GERRY COLEMAN, September 4, 2017
I shall and will continue to tap into your website. In my mind, you (back to “Those Were The Days” and “The Hall Closet” which I by accident caught on a Saturday afternoon in my car with my really young kids on WLTD) almost singlehandedly catalyzed the re-awakening of interest in and zeal for old time radio. I truly wish I were back in the Chicagoland area, but got dragged to New York and the Tri-State area and then and now, for the past 15 years, have been in Boston (Peabody) MA. Regrettably, I have found no visible interest here in old time radio broadcasts. I always have enjoyed you and your programs, especially when I was living in Evanston and Kenilworth back in the late 60s, 70s and 80s. My deep thanks.
JOE MACKEY, September 6, 2017
Been a long-time listener to your website. I was never able to listen to your Chicago shows live since the signal couldn’t reach me here in Huntington, West Virginia. A couple of years ago I found a load of your Nostalgia Newsletters and Radio Guides in an OTR library on line. While I had downloaded them some time ago, I only recently have started reading them (thanks to having more free time with retirement) from Book 1 Chapter 1 and have been enjoying each issue in succession. I am currently up to Book 2, Chapter 12.
The articles are always interesting and informative. In Book 2, around Chapter 9 I think, you printed the radio listings for one week in 1949. I read that with great interest and how so many of the shows I enjoy listening to were opposite to each other. I won’t mention all of them, but I kept thinking this one was opposite that one, opposite a third I like. Which one would I have listened to???
Thankfully, with so many shows on .mp3 that’s not a problem any longer. The only problem is having the time to listen to ALL of them! Again, thank you for all you have done to keep old radio alive!
LAWRENCE STOLER, December 2, 2017
I have been enjoying the Speaking of radio website for several months. I listen to the interviews you’ve conducted. They’re excellent and provide a lot of interesting information about the golden age of radio from those who were part of it.
I heard the last episodes of Yours Truly Johnny Dollar and Suspense on CBS Radio in 1962. I thought after the shows stopped being aired that my interest in old-time radio ended. On the contrary. Thanks to the Internet and sites like yours, my curiosity and wanting to listen to more from a great period in history of broadcasting increases.
It’s sad to see what happened to an industry that so many of us wanted to be part of. I started listening to radio at the age of five. I wanted to be in it from that point on. I worked in it off and on beginning in the 80s. While I’m glad I had a chance to learn how the industry works, I wouldn’t go into it today, especially the on-air end.
JOHN PERIN, December 18, 2017
I just discovered your wonderful website this afternoon. The only reason for my delay in e-mailing you is that for some hours, I was listening to the interviews. I like how you show the updated information for those persons interviewed who have since passed away. The sound quality is so good, too. I especially enjoyed listening to your interview with Clayton Moore, even though IU think of him fore from TV. The Lone Ranger on radio (with Brace Beemer) and on TV with Clayton and John Hart are among my favorite programs of all timer. Also liked the nice interview with Edgar Bergen, another favorite of mine. Thank you for this fine website that keeps on giving.
KENNY FODERARO, December 21, 2017
This is your old friend Kenny from Cleveland. I am so happy that I am spending the Christmas season with your TWTD Archives. I was just listening to your Christmas show from December 20, 1997. My favorite show you played was the Bing Crosby Show from December 1953. As I may have mentioned to you previously, I am also a singer and performer from Cleveland, and I love to be influenced by entertainers that I have loved over the years. Bing is certainly one of them. For eight years, I hosted a show called “The New Music Hall” at a local senior center. I sang “The Blue of the Night” to open every show. It was kind of a tribute to Bing on the Kraft Music Hall, but for today’s generation of seniors.
It sounds like I have a wonderful tradition going on. My mom has been baking Christmas cookies this afternoon. All the while, I have been playing your Christmas program from Those Were The Days. My mom loved the story “Why The Chimes Rang” from Mr. Gildersleeve. I had never heard that broadcast before. Your shows are the perfect background for all of the baking that my family does in the kitchen. Thank you, thank you, thank you for making my Christmas season so exciting!
You are a real joy to listen to at this time of year. Merry Christmas!
Internet Letters and Messages – 2016
KENNY FODERARO May 2, 2016
My name is Kenny, and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. You probably don’t remember me, but I have been remembering you for years. You see, when I was a little boy, my family decided to take a vacation to Chicago to see what activities would be exciting for me and my younger siblings. Someone told us about you and the Museum of Broadcast Communications, and we visited you on a Saturday afternoon. You showed me all the controls that you used at the radio station, and I was hooked. You even talked to me for at least a half an hour about old time radio. I knew that you were one of a kind, ever since I was a little kid. I even went to your Metro Golden Memories store and got some shows to add to my collection. Before I left to go back to Cleveland, you told me something very profound. I remember your words exactly. You said, “Son, I know that when you grow up, you are definitely going to have a career in radio”. You really made my vacation so memorable when I was a kid.
Fast forward to today. I am 29 years old, but I don’t have a career in radio. However, I am doing something that makes people very happy. I am currently working as a singer and pianist. I host special programs at a local senior center. I do something called “The Music Hall” for today’s seniors. I play the piano and sing songs that they seem to enjoy. I even do my programs in the style of a live old time radio show from the thirties. These seniors get a kick out of the whole thing. I also perform at an Italian restaurant in my hometown of Cleveland. I play there a couple Saturdays each month. I have been doing both jobs for seven years.
During all this time, I have still been loving old time radio. I’ve been visiting your Speaking of Radio web site for some time now, and I love it. I really appreciate the fact that you have a special page for the visually handicapped. I was born totally blind, so my imagination really helps me see the pictures that are created in old time radio. I even introduced a blind friend to old time radio with my favorite show. I played him an episode of “People Are Funny”, and he laughed so hard. BTW, I was wondering: Did you ever play “People Are Funny” on Those Were the Days? If you did, which programs did you air them on?
I actually listened to you online from time to time on WDCB. I even look at WDCB’s web site and see that they have great shows. It sounds like a station I would enjoy. I’m so happy that they still have new episodes of Those Were the Days, even after your retirement. I’m so glad that you are making your old episodes available on the archive page of Speaking of Radio. Now I can hear you any time I want.
Once again, thanks for allowing me to visit you when I was a little kid. I’m so happy that your Speaking of Radio site will be available to me and all people for a long time. I will always enjoy old time radio for as long as I am alive, and you really brought it back in a special way for this young man.
RAYMOND STEELE May 8, 2016
The congrats are for the 46th anniversary of your creation. Though “Those Were The Days” is now in the capable hands of Mr. Darnall, your preservation and presentation of the good old days of radio should go down as one of the finest contributions to the history of this country over the past century.
I have spent a fair bit of time recently at your Speaking of Radio site seeking out Orson Welles programs. There was news recently that one of the libraries at Indiana University which is home to a large collection of Orson Welles audio on lacquer discs received a national preservation grant to restore and digitize the audio. My story, complete with a rather poor Welles impression, is below.
LINDA CREE, May 13, 2016
Eight years ago, I started listening to Jack Benny’s radio show and watching his TV shows. Wanting to share my interest with like-minded individuals, I joined the International Jack Benny Fan Club Facebook page about a year ago. In order to fully participate in the group, I found myself doing lots of online research for photos and interesting articles about Jack Benny and his other radio and TV cast members. In the process, I found your Speaking of Radio web site. You have so many wonderful interviews there with many of the stars of Old Time Radio. I’ve been enjoying listening to them immensely.
In my research of all things Benny, I found an old fan magazine which had an article on a radio program starring Kenny Baker called Glamour Manor, which I understand would eventually be called The Kenny Baker show. The article had photos of some of the cast members, which included Don Wilson and Sam Hearn. Of the singers on Benny’s radio show, Kenny Baker is my favorite. I know many of the Facebook group would disagree with me (Dennis Day being their choice), but I think Kenny had the best vocal range. I’ve been searching around online to see if I can find any existing recordings of Glamour Manor with Kenny Baker, but there appears to be nothing available out there. Then one day, somebody on the Facebook group mentioned that you had posted some of them on your Speaking of Radio web site at one time. I’m very interested in hearing these shows, so I thought I’d reach out to you to find out if you do have any of them and if you’d consider posting them at your web site.
CHUCK REPLIES: I agree that Kenny Baker Glamour Manor shows are hard to find. We do have one Glamour Manor program on our Speaking of Radio website, but it features Cliff Arquette, not Kenny Baker. It’s available for listening on our Tyler McVey interview page. Tyler played a character on the show. However, a Kenny Baker Glamour Manor show from 1-20-1947 with guest Jack Benny is available for download at www.vintagebroadcast.com
KENNY FODERARO, May 17, 2016
I E-Mailed you earlier this month. I just wanted to thank you for writing back to me. Actually, I am so excited to hear from you. I wrote to you about the time I went to Chicago to visit your broadcast with my family from Cleveland. Now with your web site, I can still enjoy your programs any time.
I would like to share with you why I decided to write to you. I was browsing the Internet and found your site some time ago. On May 1, 2016, I was just coming home from church when I noticed your TWTD Archives. I had the honor of listening to your very first TWTD show on May 2, 1970. You don’t sound any different now from when you did that first show. You sounded exactly the same as when I visited you when I was a kid. So, 46 years to the day of that first broadcast, I decided to send you an E-Mail while visiting your Speaking of Radio web site. I thought you would like to get a kick from a fan from Cleveland. Little did I know that I would get an even bigger thrill from listening to a message that you sent to my E-Mail address. Thanks so much. I hope that I can still send you E-Mail messages from time to time to let you know how I am doing. That way, you and I can still keep in touch for a long time.
I would like to ask you some questions about your Speaking of Radio site. You seem to have so many interviews and TWTD broadcasts already. How often do you upload new material to the site? Also, before I E-Mailed you the first time, I subscribed to your Speaking of Radio E-Mail list. How often do they send E-Mails? Also, it’s great that you upload shows to the TWTD archives. How do you decide which show gets added each week? On your “Schaden Scrapbook” section’s Audio Archive, you uploaded the first episode of your “Chuck Schaden’s Hall Closet”. I think you should create a special web page where anyone can stream a lot of your Hall Closet shows. I listened to the first episode from 1972 with my mother, and she loved it. We think you should upload more. Somewhere on the “Schaden Scrapbook”, you talked about your days on WBBM Radio and uploaded a few of your shows on WBBM. You mentioned a little bit of your days on WCFL and WAIT. You should add shows from those stations as well, because you really sound great. Anyway, these are just some suggestions that I have for your Speaking of Radio site. Thank you so much for all the memories. I hope that you and I could still be friends.
CHUCK REPLIES: We upload new material to our Speaking of Radio web site every week, at least twice a week. We add programs in consecutive order from our early years every Saturday and programs from 1996 and beyond every Wednesday. Schaden Scrapbook Galleries are added or expanded from time to time, whenever the material is ready. Our SOR e-mail list messages are sent out irregularly, mostly when we have something to say about new additions to the web site.
Not many of our programs from WAIT and WCFL are around, but quite a number of our early “Chuck Schaden’s Hall Closet” morning shows from WLTD are available for download at www.vintagebroadcast.com
JIM HAAS, June 30, 2016
I listened to your new Podcast and found it very enjoyable. It was reminiscent of your morning show on WXFM with music and banter/discussion. Very nice. Only complaint I would have is we have to wait for another month to hear a new Podcast. I fully understand that you’re retired and doing this for enjoyment and not having the responsibility of a weekly show again. Maybe two a month?? Anyway, it will be a hit for your fans and I look forward to the August edition.
DAVE TUTTLE, June 30, 2016
My dad and I drove to Chicago in the late 80s to visit your Metro Golden Memories store because we were long-time fans of your Saturday radio program. We bought an MGM store diner-style mug with the cathedral radio logo. Somewhere through the years it broke. Do you have a few left that we could purchase? You are a part of my nostalgic childhood memories and that mug would be meaningful to my dad (who is in his 70’s), me, and my children (who are the only Millennials I know who drive down the road reciting 70 year old commercial jingles and Stan Freberg parodies). We have three generations of Tuttles raised on radio and I’m certain it won’t end there. Thanks much. Glad to hear you are still following your passion and I am looking forward to Memory Lane Podcast 2 and many more to come. CHUCK RESPONDS: Sorry, don’t know if any of those cathedral radio mugs are still around. The store closed a number of years ago, and all of the then-existing merchandise was liquidated. I still have one of those mugs, however, but I wouldn’t give it up for a million dollars. Well, maybe a million dollars. Glad you like our Memory Lane Podcast.
MATT SPAULDING, July 11, 2016
I just ran across a link to your website. My wife and I enjoyed listening to your program starting in the 1980s. Through the years, I spent many a Saturday afternoon listening to your show while working around the house. We always looked forward to it. We also met you once at your store. I still have the old 1930s calendars we bought there. Your show got me interested in old time movies, which led to me getting interested in old cars. I owned many 1960s cars in my youth, including three nice Mustangs. So I always liked cars. But when I decided to buy a collector car, I bought a 1934 Buick. Most car guys my age (born 1954) owned 1960s muscle cars. My 1934 Buick was in sad shape when I bought it. After my three kids finished college, I sent it to a restoration shop when it was for the next five years – a very painful $$$$ experience. But now it’s awesome. I take it to car shows – like Geneva, IL, Ephraim, WI, Kiawah Island, SC and coming up in August, the Milwaukee Concours events, and a few shows a short drive from my house in Northbrook, IL In a way, your show led to me owning this particular car. Thanks for all the memories.
