm EDT

First up, it’s “The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe” with Sidney Greenstreet as the rotund, yet brilliant private investigator.  Hard to believe it, but Wolfe actually leaves his brownstone mansion to do a little detecting.  Then we return to England as the bumbling government officials of “The Men from the Ministry” investigate a phantom train in a country village.

Episodes

 The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe

March 16, 1951

“The Case of the Midnight Ride”

1:50

 

The Men from the Ministry

August 29, 1965

“Train of Events”

31:00


"ALIAS, THE SCARF"

AIRED: FEBRUARY 24, 1967

The Hornet takes on a killer from the past come back to life.  In another unusual story that didn't fall under the Hornet's usual MO of operations, we're given the series first true rogue.  Does The Scarf live up to the potential the story sets up?  How does he compare with other figures who appear from the past in series such as The Flash and Batman: The Animated Series?  What is it with Casey that her use in the series is so uneven? And what gets Jim and John all excited about Kato in this episode?

The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comics and Television by Martin Grams and Terry Salomonson is a reference work we're consulting as we move through the series.  Pick up your copy by clicking on the link and getting it today.

Take a listen and then let us know what you think of the episode by writing us here or at thebatcavepodcast@gmail.com.

Direct download: The_Hornets_Sting_021.mp3
Category:The Hornet's Sting -- posted at: 6:00pm EDT

 First up it’s “X Minus One” with one of their most intellectual episodes:  “Appointment in Tomorrow,” which asks what role public perception plays in science.  Then Bob Bailey stars private problem-solver George Valentine in “Let George Do It.”  It’s up to George to find some missing currency paper before it’s used by a counterfeiting ring.  The economy of a nation is at stake.

 

Episodes

 

X Minus One

November 7, 1956

“Appointment in Tomorrow”

2:19

 

Let George Do It

August 2, 1948

“The Money Maker”

30:55


We start this week with “The Bob Hope Show.”  Bob is in England.  He teams up with legendary British music hall and screen comedian Jerry Desmond for jokes about the National Health Service and a sketch about Bob’s school days.  Then Orson Welles stars as “The Shadow,” that mysterious righter of wrongs with the power to cloud men’s minds.  Who know what evil lurks in the hearts of men? He does.

Episodes

 

The Bob Hope Show

June 5, 1951

“With Jerry Desmond from London”

2:55

 

The Shadow

December 12, 1937

“The Death Triangle”

28:47


"The Nine Lives of Batman" & "Long John Joker"

Aired October 5, 1968

The Catwoman makes her debut in the animated 68 series and there's a lot to like, a lot to dislike, and a lot to simply appreciate.  In the story, Catwoman traps the Dynamic Duo in a series of traps that appears to ultimately lead to her desire to learn Batman's identity.  And then it just gets more complicated.  Plus, there's also a Joker story that could have come right out of the third season, complete with Batgirl!

In addition, John and Dan Greenfield, creator and author of the 13th Dimension discuss how the 66 series brought Catwoman back to prominence and how her appearance in the 68 series is a mix of good and bad.   Plus, they look at the lyrics to the Batman Superman Hour theme song.

Comment on the episode here or write thebatcavepodcast@gmail.com.

Direct download: The_Batcave_Podcast_-_Episode_73.mp3
Category:Batcave Podcast -- posted at: 7:26am EDT

Isis

"Scuba Duba"

December 6, 1975

 

Steve is a member of Rick's scuba diving club, but he's not one to listen to rules.  In doing so, he risks his life and it's up to Isis to save him.

We conclude our reviews of the DC Comics 1970s run of The Mighty Isis, with a look at a story that appears to set things back to normal.

Andrea has returned to school with Rick and is teaching once again, but there are new wrinkles that affect the storyline and will not be resolved.

 

Plus, we announce the winners of our Isis comic giveaway.

Next, it's a look at the episode, "Scuba Duba".  Among the topics discussed are the appearance of manta rays in a lake, the underwater photography of the episode and how the fashions of this episode may have influenced That 70s Show.

It's all here and we want to hear from you on what you think of the episode.  Write us as ShazamIsisPodcast@gmail.com.

Moral: "We've all heard the expression, safety first.  But sometimes we forget just how important that saying is.  Safety first means nothing is more important than that you think before you act.  So, don't take a chance - think safety and act safely."

