Who’s on First – Name a Better Skit

It’s probably the most recognized routine from the era. It’s the word play on words with double meanings. Costello is focused on interpreting the words in their strict usage in grammar, while Bud has changed their meanings as pronouns or phrases to be proper nouns as the names of the players. Though it ought to be an obvious miscommunication between the two, neither can remove his thought process outside his own definition of that word.

They had a similar routine using the old U-Drive company, later to become known as the Hertz Rental Car company. A name change that didn’t help out their act so much.

A lot more of their comedy centered on relationships from dating, to marriage, to divorce. Animals and kids were frequent themes, as when Bud and Lou went to the circus, or on a lion hunt.

Memorable moments on the radio include such things asJack Benny’s responce to getting robbed and confronted with the line, “Your money or your life!”

Catch phrases and signature lines like:
* Taint funny McGee,
* If I dood it I’ll get a whipping
*That ain’t the way I heared it
*Gildersleeves laugh,
* Jimmy Durant’s nose
* Fibber McGee’s closet
* Abner Peabody getting confused over Lum’s common figures of speech. (Old Eddards sayings)
* Fibber and Molly getting Mayor Latrivia flustered over his use of a harmless figure of speech.

Those character trademarks make for a flexible platform to set up any number of situations, using the same routine, but with any variety of variables to make the routine a little different every time. The same, but a little different, and when we begin to recognize the set up, we wait to see what new creation the characters will come up with this time.

We can always count on Crosby and Hope bickering like an old married couple. For that matter, the Bickersons bickering like an old married couple. Jack Benny created his stingy, insecure, childish, bossy persona over years to be a routine in itself that can be plugged into any setting to put his comic flavor in it.

Plenty of comedy formulas to be sure, but when it comes down to a complete comedy routine, that has stood the test of time, I think the “Who’s on First” routine is hard to beat. It’s one that can be easy to ad lib, the structure of the humor is there, and it’s always funny.

PS: This article is in response to a discussion on <a href=”http://otrcommunity.com”>OTR Community.</a> Visit the site, sign up, and get talking about OTR with other fans. Pop in to see how the rest of this conversation is going.


Flying with Captain Midnight

Some time ago I ran a short serial of the Carlton E Morse series, I Love a Mystery. It has come to an end. Though I stretched it out over several weeks, it originally ran on a daily basis, and only lasted for about two weeks. There are more in that series besides the Million Dollar Curse, and if I can find more, I’ll bring it back. The characters of Doc Long, Reggie York, and Jack Packard made it into several of the Carlton E Morse shows. Actress, Mercedes Cambridge was a regular in the show as well, but she played different characters.

To take over the slot, I found this show, Captain Midnight. I don’t have the full run, but I do have several. I’ll have to check to see how many exist, and if I can get them. It’s a little corny, and designed for the kiddie set. Captain Midnight is the fearless, brave airplane pilot who faces dangers in the air from enemies. When he isn’t in the air there’s plenty of sneaky doings with his ground crew on the ground. They fight off foreign spies, face kidnapping, sabateurs, and always manage to come out on top.

Still, Captain Midnight is a fun show and worthy to follow along with the adventure as it continues from week to week. Though I’ve posted about all I can find, I somehow manage to keep turning up a few more. I’ll keep them coming for as long as I can manage.

Detectives, Where Are the Detectives?

The Detective and Mystery genres are among the tops in the favorite shows of old time radio fans. Somehow, I just haven’t managed to keep up on podcasting all that many.

I love a good mystery, but I sometimes get turned off on those that show up in the broadcast format. The main problem is not that the stories are canned, or hoakie, or there’s a lack in the writing or acting. It’s just that the short, 30 minute format just doesn’t give a good mystery the time it needs to develop. Then it ends up with that hoakie, cookie cutter feeling.

With television, show producers did well to shift the police, drama, and detective shows to a full hour. Comedies can get away with a shorter format, since even with a sit-com, it’s mostly short one liner style humor. The story is incidental to the jokes.