CHUCK COMMENTS: Mr. Spaulding was nice enough to include a photo of his restored 1934 Buick. It’s a beauty.
EVELYN RODGERS, July 29, 2016
While looking for radio and broadcasting guides, I found your web page. I’m teaching a communication history session at our library as part of our summer seminar series; your page has been a big help! Thanks for putting it together! Here’s another good resource I’ve been using:
It’s a great timeline covering everything from wireless communication, telegraphs, Morse code, to the invention of the radio, telephones and internet.
KEVIN TYDRICK, August 1, 2016
I just want to let you know I really enjoy your podcasts. I’m “only” 50 years old, but I enjoy old time radio and I always learn something from your shows. Thanks for taking the time to put them together.
TERRY BAKER, August 3, 2016
I enjoyed your August Memory Lane podcast. My daughters are huge fans of (ice cream) push-ups as well and even though my Katie is only 11, she loves “The Best Years of Our Lives” and considers it one of her favorite movies.
HANK MOULTON, October 3, 2016
Great website! And I enjoyed your interview [on TWTD] with Steve Darnall last Saturday [Oct.1].
I just finished watching the Art Hellyer section of your Scrapbook…. brought back many memories. I remember listening to him on the way to and from college (IIT) in the last half of the 1950s. Also remember “Treasure Hunt” broadcasts at that time. Not sure if Art was involved but they would mention clues as to where things were hidden and then would upgrade the clues until the object was found. Sometimes caused traffic jams! One clue led us to a statue in Grant Park where nothing could be seen. Someone finally climbed up the statue and found the clue in its outstretched hand!
Your interview [with Steve] also brought back memories of the old Evanston radio station WNMP. Sometime in the late 1950s they moved from Church street by the transmitter tower to the bank building downtown. They were getting rid of a lot of the old equipment and I was able to buy a hysteresis synchronous turntable from them. In those days that was the top of the line — ran at constant speed no matter what the voltage was. Had to buy a tone arm from Allied radio and mount them in a homemade base but it was worth it!
Since I’m in your age group there are fewer and fewer people left to re-live these memories with. Again I really am impressed with your new website.
Keep it up!
DOROTHY WALTON, October 3, 2016
On one of your old time programs you speak of the very first show that you started on WLTD in Evanston. I started listening in 1970. I was in Chicago in the Logan Square area. I listened on an AM-FM battery operated radio in the pantry of our second-floor apartment. That was the only place I could get the signal. We moved to St. Charles, IL in 1974. I got a better FM receiver. I have been a loyal fan for all these years. Thank you for all of the entertainment. I think that Steve Darnall is doing a good job as your successor. I have had the pleasure of meeting you in the past.
KENNY FODERARO, October 6, 2016
Hi Chuck. This is your friend Kenny from Cleveland. I just wanted you to know that I listened to your appearance on Those Were The Days on WDCB. I’m so happy that I was able to hear your interview live on last Saturday’s show [10-1-2016]. I’m so happy that you keep us listeners updated on what you have been doing since your retirement. Even though you are retired from terrestrial radio, you still found time to put together your Speaking of Radio site. It’s awesome that you still enjoy sharing the old time radio shows just like I do.
I also want you to know that I have been listening to your Memory Lane podcasts. I really get a kick out of them. Actually, when I first started listening to your TWTD archives, I thought you should put together a podcast. I’m surprised that you have never heard of podcasting until now. It’s like a radio show that you can hear at any time. Instead of hearing the shows when they are broadcast on the radio, you can hear them during your own schedule. Some radio networks, like National Public Radio, have actually been archiving all of their old shows online as a mandate from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This archiving process started at least twenty years ago when the Internet was just starting out. Back then, the word “Podcast” had not been coined yet. Think of it that way. You are finally starting to podcast when the rest of the world has been doing it for years. However, I don’t think you are too late for the benefits of podcasting, since we will probably be podcasting for a long time to come. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that I heard your interview with Steve Darnall on WDCB and really enjoyed it. Keep your love of radio with you everywhere you go.
PHIL VAN ECK, October 6, 2016
So good to hear you on the 10/1/2016 show. Hope you return occasionally. I also loved hearing excerpts from the 45th anniversary special broadcast. Marj and I were there, and just had a great time. It was our 45th anniversary also. We were married 4/24/70.
SCOTT LARSON, October 18, 2016
I wanted to say thank you for making your Those Were The Days programs available on the internet. Also for taking the time to do your new podcast. Both have been very enjoyable.
While growing up in the ’80’s I had listened to your show every week with my father. The programs you shared then were special to him because he had listened to them when they originally aired in the ’30s and ’40s. He’s been gone for over 20 years. I’ve recently introduced my wife to the current TWTD and was delighted to find that the older episodes are coming online.
I’ve downloaded and listened to quite a bit of OTR but the Schaden TWTD programs make them better. There’s nothing quite like the faux Andrew Sisters signing about the Hall Closet Radio Service. Besides the variety of the shows played, the episodes also bring back happy memories of being a kid.
I’ve had a ball reliving those times. Thank you very much for not only gathering the material in the first place but also for bringing it back to be experienced again.
KEN D., November 4, 2016
Great [November] podcast, Chuck! As with most baby boomers I grew up seeing and listening to cigarette commercials. Putting aside the dangers of smoking, these ads –for me and I’m sure many others bring back memories.
GARY LOFGREN, November 21, 2016
Thank you for your monthly podcasts, I enjoy them. I am only the tender age of 69, but I have long been listening to old time radio and now appreciate your podcasts concentrating on the music of a bygone era while keying the programs to the birthday months of the artists. I have been a member of Friends of Vic and Sade for several years and was introduced to Vic and Sade by a visit to Metro Golden Memories back in the 1980s. You have provided much enjoyment to many people and I thank you for that. I hope to continue hearing your voice for a long time.
SCOTT LARSON, December 2, 2016
Thank you so much for the memories you shared in your Christmas podcast. Jim Benes’ Christmas in Chicago was especially welcome because it took me back to memories of growing up and hearing his tales on Newsradio
78 (I’ve realized that I’ve continued to hear them through the years but my mind went back to the first times for some reason) I also enjoyed hearing the Allan Sherman “Twelve Days of Christmas” again. My wife had never heard it before (she hadn’t heard the Benes stuff either) and didn’t understand why I found it so funny. Oh well.
RAY MITCHELL, December 2, 2016
I started listening to your show [many years ago] after I got a job on Devon Avenue and would pick up your [Evanston] signal in Chicago once I hit Cicero and Foster heading North. I would drive a little slower so I could enjoy the old shows like I did back in the day. I followed you all over the radio dial until you passed the program over to Steve Darnall. I am glad you’re staying in the game with your own website. I always enjoyed your interviews. I suspect you were so good at them because you were a fan just like most of us listeners are.
NORMAN KORTUS, December 7, 2016
Hello Chuck. You probably do not remember me, but I called in to you many times when you were on the Evanston station in the 1970s. You had a quiz and I won one of the prizes which was a free pizza. Wow, what a thrill! I continued to follow you at every station that you were at. I miss hearing you, but life moves on.
We really miss your Christmas shows especially the Cinnamon Bear program. Our three daughters would sit around the radio and enjoy these shows. Of course there were so many others to enjoy. I remember an interview you had with Art Hellyer, who I keep in touch with by e-mail and Facebook We go way back to his early days on the radio and WCFL. I worked across from the radio station at the Furniture Mart on Erie Street.
DON HANCOCK, December 15, 2016 I moved to Chicago as a producer for WCFC-TV in 1978 and at some point shortly thereafter found your show –love radio. I think we met at some type of broadcast event in the 80s-and when my kids were born, listening to the Cinnamon Bear became an annual tradition. I left TV, started a media company, then built a radio station in Missouri in 1990 with David Oseland-another veteran Chicago broadcaster. Sold that a few years back. I’m now living in San Antonio, and teaching leadership to management at Whataburger. It’s amazing how life twists and turns –but it’s an amazing ride. Thank you for all you’ve done in and for radio. I will check out your site, and download the podcasts. Who knew where technology could take us. I just had a conversation with an employee (about age 30) and she told me she listens to old radio shows on her iPhone all the time. Who knows – maybe there will be enough interest to create some new programming. Of course, it always starts with great writing.
KENNY FODERARO, December 21, 2016 I want to share with you the fact that I have been playing many of your shows in the TWTD archives on your web site. You have no idea how perfect your broadcasts are with my family. I love the Christmas programs that you have uploaded so far. I listened to today’s archived broadcast. It was from Christmas of 1996, when you played the seventh annual Christmas Sing with Bing Crosby. You also played a lot of other Christmas shows. All the while, my mother has been making Christmas cookies, trimming the tree, and having a lot of fun.
I also listened to your Memory Lane Podcast for December, and I loved it so much. You have also brought back some memories for my parents as well. In Cleveland, we also had a department store called Higby’s that was also decorated for Christmas. As I have said before, you are really a wonderful Christmas guy, and a very special influence for my permanent love for radio and TV broadcasting. Thanks again for all the great memories, and I really hope you have a wonderful Christmas. I hope that Santa will be good to you.
P.S. I also have been playing some old time radio shows from my personal collection during the Christmas season. The Cinnamon Bear is my favorite Christmas story. In my opinion, it’s not Christmas without the old radio shows!
ERIC STRAUSS, January 5, 2015
I think this is an interesting little story about your show. We had it on at work while you were still hosting, and Becker, a guy who is very Goth and routinely wore long black dusters and carried the Vampire Bible, actually got interested in the show. I thought I was weird for listening to it, but this guy, who was probably a Rob Zombie fan, started listening to Those Were The Days. When we heard your comments after whatever program you played, Becker turned to me with a look of disappointment. He said, “That guy sounds like a preppy!’ I took that to mean that he thought you were way too young to be hosting a show about old-time radio. I kind of had the same thought myself, till I read your bio just now. I had no idea you were so old! I thought you were just a young guy with a bizarre fascination with the 1930s and 40s!
CHUCK RESPONDS: Thanks, I think!
TOM C. MILLER, February 5, 2015
Just wanted to let you know I’ve really been enjoying the video archives on your Speaking of Radio website. There are so many to choose from that it will take me a while to get through all I’m interested in. My favorites so far include the Great Gildersleeve day with Willard Waterman and the cast of the GG recreation.
You are doing us a service by preserving everything you’ve done. It allows people like myself to keep enjoying the material long after they’ve been originally over with!! Thank you for everything you have been doing, and I hope that your website continues to flourish. Take care.
JAMES MELKA, March 27, 2015
So, the catz out-a da bag!
I’m so surprised that so many of the things that I’ve always thought of as Those Were The Days-isms were in place from show Number 1. WNMP sounds like such a nice station. HECK! The whole world “sounds” nice on that station. Except for the news. I feel the news from “then” makes me hunker down more into nostalgia, now, just as it did in 1980 when I first heard you. I know that the peaceful and “sane” place you have always created with TWTD has helped me much through the 35 years that I have listened.
The programs you play and the way you play them help me in this crazy world every day. So, if the news of protesting Kent State students from 1970, sadness that I feel with you about Steinmetz High School in 1995, or insane co-pilots from 2015¸good old radio always makes it better and brings me back to center. As always I thank you for all of that. Only a few good people in my life have had that kind of influence that you and your radio work have on my life.
Oh, and you sound great “scripted,” too! Who is the person who did the North West Federal Savings spots? I remember him from the Edens Plaza Shopping Center spots on the WNIB TWTD in the 1980s.
On May 2, 1970 I was on my third “tour” on the coastal waters off North Vietnam. I do so wish my time in the service could have been involved in something clean and righteous like World War II, but I was born about 30 years too late. I even more wish that I could have been listening to your May 2, 1970 broadcast “live”! Thank you for giving us one more chance.
CHUCK RESPONDS: That was staff announcer John Roberts on the North West Federal and Edens Plaza spots. And thanks, as always, for your kind words about our broadcast efforts.
JON R. WSOL, April 14, 2015
My family and I had a wonderful time at the TWTD 45th Anniversary celebration. My wife had asked me what was my favorite part of the show. My response was seeing Chuck, Steve Darnall and Ken Alexander on stage together.
I had begun a letter like this approximately ten years ago; I never completed it. Time was precious last Sunday afternoon; I felt this was a more appropriate time to pass along my thoughts. My first interaction with Those Were The Days was approximately 1985, when I was in high school. I recall my mother speaking about old time radio; I was uninterested at the time. I remember her favorites: The Green Hornet and The Shadow. Early December of that year my mother and brother and I were driving from the south suburbs to my grandparents home to make our traditional load of ravioli, cannoli and fig cookies. Mom placed a cassette tape in the stereo and I began to listen to a story about a bear, a dragon and two little kids named Jimmy and Judy. I was hooked.
In April, 2002, I lost my Grandmother (my Grandfather had passed in 1988) and a big void now existed in my life. I had purchased the Cinnamon Bear that same year, and found that while listening, the sounds reminded me of the time I spent with my grandparents. This led me to listening on Saturday as often as I could. My mother continued to listen until her unexpected passing on November 19, 2010. TWTD helped me get through that first Christmas. I felt Mom was with us each week as we planned lists, addressed cards, wrapped, baked and decorated. Now my wife and two daughters enjoy listening with me. We all have our favorites, but the Christmas shows will always be special to us.
Those Were The Days has become very dear to me. It has the ability to bring back, of sorts, people that I miss very much. I cannot find the words to express how grateful I am for all the time and hard work each of you have put into this program. You each have had a hand in building the perfect time machine. May it continue to work its magic for another forty-five years.
