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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July 2023
S M T W T F S
     
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2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31

Syndication

More Christmas here on “Presenting the Transcription Feature.”  “Author’s Playhouse” was an anthology radio drama that ran from 1941 to 1945 on various networks.  It featured adaptations of popular short stories by authors like James Thurber, W.W. Jacobs, and, in this case, O. Henry.  The story you are about to hear first appeared in his 1907 collection “Heart of the West,” a collection of western tales.  Here, the setting is a mining town during the gold rush, and I love the incredibly ornate way the miners speak.  Reminds me of “Guys and Dolls.”  Then we finish off with “The Jack Benny Special Christmas Show,” a 40-minute-long special that Jack did in the mid-1950s.  It’s got all the usual holiday high jinks plus some special guest stars.

Episodes

Author’s Playhouse
December 21, 1941
“Christmas By Injunction”
2:04

“The Jack Benny Special Christmas Show”
December 2, 1956
32:03


Welcome to December on “Presenting the Transcription Feature.”  That means Christmas-themed episodes all month.  We’ll start off with George Burns and Gracie Allen in the eponymous “The Burns and Allen Show.”  Christmas is fast approaching, and George has no idea what to get his wife.  Then “The Great Gildersleeve” himself is in a very good mood as he goes holiday shopping and plans a party for friends and family.

Episodes

The Burns and Allen Show
December 18, 1947
“Gracie’s Last Minute Christmas Gift”
2:32

The Great Gildersleeve
December 24, 1944
“Twas the Night Before Christmas”  
34:05


“The Couple Next Door” was one of the many 15-minutes-a day, five-days a week programs that used to fill the airwaves.  It was, like “Vic and Sade” a show about “nothing.”  It lacks the absurdism of “Vic and Sade,” and that may have made it easier for its audience to relate to.  The show was the creation of one woman, Peg Lynch, who wrote and co-starred in every episode.  Tonight, we present two representative episodes depicting late 1950s suburban American life.  Then, who better to spend Thanksgiving with than the hard-boiled cast of “The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective”?  Someone is trying to kill a man -- a man named Tom Turkey.

 Episodes

The Couple Next Door

January 27, 1958
“Is The Couple Married”

October 3, 1960
“Living Room Wired For Stereo”
4:10

 

The Adventures of Sam Spade, Detective
November 24, 1950
“The Terrified Turkey Caper”
33:35


It’s Halloween, and what says spooky goings-on more than … Jack Benny.  Tonight, we have two episodes of very different shows, but both starring Jack Benny. We start off with “The Jack Benny Program.”  Everyone is invited to Jack’s house for a Halloween party.  There’s crazy costumes, disappointing food and drink, and lots of jokes about the bygone days of vaudeville.  Then Jack takes a dramatic turn playing a mild-mannered piano tuner who stumbles into the worlds of theft and murder on “Suspense.”

Episodes

The Jack Benny Program
November 3, 1940
“Jack’s Halloween Party”
3:21

Suspense
April 5, 1951
“Murder in G Flat”
33:18

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_192_-_JACK_BENNY__SUSPENSE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

It’s back-to-school time on this episode of “Presenting the Transcription Feature.”  And we all need to laugh, so here’s two comedy episodes.  First, we’ll visit Ivy College, where the mellifluous British actor Ronald Colman and his real-life wife, the equally mellifluous Benita Hume, star as “The Halls of Ivy.”  He is the president of one of those small Midwestern colleges that predominated in movies and radio shows of the era.  She, his wife, who has given up her career on the stage to be his helpmeet.  This episode, while full of laughs, has a lot of heart too.  The show’s dialog is informed and witty – as befits Colman’s always-sophisticated persona, and “The Halls of Ivy” even won a Peabody Award in 1950.  Then we drop in on high school to see “Our Miss Brooks.”  Here, Eve Arden plans a relaxing pre-return-to-work picnic.  But those plans soon go awry.  This episode starts off a little silly.  There’s the sit-com trope of people pretending to be other people, but, as we approach the end, it really pays off hilariously.  Plus, you get Gale Gordon and Frank Nelson in one episode.

