When I was a kid we had a blue Bakelite radio made, I recall, by Western Electric. No TV. Just a radio. And that was okay because, for one thing I didn’t know about TV, and for another, every so often during the week I got to listen to some great radio programs. The Lone Ranger, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, Hopalong Cassidy, the Shadow and others kick-started my imagination and taught me the power of a narrative.
Thanks to the marvellous Internet Archive, you can now listen to some of these “Old Time Radio” shows. The basic start page offers you a chance to browse by title, look at the latest additions to the radio archive, choose one of the most popular downloads, or pick a staff pick.
There’s Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes, dozens and dozens of Superman (which began with this catch line, “faster than an airplane, more powerful than a locomotive, impervious to bullets”), The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Perry Mason, and much much more, as they say.
When you find what you like, you can either listen to it online, using the provided player, download the MP3s, or stream a program in hi- or lo-fi.
And just in case there are some of you who simply must have pictures to go along with your story, here’s a link to the Internet Archive’s collection of 23 animated movies of Superman (“faster than a streak of lightening, more powerful than the pounding surf, mightier than a hurricane” — no kidding: 1942).