Guest Cast

Eileen Chesis as Nancy

Brian Byers as Steve

Direct download: Shazam_Isis_48.mp3
Category:Shazam/Isis Podcast -- posted at: 6:00pm EDT

 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


"The Baffles Puzzle"

Aired: September 15, 1973

 

At first, it seems to Batman like a simple matter for the police when all the encyclopedias disappear from the library.  But when Colonel Wilcox of the Secret Department of Investigation contacts the Super Friends to prevent the stealing of French lithographs, things get serious as the scent of almonds connects the two events.  It's a race then to stop the theft of $5 million while dealing with a series of threats and trying to located the missing Junior Super Friends.

John is joined by 13th Dimension webmaster Dan Greenfield to discuss this episode that sounds like it has more going for it than the pervious one.  At least, it seems that way to John.  There are many firsts for the series here, including the appearance of Clark Kent, Kryptonite, and Colonel Wilcox.  In addition, John and Dan discuss the animation choices of the episode, Wonder Woman's powers, and the cast taking on other voices.

Dan Greenfield is the editor and co-creator of 13thDimension.com, a website devoted primarily to comics and pop culture, past and present. To him, the basic food groups are Batman, Planet of the Apes, Star Trek (the Original Series), James Bond, the Beatles and the Stones. But if he had to he'd be able to subsist on Batman alone. Channel 11 in New York was his favorite syndicated channel as a kid -- you can guess why -- followed closely by Channel 5. Channel 9 didn't really enter into it unless he was home sick and there wasn't much else on. He's married to his remarkably patient wife Wendy and his best sidekick is his son, Sam. They have two cats, Lex and Zod.

 

Links

13th Dimension Website

Facebook page

Twitter

Direct download: WGSFP__002-_The_Baffles_Puzzle.mp3
Category:The World's Greatest Super Friends Podcast -- posted at: 7:18pm EDT

"Eyewitness to Murder"
Airdate: March 8, 1974
Written by William Driskill
Directed by Alf Kjellen

Synopsis: Steve witnesses the murder of a lead prosecutor's aid, but he cannot testify to it as he saw it at night with his bionic eye.  At first, Oscar wants to let it go until the Secretary calls him and Steve in to protect the lead prosecutor as they prepare their case against a major mobster.  But Steve has one thing on his mind - find the killer and prove his guilt.

John is joined by artist Jerry Lange and longtime fan Kevin Durkee to discuss this sixth episode of the series.  They discuss figuring out which of the twin assassins is which, Oscar's background, and the running scenes in this episode.  Plus, Jerry shares his original shooting scripts and we play a "With a Twist" themed game of This or That.

It's the return of the podcast as a Facebook Live show.  Join us Friday nights at 9:30EST as we discuss an episode of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN's first season with two fans as well as featuring commentary from our viewers.  This audio will be available shortly after in the OSI Files feed.


BIONIC OPERATIVES

Kevin Durkee -

Bio: Most of the time: Water Treatment for Heat Transfer Specialist

Some of the time: Michigan Air National Guard

Hobbies include: Antique Stores, Collecting way too many vinyl records, View Masters with reels. Running 5k's with my wife.

Throwback TV favorites: Six Million Dollar Man, Bionic Women, Twilight Zone, Batman, X-Files, Battlestar Galactica and many more.

Current TV favorites: Westworld, Man in the High Castle, The Walking Dead, Lost In Space.

 

Jerry Lange - Based in Buffalo, New York. My personal and client works are created using traditional media including pencil, ink and watercolor and digital software Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign. I try to bring a dramatic visual narrative to my work through a mix of loose and tight media application and mark making technique. Website

Direct download: The_OSI_FIles_009.mp3
Category:The OSI Files -- posted at: 7:05am EDT

"TROUBLE FOR PRINCE CHARMING"

AIRED: FEBRUARY 17, 1967

 

The Hornet gets involved in international affairs when a visiting prince and his fiancé are targets of a coup.  There is a great deal of potential in the idea of this story, but the limited time of the individual episode doesn't allow for it.  In addition, Jim and John question if the motivation for the Hornet's involvement is practical with the way the series is set up.  

The Green Hornet: A History of Radio, Motion Pictures, Comics and Television by Martin Grams and Terry Salomonson is a reference work we're consulting as we move through the series.  Pick up your copy by clicking on the link and getting it today.

 

Take a listen and then let us know what you think of the episode by writing us here or at thebatcavepodcast@gmail.com.

