Nostalgic Rumblings
The Ramblings of an Old Man

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October 2008
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Boy, Sirius Programming Really Sucks…

Filed under: General, Radio Today — Charlie Summers @ 11:14 pm

For those of you unfortunate enough to subscribe to satellite radio, you know that Sirius bought out XM (if you believe the press releases that say it was a merger, you are way too naive…). And shortly (middle of next month), the Sirius New York programmers begin programming most of the music channels. But right now, you can get a glimpse into the future of satellite radio programming by listening to the Halloween mini-channel, XM Gore, which is nothing but a rebroadcast of Sirius Scream.

Boy, does it suck.

No, I’m not saying that because it’s from Sirius, I’m saying it because it’s true. And I’m not even whining about the lousy sound quality of all the channels now that they’ve dropped everything down to 32kbps so they can shove in the “best” of Sirius (and then sent spam email to those of us refusing marketing email, no less!)…I’m specifically complaining about the uselessness of the Halloween channel. Some specific examples of why it sucks:

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2008 FOTR Convention Wrap-up

Filed under: General, Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 3:37 pm

It’s hard to sit down and describe the 2008 Friends of Old-Time Radio convention in a few words…there’s so much to say about three-and-a-quarter days of entertainment and enjoyment it’s tough to actually put it into words. But as someone who is rarely at a lack of something to say and who probably never used only a few words when many thousand would do, I’m going to try…

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Cecil and Sally - Undated Episode

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:51 pm

Recently on the OTR Digest, the subject of Cecil and Sally has come up. I first heard of this series from Dr. Randy Spurlock at an FOTR convention some years ago; he told me he had a number of the syndication transcriptions, and was going to slowly have them transfered. He gave me a disc of episodes which, unfortunately, was damaged, although I was able to recover two episodes from this disc albeit with considerable recovery noise.

Fred Berney, he of, after hearing about the damaged disc, later gave me some episodes to hear without the damage; it’s one of the episodes supplied by Fred taken from transcription discs supplied by Dr. Spurlock that is posted here. Written by John Patrick, and starring Patrick and Helen Troy, Cecil and Sally was one of the first nationally-syndicated-by-transcription programs; released by a San Francisco company, MacGregor & Sollie in the late 1920s…for an example of the cost to local stations for running this program, WKAV in Laconia, New Hampshire in 1931 was under contract to pay MacGregor & Sollie $17.50 for each episode over a 26 week run, according to Doug as posted on the Internet OTR Digest. Cecil and Sally was later picked up by NBC, but the episode here is from the syndicated run. There’s no open or close, presumably that and the sponsoring commercials would have been the responsibility of the local station who played the show.

Compared to radio programs of the 40’s and 50’s, it’s somewhat minimal, with few sound effects to get in the way of the dialog. But as an example of early dramatic radio, it’s an important historical document, so I hope you’ll enjoy this undated episode of Cecil and Sally.

icon for podpress  Cecil and Sally - Undated Episode [11:12m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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Mystery in the Air - The Marvelous Barastro

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 9:34 pm

This program marks the return of the worst voice in Internet audio after a somewhat lengthy break…

I received from Jerry Haendiges, of The Vintage Radio Place a large collection of programs, with the suggestion I “broadcast” some of them here on the blog…thing is, many of the programs he sent I’d never heard, and some I’ve never heard of, even as long as I’ve been in the hobby. So for the foreseeable future I’m going to run the shows he sent in low-bandwidth MP3 format - even at 32kbps mono, these shows are some of the best-sounding shows you’ll hear. But remember for even better sound, these shows (and a few bazillion others) may be purchased from Jerry in either audio CD format, or ultra-high-quality MP3 format.

Today’s show was a 1947 summer replacement for Abbott and Costello featuring the great Peter Lorre in an adaptation of the mystery classic “The Marvelous Barastro,” by Ben Hecht. This series, Mystery in the Air, was announced by Henry Morgan, better-known as Sgt. Friday’s partner Frank Gannon in the color version of Dragnet, and Col. Potter in the long-running M*A*S*H. The sponsor is Camel cigarettes, who asks, “What cigarette do you smoke, Doctor?” with a supporting cast drawn from some of the best the west coast had to offer, in this episode John Brown, Howard Culver, Jane Morgan, and Russell Thorson.

So turn off the lights, crawl under the covers, and listen to this episode of Mystery in the Air, “The Marvelous Barastro!”

icon for podpress  Mystery in the Air - The Marvelous Barastro [32:01m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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The Blog Has a Jingle!

Filed under: General — Charlie Summers @ 11:06 pm

Rockin’ like a mullet!


icon for podpress  Nostalgic Rumblings Jingle [1:10m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

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R.I.P.: Gil Stratton, Jr.

Filed under: Old-Time Radio, Television — Charlie Summers @ 10:15 am

Received this sad news this morning from REPS…Gil was a great friend to the Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention, always quick with a laugh. Below a photo from last year’s con.

Fans and friends may leave their condolences for Gil’s family - and/or share memories or remembrances of Gil Stratton on his website guestbook at

Gil Stratton’s radio credits included:
Fibber Mc Gee and Molly, Halls of Ivy, My Favorite Husband, The Life of Riley, Lux Radio Theater, Suspense, Great Gildersleeve and others.

Gil Stratton, 86, called ‘em as he saw ‘em 6:22 PM Saturday

A friend of longtime Los Angeles sportscaster Gil Stratton emailed the news that Stratton died this morning at home in Toluca Lake. He was 86 and had suffered heart problems. Stratton was a fixture on KNX Radio and Channel 2 for decades and the popular sports anchor on “The Big News” with Jerry Dunphy that ushered in the era of hour-long news in L.A. From the obit being circulated by friends:

Stratton, 86, was a native of Brooklyn, NY and started out as a Broadway performer at the age of 19 in the musical “Best Foot Forward.” That led to a career in films including a supporting role in the Academy Award-winning “Stalag 17″.
His career was interrupted by World War II when he served as a bombardier in the Army Air Corps.

In 1954, Stratton caught the attention of management at Channel 2, then KNXT, and became a sportscaster. He became part of the “Big News” team headed by anchor Jerry Dunphy as the station dominated local news ratings in the 1960’s. Drawing on his background as a baseball umpire, Stratton would open his sportscasts with a trademark line: “Hi folks, time to call ‘em as we see ‘em.”

He is the recipient of seven “Golden Mike” awards from the Southern California Broadcasters association.

Gil Stratton, Jr. and our friend Ken Stockinger at the 2007 Friends of Old-Time Radio Convention

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Cincinnati Convention Flyer

Filed under: Old-Time Radio — Charlie Summers @ 5:28 pm

The first Cincinnati convention flyer is out, announcing the attendance of our friend Eddie Carroll, star of the one-man show Jack Benny: Laughter in Bloom. Check it out!

icon for podpress  23rd Annual Cincinnati Nostalgia Convention Flyer #1: Download

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Or maybe not…Fox orders full season for Fringe

Filed under: Television — Charlie Summers @ 10:37 am

Talking about the cancellation of Do Not Disturb, I said, “there is hope for the American public.” Ok, maybe not, since Fox has ordered the back-nine for the uninspiring and derivative Fringe, large stupid location reminders and all.

Ah, well, there’s always Supernatural…

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