JIM ROMIG, April 30, 2015
I’m so glad to see the earliest Those Were The Days shows being added to the site. I have to tell you, I’m still quite envious of the people of Illinois because they always had your show available to them. I’m from Alburtis, Pennsylvania and there were no shows like yours anywhere out here where I was growing up in the 70s. How wonderful it would have been on those cold and dreary Saturday afternoons to find Fibber, Jack, Gildy, etc. So when I listen to these newly added shows I think I’ll pretend I’m back in that kitchen anticipating this week’s show.
I know we talked before about listening to you on WCFL in the 1980s. I began receiving the Nostalgia Digest and would page through the radio guide and just drool over the shows being scheduled for the Saturday broadcasts and how you had the shows timed so perfectly for the folks taping the shows (as I would have had I been tuned in!). I’ll now look forward to the replay of those early days.
Thanks, Chuck, for being there all these years for the fans and for making these old broadcasts available to guys like me who never had the privilege to hear them the first time around.
KONI SHAUGHNESSEY, April 30, 2015
It’s all your fault! And has been for 45 years. Ain’t that great?!
SUSAN BOWERS, April 30, 2015
I don’t go quite as far back as hearing your first shows. But as I lived in Evanston at the time, I started listening to you in 1972. I listen to classical music and found you accidentally. And the rest, as they say, is history! As my husband’s company moved him to another division, we have been in Florida for the last two years. So now I listen on my computer. Here, TWTD is on from 2 to 4 p.m.
RAYMOND STEELE, May 12, 2015
First, I wanted to say thank you for all the good you have done for our industry. I came to Those Were The Days after your retirement. Therefore, I have spent copious amounts of time at your Speaking of Radio site, poring through hours of old radio shows and jealous of the interviews you nabbed with the people who made that era wonderful.
I have been fortunate to have had Steve Darnall on my WIBC-FM Indianapolis program a few times to talk old time radio. Most recently we talked about how radio covered V-E Day, as well as the 45th anniversary of Those Were The Days. I recently listened to your first program on your site, thankfully with the Mutual news and sports left in.
I also enjoyed your 50th anniversary of Pearl Harbor and V-E Day shows. Thanks for the plethora of entertainment, for preserving it so much of it and for inspiring some of us to do what we can to keep the era alive.
Last summer I produced a short documentary on the 70th anniversary of Glenn Miller’s disappearance. The current Miller band was appearing in Indy at the time.
The star of my program was my dear friend Jimmy McDowell, who is 92 and was a medic stationed in England when he got to meet Major Miller in August, 1944. They met inside the men’s latrine of an Officer’s Club where McDowell’s hospital unit band (Jimmy was their singer) played a gig after an earlier concert from Miller’s band at one of the Eighth Air Force posts. It sure is fun talking about those days, though it was long before my time.
CHUCK ANDERSON, June 4, 2015
In the late 70s, early 80s, you used to make taped copies of your Saturday program for me when I had to go out of town on business. Maybe you remember?
It was wonderful that I was able to “catch up” on your weekly program and all the memories from my childhood and youth. As with others, I spent many a lazy Saturday afternoon listening to your program. Yes, “Those Were The Days.” We still also have a ton of your cassette tapes and albums, along with those program tapes.
Since then we have moved around the country: Florida, California, Washington… so we are sorry to say we missed the second half of your career on radio. You truly are the pioneer of OTR! Thanks, Chuck.
I grew up in the Humbolt Park area, Maywood, Skokie, and lived in Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, Glenview and the Near North Side. Went to high school at Niles West and East. Still have fond memories of Chicago.
We hope you are doing well, along with your family. Thank you again for your persistence, energy and excitement in making the Golden Age of radio part of our entire lives.
JAMIE FARR, June 16, 2015
Just received my Nostalgia Digest for the Summer and was thrilled to see the photos of the 45th Anniversary get-together. I sure missed something. I would have so enjoyed to be a part of the celebration. I have such respect for Steve and Chuck and the years of wonderful radio entertainment they have provided all of us. I am feeling good now and making a great recovery from many nuisance-type ailments. Come July 1 I shall celebrate my 81st birthday. My, how the years have flown by. Congratulations and continued success to you both and your staff. I’m a big fan.
JEFF SEEMAN, July 9, 2015
I just recently bought your book, Speaking of Radio, and have been listening to your interviews. What fun!
I used to listen to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the ‘70s and have since enjoyed listening to great shows like Suspense, Gunsmoke, Great Gildersleeve, Lights Out, etc. Did you air all of your interviews on Those Were The Days?
CHUCK RESPONDS: Over the years, all of my interviews were aired on Those Were The Days. In fact, some were not recorded in advance and were presented “live” on our broadcasts, with our guests joining us at the studio.
We are presently going through the broadcast archive and finding what we call “hidden” interviews – those that were aired “live” and only once on TWTD. They are slowly, but surely, being added to the “Interviews” section of our Speaking of Radio website.
JIM RAMSEY, July 25, 2015
Thank you for posting “Speaking of Radio.” I found out about it the other day when you were a guest on the Milt Rosenberg program. Being a transplanted Midwesterner who listened to Those Were The Days for ten years, from ‘76 to ’86, before going off to college, I went straight to your website.
Your website is everything someone who loved TWTD could hope for. I particularly find it interesting and fun to listen to your interviews with the stars, especially after reading the book based on those interviews. When I was listening, before college and moving to Florida, I often wondered what would happen to your taped interviews. I’m glad to see that they are available to everyone to hear.
I also enjoy the classic repeats of TWTD. Keep adding more to this collection if possible. Best of luck to you and the staff of the current TWTD. When I am in Chicago for a visit, I love coming to the Museum of Broadcast Communications and just reminiscing with the old shows.
You are truly a Chicago radio institution, Mr. Schaden, and I am glad to have met you many years ago when you did a special live performance of “War of the Worlds” on a Saturday at North West Federal Savings. I enjoyed it greatly. It spurred my collecting of Old Time Radio which has taken off since I have become an adult.
Thank you very much for starting me on a very fun and productive hobby. Good luck again in all that you do. Looking forward to continuing to explore the archives. “Old Time Radio Shows never die, they just get digitized.”
GARY PETERSON, September 2, 2015
I heard you on Milt Rosenberg’s podcast and just wanted to thank you for many years of entertainment.
I lived in Chicago from 1993 to 2013 and listened to your show regularly. I especially liked wrapping Christmas gifts to your show. I also came down to the Museum of Broadcast Communications a number of times to watch the broadcast. Each time you were a very gracious host.
I just want to pass along my best wishes and thanks for the years of enjoyment.
DONALD GIMBEL, September 5, 2015
Thank you for your fantastic coverage of World War II from 1991 to 1995 and repeated again on Speaking of Radio. I listened to your coverage during the 1990s, starting in early 1992. This time around, on Speaking of Radio, I was able to listen to all of the programs from 2011 until your final program, which I am now listening to.
I cannot imagine all the time it took to put these four years of programs together. It had to be a labor of love.
More than that, though, I was able to reflect on war then and what is happing now in Afghanistan. I also think of the hopes for world peace that were voiced when the San Francisco conference gave birth to the United Nations, and our history since then. The world sure is no peaceful place now. Your programs, though, gave me some historical perspective, as I am sure it has done to the many others who listened to your programs, both 20 years ago and now. Your effort was surely a gift to many people.
CHUCK RESPONDS: I am delighted that you were able to hear all the “re-runs” on Speaking of Radio as well as hearing most of the programs the first time around in the 1990s. Your comments surely make the website, which is my retirement project, worthwhile.
DAVE W. GUFFEY, September 22, 2015
I have been listening to and collecting Old Time Radio shows since I was 10 years old (and I am now 51). Through sellers such as Radio Spirits, Radio Memories and Radio-Showcase (which is now defunct) I have created quite a collection.
After 41 years I still find a brand new program and/or an episode of a favorite program that totally surprises me and re-establishes my already huge interest in this long ago and, it seems, forgotten media. My enjoyment never ceases.
A couple of years ago I found Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran’s website, The Golden Age of Radio, and, being a fan of Old Time Radio I was intrigued, fascinated and delighted to hear interviews with all my favorite radio show stars and behind the scenes celebrities. Then, to my surprise, I found another terrific website called Speaking of Radio.
Your website and especially your interviews are amazing. You have such a nice pleasant way of drawing out great conversations with all these amazing people. You sound like you were speaking to an old friend. I love, love, love when the interviewee compliments you on the research you did before the interview. It seems that you always end up impressing them with your vast knowledge of Old Time Radio!
I am going to continue to listen to your interviews until I have heard each and every one of them, They are sooooo much fun to listen to! In fact, as I write this I am listening to your interview with Jim Backus. Awesome!
DUSTIN PODKULSKI, October 14, 2015
I just wanted to say thank you to Chuck Schaden. I am 34 years old and would most likely never have cared about old time radio if it was not for his program on WBBM when I was a child.
Mr. Schaden opened a whole world of programming to a youthful mind. At the age of eight I received my first Nostalgia Digest and found out about the Saturday programming. Thanks for the memories and saving radio’s best times for future generations to enjoy.
RICH BOROWY, October 20, 2015
I have been a listener of Those Were The Days since 1972 when it was on WLTD, moving to WNIB and continuing as a listener until I left town to attend college in the 1980s. Today I catch up with the archival episodes posted on the Speaking of Radio web site that I had missed over the many years, and try to keep up by reading the Nostalgia Digest I find at Barnes and Noble bookstores in Calabasas, right next door to Woodland Hills, California [where I live].
GERRY COLEMAN, November 1, 2015
From deep in my heart I thank you. Your retrieval and re-broadcasting of the incredible expanse of old time radio dramas and comedies and adult and children’s serial programs was and is amazing. It lifted and still lifts the spirit and soul of old people who remember and the young who never had the opportunity to be privy to them, but now do. May God bless you for your effort and success.
ANN MAC DONALD. November 1, 2015
Thanks for reminding me about the WBBM broadcasts. I used to listen to them as often as possible. You brought old radio programs back into my life many years ago and I’m still a fan.
DAVID COURSEY, November 1, 2015
This may be an arcane question, but it appears that, for a time, NBC (for sure) and maybe others (your WBBM tribute mentions of Wrigley Building in IDs) included a station address in their station identification. I have a Chamber Music Society NBC broadcast that refers to Rockefeller Center at the end, before the chimes.
Thanks for all you’ve done. I am 56, grew up working in radio (KLIF, etc) and listen to OTR almost every day. I wonder if these players know that they still have lots of listeners and admirers and the Internet arrived in time to make sure they’d never be forgotten?
CHUCK COMMENTS— It was not uncommon, especially in the earliest days of broadcasting, for a radio station to include their general location in their station identification announcement. Many cited hotels, office buildings, and other local landmarks as well as, of course, the city in which they were located. Chicago’s WBBM was among the most famous of station signature: “This is the WBBM Air Theatre, Wrigley Building, Chicago.” Ahhh, those were the days.
JOE LYNN, December 20, 2015
This long-overdue note is to thank you for the years of enjoyment you’ve provided with Those Were The Days and your other work.
I became a regular listener to your WNIB show in the mid-1980s, following you through the transition to WDCB and then your retirement. I was also a fan of your WBBM shows, as were, apparently, most Chicago cab drivers in the late 1980s (I worked in the investments world back then and took a lot of evening taxi rides). I’ve also been a longtime subscriber to Nostalgia Digest.
Those Were The Days was special not only because of the material you presented, but just as important, your between-show talk about the history of the programs and your personal memories of them was what made TWTD better than any other old-time radio show. The back-and-forth with your guests and Ken Alexander (whether live or on tape saying “thank you”) really made it seem like we were sitting with old friends.
I was finally prompted to write you because I’ve been listening to the 1995 “Encore” programs on your website, and these shows have brought back so many memories of when I first heard them! It’s a “meta-nostalgia” effect that’s reminds me of driving around with my kids with your show on the radio, or working on the various remodeling projects in my new home. In the mid to late 1990s I had a very long daily commute, so I would tape your Saturday shows on cassette and listen on my way to and from work, and the miles just flew by.
In 1995, I was 34 years old with two daughters, a three-year-old and a newborn. Today, the older one is about to finish Graduate School and the younger is midway through her college career. Just the other day, I was listening to the Christmas episode of “Suspense” starring Greer Garson (still one of my all-time favorite episodes) and my older daughter came in the room and said she has distinct memories of hearing this show while riding in her car seat in the minivan! I found that simply amazing, and wanted to let you know that your work has touched yet another generation.
Hearing the ads for Metro Golden Memories also takes me back. I used to visit your shop a few times a year, and I still have a box of tapes from your store as well as a shelf full of books: in fact, right now I am looking at a copy of Henry Morgan’s autobiography that I bought from the MGM Shop. I realize the Internet has completely changed how we shop for nostalgia items and has made so much more available to us, but having a place to browse this material was simply wonderful.
I’m so glad you continue to share your work with us via your website, and thank you so much for keeping the memories alive. I truly hope you are enjoying your retirement, and as one of those who heard you say “Thanks for listening” so many times, I want to give you a huge “you’re welcome.”
T. P. KOZIOL, December 23, 2015
It’s the day before the day before Christmas and I’m listening to a tape (one of many) that I made of your Christmas broadcasts (Radio to Wrap, Bake and Decorate By). You’ve become a Christmas tradition in my house. I first heard you on WLTD when I was a student at DePaul. I followed you on WNIB and WCFL. All of my children (now in their 30s) grew up listening to your show every Saturday afternoon, especially around Christmas and during Jack Benny Month. Thanks for everything that you did to keep this great resource from being forgotten. Because of you, my children know about Fibber McGee and Molly, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, the Great Gildersleeve, and others. I think that your Christmas rebroadcasts will be part of their family’s traditions also.