To tell a good story, I’d rather have a show span into a part 2, or 3, or longer to get the story told well, than to clip it, and rush it, just so it fits in the short time frame.

I don’t know why the mini serial concept has never been used more. It worked so well for kid shows like Superman. Soaps use it all the time. Sometimes the Dragnet radio show had a story that lapsed into a second part. I really love the later episodes of Johnny Dollar that spanned the whole week. A short show every day to tell a bigger story. In the big scheme of things though it just hasn’t been done much.

With my little bit of ranting over with, I promise to locate more detective shows, and put them in the lineup. I’m open to hear what detectives are your favorites. I’m getting close to the end of my run of the Box 13 shows, but I’ll probably start it over again from the beginning, and start with the first shows to the last again. I do have more of the Johnny Dollar series which will be appearing one of these days. I’ve found some collections of Michael Shane, and of Richard Diamond, but I haven’t had the chance to listen to them yet. Same for Philip Marlowe.

Any requests are welcome. Use this space in the forum to talk about who your favorites are. I have a few more ideas to put more shows into this area, but a lot of it depends on the demands on my time. Tell me what you like, and I’ll make that a priority.



Hi Keith,

The detective programmes you mention are all very good – some of my favourties. Others you might consider sometime are:

Nero Wolfe (both the US and Canadian series)

Pat Novak for Hire (Jack Webb)

Jeff Regan (also Jack Webb)

Candy Matson (a female detective based in San Francisco)

Inspector Dover (one of the British/BBC, though not sure when this series was broadcast, do don’t know if it technically qualifies as OTR, but very good)

Father Baldi (BBC and also with the same caveats as Inspector Dover)

Inspector Thorne (another British detective that was broadcast on NBC sometime in the 1950s)

Inspector Steine (yet another British detective, though I’ve only heard one six-part programme)

Rogues Gallery (with Dick Powell who also stars in Richard Diamond)

Sam Spade (one of my favourites)

That Hammer Guy (Based on Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer)

The Fat Man

The Saint (Vincent Price)

Walk Softly Peter Troy (I think this was South African)

Night Beat (with Frank Lovejoy as Randy Stone)

And so many more

All the best – Ric


Good shows Rick. I’m familiar with most of them. Not so much the BBC series you mentioned, but I’ll see what I can find on them.

I do have a Candy Matson channel where all of her known shows are listed. I originally tried to put them in sequential order, but I think they may have gotten slightly jumbled. Just have a look in the Channel selection box, and dook under the Detective channel for Candy Matson. Once on that page, you can catch all the shows in your favorite podcatcher by grabbing the address from your browser’s address bar, and add “/feed” to the end of it. (the “/” may already be in the address). Since all the episodes are already there, there won’t be anything new added, unless I take an episode down to run it again.

Thanks for the tips on those other detective shows.


A follow up note:

With the web site move, my Channel selectionds don’t quite work the same. Check out the Resources page, or the side bar for the list of Channels. Individual series still have their own feed to subscribe to, but at the moment I haven’t put out links to do that. It’s all in an effort to streamline the site a little.

I’m still having trouble locating the BBC shows you mentioned, but I have a lot more of most of the others. I mainly like to post old time radio from the era of the 1930’s to the 1950’s, but there is actually a lot of good stuff from the later years, and I’ve posted some of it. I ran the CBS Radio Mystery Theater earlier in the year, and plan to do more. A while back Iaran a series from the BBC that was a Marx Brothers Remake from the 1990’s. The original Marx Brothers series, of course, ran in the 1930’s, and almost none of it is still around other than the scripts that the BBC team used for their shows.

I’ll try to do more of the later things, as long as they aren’t copyrighted, or I can get permission.

Daily Dose of Adventure

After some searching for some programs to round things out, a daily schedule of adventure shows are now on the podcast. Based on the original Superman to carry the load on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, there are two others to fill up the week. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century has been put on Tuesdays, and Flash Gordon will cover the Thursday slot. Both of these are short in time, only 15 minutes, and short in the shows that are available. Still, I have enough to run for several weeks.

