Tag Archives: old time radio

More old-time radio — 47 hours of science fiction classics

What a find!  A poet I admire passed this along to me, and it was too good not to share — 47 hours of science fiction radio classics that Open Culture recently added to its Spotify page.  You’ve got to be a Spotify member to hear these, but signing up is free and easy.  (Spotify also makes it easy to reset your password if you’ve forgotten it, as I did.)

Right at the top of the list is Orson Welles’ famous/infamous 1938 broadcast of his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.”  (Yes, this the show that made people believe that martians were actually invading.  How’s that for “fake news?”)

Welles’ broadcast was actually the first classic radio I’d ever heard, when I was a kid in the 1980’s.  I’d gotten it on a pair of cassette tapes for either Christmas or my birthday, along with an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  If those strike you as weird presents, I was a weird kid.

I loved those tapes — the Poe recording was so good it genuinely scared me.  (The narrator really nailed it.)  If I happen across that online, I’ll be sure to post it here.



Old-time radio horror shows (because I need another nerdy hobby)

So I’ve discovered a fun and easily accessible treatment for insomnia, and it’s also an interesting diversion for a horror fan looking for a change of pace.  There are no small number of horror and suspense radio shows from the 1930’s, 40’s and 50’s on Youtube.  (They actually do have a significant online fandom.)

The programs are typically 30 to 40 minutes long, and the audio-only stories make you feel like you’re reading a book before bedtime (which for many people is a perfect treatment for sleeplessness).

The horror is a bit mild compared with modern films or TV shows, of course.  But it’s still fun hearing what people found spooky before the days of television.  It’s even better if the recording contains the original radio ads, which are even weirder than you might expect.

I started one last night that was narrated by the legendary Peter Lorre, and I know that Vincent Price starred in a slew of them.