Old Time Radio was television without pictures ... sort of. Oh, there were pictures, all right, sometimes very
vivid pictures, and no two people were likely to see them in exactly the same way. The pictures were not
projected on any kind of screen - they were created in the mind of the listener, and each person's imagination
filled in the visual detail in its own unique way.
You saw the hero's jet black hair, the snazzy suit and tie, the shiny, sleek black automobiles (they were all black
back then), - things that were not described at all in the show. It was there, and all very real, when we listened
to the radio, and enjoyed the theatre in our mind.
There are several shows you can listen to, and a few of them are very rare. Many of these broadcast recordings
are over 60 years old, so the quality is not always perfect. I've tried to select really good shows in each category
from my collection and keep the quality in the very good to excellent range.
If you really want to experience the powerful combination of old time radio and your imagination, go to the
Adventure section and play the Escape episode "Three Skeleton Key" - an experience made even stronger if
you listen while sitting in a totally dark room - no lights at all. It's that story with Vincent Price about three
lighthouse keepers .... and the rats.
Welcome to the theatre of the mind.
I have been trying for many years without success to find out about the history of "Europe Confidential", a very good,
but little known series in the "Adventure" section. Recently, my friend Bob Stepno did some research and solved most
of the puzzle. Bob writes:
I did a little spell-checking and online digging and discovered the star Lionel Murton was a Canadian-English actor
living in England, with quite a career as a character actor in feature films and television. (IMDB and Wikipedia both
have good pages on him. Alas, he died in 2006).
The series came from the same (non-BBC) Harry Alan Towers production house as the Orson Welles "Lives of Harry
Lime" ("Adventures of Harry Lime" in the U.K.) and "The Black Museum" series, which probably explains the script
similarities [with those series]. I'm told by a U.K. OTR fan that the program was on Radio Luxembourg, the commercial
station serving the U.K. as a BBC alternative, but I've found no RLux archive mentioning the show. I'd love to know
who wrote the scripts, who else was in the casts, etc. The series may have been better-distributed in the U.K., Canada and
Australia than the U.S., which would explain why it's off the radar of American oldtime radio collectors. (Jim is in
Ontario.) But that's just speculation on my part.