Episodes

The Halls of Ivy
March 19, 1952
“The Oldest Living Graduate”
2:35

Our Miss Brooks
September 11, 1949
“The School Board” aka “Head of the Board”
28:23


"HORNET, SAVE THYSELF"
AIRED: MARCH 3, 1967

Britt is accused of murder after he kills a former employee in a room full of witnesses.  Now, he must break ranks with Scanlon and go rogue as the Hornet in order to prove his innocence.    John and Jim use this episode as an example of a point they've been making since the very beginning of the podcast, the missed potential in only making these episodes thirty minutes in length.  Despite this, one of the two ranks this episode as one of the best in the series, plus Jim does a wicked impression of Roger Corby from Star Trek.  

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_022.mp3
Category:The Hornet's Sting -- posted at: 6:10am EDT

"Bubi, Bubi, Who's Got the Ruby?" &
"1001 Faces of the Riddler"
Aired October 12, 1968

Catwoman and Penguin are at odds over a priceless ruby and the Terrific Trio are caught in the middle in our two-part story review.  Next, Riddler is back in town and he's using disguises to throw the Dynamic Duo off his trail even more so than his riddles.

In addition, John and Dan Greenfield, creator and author of the 13th Dimension discuss whether Ted Knight did the voice of Commissioner Gordon and how cool it would be if Funko's Pop Vinyl line did a series based on the Filmation cartoon. Plus, Dan talks about the relationship between Gordon and Bruce Wayne that started all the way at the beginning of the Batman comic in Detective Comics in 1939.

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

Direct download: The_Batcave_Podcast_-_Episode_74.mp3
Category:Batcave Podcast -- posted at: 5:09pm EDT

Episode 44
Jack C. Harris
 
With the conclusion of our reviews of DC Comics' 1977 run of The Mighty Isis comic series, we're proud to present our interview with The Mighty Isis writer Jack C. Harris. Harris talks with us about how he got the assignment to write the book, the abrupt cancellation, and his plans with the series had it moved forward. Plus, we talk Kamandi and Captain Marvel in this all new episode.
Direct download: Shazam_Isis_-_Ep_44.mp3
Category:Shazam/Isis Podcast -- posted at: 1:55pm EDT

We’ll start off tonight with The One, The Only, Groucho! on “You Bet Your Life.”  Tonight, Groucho Marx interviews the usual assortment of unusual high school students, assistant district attorneys, housewives, and are dog trainers that different from piano teachers?  Then on Old Time Radio’s premier science fiction anthology program, “X Minus One,” comes an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s "C-Chute.”  It was first published in the October 1951 issue of “Galaxy” magazine.  It’s a study in racism, patriotism, and the folly of war.

Episodes

You Bet Your Life
February 22, 1950
“The Secret Word is ‘Table’”
2:20

X Minus One
February 8, 1956
"C-Chute”
32:42


For the Fourth of July, we’re going to present two Independence Day-themed episodes of classic old time radio.  First drama then comedy.  “Family Theater” was a family-friendly anthology show featuring a mix of original stories and adaptations of literary classics, usually starring big names from Hollywood.  This week’s program is a dramatization of a particular moment in history -- the writing of The Declaration of Independence.  It’s narrated by Loretta Young and stars Robert Stack as Thomas Jefferson.  And, if you are a fan of the musical “1776,” note what’s the same in this adaptation and what’s different.  Then on “Our Miss Brooks,” our intrepid heroine plans to meet her boyfriend in the countryside for the 4th of July weekend.

