Thursday, September 27, 2012

Richard Diamond, Private Detective = finished!

It took some real blood, sweat and tears but finally, I'm finished uploading my Richard Diamond, Private Detective files.

I am pretty proud of them.  I spent some quality time fixing them the way I wanted them.  I got rid of all the whistling and all of the commercials.  I fixed all of the titles that were really badly screwed up by whoever did them from OTRR (where I got the files to begin with.)

I shorted the opening and closings to the bare minimum.  I fixed the sound as best I could on every files.  I'm actually getting pretty good (if I may say so) at fixing sound.  It's taken me two years to get this good, so I can brag if I want to.  ha ha

I think you'll enjoy these files.  But if you don't, return them for a full refund.

Yes, I know there are 83 files.  That's because there really are only 83 remaining files in circulation.

Find them here.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

And Harold Peary, as satan

Another discouraging Richard Diamond update!

Starting uploading again but then something happened to make me stop. We'll have to try again tomorrow... Arg! However, you can see a "preview" of what I have uploaded and check out what it will be like here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Richard Diamond update

Well I did indeed finish the Richard Diamond files - I even uploaded them, which took almost 6 hours.

Somehow during the uploading, logged me out, meaning that was all for naught.  I suppose I will try thi sagain tomorrow morning.

Sorry for the delay.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Richard Diamond files - done hopefully by tomorrow

Even though I downloaded all the Richard files from OTRR, at least 60% of the file names were wrong (in actuality they were all wrong but I don't even want to go into that.)  I realized yesterday that figuring out the names was going to be a headache.

So, this puts the release of the files back a day or two.  I could be done today or tomorrow.  It may be another 24 hours before they are uploaded.

Best guess: tomorrow afternoon or Wednesday morning.  At any rate, you can check here or Twitter for updates.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Review: You Bet Your Life

If there's every been anyone quicker-witted or funnier than Groucho Marx, I'd certainly like for you to point him or her out to me because I want to see and hear them.

Groucho was not just funny, he was also rude.  Sometimes he was embarrassingly rude.  But even when he was, he was funny.  It was impossible not to laugh.

If you had never seen or heard Groucho, either in his hilarious Marx Brothers films or on TV's You Bet Your Life, there would be no way to describe him to someone.

Not too long ago, I put in a DVD of the TV show, You Bet Your Life, in the player for a 22 year old friend of mine.  He laughed the whole way through and sat there and watched the full fours hours with me.  When he left my house, I gave him the DVD as a gift and he now loves Groucho.

Groucho has that effect on people.  I'd say the current generation would love Groucho as much as they 'love' the current comedians if they only gave the man a chance.

Of course we know that will never happen...

Us old folks and OTR lovers though, have a bunch of Groucho to listen to from his radio game show, You Bet Your Life.  On the show, Groucho is Groucho.  Larger than life, loud, obnoxious and very, very funny.

Yes, it's a game show - but that just kind of seems secondary to Groucho.  I can imagine the sales pitch for this show in the 1940's... I can imagine prospective advertisers running away in fear.  You never knew what Groucho would do or say.  Because he was the one, the only, Groucho.

Review: Abbott and Costello Show

As a kid growing up, I watched a lot of Abbott and Costello movies.  I've come to find out that there's really only one good one but as a kid, they all seemed like quality entertainment.

About 4 years ago, I found the radio show by the boys. I've listened to each one and I think I have a good grasp of the show.

I'm not sure you'd put the duo in the 'juvenile' category, but it's darn close to being there - at least in 2012.  It probably wasn't that way in the 1940's (and later on television.)  But things change.

I probably don't have to tell you this, but Bud Abbott was the duo's straight man.  He was tall and thin and quick and snarky and needless to say, he was all business.  Lou Costello was a pear-shaped, active, silly, elastic, lunatic who provided all the machine gun crazy stuff.

They were better in the films and on television, where you could see them.  On the radio though, their material worked too.  It just wasn't as strong.

Their jokes and puns were pretty corny.  They weren't the corniest people on the radio but they were up there.  I remember Milton Berle doing a very brief parody of them and he 'murdered' them.  It was eye-opening, because their corny humor (which I somewhat enjoy and always have) all of them sudden sort of died that very day that I heard the parody.

At any rate, Abbott and Costello will always be mentioned when people talk about comedy teams.  They aren't in the same class as Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen or Fibber McGee and Molly, but they do rank somewhere near the 1940's Three Stooges, in my mind (it's hard to beat the 1930's Three Stooges.)

The radio show isn't horrible it's just corn, corn and more corn.  Not the corniest.  Not the worst.  It's good, clean fun.  It's GREAT for kids.  It's fast and loud.  It's Abbott and Costello.

Review: Chase and Sanborn/Edgar Bergen - Charlie McCarthy

When I was growing up, my brother used to talk about Charlie McCarthy.  For the longest time, I had no idea who Charlie McCarthy was.

