Have an OTR Christmas!

The hours till Christmas are dwindling down, and the way we figure it, odds are pretty good that you’re looking to kill a little time right about now.

You’re either stuck at the office on Christmas Eve, but with precious little to actually do. Or you’ve already headed home for the holidays but found the first wave of small talk has subsided and you’re left with not too much to say to your various and sundry relatives.

Or heaven forbid, you’re stuck in a flight delay at the airport, in which case you could surely use a pleasing distraction.

As we’ve stated in this space before, we have nothing whatsoever to do with OTRCat.com, purveyors of audio collections of old-time radio programs. We don’t benefit in any way from offering plugs for them.

But we enjoy listening to old radio programs and we like it that, when major holidays roll around, the good folks at OTRCat make it a practice to offer a round-up of timely broadcasts for the streaming (or, if you prefer, the downloading), absolutely free.

This week, as you might guess, they’ve got a line-up of a dozen shows with a Christmas theme, and the range of genres and decades is impressive. You can catch everything from comedies (Burns and Allen, Jack Benny) to mystery-horror (Lights Out, The Weird Circle), musical variety programs (Kraft Music Hall featuring Bing Crosby), and even cop shows (Dragnet).

Speaking of Dragnet, we’re sharing that one below, just to whet your appetite—but we strongly recommend you head over to OTRCat.com to see the entire line-up. And why not consider making a purchase of one of their entertaining collections of OTR programs while you’re at it? They couldn’t be more affordable, and they make great holiday gifts for those vintage-minded individuals on your gift list.

Dragnet: “Twenty-two Rifle for Christmas” (12/21/1950; 28:44)

Another OTR Christmas

We figure most folks will find themselves in one of two camps over the next few days.

The first group will be those who got a bit of a jump on their seasonal activities. They’ve purchased and wrapped all their gifts, mailed their cards, gotten the grocery shopping completed for any holiday meals they’re to prepare, so now they spend the next few days relaxing and savoring the festive mood that surrounds us.

The second group, bless their hearts, have accomplished few to none of the above-cited tasks, and will be frantic and out of breath for the next 72 hours or so as they fight the crowds to squeeze in some last-minute shopping; sign, stamp, and lick, and mail their cards, and drive all over town from grocery store to understocked grocery store looking for all the ingredients required for the holiday meal they’re expected to whip up.

To the second group, we say, “Good luck and Godspeed—we don’t envy you.” Because, the rigors of a little holiday travel aside, we’ve completed our own seasonal tasks and intend to relax and enjoy ourselves through the weekend.

One way we in the first camp might pass the time is with some Christmas-themed old-time radio programs from the good folks at OTRcat.com. They traffic in reasonably priced collections of classic radio shows from the Cladrite Era, but for the next few days, you can listen to a full dozen holiday programs for free.

A number of genres are featured: mystery-horror, variety shows, dramas, cop shows, private eye programs, and comedies, among others.

We’re sharing below an episode of the “Lights Out” program entitled “Uninhabited” that originally aired on December 22, 1937, in which, as the folks at OTRcat describe it, “a French, Australian, and African-American soldier find themselves traveling on a train on Christmas Eve 1918.” But if the likes of “The Jack Benny Show,” “The Great Gildersleeve,” or “Dragnet” are more to your liking, you’ll find those streaming at OTRcat.com.

Lights Out: “Uninhabited” (30:04)

We think you’ll find the offerings at OTRcat well worth your consideration, and at these prices—free!—they certainly can’t be beat. So put your feet up and relax—you’ve earned it!—as you enjoy some Christmas entertainment from the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s—when you’re not listening to Cladrite Radio, that is.

(P.S. We have absolutely no connection to OTRcat.com. We just like old-time radio, and we appreciate any outfit that’s willing to share samples of their wares gratis.)

An OTR Christmas, Day 5

To close out our week of Christmas-themed old-time radio programs and given that it’s Friday, a day we’ve been devoting to Mr. Rudy Vallée‘s 1930 memoir, we thought it the perfect time to offer a holiday installment of Rudy’s popular radio program, The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour, from December 20, 1934.

Rudy’s guests on the show that night included, among others and in Rudy’s words, “Hollywood’s happiest couple, Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels” and the English Singers of London, “regarded in concert circles,” Rudy informs us, “as the foremost interpreters of early English song, particularly carols.”

We hope that the dulcet croonings of Rudy and Company serve to set the perfect mood for a relaxing Christmas Eve and that your Christmas Day is one filled with joy and laughter. We’ll be taking a few days off from our daily dispatches here at Cladrite Radio, but we’ll be back before the dawning of the new year. And, in the meantime, there’ll be, as always, plenty of toe-tapping tunes from the 1920s, ’30s, and ’40s here for your streaming pleasure.

The Fleischmann’s Yeast Hour—December 20, 1934 (50:51)

An OTR Christmas, Day 4

Today’s Christmas-themed old-time radio program is a drama, an episode of the very popular mystery program, The Shadow. This episode, “The Stockings Were Hung,” first aired on on Christmas Eve, 1939.

If you’ve never before listened to an installment of The Shadow, you’ll want to listen carefully to the show’s opening—“Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow knows….”

If the voice sounds familiar to you, it should—it’s Orson Welles (Welles also portrays Lamont Cranston, the Shadow’s alter-ego).

The Shadow: “The Stockings Were Hung”—December 24, 1939 (24:49)

An OTR Christmas, Day 3

Most of us grew up following the comings and goings of Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and the rest of the gang, but have you ever gotten to hear the long-running radio show based on the popular comic strip? If not, here’s your chance, because today’s broadcast from Christmases Past is an chapter in the radio adventures of Archie Andrews.

Archie was played on the radio by a number of actors over the years, but the fellow to portray our favorite carrot-top the longest was venerable character actor and voice artist Bob Hastings.

This program originally aired on December 14, 1948. Enjoy!

Archie Andrews: Christmas Job at the Drugstore—Dec. 14, 1948 (29:45)