Episodes

Family Theater
July 1, 1953
“The Longest Hour”
2:42

Our Miss Brooks
July 3, 1949
“July 4th Trip to Eagle Springs” aka “Conklin’s Blood Pressure”
26:03

 

 

 


It’s summer time, and I want to present a couple of summer-themed and summer-adjacent radio shows.  We’ll start off with real American politician, writer, and newspaper publisher Will Rogers, Jr playing a fictional Will Rogers, Jr who runs the fictional small-town newspaper, the “Illyria Weekly Gazette.”  What else says summer more than a county fair, with lots of people partaking in various competitions?  Well, this year, the ladies of Illyria have decided not to participate.  Whither the jams, jellies, and pickles?  Then, I finally get around to presenting “Lum and Abner.”  The show was created by, and stars, Chester Lauck as Lum and Norris Goff as Abner, the owners of the financially disastrous Jot ‘Em Down general store.  The show was a 15-minute continuing serial, a comedy soap opera.  In both of tonight’s episodes, the boys are planning vacations.

Episodes

Rogers of the Gazette
October 22, 1953
“Eula Horner and the County Fair”
2:27

Lum and Abner
September 8, 1942
“Back to Nature” aka “Vacation”
34:10

July 19, 1945
“Store Closed for Vacation”
46:17


The character of A.J. Raffles was created by E.W. Hornung in 1898.  Hornung was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brother-in-law, and he was inspired to write about a sort of anti-Sherlock Holmes.  His Raffles is thief, to be sure, but one who was charming.  Raffles an “an amateur cracksman,” who lives the life of a gentleman.  But if you don’t actually have an independent income, you have to be able to finance your lifestyle somehow.  “Screen Directors’ Playhouse” adapted popular films to radio, often with the movie’s same stars and directors.  There had been several silent film adaptations of Hornung’s tales, as well as a 1930 film starring Ronald Colman and a 1939 film starring David Niven.  This broadcast adapts the 1939 film and features the equally suave-voiced Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. 

 Episode

Screen Directors’ Playhouse
September 14, 1951 
“Raffles”
3:30

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_187_-_RAFFLES.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

We begin with the “College Quiz Bowl,” as students from Tulane go up against their counterparts from Northwestern.  As always, some of the topics are very specific to the day, but we 21st Century residents should still be able to answer quite a lot.  Are you up on the names of pop culture family members, Winston Churchill’s writings, and tea in the news?  Then, we return to the contemporary (1950s, as opposed to the “old”) west with the adventures of “Bobby Benson and the B Bar B Riders.”  This Western centered on a 12-year-old boy who had inherited a Texas cattle ranch, and was packed with rustlers, cattle drives, and all the usual things American kids of the 1950s would have enjoyed.  This particular episode features action, mysticism, and a couple of moral lessons.

Episodes

College Quiz Bowl
October 24, 1953
“Tulane vs Northwestern”
2:25

Bobby Benson and the B-Bar-B Riders
November 17, 1951
“The Lost Tribe”
35:46


“Forecast” was a radio show specifically designed to try out new shows.  Both “Suspense” and “Duffy’s Tavern” got their starts there.  Tonight, we present the pilot for a show I would have absolutely loved had it gone to series, but alas it did not.  “Leave It To Jeeves,” was inspired by the P.G. Wodehouse tales of young man-about-town Bertie Wooster and his personal gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves.  Starring Edward Everett Horton and Alan Mobray, respectively, this tale doesn’t actually adapt any of the Wodehouse tales, but it does take the structure and pay homage to the sort of situations in which Bertie and Jeeves were always finding themselves:  engagements, errands for aunts… Any Wodehouse fan will be at home in this comic, twisty misadventure.  Then “X Minus One” adapts Murray Leinster’s science fiction tale of time travel by phone call, “Sam, This Is You.”

Episodes

Forecast
August 12, 1940
“Leave It To Jeeves”
2:49

X Minus One
October 31, 1956 
“Sam, This Is You”
34:18

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_185_-_JEEVES__X_MINUS_ONE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Tonight, we return to Orson Welles’ “The Mercury Theatre on the Air.”  In this adaptation of Jules Verne’s “Around the World in 80 Days,” Welles plays British gentleman adventurer Phileas Fogg, who has wagered his personal fortune that he can circumnavigate the globe in just that time.  Filled with fantastic music by Bernard Herrmann, top-notch sound effects, and a great supporting cast, Welles does the tale proud.

