Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Old Time Radio helps melt your commute away. The perfect soundtrack for your car's radio
“His brain was just big enough to drop through the hole of a Life Saver.”
“When she walked in it would give you a warm feeling. Like a melted cheese sandwich.”
Where can you get a steady diet of brilliant gems like these? In the hard-boiled world of Old Time Radio (OTR), of course.
Eventually, they went off the air, and the ease of flipping the switch on my boom box overtook my desire to wait for the tubes to warm up in the old Philco, so I sort of forgot about how much I liked those OTR shows.
I tend to gravitate more toward the detective and action genre, because I love the clever writing and terse bending of the English language. It just seems too perfect to me that people not only had the ability to write that way, but they made their living doing it. What a dream job that had to be.
Today, I have a Sirius Radio receiver in my Impala, and the Radio Classics channel is one of my most-used presets. Each show generally lasts about a half-hour, which is perfect for my 45-minute commute. At least for me, these shows are engaging enough that I can focus some of my attention away from how much I hate being in traffic, but not so involved that I lose track of what I’m doing.
It also might be worth noting that since Sirius and XM merged, both systems play the exact same Radio Classics channel with Greg Bell as the host.
Now, I’ve never bought anything from that site, so I can’t attest to their customer service, but they do have a respectable library of titles. If I didn’t have my Sirius receiver, I’d probably give them a try.
Hey, the price is right! If you haven’t tuned in before, may I suggest The Adventures of Phillip Marlowe (Gerald Mohr has a great tough-guy detective voice), Richard Diamond, Private Detective (Dick Powell was a big movie star back in the day, and his smooth, lighthearted delivery is the perfect contrast to the messy situations he finds himself in), or Pat Novak For Hire (Jack Webb piles on the puns in this gritty detective drama that preceded Dragnet). The best Western has to be Gunsmoke (the unmistakable voice of William Conrad fits right in with some of the best written material ever), but The Six Shooter is also a solid choice with big screen legend Jimmy Stewart in the title role.
And, to add a little visual entertainment to this post, the slideshow below has a bunch of pictures of car radios from the HMC archives. I can hear the tubes heating up just looking at them. They're kind of fun to look through while you're listening to something from the "otr" link above.