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Home » Arts & Entertainment, Modern Audio Theater, Old time radio (OTR)

‘CBS Radio Mystery Theater’ — in case you missed it the first time around (Part 2 of 2)

By: 22 January 2012 One Comment

We’re continuing with a report started Friday about CBS Radio Mystery Theater. That program was started by Hiram Brown in 1974 and ran through 1982, thriving on both nostalgia for old time radio and new fans of the program, which aired every weeknight throughout its run. Paul Chester founded so that visitors can listen to the original 1,399 shows produced for the series. There is no charge to listen to the shows or find out more about the series through

Fans of CBS Radio Mystery Theater have their favorite episodes and Chester is no exception — he’s got a favorite series and pointed out that listening the programs is a great family activity, too.

“The Mark Twain week from January 1976 is a special favorite of mine,” he said. “I think that Brown and his writers did a great job with the material.

“Adaptations of great literature are always fun to me. I think that the Christmas episodes with E.G. Marshall playing Scrooge are my daughter’s favorites.”

While CBS Radio Mystery Theater was inspired by old time radio (OTR), Chester said there are some notable differences.

“We see a big change in the technical quality of the productions between the 30s and the post war era. The same is true from the end of the Golden Age of Radio era in 1962 and the first broadcasts of CBSRMT in the 70s,” he said. “The technology simply improves, and CBSRMT was being recorded just as the electronic revolution was beginning.

“The other big difference is the one hour format. Earlier anthologies like Inner Sanctum, Escape! and Suspense told great stories in half an hour or less, but the extra time allows the writers and actors a better chance to develop characters and stories.”

An obvious question that comes up when the subject of old time radio or programs such as Radio Mystery Theater that revived the format is whether such shows could find a radio audience today. Chester has an answer to that question.

“I think that audio drama has a lot of potential, but unless all of the Internet server farms crash, broadcast radio is going to continue to decline,” he said. “Audio drama has a lot of potential because it is a cheap way to present a story, as well as a fun way to enjoy being told a story.

“Even in the era of “multi-tasking” it is easier to listen to a story or show than to sit and watch one. I have the feeling that there are some creative kids out there who would have do great things with their story telling skills and some computer generated sound effects.”

Click here to read Part 1 of this article.

About: Ethan C. Nobles:
Benton resident. Rogue journalist. Recovering attorney. Email =

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