I enjoy your website Speaking of Radio. I frequently listen to the archive rebroadcasts. Your earliest broadcasts are the most interesting, maybe because I didn’t really start following you until you were on WNIB. Anyway, this is just a note of appreciation. Thanks and Merry Christmas.
BRIAN ANDERSON, December 23, 2015
I am 53 years old and was introduced to Old Time Radio by you when I was a youth. I have enjoyed it ever since. There were many bleary-eyed mornings after listening to your midnight shows on WBBM. I also enjoy your website, Speaking of Radio.
I have a question: My parents told me that Jim and Marian Jordan owned a farm, just outside Harvard, Illinois back in the 1940s and 50s. Is this true, and do you know exactly where it was located? Apparently, people supposedly knew it as “Fibber McGee and Molly’s farm.” Is there any truth to all of this?
CHUCK COMMENTS– I have never heard that the Jordans had a farm anywhere near the Chicago area. They did own a home in the Hubbard Woods area of Chicago (near what is known as Edgebrook-Sauganash) and lived there for a number of years. In that neighborhood their home was called “Fibber McGee’s house” in the community and folks from all over Chicagoland would drive into the area to see if they could find it.
After Marian and Jim moved to Encino, California, they had a large home on a good-sized piece of property which they referred to as a “ranch”. Once again, people from all over Southern California drove to the community in hopes of finding the “McGee” ranch.
The couple lived at 79 Wistful Vista only on radio.
NORM SCHICKEDANZ, January 13, 2014
I’ve listened to the October interviews. And another time, I had listened to an interview with a group of Chicago broadcasters. I enjoyed hearing all of them talk about their times in Chicago even though I didn’t remember hearing most of the local shows. I liked Jack Brickhouse’s mention of all the people that came from Peoria. My grandmother was born there.
ED RONCZKOWSKI, January 21, 2014
My dad used to listen to your shows all the time and he got me hooked on old time radio and I started listening to your show when I was in my 20s. I am now 51 and love old time radio more than ever. I also stumbled upon your video with the cast of the Great Gildersleeve (Willard Waterman et al). Loved it. Thank you so much for all you’ve done for OTR. It’s appreciated by everyone!
I had a question. Do you happen to know where the town of Summerfield was supposedly set in? I haven’t listened to all the episodes yet, but I have yet to hear a strong enough clue. One episode has Peavy talking to Gildy about visiting his mother-in-law in Belvidere. And I think the other various times street names were mentioned that were streets in Chicago.
I know Gildy was Fibber’s neighbor and Fibber presumably was set here in the Chicagoland area because they were from Peoria, right? Gildy had moved when he got his own show, but I was just wondering through the years if you ever interviewed anyone why may have shed some light on where Summerfield was. I listened to your phone conversation with Harold Peary and it wasn’t mentioned. Fantastic to hear that, by the way!
NOTE from Chuck: Both Fibber McGee and Molly and The Great Gildersleeve were set in fictional towns. In real life, the Jordans (who portrayed Fibber and Molly) were from Peoria, Illinois and their characters often referred to Peoria, but Wistful Vista was a fictional town, probably set in the Midwest somewhere because they had “Midwest-type” weather for all four seasons.
As far as Gildy is concerned, Summerfield is also fictional, with an unexpressed Midwest setting for the same reasons – snow in winter, heat in summer, etc.
Most radio sitcoms followed this pattern, unless their locale was specifically set in a well-known community. For example, The Life of Riley was set in Southern California, probably in the Los Angeles area, where Riley worked in a defense plant during WW II.
But, as you know, all the radio “towns” and “cities” were real in our imagination!
RIC CAMP BELL, February 27, 2014
I have enjoyed listening to many of the interviews you have posted with OTR stars and behind the scenes folks. I grew up listening to the CBS Radio Mystery Theater and loved the medium. It was later that I was exposed to many of the great shows of the golden age of radio. We listen to the old shows during supper. It’s almost a game to hear the different actors make the circuit and identify their voices like Hans Conried on Red Skelton, then hear him on Phil Harris-Alice Faye.
I often joke to my boy that he is probably the only 17-year-old who knows who Elliott Lewis is. I can only imagine how exciting it must have been to spend time with the folks who worked in the golden age of radio. Thanks for sharing your work.
CLARK WEBER, March 6, 2014
While I realize that you’ve passed the torch on Those Were The Days, while listening to Lum and Abner last week it made me aware of all the years of work you put into those various shows. Thank you.
I had forgotten that as a kid Horlick’s Malted Milk Tablets was one of two primary reasons that I listened to that “Chatem Down” show! The other reason was I was addicted to radio stories. Many years later, when I too became a story teller, I tell my audiences that “stories make the best wrapping for the gift of wisdom.”
JAMIE FARR, April 2, 2014
Really enjoyed the Bob Hastings interview. I agree with him on all of his comments regarding the business. We worked together many years ago on The Danny Kaye television series on CBS. I grew up listening to him on Archie Andrews and enjoying him on McHales’s Navy.
Also enjoyed the Hans Conried interview. I worked with him on the Mike Douglas talk show on TV. And the Kirk Allyn interview, who surprised me when he said that he was good friends with my mentor, Red Skelton. And also Tommy Cook, too, whom I have known for years. I learned so much that I did not know about each one. A great series. What an archive! My best to you.
GERRY COLEMAN, March 31, 2014
I moved from Vermont to the Chicagoland area in 1966 and lived in Evanston in 1970. I was surprised and delighted to hear you and old time radio on WLTD on Saturdays.
Looking over your evolution since I left in 1983 for New York, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere, you should feel immense and utter joy in what you have done. I say this because the expansion of your original hobby absolutely has contributed enormously to the joy of sheer millions of people, old (like me) and young.
The Lord God gave you an interest and inspiration and you ran with it. I salute you.
RAYMOND P. FAIOLA, April 9, 2014
Chuck, I wanted to drop you a note to thank you for making available online your historic interviews with the great makers of radio and show business. While there have been many interviews with the big-timers, hearing discussions with the journeyman actors and actresses as well as producers, announcers and musicians has been a real treat and a revelation.
Being New York-based, I was never privileged to hear your Chicago radio work (though my daughter now lives there and we join her every year for Thanksgiving). So this is my first opportunity to catch up on your great enthusiasm and accomplishments in documenting so much history.
I have been with CBS for 35 years and, among other things, I head up the department that maintains the entire press archive. Our radio files go back to 1942. Unfortunately, much of the pre-’42 history was discarded (incredible!). We have, in years past, given access to Ray Stanich and other historians so that they could properly document their program records.
Your programs and interviews have given me vast new appreciation for the breadth of talent and day-to-day experience of these great professionals. Please accept my grateful thanks.
DOROTHY WALTON, May 13, 2014
Chuck, it may not be original, but it comes from the heart: Thanks for the Memories.
I accidentally found your program in about 1972 on a portable radio. We lived in Logan Square at the time. I believe you were broadcasting on WLTD. We lived on the second floor and to receive the signal, I had to have the radio in the pantry.
In 1974 we moved to St. Charles, Illinois. I eventually found your program on WNIB. When WNIB left the air, we all wondered if we would ever hear your great show again. Thankfully, you found a home at WDCB, College of DuPage. That was even closer to St. Charles and better reception. I have long graduated from the battery-powered radio. Those wonderful old shows still come in loud and clear. Saturdays are still my time to enjoy the old shows and Steve Darnall, who is doing a great job keeping the memories alive. I am also a loyal listener to the repeat shows on the Internet.
SAM PALERMO, June 1, 2014
Wow! I just listened to the Jim Backus and Hans Conried interviews and this is quality stuff and I have to thank you for having the idea to record these great actors when you did.
I saw Hans Conried on a kids’ Sci Fi program I grew up with called Lost in Space. I also watch Gilligan’s Island on ME TV. This stuff may be old, but some of the skits are still great.
FRANK LABRADOR, June 17, 2014
I am writing you from Frankfort. Greetings from Germany! Actually, I moved out here three months ago. Before that, I lived in Chicago and was born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve been a fan of “old time radio” broadcasts ever since I was a child – ever since I first discovered Eddie Cantor’s radio shows on acetate at my local library all on my own. I absolutely loved it! So my appreciation of 1930s to 1950s radio shows started at the tender age of 10 and hasn’t dimmed yet!
Recently I took on the daunting job of writing an anthology book about the radio career of Judy Garland. Many, many books have been written about her career and personal life. But very few of them have ever touched upon her hundreds of radio appearances in any kind of detail. I am hoping I can fulfill that missing piece with this book. Any help or leads you can provide would be very much appreciated. I’ve been listening to some of your interviews on the Speaking of Radio website and they are AWESOME. What a treasure trove of information. It must have been such an honor and thrill to have spoken to these legends of radio. That was very kind and generous of you to share those recordings.
KEN SILVA, July 10, 2014
I thought you’d be interested to know that all your hard work to put together your website and document this history is still being discovered. I became an OTR fan around 2008 and discovered your website and its interviews in July of 2014. Being a Gunsmoke and Gildy fan, I’ve started with Parley Baer, Candy Candido and Willard Waterman (I was looking for Candy’s take on working with Bud Abbott). What a fantastic treasure this site is! Thank you.
NORM SCHICKEDANZ, September 1, 2014
I spotted our Tucson OTR Club on your birthday card bulletin board. Cool! I listened to the commercials you posted. While they were all good – including the ones you were on – Ken Alexander’s were phenomenal. I remember that when I first heard them in the 1980s, I thought more than one person was doing the voices. Even now, knowing he did them all, I still can’t tell it’s Ken sometimes. Amazing.
JIM ROMIG, September 3, 2014
I live in Eastern Pennsylvania, about 60 miles north of Philadelphia, near Allentown. I first heard you back in 1983 or ‘84 when you were broadcasting on WCFL, AM 1000. I would catch the tail end of your show when I was heading home from my night shift job, only wishing I could catch your whole show. I subscribed to Nostalgia Digest that year. Orson Welles was on the cover of my first issue. That may have been the last issue that included WCFL’s radio guide listing since your show there was ending. I was so jealous of the Chicago area when I saw the listings for your Saturday shows. You see, we had no stations broadcasting OTR in our area. WCAU, 1210 in Philly had a Sunday night thing but the interference made the station unlistenable where I lived. So it wasn’t until I got a computer, and later an Ipod, that I was finally able to tune in to TWTD.
Over the years I’ve enjoyed the great interviews you’ve done with all the greats who have gone before us. Even though I was born in 1960, my parents were a little older than parents of my peers, so I grew up knowing many of the OTR stars from watching the many variety shows of the era: Jack Benny, George Burns, Jimmy Durante, etc. Listening to radio shows was easy for me. However, I wasn’t exposed to radio until I was about 13, when a reading teacher, God Bless him, played a few shows one day in seventh grade. I know Fibber and Molly was one of them. I think my favorite interview you did, besides Jack Benny, was the lady who played Sade, from Vic and Sade (Bernardine Flynn). What a joy.
I don’t want to go on too long. I just wanted you to know that we’re still out here and we appreciate the wonderful things you’ve done for old time and new time radio. There was a time when I thought that OTR would die along with the folks who remembered it when it was new. But now, thanks to the computer, it’s easier than ever for everyone to enjoy the shows that were so well done back in the day. And thanks to people like you who filled that void back in the days when it wasn’t as easy. Thank you, Chuck.
TOM KOZIOL, January 3, 2013
I used to tape your Those Were The Days programs, especially the Christmas broadcasts and Jack Benny Month, on VCR tapes (I could get the whole four hours without having to flip the tape over). During this time of year I pull them out and play them. They help to set the holiday mood and add to our enjoyment of the Christmas season.
When I first visited your website, I saw the interview section and must have missed the archived broadcast section. When listening to other OTR on the Internet, I missed your ability to “bundle” shows that worked well in sequence, and had wished that your old broadcasts were available online. I’m glad that I revisited your website and discovered that your shows are now available.
I want to thank you for all you’ve done to resurrect this great entertainment. I’ve been a listener since I discovered your show on that little AM station in Evanston and I was a student at DePaul.
CAROLYN L. RAFFL, January 20, 2013
I just had to tell you thank you for your work over the years. It is especially poignant now to my sister Nancy Sidner and I this past few days. Nancy was doing a simple search on the Internet about something to do with our dad, Paul Heyn.
She came across your website where she found an interview with our dad in July, 1987. We never knew this had transpired. She called me and forwarded me the link. To hear our dad’s voice again after he departed for heaven nine years ago February 11 – was so wonderful, so many memories coming back to us. What a thrill!
I have not yet listened to it in its entirety, but fast-forwarded intermittently to hear stories, some of which I remember living; some facts we never knew. Our dad was a humble man, and was honored that someone would listen to the stories he had to relate and his simple thrills and satisfactions he experienced.
Throughout the recording I hear my grandparents’ grandfather clock gonging out the quarter, half hour and hour… like I was back in the house. Brought a few tears to my eyes.
My dad was young then, retired just the year before, 68 years old. Shortly after that – either that year or the next he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. It rather put a halt to any of his travel plans, aside from a few road trips within the Midwest. He endured the progressive assaults on his body for 17 years – until he succumbed to conditions created by the Parkinson’s at 85 years of age. Our mother, Viola, lived on to be 93 years of age and passed on to be with our dad a year ago this month.
Just had to tell you thanks again. We still can’t believe we found this. I trust this finds you well and enjoying a happy, healthy retirement. And may the oldies and goodies live on!
