“The Unexpected: Volume 1” released by Radioarchives.com

“The Unexpected: Volume 1”
released by Radioarchives.com
Multi-cast Old time Radio Shows
Approx 5 hours

Being a 25+ year veteran of Radio Broadcasting I may be a little biased here, but I love old time radio, or as is commonly referred to as “otr.”  OTR has that classic theatre of the mind feel that is nearly forgotten.  Today’s radio is ruled by top 40 pop songs or talk radio and these lack the creativity that the early years of radio represented.  The stories were told on the air and the audience created the images in their mind.  Today I try to keep this up with every commercial I write or produce, when you feed off the audience’s imagination, you have an unlimited supply of material.

Radio great, Stan Freeburg, once drained Lake Michigan and filled with hot cocoa, whip cream and had U.S. Air Force jets top it all off with a giant cherry.  He then said, I’d like to see you do that on television.  Sure now with CGI we could do it, but it would take hours and I could do that in a radio studio in just a few minutes, so still a win for radio.   The old time radio shows used to be the main source of entertainment and had to keep the audience coming back each week.  This was usually done through simple great entertainment, and sometimes cliffhangers that the listener had to come back next week to find out what happens next.

Radioarchives.com has recently released a this series of “The Unexpected” radio programs
that were originally aired in 1947.  Each time the audience would keep coming back with some great stories that would not end with the expected.  With this release you don’t have to wait a week for the next mystery.  Volume one contains 20 of the 15 minute episodes that have been restored from the original transcriptions from what were probably acetate pressings.  Radioarchives.com have restored these recordings to perfection, the sound quality is superb and equal to any modern audio production.

Every episode begins with: “Who knows what drama may happen tomorrow…or an hour from now…or in just a moment? Who knows what destiny has in store for the lady down the street, the fellow at the next desk, or you yourself? Who knows?”  Each story is then presented  with superb acting from actors of radio/screen and stage of the time.  Some of the actors that rang familiar with me were; Barry Sullivan, Lyle Talbot, Marsha Hunt, & Jackie Cooper.  The story genres range from Mystery & Suspense, to Drama, and there’s even a bit of comedy thrown in.  And just when you get to the end of the story, a voice comes in and says, “You think the story is over, don’t you? But wait! Fate takes a hand. Wait…for the Unexpected!”  then the story continues with an ending that is unexpected.  Great title and great gimmick to be different in the golden age of radio.  For today’s listener this is a treat of nostalgia and original storytelling at it’s best.

Some examples of  the stories include; a man convinced that an old prospecter has struck silver in a ghost town, a woman who embezzles money from her company to buy a fur coat, a boxer who throws a fight to make some quick cash, a woman whose horoscope warns her she will kill a man and many more, but they never end as you’d expect.

At this point I feel I need to point out or re-emphasize that these are restored directly from the original transcriptions.  The shows were originally meant to be sent out to radio stations and the radio stations would insert commercials in the allowed sections.  This is a good and bad feature.   Good in that you don’t get the commercials, unless you are a fan of the old time commercials.   The bad is that you get a minute or two of dramatic organ music in the place where the commercials would have gone.  At first I loved the old dramatic organ that helped push the story, but after a while I found myself fast forwarding through the  commercial insert areas, glad to have had that luxury.

This collection is perfect for any fan of mystery, thrillers, suspense and old time radio.  If you are just plain curious, check them out they are a lot of fun, especially because the end of each story is Unexpected.

Just to help out here are the titles and the lead actors of each episode  in Volume 1:

#100 Mercy Killing
starring Barry Sullivan

#101 Birthday Present
starring Marsha Hunt

#102 Solid Citizen
starring Tom Neal

#103 Finale
starring Lurene Tuttle

#104 Cargo Unknown
starring Lyle Talbot

#105 Find the Man
starring Binnie Barnes

#106 Revenge
starring Barry Sullivan

#107 The Cripple
starring Marjorie Riordan

#108 Fool’s Silver
starring Barry Sullivan

#109 Horoscope
starring Marjorie Riordan

#110 Eavesdropper
starring Barry Sullivan

#111 Legacy
starring Lurene Tuttle

#112 Museum
starring Jackie Cooper

#113 Understudy
starring Lurene Tuttle

#114 King Champion
starring Jack Holt

#115 The Mink Coat
starring Lurene Tuttle

#116 Easy Money
starring Steve Cochran

#117 Free Passage
starring Lurene Tuttle

#118 Re-Match
starring Jackie Cooper

#119 Sweet Sixteen
starring Lurene Tuttle