When I found old-time radio in 1975, I found out quickly.  Although I don't really remember if I knew that Bergen was a ventriloquist.  My brother wasn't around to ask.  I may have asked my parents - but at any rate, sometime after 1975, I found out that Charlie was a dummy.

Skip ahead a half of a lifetime and here I am listening to all of the surviving broadcasts.  The shows themselves are something that I simply cannot like; there is too much music and too much slapstick and vaudevillian-type humor that reminds one of a bad Abbott and Costello Show.

However, when Bergen and his dummies are isolated, apart from the periphery of the rest of the show (which can include lots of "awful" singing and coffee commercials) you find a treasure.

Bergen, by all accounts, wasn't a very good ventriloquist.  His lips moved and his talent in this area was far behind others.  But his material was good and he was on the radio, where you couldn't see his lips moving.

Bergen didn't just have Charlie McCarthy - who was very much a Bugs Bunny/Walter Tetley-type  character (sans the Brooklyn accent) - Charlie was like a smart-aleck kid who could get away with almost anything.  He really wasn't that funny but he provided laughs now and then.

Charlie and to a lesser-extent, Bergen, became super famous almost overnight.  For a good part of the latter 1930's, Bergen's dummies were as popular (or more-so) than any other star on radio.  He made films too.

One of these guys is Mortimer Snerd
So, Charlie sent Bergen to the top.  But Charlie wasn't the funniest dummy.  Bergen's funnier routines weren't with Charlie at all but with with Mortimer Snerd.  Mortimer was a dumb, country, farmer-type.  An Elmer Fudd, if you will, only much more stupid.  And much funnier.

It's Snerd that really stands out when you listen to the sketches as a whole.

Another dummy, Effie Clinker, is Bergen's female persona.  I do not find the character funny in the least.  I don't think Bergen ever really felt that comfortable with Effie as he uses her very sparingly on the radio shows.

When broken down into dummy sketches, you will find a quick-paced barrel of fun.  While the various Bergen radio shows drag (many of them last as long as an hour) 90% of the sketches last less than 7 minutes.  And I'd guess that 75% of those actually last less than 5 minutes.

Other than Bergen and his dummies, the one standout would be Don Ameche.  Ameche comes and goes throughout the series.  When he is in the sketches with the dummies (in my recollection, always with Charlie) he plays an Italian named Gazzolla.  The Gazzolla character can be quite amusing at times when paired with McCarthy.

Yes, we are talking about a very juvenile/vaudevillian-type show; I understand that kind of humor isn't everyone's cup of coffee tea.  But I think it's worth your while to do me a favor... I have literally broken the shows down, commercial free and in high-quality and improved sound.  I'm not quite finished, as I have anywhere from 75 to 100 more sketches to go.  But even now, you can find almost 350 sketches at  I suggest you go there and at least take a listen to the work I have done and download at your leisure.

The rest of the sketches should be up sometime before the end of year.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Another look at Our Miss Brooks

For the last 2 months, I have daily been listening to the radio show, Our Miss Brooks.  This is my second time to listen to the series.

First, let me get off my chest all of the stuff I don't like about the show.

In my first review of the program, I made it known I am not a fan of Mrs. Davis, Connie Books' landlord, played by radio veteran, Jane Morgan.  This still is the case but for some reason, she is not nearly as hard to stomach this time around.  It's probably that I knew she'd be there messing up my enjoyment of every show and I just went ahead and prepared myself for this.

Another complaint is Mrs. Davis' cat, Minerva, who is obviously played by an overpaid voice actor.  There are only a few episodes where the cat is prominent and I have toughed those out.  And another animal is Mr. Boyton's frog.  Boyton, who is Connie's "love interest" - is much more interested in animals than he is in Connie it seems.  His noisy frog is annoying to me.  [Treating animals as part of the cast in otr is a dumb idea anyway, in my opinion.  This just doesn't work well.]

My biggest complaint, however,  is something I somehow overlooked during the first listen.  The misuse of the boom microphone by the crew.  Many times, almost a half of a sentence will be almost lost into the ether because the guy running the boom mike has the mike off somewhere else.  If you haven't noticed it, listen closely to the show next time and see if I am not right.

There are some good things about the show, most of them named Gale Gordon, who plays Mr. Conklin, the principal of the school.  He usually has a quick temper but sometimes he has a slow burn.  Either way, he's terrific.  If he weren't on the show, the show would be totally a stinker and not worth listening to at all.  You can imagined a Joseph Kerns-type playing the part as well but Gordon is just perfect for the role and deserves credit as being the one thing that almost makes the show work.

Eve Arden, of course, plays Connie and while I don't have anything bad to say about her and her constant dry sarcasm, I really don't have anything good to say about her either.  She's a mostly positive cog in the wheel of the show but she's more or less vanilla as far as what I hear.

Richard Crenna, who plays the constant-student-thorn is  Walter Denton.  He plays the part of an older juvenile well and he's definitely not vanilla.  He seems like he's in every scene and that's mostly a positive.  Although, his cracking voice after a while is annoying as well.

