Monday, March 9, 2009

Make Mine... Mystery Radio

by Anne Carter

I’m not quite old enough to have listened to 1930’s, 40’s or 50’s mystery radio programs. But now, through the miracle of the internet, these fabulous, classic shows are available again to mystery fans for as little as … free! I’ve been listening to for several years.

From Beyond Midnight to the Adventures of Philip Marlowe, one can listen in on any number of 30 minute stories from radio’s golden era. My personal favorite is Candy Matson. Some of the recordings are scratchy and difficult to comprehend, but most are reasonably clear. I like that I can play individual programs while I’m working on other things—things that don’t detract from my ability to listen to the story.

Some of these episodes are recorded with their sponsors’ commercials attached. Many have the leading actors reading the advertisement in between acts. Listening to commercials for long-forgotten soap products or snippets about war bonds is almost as interesting as the mystery itself.

Another thing I really like about mystery radio is that it engages the imagination more than its video cousins, TV and movies. Like an audio book, radio theater lets the listener imagine, with the help of a very few sound effects, the visual portion of the story as it unfolds. Sometimes, at the beginning, end or during a commercial, I visualize the actors standing before tall, floor microphones with scripts in their hands. How different from the mechanics of today’s entertainment.

By the way, a disclaimer on states that they believe that copyrights on any of the shows they offer are expired. See also Old Time Radio Fans.

Anne Carter is the author of paranormal romantic mystery, POINT SURRENDER, from Echelon Press, Amazon and Fictionwise. Visit Anne at


Mark Troy said...

Thanks for the link, Anne. I didn't know those programs were available.

A. K. said...

Radio! I am a die hard radio listener! I have go try this one!

Jean Henry Mead said...

My husband and I love listening to the old radio shows in our car on XM radio. When I was a small child my grandmother had her ear to a radio similar to the one on your blog, listening to "Stella Dallas," "Young Doctor Malone" and "Our Gal Sunday," which were probably the very first soap operas.


Morgan Mandel said...

Thanks, Anne, I'll have to check these radio shows out. Great radio pic also.

Morgan Mandel

Earl Staggs said...

Anne, I did not know those old shows were still available, but I know I would enjoy them. Much of the old stuff is still the best. The other night, my wife and I watched a Red Skelton tribute on PBS and absolutely howled with laughter. I'd nearly forgotten how funny he was and, in contrast to what is purported to be comedy these days, not a foul word, belittling insult or bodily function joke was heard.

F. M. Meredith, author said...

When I was a kid I listened to all the old mystery shows on the radio. They were great because you could use your own imagination.

Loved The Shadow and all the rest. Did my homework while listening sometimes.

The Lux Radio theater had movies stars and I would go to the studio (free) to watch those broadcasts being made.

We were the first in our neighborhood to get a TV (my dad made it from a kit) and that kind of curtailed our radio listening.


Anne Carter said...

Earl, I was sorry we missed that Red Skelton special. A friend even called to remind us the day before, but around here, you have to call the minute before. We should have set the DVR to record it. I loved Red Skelton (and Clem Cadiddlehopper) as a child. What a truly wonderful comic. And like you said, clean, too.