Sunday, January 29, 2012

The OTR Revival Of The 1970s



Photo Credit - Wikipedia


Although I grew up hearing tales of old-time radio from my parents, for this child born in the mid-1950s, the golden age of radio had already passed by the time I could care.


I knew who Fibber McGee and Molly were, and The Shadow, and had heard the story from my folks about Orson Welles' War of the Worlds Broadcast, but I hadn’t actually heard them.


Well, not until my early teens when I managed to get my hands on a couple of LPs with old radio shows on them. But in the mid-1970s CBS radio began a highly successful revival of the radio drama, called CBS Radio Mystery Theatre.


Created, directed, and  produced by Himan Brown, and hosted by E. G. Marshall, starting in 1974 (and running until 1982) CBSRMT produced 1399 45-minute episodes.

For this child born of the TV age, suddenly having an ongoing source of quality radio drama was an unexpected delight.


Not only did it awaken an interest in old radio for for me, when I began collecting OTR (old time radio) shows in earnest in the early 1990s, getting the full collection of CBSRMT shows was high on my list.


The series featured original stories along with retellings of classic works.  You’ll find murder, horror, science fiction, and even historical dramas in the mix.


While many performers graced the sound stage over the years, a number of `regulars’ could be heard including Fred Gwynne, Kevin McCarthy, Celeste Holm, Keir Dullea, Mason Adams, Mercedes McCambridge, John Lithgow, and Tony Roberts.


Himan Brown, a genuine legend due to his 65 year career in radio, is reputed to have produced more than 30,000 episodes of radio shows, including: Barrie Craig, Bulldog Drummond, The Inner Sanctum, Dick Tracy, Flash Gordon, along with numerous daytime soap operas.


I’ve recently had the opportunity to check out a website that offers the entire production run of the CBSRMT series along with plot descriptions of each episode. 


Click on the image below to visit this fan supported site:




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