CHRIS JOHNSON, February 8, 2013
I’ve moved down to the Chicagoland area from a small town in Michigan. I moved down here to be with my wife of 11 years. I’m still acclimating myself to the area – not sure if I will ever be used to the crowds and traffic!
One thing I’ve found since I’ve moved down here is the show on 90.9 FM and I’ve stumbled across your interviews with the stars of radio. I’ve become a huge fan of the interviews – there isn’t much around concerning the stars these days. I’m working on getting your book.
I just wanted to say thank you for the work you’ve done and it is much appreciated. I wish I had stumbled across everything when I was a bit younger. Forty isn’t the proper starting age for a huge hobby like this – lol.
I was happy to find your interview with Hal Peary. My favorite shows at the moment are The Great Gildersleeve, The Whistler, Gunsmoke and, of course, Jack Benny.
MATTHEW W. FALLER, February 10, 2013
Thank you for your website. It is wonderful. I have listened to all the interviews from “A” to half of “G”. I am up to Gale Gordon. You are very lucky to have talked with and met in person all these incredible radio personalities.
WAYNE REED, February 11, 2013
I have long wanted to tell you how much your recollections of old-time radio have meant to me. Memories of my childhood and teen years are inextricably and forever linked with the shows I loved back in the 1940s and ‘50s. And you have done much over the years to keep them fresh in my mind.
Your remembrances of WBBM-CBS are most poignant to me because I worked there, in the Wrigley Building and 630 N. McClurg Court, as a page boy, assistant record librarian under Lenny Kaye, and as an announcer on WBBM-FM. This was in the period of 1956 to 1961. Whether it was the Golden Age of Radio or not, it was my Golden Age, and I miss those days very much.
Back in the ‘90s, while working as Promotion Manager for suburban Chicago’s Pioneer Press newspapers, I wrote an end-of-year article on what it was like growing up in the Chicago of the forties and enjoying Christmas on the radio. It was called “Honoring Holidays Past.” Interestingly, we both picked up on the theme that “while visiting the past is fun, I wouldn’t want to live there.”
Again, thank you for helping to keep my earliest memories alive.
BUD MILLER, February 23, 2013
I think of you often my friend, and hope all is well with you and your family. Your work, vision and contribution to the celebration of the golden age of radio resonates with milestones in my life and my memories.
One of your legacies, Those Were The Days, is doing well, but it ain’t the same without you.
BILL REFFKE, April 1, 2013
I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your website. This is what the Internet was meant to be used for. I can’t say that I have one favorite section of the website as the entire site is a “favorite.” Please keep the additions of radio shows, the reprints of the Digest and interviews coming! I can’t get enough!
I tell everyone I can about this website. It is one not to miss. Many thanks for providing this entertainment. You are to be commended. Thank you for all you have done to keep OTR alive.
CLARK WEBER, June 1, 2013
I wanted you to know how much I enjoy going back in radio time with you. Even now as I read the names of those old shows, I well remember stretched out in front of the Atwater Kent and thoroughly entertained.
Somehow the proximity of being curled up next to that radio infected me and a career was born. So I owe a lot to Jack Armstrong, Captain Midnight and the Lux Radio Theatre, among others.
RICH BOROWY, June 2, 2013
Some time ago I suggested to your site to post more episodes of The Hall Closet morning drive program that aired on WLTD in the early-middle 1970s.
I never had much of an opportunity to hear this show when it was on the air as I did not control the radio in my household back then. The only station that was tuned was WBBM-AM for its time, temp and traffic reports (not really for my usage, though!).
It’s a great pleasure to tune to the TWTD shows from “not so long ago” (your words?). In addition, I can catch up with the current shows found in Nostalgia Digest as my nearest Barnes & Noble bookstore carries it in their magazine section.
JIM MELKA, June 2, 2013
Chuck, I thought you should read this:
On May 29 I sent the following message to my sister:
Kathy—At speakingofradio.com this week there is the May 29, 1993 edition of Those Were The Days. It’s Bob Hope on his 90th birthday. It starts out with Bob, Bing and Frankie on “Command Performance.” Don’t miss it if you can! — Jim
On June 2 she replied:
Jim—Thanks for all the great links for my listening pleasure… and believe me, it is a pleasure. I love the way Chuck has found a place, Speaking of Radio, to keep his great knowledge and that unique “Chuck” voice alive. Even though doing a weekly radio program was too much for him, he embraced the new technology (the Internet) and gave all of us, his fans, a place to once again enjoy the incredible body of work and memories he spent his life assembling. He is un-stoppable and I am so glad. –Kathy
BOB WALDEN, June 4, 2013
Sure miss you on Saturday afternoons. Spent many great times listening to you. Hope you and your family are well and happy.
JAMES MELKA, June 27, 2013
I’m listening to all the “Yesterday’s Newspaper” clips. They are all such fun! I always enjoy the “Robert Hall” jingle, every time I hear it.
I noodled around on GOOGLE and found out that:
“Robert Hall” was just a name that the founder came up with “out of thin air”. There never was a “Robert Hall” involved with the clothing stores.
The first stores opened in 1937. The last ones closed in 1977, due to bankruptcy.
The “Robert Hall Commercial,” the name given to the jingle, had its first copyright in 1946. The music was done by Leon Mitchel. The words came from Charles A. Gaston. The final copyright came on February 28, 1957.
The 1957 copyright may have been when the last words of the jingle were changed from “Low overhead, low overhead” to “High quality, economy.” I remember hearing the jingle both ways as I grew up. First “low overhead” and then, later “high quality.”
And, YES, my mother did get clothes from the Robert Hall in Berwyn. It was on the south/east corner of Cermak Road (22nd Street) and Gunderson Avenue. My oldest brother Larry’s Communion suit (that later became my next oldest brother Ken’s Communion suit, that then became MY Communion suit) came from Robert Hall.
I think that same suit may have ended up being my younger brother Don’s Communion suit. Since Don was a TWIN, I have no idea what his twin brother Ron wore for his Communion.
Ah, Those Were The Days!
LARRY JORDAN, July 10, 2013
I am well familiar with you and the shows I used to listen to in which you featured OTR broadcasts.
Recently I fell in love with Rosemary Clooney – a little late, I guess. I had always liked Bing Crosby, but had never heard the two together until recent months, largely from their 1960-62 CBS show, but also some appearances she made when Bing was doing the program with John Scott Trotter in the early ‘50s. Now I can’t get enough Rosie!
JAMES MELKA, July 10, 2013
As I’m listening to the tail end of the “Yesterday’s Newspaper” clips, past 1958, I suddenly realized… I delivered every one of the papers that you and Ken Alexander talk about.
I started working for the Berwyn News Agency in the fall of 1958. I had just turned 9 years of age. The first year I carried the Tribune, the Sun-Times, the Daily News
and the Czech daily called Denni Hlasatel. I also had two routes for the local Sunday-Wednesday-Friday paper called the Berwyn Life.
I started working for the Life when I was 8, in the Spring of 1958. By the time I was 10 I had five routes total: two morning Trib/Sun-Times routes, one afternoon Daily News/Hlasatel route, and the two morning Berwyn Life routes.
And I used to sub for some of the Chicago American routes, but not too often, because the American was run out of their own sub branch of the downtown office and their carriers were all “under contract” (whatever that meant) and they did not like subs that were not already working for the American.
I also did the “Get your paper!!” routine, but only a few times. My older brother had the corner of 26th Street and Austin Avenue in Cicero, mainly walking through the cars stopped for the red light. He sold the Chicago Daily News there until about 1960. I helped on very rare occasions. By that time the corner was getting too rough for kids to sell papers there.
My four brothers, myself and even my two sisters were all involved in the delivery of the newspapers in the central/west end of Berwyn. Even my mother would help us “roll” the Berwyn Life three times a week. All those ink-stained hands and green rubber bands.
I went to work at the Berwyn News Agency until just before I finished high school in 1968. The last routes my youngest brothers had were late in that fall. I was already in the service by then.
Thanks for reading this.
WAYNE TOMCZAK, August 1, 2013
Chuck, what can I say? Thank you. The way the world is today, I love to go back when times were so much better. Thank you for giving me a way to do this. By the way, I’m 71 years old. Steve is great, but my wife and I still miss you, Chuck. You’re one of a kind.
CHARLIE SENG, August 10, 2013
I just re-played my copy of the Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre broadcast of “War of the Worlds” which I had recorded from “Those Were The Days” on WDCB’s internet broadcast and also just played my copy of your interview with Howard Koch from the same source and just remembered that Mr. Koch was instrumental in writing part of the play that was made into a great movie, “Casablanca.”
This once more reminds me of the small world of old time radio and of my interest in it and of my years of recording these programs on 8-track tapes through “Those Were The Days” broadcasts. This resulted in my having 64 8-track tapes of various TWTD programs which a friend converted to CDs, all 28 of them.
I guess you would say I’m a “believer.”
ED WONG-LIGDA, October 10, 2013
Chuck, I have been listening to old time radio since the ‘70s, but have only recently discovered your interviews with actors, writers and other people associated with radio. You do a great job and one of the things I like about the interviews is that you thank the person for all of the entertainment they’ve given to us over the years. I especially like this aspect of your interview, because if I ever met any of them, the first thing I’d want to do is thank them.
And now that I’ve listened to several of your interviews, I’d also like to thank you for hours of enjoyment. I hope that you realize how much you’ve contributed to the history of old time radio and to the enjoyment of all of us who care about old time radio.
LOLA HILL, October 20, 2013
“Turn off your lights. Turn them off!” And with that my mother turned off the lights and we would sit listening to the program weekly. It scared me to death and she would always say that we wouldn’t listen to it next week. But next week came and I begged her to listen to “Lights Out.”
I have often thought of that and wondered what it was that scared me to death. So, I am interested in knowing if you have any audio of “Lights Out.” I just happened to catch your visit early this morning on WGN (with David Plier). I have checked out your website, but do not see an opportunity to access any audios you might have of “Lights Out.”
NOTE from Chuck: Glad you were able to hear us on WGN this weekend. If you will return to my website and go to the Arch Oboler interview, you’ll be able to hear a complete “Lights Out” program from December 15, 1942. Also, there are a number of “Lights Out” and other mystery programs available for sale at our “sister” website, www.nostalgiadigest.com When you get there, go to Nostalgia Shop and click on Mystery programs.
MATTHEW FALLER, October 20, 2013
Thanks again for the 200 interviews and the time and effort you put into getting them.
I have a collection of old time radio shows. On one cover of a Fibber McGee and Molly disc is a picture of Jim and Marian Jordan. Jim in a hat, glasses and gray hair, Marian looking old and in a house dress and hat. Couldn’t figure out why they look so different from other pictures I have seen of them. Just finished listening to the interview with Jim Jordan, Jr. He explained it – they were dressed up for the parts they were playing, Fibber and Molly. Makes sense, doesn’t it? If not for the interview I probably wouldn’t have found that information anywhere else. Thank you very much.
LINDSAY CLEVELAND, November 5, 2013
(I have been) listening to you and Steve Darnall today via streaming audio. It was a great delight to hear you reminisce about your induction into the Radio Hall of Fame and about your days as the host of “Those Were The Days.” So much love and fun came through! Like you, I remember listening to all the shows when they were originally broadcast and have had the delight of re-listening to them thanks to your years of effort.
Many thanks for your website providing so many interviews of the people who made the Golden Age of Radio so wonderful and remarkable. It is truly amazing to realize how a great script and great voices could create whole worlds with just a few people around microphones and a good sound effects man!
May you long bask in the appreciation of your many fans and admirers. You have certainly brightened our lives! And Steve Darnall has certainly been an outstanding torch bearer and continuer of your legacy.
JAMES MELKA, November 7, 2013
The United States “official” involvement in World War II started on December 7, 1941. The “official” surrender was signed on September 2, 1945. With 1944 being a “leap year”, the number of days (we were at war) is 1,365. Half of that is 682.5 days.
That means that on October 22, 2013 at noon, the “Those Were The Days” archive run of “Radio and World War II” was half over.
BILL RITCHIE, November 17, 2013
I heard you mention your website Speaking of Radio and the 270 Ken Alexander newspaper readings from years ago. I have been listening to them every day. “Yesterday’s Newspaper” has been my favorite part of TWTD.
I just heard one from April 13, 1952 where Ken mentioned ads for the Harlem and North Avenue Outdoor theatres and your comments. I worked at both theatres and also frequented them with my girl, now my wife of 53 years! Those were the days!
BOB NAWA, January 5, 2012
I just found your site in early December. I have been listening to TWTD since the mid-‘70s. Not sure why it took me so long to find this.
I have been listening to your interviews and the old TWTD. I had mentioned to my wife a couple of months ago that I wish I had recorded some of the WW II shows. And then here they are to listen to whenever I want. They are great listening while I work in my shop.
Thanks, and keep those shows coming.
MARK REESOR, January 22, 2012
I so appreciate your making these wonderful interviews available! I’ve listened up to the end of the “C”s and am eagerly anticipating hearing more. I’ve been an OTR fan since I was a child (when I had no idea the shows were done before I was born!) and it’s great to hear the memories of the people I, alas, will never be able to meet or thank for their wonderful work.
NORM SCHICKEDANZ, January 23, 2012
I just listened to the Fahey Flynn interview. Remembering him from TV, I didn’t know he went so far back in Chicago on radio. Very enjoyable. I even sent the link to a friend in Chicago who’s been a long-time bowtie wearer.
