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 2024
S M T W T F S
     
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28 29 30 31

Syndication

It’s been a long time since we checked in with that loveable con man Harry Lime, in the person of Orson Welles.  Not quite the psychopathic murderer he was in the movie “The Third Man,” where he originated the role, radio’s Harry was more of a ne'er-do-well criminal.  In this episode, of “The Lives of Harry Lime,” Harry is on the Orient Express, hoping to work a counterfeit scam when someone tries to scam him.  Then, on “The Bob Hope Show,” Bob is broadcasting from the campus of USC just before a game against UCLA.  Now that the war is over, he’s leaving behind the military-themed jokes, and this episode is just packed with delightful college cliches and slang.

Episodes

The Lives of Harry Lime
February 22, 1952
“It’s In The Bag”
1:54

The Bob Hope Show
November 27, 1945
“Guests:  Peggy Ryan and Red Skelton”
31:18


We start off tonight with another episode of that great quiz show, “Information Please.”  Are you up on babies and their guardians, military insignia, and devils in literature?  Then, since it’s almost time for Easter, here’s the Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble of OTR: Phil Harris and Elliot Lewis.  “The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show” starred actual married couple, Phil Harris, who was the band leader on “The Jack Benny Program,” and popular film star Alice Faye.  Tonight, Phil and his band’s guitarist, Elliot, attempt to use a drugstore chemistry set to color Easter eggs.  What could possibly go wrong?

Episodes

Information Please
March 13, 1944
“Guest:  Quentin Reynolds”
2:11

The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show
April 5, 1953

"Coloring Easter Eggs Phil's Way”
32:46


We start off tonight with an episode of “The Bob Hope Show.”  It’s December of 1945, and the war is over.  Hope had spent much of it broadcasting from military bases, but now he is back at the NBC studios in Hollywood.  His guest, Jimmy Durante, promises to take Bob to a swanky party, but is Bob ready for Society, and vice-versa?  Then, time for that excellent quiz show, “Information Please.”  It’s an Armed Forces recording, which means the original was transcribed and then all the ads were taken out.  Are you up on literary in-laws, animal gestation periods, and places to climb?

Episodes

The Bob Hope Show
December 4, 1945
“Guest:  Jimmy Durante”
3:48

Information Please
April 24, 1944
“Guests:  Deems Taylor and Irene Dunne”
35:02


For our New Year’s treat, here’s “The Lux Radio Theater” adaptation of the classic 1947 film “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir.”  The film is an unconventional romance of sorts starring Rex Harrison and Gene Tierney as the title characters.  She’s a vibrant young widow, and he’s the ghost of a rollicking sea captain.  The captain isn’t French, so I’m not sure why they cast Charles Boyer in the role, except that he does have sonorous voice.  Madeleine Carroll takes on Tierney’s role.

Episode

The Lux Radio Theater
December 1, 1947
“The Ghost and Mrs. Muir”
2:30

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_196_-_THE_GHOST_AND_MRS._MUIR.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

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


Here’s two more Christmas episodes to round out this December.  We’ll start off with a drama, then some comedy.  “This Is Your FBI” ran on ABC radio from April of 1945 to January of 1953.  It dramatized real cases from the files of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  No less than the head of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, praised the show, calling it “the finest dramatic program on the air.”  Then for comedy, who else but the crew from “The Jack Benny Program.”  This episode is from December 1937.  The show had been on the air for five years, and this is the first of what would become a regular holiday feature, Jack going Christmas shopping.  It doesn’t feature Jack being indecisive over a gift, which I always thought they overused, but it does have the usual stable of crazy fellow shoppers and employees, including Frank Nelson as the floorwalker.

Episodes

This Is Your FBI
December 24, 1948
“The Return of St. Nick”
2:18

Jack Benny
December 12, 1937
“Christmas Shopping”
33:41


All December it’s Christmas episodes on “PTTF.”  We’ll start off tonight with a mystery and then a comedy. These Christmas episodes are from the same year, and, as it happens, only one day apart.  First up, we hear from that sultry-voiced PI, “Candy Matson.”  Then we’ll see what Eve Arden as “Our Miss Brooks” has planned for Christmas. 

Episodes

Candy Matson
December 19, 1949
“Jack Frost”
2:40

Our Miss Brooks
December 18, 1949
“A Letter to Santa”
32:27


As we approach Thanksgiving, we’re going to start off with a Turkey Day-themed crime drama and then then a comedy.  “Jeff Regan, Investigator” starred Jack Webb as a private investigator working for the International Detective Bureau.  The show just barely pre-dates “Dragnet,” and Webb’s Regan is even drier in delivery than Joe Friday, and more sarcastically verbose.  In tonight’s episode, he’s dispatched to retrieve a turkey from a mysterious estate, and finds murder and mayhem.  Then “My Friend Irma” was one of those radio comedies that spawned a whole franchise.  The series centers on the comic mis-adventures of two single girls sharing an apartment in the big city.  Each episode is narrated by the bright, reliable Jane Stacy.  It’s never long before her friend and roommate, the pretty, but scatterbrained, Irma Peterson, gets everyone into some sort of wacky situation.  This time, it’s planning a Thanksgiving dinner.