Leonard Smith, who plays Stretch Snodgrass, the school's star player of all sports, is stereotypically stupid.  And since Miss Brooks teaches English, he is prone to mangle his grammar on every other line.  This is a strong plus to the show, especially over Crenna's cracking voice .  While he's not funny, exactly, he is more than a fill-in while you listen patiently, waiting for Walter or Miss Brooks to goof up something that will excite Mr. Conklin so we can hear him blow up like a covered steam pot.

To me, the show is just a filler.  I look at this way: there are shows I want to listen to.  If I listen to them all 'now' then I will be stuck with stuff like Our Miss Brooks the rest of my life.

That's not something I would be looking forward to.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Richard Diamond files coming soon!

Sometime this coming weekend, I should be done with my improvement of Richard Diamond - Private Detective and I will upload them when I am done.

Believe it or not, I left Dick Powell's songs in there although I am working on another set (should be done within a week or so) that doesn't have his songs.

All commercials have been deleted as well as his whistling (I can't stand that!)

Anyway, I'll keep you informed

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Top three (Part three)

Best dramatic series:

3. Mercury Theater - When Orson Welles plays the lead most every week and the stock company had players like Agnes Moorehead, Joseph Cotten and 15 other names you have heard of, then you realize you have found something.  The only drawback is, there aren't that many surviving shows.

2. Suspense - Almost 700 surviving stories and a cast of thousands, with top-notch direction - but missing something that would put it over the top.

1. Radio Theater (AKA Lux Radio Theater) - Pristinely acted, directed shows with almost an hour's length to them.  Hundreds of existing titles and the sound is generally great.  Barely beats out Suspense.

Best Westerns:

3. Frontier Gentleman - A great show.  John Dehner is at his best here.

2. The Six Shooter - Wonderful stuff; this has slipped in my ratings over the years only because of it's brevity and the fact that Gunsmoke has like 20+ times as many shows.

1. Gunsmoke - Overwhelmingly good stuff with piles of shows to listen to.

Shows you should try, but haven't:

3. 20 Questions - There aren't a lot of surviving shows but you'll like what's left for you.

2. People Are Funny - Enough shows exist that you can't really complain that there aren't enough; but I like it so much that I still complain that there aren't enough.

1. College Quiz Bowl - Allen Ludden hosts this quiz program.  If you like a challenge, this is the one for you.  There are no easy questions.

Edgar Bergen - Charlie McCarthy Part VI available

Part 6 of my individual Edgar Bergen and his dummies only files.

Grab it here.

My guess is there are less than 100 files to go.

Funniest thing I've heard in a while

I'm entertained by Jack Benny's radio show - I won't go so far as to say I think it's funny.

But last night, I had a big laugh.  I hope it makes you laugh like I did!  Here's a clip of Jack, his violin teacher and the Sportsmen's Quartet...


Monday, September 17, 2012

Top three (Part two)

Best juvenile series:

3.  Challenge of the Yukon - Almost every show's formula is the same but it's still something that's fun to listen to. The colder it is outside, the more fun the show is.

2. Speed Gibson of the International Secret Police - Series One is much more fun than the second series but it's hard to beat the first series.  The first series ranks somewhere in my top ten all-time best.

1. The Adventures of Superman - There are so many episodes, so many arcs and the sound is darn good on most of them.  Bud Collyer is a perfect radio Superman and it's just fun.

Best situation comedy:

3.  Burns and Allen - Even with the Duck and the postman, the show somehow ranks in my top 3.


3.  The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet - Not only is the radio show a blast but so are the 50 or so television episodes you can find online.

2. Amos 'n' Andy - By the time this show reached the 1950's, they found the perfect comedy formula.  It's darn funny and there isn't anything racial about the show at all except 'dialect.'  Dialect isn't raciscm.

1. Fibber McGee and Molly - Jim Jordan was overlooked as a comedian.  He belongs in the same category as the great ones.  The show was funny from the 1930's to the mid 1950's.

More later.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Top three (Part one)

These are current favorites:

Favorite police show:

3. This is Your FBI - It's pretty hokey but I expect it to be hokey.  I'm not turned off by it.  I'm not turned on by it either, although it sometimes makes me laugh.  It's not a well-done show but it's got that certain flavor I expect.  It's bad and it's supposed to be bad, get me?

2. Dragnet - Dragnet is mostly an awesome show.  Again, the acting can be pretty bad but it's supposed to be like that.  Sgt.  Friday is as dry as a cold north wind as are each of his superiors. And I wouldn't have it any other way.  Extra points for some great sound effects.

1. 21st Precinct - Great acting and stories.  I simply love this show and wish there were 500 of them.  I hate to say it but this show is twice as good as Dragnet.

Favorite detective shows -

3. Black Museum - Not really a detective show but worth mentioning more than most of the sap out there that calls itself a detective show.

2. Sherlock Holmes (with Basil Rathbone) - Everything about the show is first class and clever.  I think I learn something after each show.

1. Richard Diamond, Private Detective - This show is one that I appreciate more every day.  I realize just how smooth Dick Powell was.  And the guy was funny as well.

more later...
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