Direct download: The_Hornets_Sting_020.mp3
Category:The Hornet's Sting -- posted at: 8:28pm EDT

"The Cool, Cruel Mr. Freeze" & "The Joke's on Robin"

Aired September 21, 1968

We continue our look at the 1968 Filmation series with a review of a pair of stories.  First, we look at the premiere of Mr. Freeze on the cartoon as he plans to bring Gotham City to its knees with a frosty gamble that not only threatens the city, but the Wayne fortune as well.  Next, Robin is thinking he's losing his touch but we quickly learn, "The Joke's on Robin" thanks to the Joker.

In addition, John and Dan Greenfield, creator and author of the 13th Dimension website discuss the theme song and Ted Knight's contributions to the show and beyond.

Comment on the episode here or write thebatcavepodcast@gmail.com.

Direct download: The_Batcave_Podcast_-_Episode_71.mp3
Category:Batcave Podcast -- posted at: 6:00pm EDT

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


Episode 55—Rim of the World

 

Science fiction writer Scott Pearson and cohost Ella Pearson interview Zack Stentz, screenwriter and producer of the Netflix film Rim of the World, which follows the adventures of four teenagers caught in the middle of an alien invasion while at summer camp. After the interview, Ella and Scott review the film.

 

Segments

Intro :28

The Interview

The Synopsis 1:30

Eighties Nostalgia and Inspirations 2:43

A Contemporary Teen Adventure 4:10

Rim of the World Highway 4:43

Kids of Diversity 5:30

Greenlit on the Fast Track 7:17

Multitasking Movies and TV 8:04

Writer on the Set 8:58

Stories from Location 10:02

Working with McG 11:10

Big Trouble in Little China 13:54

Booster Gold 14:35

Lore 16:35

Thor 17:32

The Sarah Connor Chronicles 20:40

Terminator and Picard Trailers 21:33

Trek Fans Since Walking 22:18

X-Files Worries 23:00

Old-School TV vs. Streaming 23:45

The Twilight Zone 26:20

Tin Tin 27:14

Netflix, Streaming, and the Future 28:13

The Review

Here There Be Spoilers 32:56

Ella Wants More 33:56

ZhenZhen and 13-Year-Old Ella 34:54

A Contemporary Teen Adventure Redux 35:46

The Young Actors 37:40

The Classic Summer Camp 38:09

The Classic Alien Invasion 39:45

The Classic Three-Stooges Slap 40:40

Easter Eggs and Callbacks 41:07

Action and Character Moments 45:32

The Mystery of ZhenZhen 46:20

Back to the Invasion 48:00

The Kids and the Grown-Ups 49:08

The Man in the Jail 49:34

Seventy Miles to Go 51:15

The Joy of Bicycling 51:58

Ella Wants the Theatrical Release 53:26

Final Comments 54:25

Direct download: GenGeek_55.mp3
Category:Generations Geek -- posted at: 6:33am EDT

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


 “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


Episode 54—Hidden in the Shadows

 

Science fiction writer Scott Pearson and cohost Ella Pearson interview Jaine Fenn, winner of the British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Short Fiction in 2016. Jaine tells us about her geek origins, how she got into writing, and her stories and books, including her new novel Broken Shadow, the second of her two-part Shadowlands series.

 

 

Segments

Intro :28

Life in Devonshire 1:29

Getting Geeky on the Telly 2:14

Finding Tie-In Fiction 4:10

A Storyteller’s Beginnings 7:25

Discovering Le Guin 8:35

The Linguistic Astronomer 10:20

Sidebar: Tolkien’s Granddaughter 10:44

Geeks at University 11:31

Linguistics in Writing 11:59

Astronomy and Maths 13:08

Generations Geek and Tolkien 14:26

Genre Writing as a Career 15:18

Role-Playing Games 17:43

Learning and Teaching Writing 19:00

Short Stories 19:39

Beginning Novels 21:29

The Hidden Empire Series 22:37

The Shadowlands Duology 25:19

Worldbuilding the Shadowlands 29:14

Language in the Shadowlands 33:48

Patriarchy and Class in Hidden Sun 38:57

The Ending of Hidden Sun 41:16

Sidebar: Living in the Past 42:00

Broken Shadow 48:45

Making the Reader Work 49:36

Playing Text Games 50:59

Writers and Synchronicity 51:56

What’s Next…Can’t Say 53:05

Star Trek: Discovery 53:57

Current Reading and Viewing:

The Corporation Wars 56:55

The Kingdoms of Elfin 57:27

The Good Place 58:40

The Expanse 59:55

Language in the Expanse and Sci-Fi 1:02:20

Star Trek, Canon, and Other Sci-Fi Shows 1:04:13

Direct download: GenGeek_Ep._54.mp3
Category:Generations Geek -- posted at: 8:31pm EDT

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


 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