Episodes

Jeff Regan, Investigator
November 20, 1948
“The Pilgrim’s Progress”
2:38

My Friend Irma
November 15, 1948
“Thanksgiving Turkey” aka “Thanksgiving is Approaching”
33:54

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_176_-_JEFF_REGAN__MY_FRIEND_IRMA.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

It’s a Karloff-fest tonight as we prepare to celebrate Halloween.  We start off with an episode of “Information Please” that originally aired on Christmas Eve, but features Boris Karloff as one of the guests.  Are you up on literary skulls, crossers of the English Channel, and poems that feature murder?  Then Boris drops by “Duffy’s Tavern” in an effort to scare off a potential buyer.

Episodes

Information Please
December 24, 1945
“Guests:  John Mason Brown and Boris Karloff”
2:00

Duffy’s Tavern
October 5, 1951
“Duffy Wants to Sell the Tavern”
32:17


We start off tonight with an episode of “Broadway Is My Beat.”  If you think the sophisticated avenues of Time Square to Columbus Circle are free from murder and crime, you’re dead wrong.    It’s “the gaudiest, the most violent, the lonesomest mile in the world."  “Broadway Is My Beat” ran from February of 1949 to August of 1954 on CBS.  For most of that run, it starred Larry Thor as New York City detective Danny Clover, whose assigned “beat” was the theater district.  Not that that made his job any easier.  Then we drop in on “The Great Gildersleeve.”  Tonight, Gildy stumbles upon the upcoming wedding of a young lady and Marine about to ship out.  They just want a nice, quiet, simple wedding.  Of course, that soon balloons into … well, you can guess.  This is actually a very sweet story with some really good laughs.  And we get to hear Lillian Randolph as Birdie sing.  That’s always a treat.

Episodes

Broadway Is My Beat
February 17, 1950
“Dion Hartley”
3:44

The Great Gildersleeve
May 27, 1953
“Witness at the Wedding”
33:33


Sixty years ago today, September 30, 1962, is the date generally accepted as the end of the Golden Age of Radio.  On the same night, the final episodes of “Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar” and “Suspense” were broadcast.  “Johnny Dollar” after 13 years and “Suspense” after 20 years.  I couldn’t let that pass without observing it by presenting those two final episodes.  Don’t worry, those shows will appear again on this show.

Episodes
Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
September 30, 1962
“The Tip-Off Matter”
2:40

Suspense
September 30, 1962
“Devilstone”
26:52

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_173_-_JOHNNY_DOLLAR_and_SUSPENSE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00am EDT

We start off tonight by trying to match wits with that amateur detective who’s also a mystery writer, the eponymous star of “The Adventures of Ellery Queen.”  This episode is another twisty one of multiple murders that requires you to really pay attention.  Then on “The College Quiz Bowl,” the best brains of Washington and Lee University go up against The University of Pittsburgh.  Although the material is from 70 years ago, this episode is packed with lots of questions that even we 21st century listeners should be able to answer and have fun with.  Are you up on types of nuts, adjectives from literature, and the finer points of women’s clothing?

Episodes

The Adventures of Ellery Queen
November 7, 1945
“The Message in Red”
1:41

The College Quiz Bowl
March 21, 1954
“Washington & Lee University vs The University of Pittsburgh”
32:17


Let’s begin tonight with another thrilling story of the masked rider of justice, “The Lone Ranger.”  We always think of the Lone Ranger as a hero, but to the people of the Old West, he was “The Masked Man,” a character a little more morally ambiguous.  Tonight, he and Tonto go up against bureaucracy and marauding outlaws hiding in the hills.  Then on “The Jack Benny Program,” it’s the first show of the new season.  Everyone has been off, and they haven’t seen each other all summer.  Jack has just arrived home from three weeks’ vacation in Hawaii and is anxious to get together with his friends.

Episodes
The Lone Ranger
April 22, 1938
“Murder of Pony Express Rider”
1:47

The Jack Benny Program
September 13, 1953
“Back From Vacation in Hawaii”
32:47

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_171_-_THE_LONE_RANGER__JACK_BENNY.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00pm EDT

“Information Please” famously gave away copies of the “Encyclopaedia Britannica” to people who sent in questions that stumped the show’s panel. The “Britannica”’s offices were in Chicago. In the summer of 1943, as part of a War Bond drive, the show left New York and broadcast from some “western” cities, starting in Chicago, where, in this episode, the editor of the “Britannica”, Walter Yust, was a panelist.  In consequence, there’s some Chicago-themed questions, in addition to famous forms of egress and people who had their names changed.  Note that Mr. Yust’s name is frequently misspelled as Youst.  I hope having both spellings in this text will aid future internet searches.  Then on “Gunsmoke,” Matt Dillon encounters a solid mystery with a clever solution involving cattle.

Episodes
Information Please
June 28, 1943
“Guest: Walter Yust at the Chicago Civic Opera House”
2:46

Gunsmoke
May 30, 1953
“Fall Semester”
32:09

Direct download: Presenting_the_Transcription_Feature_-_INFORMATION_PLEASE__GUNSMOKE.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:00pm EDT

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