Monday, November 30, 2020

REMEMBERING CHARLIE SUMMERS (1956 – 2020)

Charles F. Summers, III, age 64, of York, Pennsylvania, died peacefully on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg. Known by family and friends as Chuck or Charlie, he worked for many years as an equipment operator for the York City Parks Department. He also owned and operated his own computer IT business and was the administrator of the Old-Time Radio DigestAt a time when the hobby needed communications and a transition to new collectors in the digital age, who was there? Charlie. He filled the need when others did not, would not, or could not even detect that there was a need. Remember radio scribe Elliott Lewis once had a coffee mug that said, "Where were you when the page was blank?" It was Charlie who picked up the baton when no one else did. That is the legacy he left behind. 

Charlie was a great guy and a technical and digital pillar in the hobby of old-time radio. In the late 1990s and the turn of the new century, everyone in the hobby heard of Charlie Summers before they met him. And that was the irony that we later found out. Whether you knew Charlie Summers as the administrator of the OTR Digest or the coffee drinker who hung out at old-time radio conventions, we all benefited from his contributions.  

In 1998, Charlie created the Old Radio Digest (which would be affectionately known as the OTR Digest  and the OTR Roundtable), a listserv providing Internet users with a platform to communicate and exchange information regarding old-time radio programs. Primitive as "listserv" and dial-up may seem in today’s social media world, this was difficult and dedicated work. Charlie confessed once that the internet served as a communication medium for personal relationships, which meant everyone with an opinion was bound to be more critical than praising. Such criticisms could be detrimental to the hobby so the role of an administrator meant extinguishing fires and serving as both judge and jury – which was bound to disappoint many users over the years and Charlie, sadly, took the heat by virtue of office. 

Through the OTR Digest, fans of vintage radio programs who had access to the Internet were able to learn about clubs, newsletters, fanzines, the discovery of lost radio programs, and get contact information for collectors who bought, sold, and traded old-time radio. When Bill Pfeiffer, the maintainer of old.time.radio Digest, died as a result of an auto accident in September 1999, a number of people cooperated to move the Digest to Charlie’s personal website. He reveled in the joy of old-time radio, and it was his desire to use the Internet to expose old-time radio to the masses.

In an era before Facebook and Yahoo Groups even existed, the OTR Digest was the most popular discussion platform for anything related to old-time radio. Subscribers shared information and opinions, reviews and the latest news from the hobby. The OTR Digest is credited for having contributed to the ongoing success of the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention and the Cincinnati Old-Time Radio Convention. It was in the OTRDigest that people learned about the annual fan gatherings, OTR clubs, newsletters, and discoveries from radio’s Golden Age, thus widening the perspective of the hobby itself.


Hal Stone (left) and Charlie Summers (right)

Charlie began listening to and collecting old-time radio in the late 1960s. He grew up watching 1960s television (especially Star Trek), relished the 1968 masterpiece Night of the Living Dead, enjoyed listening to The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, shared a deep appreciation for independent coffee shops, considered himself a guru with computers, disliked blog spammers, and embraced the prose of radio commentator Bob Edwards. For years Charlie insisted he maintained the largest collection of Bob Edwards radio broadcasts in the United States. There is no reason to doubt his claim.


It was his presence at the annual fan gatherings where we all came to know the “ol’ curmudgeon” as he often referred to himself. With a jovial wit, wicked sense of humor and infectious laugh, no one could resist the charms of Charlie Summers. At one of the Cincinnati Old-Time Radio Conventions, Charlie bragged that he knew every George Carlin routine by heart and when challenged to recite one verbatim, he did so flawlessly. As a frequent attendee at old-time radio conventions, Charlie became good friends with radio actors Harry Bartell and particularly Hal Stone, with whom he formed a close bond. For years Charlie debated going to conventions after the untimely death of Stone, questioning whether it was worth the travel to visit a hotel empty on friendship, in what he once remarked, “resembled a mausoleum.” But Charlie still went to conventions afterwards to see his friends and share some laughs.