DAN MC GUIRE, February 14, 2012
At long last, I finally got around to touring your Speaking of Radio website. Fantastic! The fellow who helped you design the layout and pages did a terrific job. I’m especially impressed by the banner spread for the ID at the top. Beautiful! An appealing site, beautifully designed. Kudos to you.
GIL MILLER, February 18, 2012
I don’t know how I found TWTD, surfing maybe, but I’m happy I did. I’m 74 and I grew up with radio. My father insisted that each room in the house had a radio. Thanks for providing these great shows for us.
PATRICIA FLANAGAN, February 19, 2012
Other people have told me about your show but your website is the first time I’ve had a chance to listen. I enjoy it so much. Thanks also for posting the interviewees in alphabetical order. My impressions of Mike Wallace and Don Wilson are still a little ragged but your site is helping me so much to learn to do voices and dialects. I loved your interview with Mike Wallace particularly. Thanks again for a fabulous site.
MARK J. BADE, February 20, 2012
You don’t know me, but I feel like I know you. For years I have heard your many wonderful broadcasts and want to thank you for the years of work. Good luck in your so-called “retirement”!!
RYAN CHATTERTON, March 24, 2012
I am a high school music teacher at Galway Central School in Galway, NY and music director for the Galway High Drama production of “Annie”. The show opens next weekend and I have been desperately trying to track down an audio file of a “Ma Perkins” episode from August 13, 1948 (Fay marries Carl Michaels). The libretto for “Annie” calls for the intro from this particular episode to be played at the beginning of a scene. In doing some last ditch research, I came across your website and the interview with Rita Ascot. Included on the page was the exact recording I have been searching for.
Would you be willing to donate this file to the Galway Drama club for use in the production? We are a very small school and are working diligently to produce the highest quality production. I know that using this recording would mean a great deal to the students and directors as well as the audience members. I would be happy to give credit in the program.
COMMENT: We are happy to provide a clip for your use.
ART ELLIS, March 26, 2012
I came across your website because I am researching a book on the nascent years of American television, and as you know, William Eddy was an important figure in them. Capt. Eddy wrote a primer on television production called The Eyes of Tomorrow, which he published in 1945, but in addition to that he wrote another work, variously described as a book, a pamphlet, and a monograph, on how to televise baseball games. So far as I can see, it was an in-house document, never intended for publication and sale to the public, but it was printed and circulated amongst production people, and was highly thought of.
This document is of especial interest to me because it goes into some detail about the trial-and-error process involved in developing the production method. So far, about all I’ve been able to discover is that the document existed – I don’t even know its title. If you know anything about this, or have some suggestions where I might be find it, or how to contact his descendants, I would be most grateful to hear from you.
ED. NOTE- Capt. Eddy’s great-grandson had posted a comment on our website after hearing our short interview with the TV pioneer, and we were able to put Mr. Ellis in touch with him.
ANDREW GILMORE, March 30, 2012
Like you, I also grew up listening to programs from the golden age of radio. The difference is that I was about 50 years too late. I’m only 25 years old, but I’ve been listening to Fibber and Molly, Jack Benny, Edgar Bergen and so forth since I was about 9. Even now I listen to some classic radio shows every night before I go to sleep. So as a lifelong fan and historian of those shows, finding your Speaking of Radio website was a real discovery. Your hundreds of interviews are priceless and your publishing them on the internet is especially helpful for someone like me who hadn’t even been born when you were doing your program in the ‘70s and ‘80s and I hadn’t even known about it until a few months ago! I just wanted to write and say thank you so much for making such a wonderful archive available to fans like me.
TARA PATTINSON, April 9, 2012
Your Speaking of Radio website is great and very useful, thank you! I have been researching with my class (I am a science technology teacher) on history of inventions and those that greatly impacted our history.
The kids and I work interactively, almost as if they are building the lesson plan with me. In this process, we go online together (we have new classroom technology that allows me to be online and interactive with the kids in the front of the classroom – it’s cool) and have been researching about inventors of items that we readily use and may take for granted!
During the process of researching, the kids and I ran across your website – they loved it! We have been composing a list of resources that they can take home while working on their group projects. I want them to have resources to refer to if they get “stuck” or have difficulty.
We are located in a small town in Massachusetts. I love the kids I work with, they’re absolutely fantastic and each year, the kids never cease to amaze me with their abilities and their desire to learn.
I was wondering if you wanted to possibly include a few sources we found interesting and useful on your site as well. I would love to show them that they contributed and that their research was proven useful to others out there in the big “world wide web”. Some of the resources we enjoyed are:
“Invention of Radio” http://www.clemson.edu/caah/history/facultypages/pammack/lec122/radio.html
“Television, Radio and More – The History of Great Inventions!”
JIM AMASH, April 15, 2012
I live in North Carolina and for several years during the 1980s, I used to listen to your show at night when you were on the AM band (and the weather was good), and always enjoyed your work. I’ve been remiss in taking the time to say to you how much I have enjoyed the interviews you have posted. Thank God you did these interviews!
For the last 12 years, I have been doing the same thing with comic book artists of the ‘30s through the early 1970s for Alter Ego magazine. A vast majority of those creators have passed since I recorded their stories, so you can see why my second favorite hobby’s history is so important to me. By the way, I am a comic book artist and currently work for Archie Publications.
My work appears in Sonic Universe and Life with Archie magazine. I’ve also worked for Warner Brothers, DC Comics, Disney, Marvel, etc. It’s not a very lucrative career, but it’s what I wanted to do.
Enough about me. I’ve always been impressed by your dedication and love for the radio medium. It was hard work to hear you some nights back when you were on WBBM, but I listened around the static not just because I wanted to hear the shows, but I also appreciated the historical background you would provide. It was always worth it! I’m glad you are still doing it and I am grateful you’ve posted some interviews on the Internet for us to hear.
You have always done quality work and I salute you. Without you, our knowledge of old time radio would be less, and a lot of people would have forgotten or remained unaware of the shows and the history. I hope you have good health and keep it going for a long time.
ROBIN GODDARD, May 25, 2012
Seattle, Washington—Just want to say that I love your site which I discovered a few weeks ago. I especially love the audio interviews of all the stars of Old Time Radio, a genre I’m a big fan of. I’m really impressed with the quality of the tapes. You must’ve taken immaculate care of them. Never thought I’d hear a 45-minute interview with the voice of Fred Flintstone. Alan Reed sounded like a great guy.
PATRICIA FLANAGAN, June 1, 2012
Central Florida–I wrote you awhile back to thank you for your site since I was using it to learn voices and dialects. I’m still working on it and I still love your site. Thanks for that video interview. Now I can work on imitating your voice!
I first heard of you, by the way, from a young woman born in 1964 who listened to your show every week in Chicago. She’s in her 40s now but she has a lifetime love of OTR because of you. As we say in the 21st Century… you are the man! Keep up the wonderful work.
MARK REESOR, June 1, 2012
Thank you so much for all your hard work in posting these interviews. I have received so much enjoyment over the years listening to old time radio and often wished I could meet the stars and thank them for their wonderful work. Alas, that will never happen; your interviews are as close as I will ever get. I greatly enjoy and have learned so much from each and every one!
L. Day, June 1, 2012
I sent a link to your website to my dad in Tennessee. He’s a year younger than you. He is and was a radio enthusiast like you when he was a kid also. I’ve told him about TWTD for years, but until the advent of the Internet he was unable to listen.
I miss you very much! Anytime you’re on the air (either pre-taped or live), our radio’s volume goes full blast and I totally tune out everything else going on at the moment. You’ve become as much an icon in my life as our mutual radio hero Jack Benny!
TIM JOHNSON, June 1, 2012
I was born in September, 1944, so I missed a good portion of the “Golden Age of Radio.” I did begin listening at an early age, probably four or five years old. I remember listening on Saturdays to Let’s Pretend, The Buster Brown Show and No School Today. During the week, I would join my mother at “rest time” as she listened to the afternoon “soaps.”
I believe it was in 1952 that I accidentally discovered The Cinnamon Bear. I was always so interested in radio that the minute I got home from school, the set was turned on and I began scanning the dial for something that seemed interesting. One day in November I heard what seemed to be a Christmas story and I was thrilled. I remember listening to several westerns, One Man’s Family, Great Gildersleeve, etc.
When I was in junior high, I began moving our model 304 GE radio/phono into the bedroom, right beside the bed to do some nighttime listening. It was fun to see if you could pick up some distant stations that were high enough power to be heard. (In Tennessee) sometimes the “skip” was so good I could hear Canadian stations. That was a wow!
In 1970, I decided that I would teach summer school. I became friends with a fellow teacher who had similar interests, including OTR. At that time I had no idea that any of the shows were available to hear again. My new friend informed me that there were indeed many shows available… and we decided to jointly order a reel of shows and that was the beginning of a new hobby that is still going today. From that one reel of shows we began trading shows and soon we had built up a small library.
As time passed, I began purchasing material outright and today subscribe to several sources and download regularly. I also have an Internet station “20th Century Echoes Plus” on Live365. I offer pop, sacred, classical music and, of course, OTR.
Thanks for all you do and have done to make it possible to listen again to those wonderful shows, and to get a glimpse into the wonderful biographical material that you provide. I am looking forward to more TWTD.
MIKE LEWIS, June 29, 2012
Hello from Washington, DC (actually the Maryland suburbs), Chuck. I just accessed the Jay Andres interview on your site a few days ago, and it was a pleasant surprise. Of course, I was saddened to learn only recently of his passing. I was a fellow Chicago broadcaster and admirer of his voice and style. What a treat and inspiration to hear him one more time!
My compliments to you for the graceful interview. I lost track when he left WGN as they were making the switch to overnight talk (with Chicago Eddie Schwartz, if I recall accurately). Although more accurately, I do have some recollection of hearing him on WNIB in the morning (surprise to me) when visiting family in the mid-1980s.
CHET NORRIS, July 1, 2012
Wow! What a great collection. This will keep me busy for a long time. I met Elliott Lewis in a drugstore in North Hollywood maybe 50-plus years ago and he was my radio hero. (I’m 81.) My career was in voice work and when I was a kid I memorized his narration from “Manhattan Tower” with Gordon Jenkins. I thought it was a master class in narration and I told him so.
ANDREA SMITH, July 1, 2012
Thank you for your radio links. I can honestly say that I for one really miss your Metro Golden Memories store in Chicago. I could have really used your assistance in locating Bob Hastings photos and radio programs. Just recently I was able to visit with Mr. Hastings at Cincinnati’s Old Time Radio & Nostalgia convention in April. While searching for the recent REPS convention in Bellevue, WA this June, I ran across your link. I can tell you that there are others out there that would like to know where you went after you closed the Chicago store…..you really had something very special!
RAY O’BRIEN, July 1, 2012
I don’t know which network or broadcast organization would be inclined to produce and air contemporary radio drama, comedy, adventure, etc. There was the CBS Radio Mystery Theater in the late ‘70s that I enjoyed. I feel there must be an untapped pool of talent of voices and writers. Why can’t advertisers see the potential? Hope you are OK and not burning up in Arizona. You left a wonderful broadcast legacy and I thank you.
CHARLIE SENG, July 2, 2012
Thank you for continuing the job you started at TWTD with “Speaking of Radio.” As a latecomer to Chicago (1972-1985), I only became aware of TWTD through happenstance. In the early morning hours, I could pick up KMOX in St. Louis and listened regularly to you on “When Radio Was” in the mid 2000s and became acquainted with you and your presentations. I recorded many on 120 minute tapes. When I finally got onto the TWTD programs on WDCB on the Internet, I often got confused and thought I was listening to “When Radio Was,” since your approach and your voice sounded the same to me. It took a while for me to realize there were two distinct programs. I remember when your “When Radio Was” ended, sad to say.
After I got going on TWTD, I started recording in earnest. I subscribed to Nostalgia Digest Magazine starting in Winter 2007 and never failed each week to record at least two or three full programs from the week’s offerings, plus the weekly news read by Ken Alexander.
I am thrilled to see you are continuing your lifelong fascination with old-time radio with your new on-line effort. I cannot tell you how much pleasure it is giving me and many other people. The word “thanks” is pretty small and inadequate when trying to cover the wonderful job you have done in the past and are still doing now. Thank you, Chuck!
KLEE MICHAELIS, August 10, 2012
I’ve been meaning to write you since my father, Fritz Michaelis, mentioned you were retiring a few years ago.
I just wanted to express my appreciation for all the years of “Those Were The Days” that I enjoyed while growing up. I have fond memories of working in my father’s workshop or playing around the house listening to the old time radio shows. I guess I should say thanks for the memories.
I also wanted you to know that I have three boys of my own now and that old time radio shows via podcasts are a staple in their entertainment diet. They walk around with their iPods plugged into their heads living in a bygone era. Are they listening to typical teenage fare? No, it’s Suspense, Dragnet, Jack Benny, the Great Gildersleeve. Of course, the Cinnamon Bear is an annual occurrence. They can actually watch a Crosby/Hope “road” movie and get many of the gags that leave their peers scratching their heads. Carrying on in my father’s footsteps they, and a few of their fellow home school friends, have put on a few shows for our community.
So, just know that your (and my father’s) love for the old time radio shows has been passed on. Thanks.
ROGER SCALES, JR., August 13, 2012
I’m hooked. Amazing the amount of talented radio players you interviewed over the years. I have been listening almost every day. I’m 44 and got hooked on radio shows listening in Boston to WEEI 590AM and a guy named Ken Meyers in the 1980s. My dad had old records as well. You truly ask the questions I would, had I been given the chance to do so.
Thanks for the recordings. I will treasure them always.