I found at least one show that seems to be a duplicate, with two dates for it. I’ll try not to run it twice, but I may forget. There are also an occasional gap in the run of Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers. The original run of Flash Gordon in the comic books actually had Flash and Dale returning to earth, but the radio series has them getting married… or is that the other way around? Whichever way it goes, the radio series ends up with a transition to another comic serial, Congo Kurt. If I can find any of those, and I just might be able to, I may transition into that series as well. No garantees.

At any rate, as the shorter run shows come to the end of my resources, I’ll have things to swap in their place. It will be an interesting thing to see how it plays out. I’ve had a request for the Green Hornet series. At the moment, I have only a couple of those, so by the time the need arises, it will give me time to track down a season or two of the Grand Nephew of the Lone Ranger (that means Green Hornet for those of you who are less informed).

I’m always open for requests, so hop on the forum and reply to the post, or drop Keith a line in the usual ways. Either use the contact page to send an email, or by commenting on the show notes. All that’s required to comment is to register, and all that requires is submitting your name and email address. It’s such a small price to pay to prove to me that you’re a human, and not a spammer.

Note: Since posting this originally on my old forum, several things have changed, and come about. Check out my Adventure channnel to see how things have all worked out through the months.

A Jack Benny Moment

One night, Jack Benny was walking home when, all of a sudden, a thief jumped on him.

Jack and the thief were beginning to wrestle. They rolled about on the
ground and Jack put up a tremendous fight. However, the thief managed
to get the better of him and pinned Jack to the ground.

When the thief went through Jack’s pockets all he could find on him
was 25 cents. He was so surprised at this he asked why Jack had
bothered to fight so hard for 25 cents.

“Was that all you wanted?” Jack replied, “I thought you were after the
five hundred dollars I’ve got in my shoe!”

Christmas Greetings from Vic and Sade

In the Vic and Sade series, a recurring feature is the host of townsfolk who try to sell Christmas cards to poor old, money concious Sade Gook.

In the show, the topic will come up as quickly in June as it does in the Christmas season. I guess it’s never a bad time to start pitching those cards, and make a little spending money. The thing with that Christmas card company is the wierd, horrible, yet funny greetings in them. Here’s a collected list of them.

  • Give me a kiss, and make me feel fine. Merry Christmas 1939!
  • Wash off that dirty neck of yours, and wipe away that sneer. I’m wishing you and your family a prosperous New Year.
  • Give me a kiss o girl of mine, this is Christmas 1939.
  • Give me a kiss for Christmas time joy, Santa is coming with candy and toys.
  • Give me a kiss to remember you my dear, and don’t forget December 25th is full of holiday cheer.
  • Give me a kiss and then go away, I’m listening for bells on Santa Claus’s sleigh.
  • Give me a kiss before I get mad,
  • Give me a hug o girl of mine, this is Christmas 1939.
  • Give me a kiss while its snowing and sleeting, and accept this heartfelt wish of holiday greeting.
  • Give me a kiss for Christmas time sake. If I don’t recieve presents, I’ll jump in the lake.
  • Give me a kiss, or I’ll telephone the police. May the blessings of Christmas never cease.
  • Merry Christmas you big old ox. What’s Santa Claus gonna put in your socks?
  • If I had a face like yours, I’d go jump in the lake. Your Your brotherr’s a half wit, your uncle’s a fake.
  • You’re not very pretty, and your not very smart. But I hope you enjoy the holiday season, and that comes from the heart.
  • Slap me in the face with a wreath of holly. Give me a kiss, and let’s be jolly.
  • The holiday season is full of fun. If you eat any more pudding, you’ll weigh a ton.
  • Santa Claus’s reindeer have come over the hill. I think I’ll roast a turkey, and eat my fill.
  • I look like a baboon, and I got no sense. When are you gonna pay me the two dollars you owe me for rent?
  • During the Yuletide season, we eat lots of food and cranberry sauce, and take chances at getting fat. Get off my foot you son of a gun, or i’ll hit you on the head with this baseball bat.