For many years, at the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention, Charlie could be found in the panels/seminar room handling the camera equipment to capture the events for preservation. More than once, he dismissed the notion that anything he did for the hobby was monumental, firmly believing that acting as an administrator for the Digest was merely a laborious, but happy, job. His work was acknowledged on more than one occasion as a recipient of both the Parley E. Baer Award and the Allen Rockford Award. But no greater acknowledgement can one bestow Charlie Summers than one particular year when he paid a visit to the Mid-Atlantic Nostalgia Convention. “We decided to have lunch together,” recalled Fred Berney. “Just walking from the dealer’s room to the hotel’s restaurant he was stopped by a number of people who treated him like a celebrity. I doubt if there are too many people in the OTR hobby who didn’t know the name Charlie Summers.”


Anyone who knew Charlie personally would attest that old-time radio came third in his list of accomplishments. His wife, Annie, and his daughter, Katie, were the center of his world. Annie was the handlebars to his bike and Katie was their proudest accomplishment. Together with his daughter they co-hosted their own Internet radio program and contributed entries for Radio Rides the Range (2014, McFarland Publishing).


For Charlie, the computer and the Internet was his universe. The brightest star in the digital sky may be gone forever, but his efforts to widen our perspective will never be forgotten. The Old Radio Digest was his legacy to the hobby, and we will forever be grateful.

 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Vintage Christmas Music You May Have Never Heard

Any flat disc record, made between (circa) 1898 and 1959 and playing at a speed around 78 revolutions per minute is referred to today by collectors as a "78." The materials of which these discs were made and with which they were coated were also various; shellac eventually became the most common of materials. Generally 78s are made of a brittle material which uses a shellac resin (which is why collectors also refer to them as shellac records). During and after World War II when shellac supplies were extremely limited (used for the war cause), many 78 rpm records were pressed in vinyl instead of shellac.

In 1948, Columbia Records unveiled the 33 1/3 RPM long playing record. It played for about 20 minutes per side. Then came the battle of the speeds. RCA in 1949 began offering records (and record players) that played at 45 revolutions per minute.

If asked how much these discs are worth, there really is no set guide to determine the value. Anyone with the correct record player can play these recordings and they are a dime a dozen at antique fairs and eBay.

After two months of cataloging more than 3,000 of the old 33s, 45s and 78s to CD format, and separating those with a holiday theme, I loaded more than 300 Christmas songs onto a streaming playlist for you to enjoy. In the spirit of of mixtape from years gone by, I found a modern way to bring these songs to the masses for the holiday season, without having to burn hundreds of CDs. 

If you are like me, every holiday you tune to a local radio station that traditionally plays the same Christmas songs over and over and over... and yeah, it gets tedious hearing the same recordings every year. Christmas is a time to establish a fond look back through nostalgic vocals and my frustration grows knowing that Gene Autry's rendition of Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Bing Crosby's White Christmas is going to play on rotation... again and again.

What you will hear on this streaming radio station (accessible with a simple click of a button on your computer, iPad, tablet, iPhone, etc.) are vintage Christmas offerings all dated pre-1960 and chances are you haven't heard these renditions. Examples include:

I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas (1954, Betty Johnson)
Frosty the Snowman (1950, Guy Lombaro and his Orchestra)
Santa and the Doodle-Li-Boop (1954, Art Carney)
I Want You for Christmas (1937, Mae Questel as Betty Boop)
All Around the Christmas Tree (1940, Raymond Scott and his New Orchestra)
Barnyard Christmas (1952, Spike Jones and The Bell Sisters)
The Birthday of a King (1949, Judy Garland)
Jingle Bells (1935, Benny Goodman and his Orchestra)
It Happened in Sun Valley (1941, Glenn Miller and his Orchestra)
Christmas in Killarney (1950, Dennis Day with The Mellowmen)
The First Noel (1942, Nelson Eddy and Robert Armbruster's Orchestra)
Let's Start the New Year Right (1942, Bing Crosby)
Hello, Mr. Kringle (1939, Kay Kyser)
Jingle Bells (1934, Ozzie Nelson and his Orchestra, and Harriet Hilliard)
All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (1949, Danny Kaye and Patty Andrews)
Yah, Das Ist Ein Christmas Tree (1953, Mel Blanc)
Silent Night (1921, Florence Easton)
Silver Bells (1938, Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys)
Christmas on the Plains (1949, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans)
The Night Before Christmas (1952, Gene Autry and Rosemary Clooney)
O Come, All Ye Faithful (1938, Frances Langford)
Boogie Woogie Santa Claus (1950, Patti Page)
Happy Little Christmas Friend (1953, Rosemary Clooney)
Ol' Saint Nicholas (1949, Doris Day)
A Ride in Santa's Sleigh (1953, Judy Valentine)
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (1934, Harry Reser)
Santa Claus is on His Way (1941, Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra)
Silent Night (1940, Kate Smith)
Suzy Snowflake (1951, Rosemary Clooney)
Auld Lang Syne (1939, Erwin Bendel with Tiny Till and his Orchestra)
Baby, It's Cold Outside (1949, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan)
Christmas Day (1952, Eddie Fisher)
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (1941, Dick Roberston)
Merry Christmas Polka (1949, Guy Lombardo and The Andrews Sisters)
I'll Be Home for Christmas (1947, Eddy Howard)
Five Pound Box of Money (1959, Pearl Bailey)
The Man with the Whiskers (1938, Hoosier Hot Shots)
March of the Toys (1939, Tommy Dorsey)
Hark, the Herald Angels Sing (1938, Kenny Baker)
I Want You for Christmas (1937, Russ Morgan)
The Kissing Bridge (1953, The Fontane Sisters and Perry Como)
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (1952, Molly Bee)
Here Comes Santa Claus (1949, Doris Day)
I Believe in Santa Claus (1955, The Mills Brothers)
Little Sandy Sleighfoot (1957, Jimmy Dean)
The Man with the Bag (1950, Kay Starr)
Merry Christmas Waltz (1949, Gordon MacRae)
Christmas Alphabet (1954, The McGuire Sisters)
Let It Snow, Let It Snow (1946, Bob Crosby)
I Saw Mommy do the Mombo (1954, Jimmy Boyd)
The Mistletoe Kiss (1948, Primo Scala and The Keynotes)
My Christmas Song for You (1945, Hoagy Carmichael and Martha Mears)
Christmas Night in Harlem (1934, Todd Rollins and his Orchestra)

Among the highlights you will hear "I Want a Television Christmas" by Mindy Carson (which happens to be a 1949 RCA sales promo), the 1953 Christmas Dragnet spoof with Daws Butler and Stan Freberg, a 1953 commercial recording of Amos and Andy's popular "The Lord's Prayer," Basil Rathbone narrating a musical rendition of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (1942), Bing Crosby's 1942 version of "White Christmas" (not the 1947 re-recording you commonly hear on radio today), Jerry Colonna's 1953 take on "Too Fat for the Chimney," the 1934 version of "Winter Wonderland" performed by Richard Himber (the first recording ever made of that song), and other rarities.

Of the 300 plus recordings, you will no doubt hear the same song (such as "Winter Wonderland" and "The First Noel") performed multiple times but each rendition with a different singer.  

Many familiar songs but with unfamiliar renditions from your favorite singers. (Believe me, I will have this radio station playing all day at home, and streaming through my iPhone when I travel during the holiday season.) I hope this musical yule log not only suits your palate, but many of these songs become a favorite of yours. 

Saturday, November 21, 2020

THE HOLLY JOLLY HARDCOVER

Great out the candy canes! If you are looking for something to read this holiday, check out Mark Voger's hardcover book, Holly Jolly, recently published. This is a 192-page full-color glossy book covering so many aspects of Christmas from the by-gone era as it pertains to retro pop culture. 

As described by the official press release, "Holly Jolly is a colorful sleigh ride through the history of Christmas, from its religious origins to its emergence as a multimedia phenomenon." In short, the book covers LP records, old 78 releases, Christmas comic books, children's books, vintage toys, advertisements, and the history behind them. The section about 1950s silver aluminum trees was fascinating and I never realized Santa was a superhero in a healthy run of comic books. Sample pages can be found below but you can also find more samples from the link below, where you can also place an order. Mark Voger wrote two other appreciations, Groovy and Monster Mash, which also come with my recommendation.






Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Bear Manor Media Holiday Sale

For anyone who is not familiar with Bear Manor Media, the publishing house responsible for probably more books about retro television, classic Hollywood, celebrity biographies and old-time radio than any other publishing company, you may want to check out their website at www.BearManorMedia.com

The publishing company has a 25 percent off sale going on right now which is applied automatically during checkout. Even if you cannot purchase books right now, browsing their website is like window shopping at your favorite book store. But with winter coming, who couldn't use a few books stacked to the side to read on a cold winter night?



 

Friday, November 6, 2020

REJECTED LONE RANGER EPISODES

Over 150 of the 221 television episodes of The Lone Ranger were adapted from radio scripts. This meant a large handful of original stories concieved for the visual medium. (The fifth season, shot in color, only featured one adaptation from radio while the remainder of the productions were original stories.) With story selection and controlling oversight, George W. Trendle and Fran Striker reviewed each teleplay multiple times (at least three times according to an inter-office memo) to ensure quality. Regrettably, five original teleplays were rejected, detailed below for your amusement.

Herb Meadow’s “The Goldmaker,” dated May 12, 1954, was intended as a fourth season production. "Proud Bear" is the leader of a peaceful band of Indians who have been abused by white men. The Lone Ranger fears that if Proud Bear is cheated by one more trader or if one more outlaw molests any of his tribe, he will go on the warpath. Along comes professional magician and conman Joe Phoenix, who convinces Proud Bear that he can "grow gold" (using a magic trick to double the size of existing gold). HIs plan is to ambush the Indians when they bring their entire gold supply to him to be doubled.  Unable to convince Proud Bear that he is being tricked, the Lone Ranger and Tonto catch the ambushers in the act and, with Proud Bear's help, capture the conman so he can be turned over to the local sheriff.

Robert Schaefer, Eric Freiwald, and Charles Larson wrote an original, “The Baron of Black Rock,” dated December 4, 1954, also rejected and never filmed. “Baron” Stevens hates the West, but has settled near Black Rock and is buying cattle at above market prices. His scheme involves getting a bill of sale for the over-priced cattle and having his ranch hand Curly murder the cattle sellers and retrieve the money from the cattle sale. Rancher Howard Bishop is a friend of the Lone Ranger and is skeptical of any buyer who is paying prices like those offered by the “Baron.” The Lone Ranger convinces his friend Bishop to sell some cattle to the “Baron” in order to trap him. When the “Baron” learns of the Lone Ranger's trap, he gets the jump on the masked man and it is Tonto who comes in and saves the day.

Trendle wrote to Chertok, criticizing the latter: “Mr. Striker and I had quite a conference on the script for ‘The Baron of Black Rock’ because, after reading it, I still say it is not a Lone Ranger script. I am sorry that they tried to fix it up; because it is still full of thing I do not like in a Lone Ranger story.” Among his criticisms was the unnecessary killing of Elaine’s father. “We have had quite a bit of comment about too many murders in Lone Ranger stories.”

David P. Sheppard, who contributed ten episodes for the television series, attempted to write an original titled “Death of an Outlaw,” teleplay dated July 30, 1952, which was harshly criticized by Trendle who wrote to Jack Chertok: “I have come to the conclusion that the fellows would save you a lot of money and do a much better job for us if they would follow some of our own radio stories, instead of attempting to do original plots. They do not seem to get the right viewpoint and they become highly illogical and very unsatisfactory.” The original story, never telecast, concerned Sam Binnian and his gang of outlaws who have a plan to rob the Saguaro National Bank while the town is distracted at the annual rodeo. Sam doesn't realize that the Lone Ranger has infiltrated his gang, disguised as a Mexican bandit named Rodriguez. Word reaches Binnian just before the robbery that the real Rodriguez died three months earlier. Alerted to the imposter in his gang, Binnian manages to capture both the Lone Ranger and Tonto while robbing the bank. Not wanting to kill the imposter until he knows who infiltrated his gang and why, Binnian takes his two prisoners to his hideout, where they turn the tables on their captors. Binnian gets impaled on his own knife in the struggle and the rest of the gang, as well as the loot, are returned to Saguaro.

