"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." - George Santayana
To ever truly understand those generations before us, we must fully understand their times.
For those of us fortunate, or unfortunate, enough to have been born into the world after Thomas A. Edison, we can gain a sense of the past by listening to the sounds our predecessors preserved for us.
The original intent of this webpage was to present selected recordings from yesteryear, so those living today might hear the echoes of generations before. The focus was World War II - the greatest calamity yet to befall humankind.
The Second World War was a common experience shared by every individual then living, one that continues to influence the lives of all of us who have followed.
Over 50 million souls perished in the war, many from the US. My own family was fortunate, we lost only one family member, my Uncle Ren, a victim of Nazi artillery. Countless families, on all sides of the war, were wiped out in their entirety. A true global calamity.
The news broadcasts have been discontinued.
If you have an on-going interest in historical radio may I suggest Dad's OTR and OTRCat.com and OTR in MP3 as dependable vendors of OTR -- including historical broadcasts -- in mp3 format.
Radio -- I Remember
by Irv Mitchell
As a boomer, I missed the "Golden Age" of dramatic radio. Though I have always been a true child of television, radio was always a factor in my early years -- primarily KDKA in Pittsburgh. Schooldays began with Rege Cordic (of Old Frothingslosh - the Pale Stale Ale with the Foam on the Bottom fame), Sundays with Josie Carey (the late Fred Rogers borrowed - with permission - one of her themes when he first moved into his own TV neighborhood); and I went to bed, covertly (under the covers with an earphone), with "Party Line with Ed & Wendy King."
While in middle school, a friend of my father loaned him The Longines-Wittenauer Golden Age of Radio albums. I listened to them over and over and became forever hooked. I began spending weekends with NBC's "Monitor" and searching out what I could on shortwave. The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) always had something of interest, as did Radio Netherlands, among others.
Soon I was looking for more. In the late 60's you could usually find, in most markets, an FM station that would broadcast an episode of "The Shadow" (never one of my favorites) on a Sunday afternoon. In the early 70's, in addition to "The Shadow," NBC broadcast Sunday repeats of "X Minus One" in the summer and beginning in 1974 stations affiliated with CBS Radio devoted one hour each night to "Mystery Theater". Other programs (including "General Mills Radio Adventure Theater," "Mutual Radio Theater" / "Sears Radio Theater" and "Zero Hour") aired on a syndicated basis, but none really caught on, and eventually, after 1,400 programs, even CBS gave up and cancelled Himan Brown's "Mystery Theater."
In the 80's, Garrison Keillor held forth on Saturdays with "A Prairie Home Companion". It was, and continues to be, a wonderful way to while away a couple of hours. Bill Bragg (the man with a million friends) began his efforts with Yesterday USA.
The advent of audiobooks in the late 80s marked the beginning of a renaissance in entertainment tailored for the ear. More opportunities exist than ever before to enjoy radio drama. Classic rebroadcasts and new, innovative programming flourish on, and off, the web. New syndicated radio dramas air in some markets - for example "Twilight Zone" hosted by Stacy Keach. Satellite radio offers OTR programming. And, of course, various collections are available commercially.
However, for contemporary radio drama and comedy, the BBC cannot be beat. New shows abound on Radio 3 and Radio 4. And replays of classic British programming can be found on BBC 7. The Canadian Broadcasting Company also offers a variety of radio features.
Sit back, close your eyes, and enjoy the theater of the mind.
By the way -- I'm always interested in additional WWII broadcasts. Please let me know if you are aware of additional wartime newscasts that may be available. Thanx.
Text ęCopyright 2000-2012, Irv Mitchell. All rights reserved.
Photo ęCopyright 2000-2012, Irv Mitchell. All rights reserved.
Non-Animated Graphics ęCopyright 2000-2012, Irv Mitchell. All rights reserved.
Special thanx to Ed Baker, Jaime Delgado Baudet, Bruce Behan, Larry Berry, Mike Black, Scott Brainerd, David Caulton, Arne Flones, Paul Ghilarducci, Bob Greene, Ian Holder & Kristy Patterson for their contributions to the war effort over the past years.
Created 01 Apr 2000 . . . This page was last updated 24 Jan 2012