This represents a partial list, and is transcribed from a couple audio clips found on the Crazy World of Vic and Sade. As Jimbo adds more, or I find them on my own, this list could grow.

Keith H

Chickenman, for the Best or the Worst.

As a young kid I remember a local radio station out of St. Louis, MO that had a spot near the noon hour. A goofy spoof about a superhero in a chicken suit.

Years later I found a few stray shows on the Internet, then a few more and enjoyed the comic adventures all over again. When I put together my podcast and web page I thought it would be a good show to add to it.

After running through most of my collection, and having requests coming in to ask for more, I did more research on the show, and found out two important things.

1. All the series has been preserved, and is available to anyone who wants to purchase a copy of the 14 CD set for personal use. (currently the set costs $129, but price may vary as time goes by and at the discretion of the copyright holder.)

2. Did I say copyright? Yes. Though most of existing radio broadcasts before a law in 1974 came into being to address such things, most radio broadcasts are considered in the public domain. Broadcast companies focused on the new invention of television, and old radio shows were not considered worthy of copyrighting, often were tossed out wholesale, and considered junk. Chickenman is one that has had the copyright maintained through the years.

The Good part is that the shows are still out there, but it might be best to purchase your own personal set. If you balk at the price, just comfort yourself in knowing it breaks down to about 8 cents per episode. Another thing to do is to request your local radio station to license a copy of the radio series. There is apparently no such licensing for podcasts, or any arrangement to include podcasters in any such licensing arrangements.

The Worse part is that no matter how many people may request it of me, I can’t offer any Chickenman episodes on the podcast. Neither can any other podcasters, legally.

In cooperation with a request from the copyright holder, the shows that I had posted in the past have all been removed.

Bottom line. Though I would really like to, and though you may want me to I just can’t put the shows back on the podcast. I’d still like to know what fans of the podcast have to say about it, so sign up, log in, and make your comments. If you just want to remain anonymous, you can still use my email form on the contact page to leave your comment directly with me.

Keith H

Just Testing Out a New Feature

If this is being read on the website, then congradulations to me. I’ll soon be moving the website to a new server, and my plan is to do away with my forum. Nobody seems to use it much.

This new space in wordpress.com will take over the need for me to post various items that don’t quite fit into the podcast. Articles on old time radio characters, shows, and things. I’ll be sure to leave comments turned on, so anybody can add to the topic.

I’ll try to repost a few of the more popular forum articles here in the next few days, and take it from there.

Keith H

Celebrating Jack Benny Month

Just a reminder for anybody who happens to stumble onto this page, I’m currently in the middle of Jack Benny month on the podcast. What that means is that on my Retro Original Channel, I’m pplaying all Jack Benny shows, or shows that feature him in some way.

Does that sound like fun? Want to check it out?

Here’s a link to the Retro Original Channel:

If the link isn’t clickable, just do a select, and copy. Then paste it into your browser’s address bar. Or even into your favorite podcatching device. You’ll always catch the most recent 60 items. If enough time has gone by, and my Jack Benny shows have disappeared off the list, you can still find them by browsing the archives on the main podcast page.

Here’s how to browse for older episodes. Visit: http://retro-otr.com and look for the selection box in the side bar for my channels. Pull it open. And click the Retro Original channel. For faster page loading, you get 10 items per page. so keep clicking the link to read the previous pages until you find what you’re looking for, or you run out of pages.

Hope you enjoy Jack Benny month, and the rest of the classic radio shows I have for you there.

Keith Heltsley

Hello world!

This is my first blog post here on WordPress.com. This is meant to go along with my podcast, but will be geared more towards commenting, and writing articles that relate to the media I post on the podcast. Posts will likely come at irregular intervals, and if I get the hang of this, I just might take down my forum page, and use this site instead.

We’ll see how things work out. I might also make the behind the scenes place to vent or what goes on as I try to keep the podcast going, searching for shows, writing notes, and dealing with computer troubles and interuptions.