It should be noted: Sheppard recycled the plot for use on Steve Donovan, Western Marshal, in the episode “Comanche Kid,” whereupon Marshal Steve Donovan and his deputy, Rusty Lee, go undercover as saddle tramps to try to smoke the outlaw into the open. 


Kathleen Seller’s “Dispatch of Death,” dated September 9, 1952, was never filmed. The Lone Ranger and Tonto travel to visit an old friend, Amy Linden, who runs a smalltown newspaper, "The Dispatch". Amy is in the middle of printing a big story about a near-by gold strike on property owned by Ben Stark and Ace Burrows, but Amy is suspicious that things aren't on the up-and-up and has sent her assistant to investigate the gold mine. When the Ranger and Tonto find the murdered body of Amy's assistant, they take over the investigation and learn that Ben and Ace have salted their mine and are partnering with a local judge to sell the property for a fortune.  The Ranger and Amy work together to get Ben, Ace, and the judge to expose their fraud and the three blackguards get their comeuppance in a showdown in the office of the Dispatch.

“Jane’s Jewels,” based on Fran Striker’s radio script and adapted by Robert Halff, was also rejected and never filmed. Dated July 15, 1952, the teleplay dramatized the story of two cantankerous old gold prospectors love the same woman, Jane Weatherby, who has been looking after them both for the past twenty years. Two corrupt local deputies conspire to get the two old prospectors to fight over Jane and perhaps reveal where their stash of gold dust is hidden. When Jane receives a (fake) diamond necklace as a gift, sent secretly by the deputies, the fight between prospectors begins. The Lone Ranger and Tonto have their hands full trying to sort out who sent Jane the necklace and why, while at the same time trying to keep the prospectors from killing each other.


Friday, October 30, 2020

Halloween, Hollywood Style

Once again, it's time for our annual Halloween photos!

Audrey Ferris

Betty Grable

Joyce Holden

Anne Shirley, Carol Stone and Rosina Lawrence

Judy Garland

June Lang

Leila Haymes

Lillian Wells

Friday, October 16, 2020

List of "Lost" LONE RANGER Radio Programs (1950-1954)

Just as "Nitrate won't wait" became the rallying cry for film archivists, "Acetate won't wait" has become the mantra for collectors of old-time radio. Widely used for three decades (1930s through the 1950s), then slowly replaced with magnetic tape and other formats, radio broadcasts featuring comedy, music and drama were preserved for both commercial and historical purposes. Fans of old-time radio programs, and fans of The Lone Ranger in general, are fully aware of the 2,600+ radio broadcasts from 1938 to 1954 that were preserved thanks to this format. Over 2,000 of those radio episodes have been released commercially thanks to companies like Radio Spirits, which commercially releases CD sets periodically through the months through licensing agreements. For over almost two decades I have purchased those Lone Ranger sets from Radio Spirits and have built a large shrine in my house. 



Due to their rarity, some acetate discs can command high prices at auction but those "record prices" are often the exceptions to the rule. Brian Epstein's collection of Beatles acetates fetched between $1,000 and $10,000 per disc, and an acetate of Elvis Presley's "That's All Right" sold for $82,393. When it comes to The Lone Ranger radio program, the broadcasts were preserved on vinyl pressings for syndication purposes, not acetate discs, so they would never fetch those kind of prices. Yet, there are collectors who mistakenly believe what they have is worth thousands of dollars. The average sale price for a set of two Lone Ranger discs is about $35 on eBay, more depending on whether the recording is rare or not. And it seems no one ever bids on Lone Ranger vinyl pressings that ask for more than $60 as a starting bid. (AFRS renditions of The Lone Ranger, also on vinyl pressings, appear to go for about $5 to $10 each on eBay.)


All of which emphasizes the importance of supporting companies like Radio Spirits. Considering the price of a Radio Spirits box set (five of them pictured above) retails less than $40 each, and you receive 20 half-hour radio programs in a box set, which comes to less than $2 per recording, you can understand why people choose to purchase the CDs versus collecting the vinyl pressings. 


