On the Air
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On the Air : The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio

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Description

Here are some 1,500 radio shows presented in alphabetical order. The great programs of the '30s, '40s, and '50s are all here - Amos 'n' Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Lone Ranger, Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour, and The March of Time, to name only a few. For each, Dunning provides a complete broadcast history, with the timeslot, the network, and the name of the show's sponsors. He lists major cast members, announcers, producers, directors, writers, and sound effects people - even the show's theme song. There are also umbrella entries, such as "News Broadcasts, " which features an engaging essay on radio news, with capsule biographies of major broadcasters like Lowell Thomas and Edward R. Murrow. Equally important, Dunning provides a fascinating account of each program, taking us behind the scenes to capture the feel of the performance, such as the ghastly sounds of Lights Out (a horror drama where heads rolled and bones crunched), and providing engrossing biographies of the main people involved in the show.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 840 pages
  • 182 x 258 x 54mm | 1,679.97g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Subsequent
  • 0195076788
  • 9780195076783

About John Dunning

John Dunning is a popular mystery novelist, author of The Bookman's Wake and Booked to Die. He lives in Aurora, Colorado.show more

Back cover copy

Here are some 1,500 radio shows presented in alphabetical order. The great programs of the '30s, '40s, and '50s are all here - Amos 'n' Andy, Fibber McGee and Molly, The Lone Ranger, Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour, and The March of Time, to name only a few. For each, Dunning provides a complete broadcast history, with the timeslot, the network, and the name of the show's sponsors. He lists major cast members, announcers, producers, directors, writers, and sound effects people - even the show's theme song. There are also umbrella entries, such as "News Broadcasts", which features an engaging essay on radio news, with capsule biographies of major broadcasters like Lowell Thomas and Edward R. Murrow. Equally important, Dunning provides a fascinating account of each program, taking us behind the scenes to capture the feel of the performance, such as the ghastly sounds of Lights Out (a horror drama where heads rolled and bones crunched), and providing engrossing biographies of the main people involved in the show.show more

Review quote

The rich detail in this solid work helps convey the flavor of that earlier time. A worthy addition to most reference collections, this volume is an interesting portrait of a time when radio was more than background music or xenophobic talk shows. * Booklist * Dunning has expertly compiled and organized a massive amount of research data on hundreds of radio shows aired from the 1920s through the 1960s. The entries, listed alphabetically by show title, each contain a treasure trove of information * broadcast dates, casts and personnel, anecdotes, special analyses, and a detailed overview of each show's background, format, and content.... An extensive bibliography and index enhance the book's appeal. For those who once gathered around the console, the more than 700 pages of entries should provide a wonderful stroll down memory lane. Historians and researchers will also find this a valuable reference tool, offering new discoveries and insights. * There are certain facets of earlier decades which are largely of interest only to specialists, but radio has been so important in the context of popular communication and cultural influence that nothing less than a full-scale encyclopedic accounting was called for. John Dunning supplies that. * Steve Allen * John Dunning's new work is the deepest and richest mine of information yet plumbed in the field of old time radio. It may well arrive at classic status not only for its magnitude but for its power to entertain through the vigor and acuity of its assessments. It is the only encyclopedia I know that can be read for pleasure as well as information. * Norman Corwin * John Dunning has compiled the ultimate Radio-phile's encyclopedia: a glorious goldmine of information on the 'golden age' of radio. I was there at the end of that era, both as a young radio actor and as the guy who replaced Jack Benny on CBS * making me the last network radio comedian in America. Many of the shows that influenced my sense of humor growing up * A warning to any old-time radio enthusiast: once you pick up this book, you won't be able to put it down. It's not only the ultimate reference guide to radio's golden age, it's compulsively readable, too. * Leonard Maltin * Worth owning if you love old radio or are a serious historian of contemporary America. * The Rocky Mountain News * A massive, 822-page volume that should stand as the all-time standard reference on radio.... Dunning's book is also irrestistible, can't put down reading, filled with fascinating facts and amazing anecdotes. To call On the Air complete is to sell it short. * San Diego Tribune * Written with wit and erudition.... This is the kind of book you hold in your lap and page through at leisure or dip into as if yo were casting a line into a placid and nostalgic stream. * The Commercial Appeal * A massive expansion of the same author's much-sought-after 1976 book "Tune in Yesterday." Anyone with even a passing interest in old radio will find this long-awaited work fascinating; for devotees, it will be the new standard reference. But even those unfamiliar with vintage radio could be captivated by this extraordinarily well-researched and interestingly written chronicle of a form of popular culture whose golden age was richly diverse and all too brief. * Los Angeles Daily News *show more

Rating details

86 ratings
4.66 out of 5 stars
5 71% (61)
4 24% (21)
3 5% (4)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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