NICKY L., August 16, 2012
My sincerest thanks to everyone associated with this website for bringing these priceless interviews for all lovers and big fans of old time radio, the finest medium ever invented.
JAMES BAGGECH, October 23, 2012
I wanted to let you know the legacy that my children now have because of your efforts.
I was born in July, 1959. I lived in Chicago at 35th and Paulina growing up. When I was 10 years old we moved to Archer Avenue and Wood Street (right across form GI Joe’s gas station) and lived in back of my father’s machine shop.
When you first came on the air my Dad would stop what was going on and explain what was being played on the radio. As we got older and not so “wet behind the ears” as my Grandpa would say, we did not need to have anything explained. We would listen to the “magic carpet” of radio and be transported to another place and time.
My four children (three in college, none at home) now quote many of the funny lines from radio shows that have made us laugh for years. I also took time to explain to them what was going on during the time of the recordings, what was the punch line, and why it was funny or serious.
It’s amazing how seamless my children can be when, to answer a question or make a comment, they pop out a line from Benny, Day, Hope, Peary, etc.
Time is really the only thing that we can truly give one another and never get back.
Thanks for all the time you gave me in my youth. Thanks for all the time you and others gave so we could have some GREAT family memories.
You did good, Chuck!
MATTHEW GRAY, December 31, 2012
I’ve listened by now to nearly all of your interviews on your Speaking of Radio website. I really enjoy the old-time radio actors, and I was pleasantly surprised by some of the fascinating interviews with the radio announcers also. Thank you for these valuable insights to life as it was when my Dad was a little boy in the days before and during WW II.
LINDSAY CLEVELAND, December 31, 2012
Chuck, it has been a delight to hear all the wonderful Old Time Radio shows you have provided over these many years. I first heard you when I moved to the Chicago area in 1979 and have been a Nostalgia Digest subscriber ever since.
One treasure you have provided to us and to future generations is the large collection of interviews with so many people who were part of the Golden Age of Radio. It’s always a pleasure to re-listen to them via your new website.
But the best gift you have given to so many people has been your enthusiasm and love of Old Time Radio. You have conveyed this in every program! Moreover, you have created that same love and admiration to unknown thousands of people. Your legacy is one you may take great pride in, and for which a vast audience will be forever grateful.
PHIL SHAPPARD, December 31, 2012
I just received your email to listening friends and just had to thank you again for making access to your interviews and programs. You are the one that got both my wife and I hooked on old time radio!
Growing up in the Moline-Rock Island area to the West, my radio listening in the early 70s was limited to Top 40 AM stations. In fact, I used to skip study hall and go out to my car to pick up Animal Stories with Larry Lujack on the Big 89 WLS each morning at 9:45 a.m. It wasn’t until we moved into the Chicago area in the late 80s that we discovered you on Saturday afternoons on WNIB.
Now with many 24/7 old time radio channels and my trusty iPhone with unlimited data, old time radio is our constant companion. Our favorites are Harold Peary on the Great Gildersleeve, Fibber McGee and Molly and Gunsmoke. There are obviously many more, but those three shows exhibited the best writing as evidenced by the “Theatre of the Mind” litmus test. If one can find himself thoroughly into the story and see the characters and scenes with detail and color, that was pretty good writing!
I have written you before and mentioned I have worked at WMBI in Chicago since the 80s and am the one people point to regarding our history. Our archives go back to the 20s and 30s, but mostly what made it to tape in the early 50s is what we have in good supply. It is very special to pick up the voice of someone from 70-80 years ago and listen. I know you have the same excitement!
Radio’s stellar historian shares treasury of classic conversations
Posted in Chicago Media blog by Robert Feder on Jun 1, 2011 at 12:51pm
The man who kept the Golden Age of Radio alive in Chicago for nearly 40 years has just unveiled a priceless collection of his own greatest hits. Esteemed broadcast historian Chuck Schaden this week launched SpeakingofRadio.com, an interactive website he informally bills as “a pop culture trip through the radio days of the 20th century.” It features links to nearly 60 exclusive interviews he recorded over the years with some of the brightest stars and creative giants of radio’s heyday.
Schaden, 76, who retired in 2009 after 39 years as host and producer of the weekly radio showcase Those Were the Days, said he plans to upload more than 200 of the conversations that originally aired on his show. Along with each interview are links to vintage programs featuring the respective performers.
From Don Ameche and Jack Benny to Les Tremayne and Harry Von Zell, the stars’ personal recollections come to life in what amounts to an unsurpassed oral history of the medium, masterfully assembled by Schaden, a Radio Hall of Famer himself.
The website also includes links to encores of complete four-hour broadcasts of Those Were the Days from Schaden’s years as host. Each month he’ll spotlight a different program from his long-running series.
In his introduction to the collection of interviews, Schaden wrote: “Truth be told, every day that included meeting and talking with someone from the Golden Age of Radio was a very special day for me. The ‘radio folk,’ as [Fibber McGee and Molly’s] Jim Jordan called his broadcast colleagues, were friendly and cordial as we chatted about their ‘good old days.’ They were generous with their time and seemed flattered to learn that people were still interested in the work they had done on the air so many years ago.
“Often, at the conclusion of our time together, I had a chance to tell these people – whom I admired so much – what their work meant to me and all of their fans and how much we appreciated their contribution to the radio days. Just about every one of them expressed appreciation for that thought and added that those days were the best of times.”
After he retired in June 2009, Schaden turned over Those Were the Days to Steve Darnall, who continues to host the show from 1 to 5pm Saturdays on College of DuPage’s WDCB-FM (90.9) and online at wdcb.org.
DAVID PLIER, June 2, 2011
Congratulations on the new website, Chuck. I’m so glad you decided to share your treasured interviews with the public.
RONALD REELAND, June 2, 2011
(Writing to the OTR Digest): Chuck Schaden of “Those Were The Days” fame has a new website featuring recordings of his interviews with many radio actors and actresses. They range from Ameche to Winslowe. He also presents performances of TWTD. Excellent material.
JAN BACH, June 3, 2011
Congratulations and huzzzahs for your new website, offering oral/aural interviews of many of your radio-actor guests, many of which appeared in your book. It’s great that you are staying so active in OTR material. Those streaming interviews will allow me to get rid of a lot of the cassettes that I kept only because they contained this otherwise unavailable material. I’ll look forward to the Tony Randall interview, for it was through that conversation that I learned he loved Vic and Sade and that led to some correspondence between us!
MICHAEL CERVONE, June 3, 2011
I am excited about your new project. I saw it in Feder’s blog. I am thrilled that both you and Robert Feder
are doing new media. Kudos to both of you for your ability to take on new things!
DON FREY, Lawrence, Kansas, June 3, 2011
Am delighted that you are taking the time and trouble to release some of your good work.
BOB KOLOSOSKI, June 3, 2011
I love the look of your website and I love the idea of having all those wonderful interviews available.
JAMIE FARR, June 3, 2011
New website looks great. When I have time I will go through all of the selections. Currently I am in Onrtario, Canada, just outside of Toronto doing “Tuesdays with Morrie.” I listen via the Internet to the show on Saturdays when I can and when I miss the show I go to the replay site (www.nostalgiadigest.com)
BOB KOLAR, June 3, 2011
It’s great to see you keeping busy. I have been a listener for over 25 years. Have you given any thought to packaging the radio broadcasts you did to honor the 50th Anniversary of World War II? During 1991-1995 you chronicled a piece of history that I believe is so important to all of us and it needs to be preserved for future generations. All too often pieces of our history are ignored or “changed” and this period was so important not only to our nation but the world as well. You kept me company on many a Saturday afternoon and I truly thank you for it. Where else would I have learned about the Golden Age of Radio?
(COMMENT: Selected WW II broadcasts are available on CD from the Nostalgia Digest Nostalgia Shop, www.nostalgiadigest.com – and we hope to offer the entire four-years of our“Radio and WW II” series on a weekly basis on right here at www.speakingofradio.com beginning on December 7, 2011 – the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor.)
CLARK WEBER, June 3, 2011
Boy, did I enjoy your new website and the conversations with those legendary broadcasters of old. I too was listening to the radio on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941 as my mother stood at the sink peeling potatoes. She began to cry, not only about the attacks but she thought my Dad would have to go in the service. It turned out that because he was a policeman he was exempt. In our long careers in broadcasting you and I have learned an important lesson that has escaped many of our peers. That is to take advantage of every opportunity to reinvent ourselves. What skills we brought to the broadcasting table early on can be used again and again in a heretofore new venture. The secret is that we are willing to try something new, possibly failing then trying something else until we find success. I’m sure the same can be said for many of those early broadcasting giants. As my Uncle Hank the farmer used to say, “Unless you sally forth you may wind up fifth.”
LARRY YOUNGBERG, June 3, 2011
Very nice, Chuck. I will get to hear some great interviews again and hear some that I missed. I see you have the Himan Brown interview on the site. I remember listening to that one night at work. I really enjoyed it then and I will enjoy it again.
MARVIN DICKMAN, June 3, 2011
The website is breathtaking. I can’t begin to imagine all the work it took for you to put it together. And what a contribution to the community that appreciates OTR! I can see myself spending countless hours listening to this treasure of interviews and programs. I’m particularly impressed that all this material is free to your fan base. The collection is priceless. It’s a good thing you really enjoy this so much. Otherwise, I’d have to say you don‘t get such a high grade on retirement. Doesn’t seem to be in your DNA.
MICHAEL LEACH, June 3, 2011
I discovered these treasures tonight and will savor them over the next few weeks. Wonderful work and generous of you to share.
RICK GAROFALO, June 4, 2011
Robert Feder gave you an excellent write-up. I’m going to spend many pleasant hours there – it is a wonderful site! It will be fun to hear the interviews and follow along in your book at the same time. I especially enjoy the scrapbook photo galleries and the links to other OTR sites. The website header is also a nice tie-in to your book.
LARRY PEOPLES, Keystone Heights, FL, June 4, 2011
I love the interviews with the OTR actors on your site. I have a collection of 12 shows titled “Speaking of Radio – the Jack Benny Program.” It’s a great series. Did you guys put it out? If so, are you going to post it on your website?
(COMMENT: That series is something we put together for our Those Were The Days program a few years ago and the subsequently issued set of six CDs has been extremely popular. It features Jack and his cast, writers and others talking about the Benny show, all excerpts from our original interviews. It is loaded with appropriate clips from Benny broadcasts. The set, still available from the Nostalgia Shop at www.nostalgiadigest.com, will not be posted on our new website, but all the complete, unedited interviews will eventually appear at www.speakingofradio.com)
DAVID SIEGEL, June 6, 2011
(Writing to the OTR Digest) A Twenty-one gun salute to Chuck Schaden. In thinking about the very many people who have contributed much joy and pleasure that those of us who are avid fans of this wonderful hobby should be grateful to, many names come to mind and I would guess that most who read this posting have their own list. The list might include a writer or a dealer or someone who turned you on to the hobby. My own list is far too long to be posted here. Chicago folks love Chuck, midwesterners revere him and the rest of us wish we lived within earshot of “Those Were The Days.” Now, due to the modern miracle of the computer and the extreme generosity of Chuck Schaden, the treasures that were the product of a lifetime devoted to OTR becomes accessible. Chuck we salute you.
ROBERT McNAMARA, June 13, 2011
I am so glad you have not only put up this website (I found out about it in Feder’a blog), but also that you are replaying your old radio shows. I have been listening to the first show you have up (theme songs). While I listen most weeks to the current Those Were The Days show and like Steve Darnall, I forgot about how funny you were and what a great rapport you had with Ken Alexander. I bought your Speaking of Radio book a couple of years ago, but I look forward to listening to the interviews. Thanks so much!
BRIAN ANDERSON, Rockford, IL June 13, 2011
First of all, I want to thank you for introducing me to OTR over 35 years ago (I’m 48 now). Listening to classic radio programs never ceases to entertain and soothe the soul. I don’t know what exactly hooked me as a youth, but I am so glad that I have developed a life-long interest in those wonderful shows. I also want to thank you for the interviews on your website. IL have really enjoyed the segments that I have listened to so far.I started out with probably my favorite personality, Harold Peary. Following closely behind him is Jim Jordan (and Molly, of course). You have brought so much joy over the years that I guess there is no way to thank you enough.
SARAH COLE, July 10, 2011
Speaking of Radio Online is the best news since the Armistice! (Well, some of the best news, anyway.) When I saw the announcement about your interviews with those golden people of the Golden Age of Radio, I nearly fell over with delight! One reason was because, although your book is an enormous help to anyone interested in broadcast history, voice work and radio acting, but to hear those voices telling their story in their OWN voices makes the text so much clearer.
The other reason is because, believe it or not, within the past month I was telling someone about things Les Tremayne and Lillian Randolph had said in their interviews. Now that they’re posted, I can send along the link! He won’t have to try to borrow your book from the library: he can hear YOU right there.
Thank you so much for posting those interviews! Twitter has a number of tweeple interested in voice acting and old time radio. They will all soon be tweeting your praises!
MARK POWELL, July 17, 2011
Wow! What a great new website. Glad you decided to do this. It is an oral history lesson. Love the re-broadcasts as well. Keep it coming.
RICH BILEK, Cicero, IL July 21, 2011
This is a great website. I’m glad you’re still part of the old time radio scene. Will you ever post some of the shows you did from mornings on WXFM 106 when you were on Monday through Friday doing the old time radio shows?