The following is an official list of "lost" radio programs from 1950 to 1954. This list was compiled from multiple box sets, CDs and audio cassette albums that I purchased over the past two decades -- in short, these are the only episodes I am missing in my personal collection and it appears no one has a copy of these. Without such a list, collectors would never know if what they have is truly rare or not. Lists like these were created for other programs and often resulted in a few episodes being discovered because a collector had one and never knew it was a rare or lost recording.


The episode numbers and broadcast dates are listed below. Take note: these are the episode numbers, not transcription disc numbers. To avoid confusion, please go by the broadcast date. For completists, this list will give collectors cause to seek out recordings they do not have. For those who want to know the value of extant Lone Ranger transcriptions, these are the episodes that would more than likely generate larger bids on auction. But if someone holds a "lost" show at ransom prices, consider walking away. And if someone claims to have a lost program but will not verify authenticity, also consider walking away. As shocking as this advice might sound to a few, in retrospect there are already over 2,000 radio broadcasts available to listen to.


In the process of reading all of the radio scripts for The Lone Ranger, and documenting the plot summaries (my episode guide is more than 1,000 pages and still under construction), I can easily verify a recording if someone claims to have one listed below. Verification is essential before removing an entry from the list. With unscrupulous mp3 vendors duplicating existing audio files and renaming them with fake broadcast dates and titles, I will not remove an episode from this list simply because someone claims to have it. If you send me a recording and it turns out not to be a "lost" episode on the list, as a courtesy I will provide you with the correct information so you can catalog your inventory appropriately.


The first list was posted last month for the "lost" episodes from 1938 to 1949.

 

This list will be updated as recordings are discovered and verified. Do you have any of these?