Episode

The Mercury Theatre on the Air
October 23, 1938
"Around the World in 80 Days”
3:28

 

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_184_-_AROUND_THE_WORLD_IN_80_DAYS.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

Nero Wolfe, the brilliant, but lazy, detective created by Rex Stout, famously almost never left his house.  One of the few things that could stir him was his love of orchids.  In tonight’s episode of “The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe,” starring Sydney Greenstreet, it is indeed some of those lovely plants that draw him into a murder at a flower shop.  Then on “The Jack Benny Program,” Jack and the gang are planning to take the train to New York … if their adventures at the station don’t derail them first.

Episodes

The New Adventures of Nero Wolfe
December 29, 1950
“The Case of The Bashful Body”
1:42

The Jack Benny Program
February 21, 1954 
“Jack At the Train Station” aka “Train Trip to New York”
31:58

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_183_-_NERO_WOLFE__JACK_BENNY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

We start off tonight with an episode of “Suspense” that isn’t all that suspenseful, i.e. spooky.  But it’s a lot of fun.  “The Lost Special” is based on a non-Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which first appeared in “The Strand Magazine in August, 1898.  Orson Welles narrates.  This is an Armed Forces Radio rebroadcast, which means the ads have been taken out.  It was played overseas for US troops.  Then, our guests on tonight’s episode of the quiz show “Information Please” are science popularizer Bernard Jaffe and … Harpo Marx?  Yes.  The show revels in the sheer novelty of having Harpo, the one Marx Brother who doesn’t speak, on a panel, and he still manages be witty and delightful. 

 Episodes

Suspense
September 30, 1943
“The Lost Special”
2:04

 Information Please
October 25, 1938 
“Guests: Bernard Jaffe and Harpo Marx”
33:18


We start off tonight with a murder as investigated by those charming amateur sleuths, “Mr. and Mrs. North.”  Then we get seasonal with “Fibber McGee and Molly,” as Fibber attempts to celebrate Pancake Day (Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras) by serving his wife a pancake breakfast in bed.

Episodes

Mr. and Mrs. North
September 1, 1953
“No Vacation From Murder”
1:35

Fibber McGee and Molly 
Pancake Day
February 26, 1952
27:54


This late January marks both the birth and death of actor J. Carrol Naish, who was born on January 21, 1896 and died just shortly after his 77th birthday on January 24, 1973.  Naish received two Oscar nominations for his supporting roles in the films “Sahara” (1943) and “A Medal for Benny” (1945), the latter of which also earned him a Golden Globe.  But he also had an extensive radio career.  Most prominently, he was the star of “Life With Luigi,” which cast him as a naïve Italian immigrant, Luigi Basco.  For all its stereotypes, and – because it was a comedy, its exaggerations – the series reflected the affection immigrants held for their new nation and home.  “Life With Luigi” is ultimately about making a new life in a land of infinite possibilities, and the desire to truly integrate one’s self into the best of American culture.  Tonight, we present two very different performances by Nash.  The first is someone the polar opposite of the sweet Luigi.  In this episode of “Suspense,” Naish plays a conniving, murderous husband.  Will crime pay?  Then on “Life With Luigi,” our hero’s quest to become a citizen is thwarted by his countryman, Pasquale (played by Fred Flintstone himself, Alan Reed).

Episodes

Suspense
August 1, 1946
“Commuter’s Ticket”  
2:44

Life With Luigi
January 10, 1950
“Luigi’s First Citizenship Papers"
32:41


I like to start off the new year with these adaptations by “The Lux Radio Theater.”  Tonight, Leslie Howard reprises his 1934 starring role as the original secret identity hero, “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”  Here, Olivia de Havilland plays his wife.  A year later, the two would appear as husband and wife again, in “Gone with the Wind,” as Ashley Wilkes and Melanie Hamilton.  Radio lends itself well to “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” which began life as a 1903 play, and so, from the start, has always relied heavily on dialog. 

Episode

The Lux Radio Theater
December 12, 1938
“The Scarlet Pimpernel”
2:40


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