When I was a child various radio stations in my area gave me a gift. An old dying art form was featured, quite often later on at night, and the joy they spread ignited my imagination for all time. It was a phenomenon called Old Time Radio.
For the younger set amongst you, decades ago in the 1930’s one of the primary entertainments for people all over was the radio. Remember, this was before television became predominant in the early 1950’s. Specific radio shows that encompassed all genres ruled the airwaves at the time. Soap operas started in this era, adventures stories thrilled the wee ones, and vaudeville comedians migrated from the traveling stage to the radio microphones. When television ascended, these shows either transformed to the new medium or died. Unfortunately today this concept is almost totally dead. But with the emergence of the internet, a plethora of these Old Time Radio (OTR) shows are available for us in the present day.
One of the best places on the interwebs, and where I go to get my yesteryear fix, is Bob Camardella’s Boxcars711 Old Time Radio podcast. Our esteemed host has a history in music and radio dating back to the 1960’s, and has been flexing his broadcasting skills in the podcasting world since 2006. His love and knowledge of these OTR shows is supremely evident to all who listen, with the breadth of the selection of shows repackaged for podcast being quite impressive.
Favourites from my past like The Shadow, Lights Out, and The Bickersons are all present and accounted for here. Shows I had heard some of, like You Bet Your Life (Grucho Marx!), The Burns and Allen Show, and The Jack Benny Show, have now infiltrated my thought processes. Numerous shows that never crossed my radar before proliferate here as well. My Friend Irma, The Zero Hour, and Our Miss Brooks are new to my senses and have rapidly become adored as well. Most of the shows here dwell in the heyday of OTR, but Bob also picks ones from other time periods. It’s always a treat to listen to a gem from the 1970’s or 1980’s, as the the genre attempted to re-invent itself in order to persevere. Maybe a hot young turk nowadays will hear these wonderful OTR shows and revive this amazing genre. One can always hope and dream.
For now, this will have to suffice. Thankfully entertainment, thrills, and laughter greet me whenever I plough through the podcasts accumulated in my feed from Bob Camardella Boxcars711. Picking between Benny, Burns, or Brooks is never easy. Or choosing from a Whistler, a Shadow, or a Traveler is no cinch either. And somewhere in the middle is finding one of the new shows which will quickly fill my ears with its quality. The past is back again thanks to Bob Camardella.
P.S. You can subscribe to Boxcars711 through iTunes.