Episode #                         Broadcast Date                       

2646-1871                        January 2, 1950

2650-1875                        January 11, 1950

2651-1876                        January 13, 1950

2652-1877                        January 16, 1950

2653-1878                        January 18, 1950

2654-1879                        January 20, 1950

2663-1888                        February 10, 1950

2665-1890                        February 15, 1950

2666-1891                        February 17, 1950

2667-1892                        February 20, 1950

2668-1893                        February 22, 1950

2669-1894                        February 24, 1950

2670-1895                        February 27, 1950

2671-1896                        March 1, 1950

2707                            May 24, 1950

2708                            May 26, 1950

2709                            May 29, 1950

2716                            June 14, 1950

2718                            June 19, 1950

2722                            June 28, 1950

2723                            June 30, 1950

2724                            July 3, 1950

2726                            July 7, 1950

2728                            July 12, 1950

2729                            July 14, 1950

2730                            July 17, 1950

2732                            July 21, 1950

2734                            July 26, 1950

2735                            July 28, 1950

2736                            July 31, 1950

2737                            August 2, 1950

2739                            August 7, 1950

2770                            October 18, 1950                    

2786                            November 24, 1950

2789                            December 1, 1950

2790                            December 4, 1950

2806                            January 10, 1951

2818                            February 7, 1951

2819                            February 9, 1951

2325                            February 23, 1951                  

2826                            February 26, 1951

2829                            March 5, 1951

2832                            March 12, 1951

2833                            March 14, 1951

2834                            March 16, 1951

2835                            March 19, 1951

2836                            March 21, 1951

2837                            March 23, 1951

2838                            March 26, 1951

2839                            March 28, 1951

2840                            March 30, 1951

2843                            April 6, 1951

2844                            April 9, 1951

2845                            April 11, 1951

2846                            April 13, 1951

2848                            April 18, 1951

2849                            April 20, 1951

2851                            April 25, 1951

2852                            April 27, 1951

2854                            May 2, 1951

2855                            May 4, 1951

2856                            May 7, 1951

2857                            May 9, 1951

2859                            May 14, 1951

2862                            May 21, 1951

2863                            May 23, 1951

2864                            May 25, 1951

2877                            June 25, 1951

2884                            July 11, 1951

2885                            July 13, 1951

2887                            July 18, 1951

2888                            July 20, 1951

2889                            July 23, 1951

2890                            July 25, 1951

2891                            July 27, 1951

2892                            July 30, 1951

2893                            August 1, 1951

2894                            August 3, 1951

2896                            August 8, 1951

2905                            August 29, 1951

2906                            August 31, 1951

2907                            September 3, 1951

2908                            September 5, 1951

2909                            September 7, 1951

2911                            September 12, 1951

2913                            September 17, 1951

2914                            September 19, 1951

2917                            September 26, 1951

2921                            October 5, 1951

2924                            October 12, 1951

2928                            October 22, 1951

2929                            October 24, 1951

2930                            October 26, 1951

2931                            October 29, 1951

2935                            November 7, 1951

2937                            November 12, 1951

2938                            November 14, 1951

2939                            November 16, 1951

2941                            November 21, 1951

2945                            November 30, 1951

2946                            December 3, 1951

2947                            December 5, 1951

2949                            December 10, 1951

2950                            December 12, 1951

2951                            December 14, 1951

2952                            December 17, 1951

2953                            December 19, 1951

2955                            December 24, 1951

2956                            December 26, 1951

2958                            December 31, 1951

2972                            February 1, 1952

2974                            February 6, 1952

2986                            March 5, 1952

3028                            June 11, 1952

3029                            June 13, 1952

3030                            June 16, 1952

3031                            June 18, 1952

3032                            June 20, 1952

3033                            June 23, 1952

3035                            June 27, 1952

3036                            June 30, 1952

3037                            July 2, 1952

3038                            July 4, 1952

3039                            July 7, 1952

3041                            July 11, 1952

3042                            July 14, 1952

3043                            July 16, 1952

3044                            July 18, 1952

3045                            July 21, 1952

3046                            July 23, 1952

3047                            July 25, 1952

3048                            July 28, 1952

3049                            July 30, 1952

3050                            August 1, 1952

3051                            August 4, 1952

3052                            August 6, 1952

3053                            August 8, 1952

3054                            August 11, 1952

3055                            August 13, 1952

3056                            August 15, 1952

3057                            August 18, 1952

3058                            August 20, 1952

3059                            August 22, 1952

3060                            August 25, 1952

3061                            August 27, 1952

3062                            August 29, 1952

3063                            September 1, 1952

3064                            September 3, 1952

3112                            December 24, 1952

3315                            April 12, 1954

3317                            April 16, 1954

3349                            June 30, 1954

3368                            August 13, 1954

3373                            August 25, 1954


This list will be updated as recordings are discovered and verified. Do you have any of these?


Friday, October 2, 2020

JOHN ZACHERLE AND "BEYOND THE END"

Anyone who grew up in New York City during the late fifties would recall John Zacherle as the ghoulish host of late-night horror movies, providing dark humor between the commercial breaks much in the same manner as Raymond on radio’s Inner Sanctum Mystery. As part of the Shock Theatre package, those movies included the likes of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Peter Lorre. So it may come as no surprise that on the evenings of February 25, March 4 and March 11, 1959, Zacherle tried his hand as a ghoulish host on late-night radio with a short-lived series titled Beyond the End.


Advertised as “a three-program mystery series with a comic twist,” through an NBC press release, the program aired from 10:06 to 10:28 p.m. Certain newspapers listed the program on radio logs as “World’s Literature,” with no reference to the horror host or what specific dramatic readings were scheduled. The horror dramas consisted of Nelson Olmsted’s dramatic readings from commercial LP records released in 1956. Among the spooky dramas presented were Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat.” As for Zacherle, his gig as a radio horror host was short-lived. 

Zacherle was a celebrity guest at the Friends of Old-Time Radio convention many years ago but sadly, no one was apparently aware of the radio program and asking Zacherle myself about the program he could only remember going to the radio station to do his spiel before the microphone. Nothing memorable to recall.

Since the programs aired over NBC radio live, the closest we can come to hearing any rendition of his spook-tacular radio performance are his LP records issued from 1960 to 1963, Spook Along with ZacherlyMonster MashScary Tales Featuring John Zacherly and Zacherle’s Monster Gallery. It seems unlikely whether we will be able to verify whether or not his 1958 top-ten novelty rock and roll song, “Dinner With Drac,” was featured on any of the three broadcasts, quite possibly as the program’s theme song? 


Special Thanks to Steven Thompson, Michael Biel and David Lennick for their assistance.