(COMMENT: Can’t say if or when we might post one of those WXFM programs to this site, but we did a similar show weekday mornings on WLTD and one of those morning programs was rebroadcast as a part of our TWTD 27th Anniversary show in 1997. That anniversary show will be a TWTD Encore program on this website beginning August 17, 2011. You’ll hear our complete 3-hour WLTD morning “Hall Closet” program from October 1, 1973.)
KEN SCOTT, Glen Ellyn, IL July 23, 2011
Congrats on your new website. (And that’s quite a beard you’re sporting in the picture showing your interview with Jack Benny.) It was a nice surprise to hear you again on TWTD today.
JOHN CZARNIK, Chicago, IL July 23, 2011
Mr. Schaden, I’m a big fan and have listened to you since I was a little kid. My father enjoyed your program and when I was young we would spend Saturday afternoons listening to your show. I have since grown up and have been a Chicago Police Officer for the past 13 years. I have listened to your show in the squad car every Saturday that I have worked. At first my partner would wonder what type of radio show I listened to, but he has become a fan also from listening to many Saturday programs. Thanks.
MARK DEMOS, July 25, 2011
Mr. Schaden, I was pleasantly surprised to hear an old familiar voice on this past Saturday’s “Those Were The Days” broadcast, and greatly enjoyed listening to your visit with Mr. Darnall that day.
I’m in the Milwaukee area, and first started listening to your show back in the early ‘90s when I happened to stumble across WNIB on my radio. I instantly fell in love with it and have been a staunch fan ever since.
I was broken-hearted when you first made the move to WDCB, since I was unable to get the signal in our area, but overjoyed when the internet eventually came to my rescue with the ability to stream the show online.
Though I was very sorry to see you go in 2009, you have obviously passed the ‘baton’ to a man who is more than capable of following in your footsteps, Mr. Darnall.
And now, the introduction of your new “Speaking of Radio” website!!! Though I had previously purchased, and enjoyed your book, I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to now have it ‘come to life’ with the actual interviews that I’ve heard (and read) so much about (and heard bits and pieces of) over the years.
Having just started visiting the site, there are two things I want to give you an extra thank you for… the fact that you have archived some of the old TWTD shows and your plan to eventually archive most, if not all of your tremendous interviews with the old time radio ‘talents’ of yesteryear.
So, just a huge thank you for the many years of wonderful entertainment you have given all of us in the past, which now continues with the introduction of your new website.
JIM HAAS, Lombard, IL July 25, 2011
Not sure if you’re taking requests, but I thought I would throw one in anyway for your website. You did a GREAT retrospective on Arthur Godfrey on March 19, 1983, shortly after he passed away. Can you consider adding that TWTD show to your encore list? I think many folks would enjoy that show, too.
(COMMENT: At present we have no plans to add it to our Encore list. However, we’re making note of such requests and perhaps somewhere along the way they’ll all be scheduled. In the meantime, you might enjoy listening to the TWTD show we did on August 23, 2003, “Arthur Godfrey Centennial.” It’s on a “Best of Those Were The Days” set of four CDs available for purchase from the Audio File Nostalgia Shop which you may reach by going to www.nostalgiadigest.com.)
JOAN YOUNG, July 23, 2011
How great to hear Chuck again on my favorite radio program; seemed like old times.
MIKE, July 29, 2011
Just wanted to drop you a line thanking you for all those great interviews you posted! What a treat to have been able to meet all those incredibleradio stars! I’ll bet your autograph collection is stellar!
On your [“About Us” bio] this show is referenced: “In 1974 he co-produced and co-starred with Jim Jordan, radio’s original Fibber McGee, in a seven-part series, Fibber McGee and the Good Old Days of Radio, sponsored coast-to-coast by Chrysler Air Temp.” Can you tell me more about this? Is it available online anywhere? I am a huge Fibber fan.
The interviews you posted that meant the most to me were with Jim Jordan, Arch Oboler, Himan Brown, Mel Blanc and Alan Reed. Thanks again for sharing these treasures with us old time radio fans.
(COMMENT: You’re welcome! And I certainly can help you find a CD set of Fibber McGee and the Good Old Days of Radio. The set contains all seven programs in the series plus a bonus disc with a “roundtable” interview featuring Jim Jordan, Gale Gordon, Phil Leslie and Harold Peary with myself as moderator. The “roundtable” was recorded on the final day of production. Also on the bonus disc is Jim Jordan’s “favorite” McGee show, from 12/26/1939, “Gildersleeve Plays Butler.” The 8-CD set is available at our “sister” website, www.nostalgiadigest.com When you get there, go to Audio File Nostalgia Shop and click on “Specials and Documentaries.”
(By the way, I rarely collected autographs from the folks I interviewed for my radio broadcasts. I felt I already had something really special with a one-on-one conversation on tape.)
JAMES TARPO, August 2, 2011
I knew you couldn’t stay retired forever. We are really excited and thrilled about your new endeavor. I don’t have to search thru my boxes of tapes anymore!
RICHARD BILEK, August 18, 2011
Your Speaking of Radio website is great and hearing the past “Those Were The Days” programs you post is like having you back on the air again. I have enjoyed the interviews you ‘ve posted, but I wanted to ask if there was one radio or TV show biz male or female you had always wanted to interview but for some reason they just seemed to slip past you, so to speak.
COMMENT: One? There were many. A number of radio stars had died before I even started broadcasting in 1970. Others passed away soon after and before I even had a chance to make contact. Then there were some who were too ill to do an interview. For example, I had an interview scheduled with Meredith Willson, the composer-bandleader-comic. When we arrived in California, his wife called, saying she was sorry, but he was far too ill to see anyone. He died a very short time after that.
I had been having a very nice correspondence with Bing Crosby, who agreed to see me for an interview when he returned to California after a golfing trip in Spain, but, sadly, he died there, on the golf course.
Others like Bob Hope, Red Skelton and George Burns were actively working and I was never able to catch up with them.
And there were so many others who were either hard to locate or difficult to reach. But we did talk to more than 200 show biz folk whose chats with us are what this website is all about.
JAMES MELKA, August 20, 2011
Thank you for making such great stuff available. This is going to be a wonderful time, listening to all your hard work. My visit here is long overdue, but I’ll be here much more often in the future.
RYAN O. August 31, 2011
Thank you for all your years of dedication to radio. I am a blind guy and just learned about your site. I hope you will soon put up more interviews on the blind-friendly page. I’m particularly looking forward to your chats with Hal Peary, Alan Reed, Parley Baer and Lurene Tuttle.
COMMENT: Ultimately all our interviews will be part of the page set up for the visually handicapped, accessible via the icon on our Home Page. Additional interviews are on the schedule, but it is a time-consuming process.
LINDA IELER REINHARDT, September 7, 2011
I wanted to add my congratulations to you on an amazing, exciting and impressive career. You’ve really made a permanent mark on the world of radio and entertainment history! I very much enjoyed your website and was happy to make a bit of a reconnection.(Steinmetz High School, Class of January, 1952.)
RYAN PARZYNSKI, September 7, 2011
In everything I’ve read about Old Time Radio in Chicago, I’ve never heard any mention of Chuck Schaden’s stint as host of TWTD on 780-AM. I believe it was on at 8 p.m.and maybe again at 1 a.m. or so. I’m thinking this had to be around the late ‘80s or early ‘90s. It was around this time I was a youngster and my father got me into old time radio and I was allowed to stay up past my bedtime and listen to Chuck on the radio for his hour-long program. That’s where I fell in love with the Lone Ranger, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, Fibber McGee and, my personal all-time favorite, The Mystery Theater. Chuck always closed his show with “The ol’ clock on the wall says it’s time to go,” and even one time mentioned that he could open his window in the studio and hear the “click” of all the cassette decks beginning to record at the start of the program.
Maybe it’s just me being nostalgic for the innocence of my childhood, but then again, isn’t that what this is all about? I may not be the original generation, but I like to think that I also had the opportunity to grow up with these programs as well.
COMMENT: In addition to “Those Were The Days,” for ten full years, from 1985-95 we offered “Old Time Radio Classics” on WBBM-780 AM Chicago. For many years we were on from 8-9 p.m.Monday thru Friday and from 8-10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Later in the run, we were moved to Midnight for an hour, seven days a week.
I’m very glad that this was the program that spurred your interest in the good old shows. I had a wonderful time hosting and producing those shows and I was extremely proud to be on the air on the station that, when I was a youngster, called itself the “WBBM Air Theatre, Wrigley Building, Chicago.”
DAVE OSELAND, September 18, 2011
Thanks, Chuck. Always enjoyed hearing your productions – going all the way back to when you were on Semrow’s station in Evanston. I, too, worked in the media at several radio stations in Chicago as well as WCIU and WCFC-TV and owned a radio station in Springfield, MO. Keep up the good work. Glad to have a site like yours—a great repository of audio history.
JAMES MELKA, September 25, 2011
I just finished listening to Bernadine Flynn and the Vic and Sade show. This is so nice of you to make these available to everyone. How I wish I could have been aware and smart enough to have been a part of this back when you first did the interviews. But at least I can enjoy these now. I’m looking forward to “Radio and World War II” again. I was able to listen to some of that when you first put it together. Last week the 1994 24th Anniversary of TWTD was my companion. The Jack Benny program done live was great!
JAMES MELKA, October 7, 2011
I just finished the Clayton Moore interview and it brought back such memories! I think it was the first time I was involved in a TWTD event from the other side of the “table.” My Perpetual Calendar tells me it was a Friday and I remember cutting out of work just before lunch time. You had asked me to help hand out those silver bullet trinkets (they were key rings) from an early cable channel that was going to be featuring The Lone Ranger.
What a thrill it was for me to shake hands with the Lone Ranger! What terror it was for those who were “distributing” the bullets when WE RAN OUT OF THEM! Really, most of the people were very nice, though disappointed, and the few who were not nice, well…! I always thought they were going to try to sell their “gifts” anyway. After all, a TRUE “friend” of The Lone Ranger would understand that we had no control of how many “bullets” the cable people sent over. Those nasty people were probably distant relatives of Butch Cavendish.
I had a great time. Thank you, Chuck, for being so much a part of the BEST days of my life.
COMMENT: It WAS a good day for all of us when the TV Lone Ranger came to town. And what a thrill it was for me to introduce him with the “official” show opening. Everyone connected with his visit was surprised at the large turnout at the Chicago Civic Center. I trust you still have your Lone Ranger Silver Bullet inscribed with CBN – the Christian Broadcasting Network – where L. R. reruns were being shown. The show still had large ratings. Ahhh, those were the days.
GEORGE LITTLEFIELD, October 17, 2011
I just got done reading about the new shows and interviews coming on speakingofradio.com, and I was surprised and delighted to see that your interview with Chuck Huck and Tony DiGaudio was included [Sons of the Desert]. They and their families were personal friends of our family. Our kids and the Huck boys grew up together. Tony was the projectionist extraordinaire at our monthly “Sons of the Desert” meetings back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and had a fantastic collection of film memorabilia. Chuck was a great fan of the Little Rascals and Bob Hope/Bing Crosby as well as Laurel and Hardy. Thanks again for making it available again after all these years – I missed it the first time around!
BILL ZWACK, October 18, 2011
I’m still listening to TWTD. I remember you giving me as a gift for the birth of my fourth child at Evanstyon Hospital a reel-to-reel copy of The Cinnamon Bear. That was very nice of you. By the way, he was born August 1, 1970. How time flies!
PHIL SHAPPARD, October 18, 2011
I have listened to TWTD for over twenty years and have to admit I have missed your presence on the air. As a former announcer (1983 start) and now Operations Manager of WMBI here in Chicago, I have always appreciated the wholesome golden years of radio.
I often tell young people today that if they want to learn how to effectively speak to an audience today on the medium, just listen to the radio classics and after a period of time they will be able to discern quality. All the writing and acting talent was so concentrated there!
In a day when online content is King, you are giving away a tremendous wealth of programming. As a huge online media consumer, I can’t imagine you have made so much available. I, for one, am truly grateful!
RICH BOROWY, October 26, 2011
I visited the Speaking of Radio website and had the opportunity to hear a past TWTD program (4/26/1997) that featured a complete “Hall Closet” morning drive show (that you did in 1973). This was the first time I have ever heard an episode of this series in its entirety. At the time, I was a resident of Evanston, living not too far from the station’s transmitter giving me a strong signal. However, I did not have control of the radio in the morning hours within my household. Most of what was playing at the time was Robert W. Morgan on WIND, Howard Miller (and, later Jerry G. Bishop) on WMAQ, or whoever was reading the news on WBBM. I do recall tuning in to a Hall Closet episode sometime in May, ’73, but that was through a semi-forgotten circumstance.
Currently I am a media archivist (in Los Angeles) that specializes in radio and TV-based material. Most of the radio material I come across consist of airchecks of DJs playing records. However, I recently gained access to a collection of reel-to-reel tapes that came from the estate of a musician who was active in the 1940s (on paper stock tape rather than on mylar) along with a non-operating Weber reel-to-reel machine (c. 1947). One tape box has written in faded pencil on the cover “Jack Benny Show Guest Star Jimmy Stewart LSMFT”. I don’t know if this is from an off-air recording as I have yet to audition this tape.
I look forward to hearing more of your material on the SOR website.
WILLIAM A. GRIFFITH, October 29, 2011
I was surfing the Internet and looked up your name and saw, to my surprise, that you had finally retired and that it happened two years ago! I just want to say thank you for giving me so many warm and good memories. Years ago I lived in the Racine/Kenosha Wisconsin area and used to work nights doing security in a number of lonely, dark places all by myself on 12-hour shifts. All I had to look forward to were your wonderful broadcasts on the famous WBBM radio station.
Chuck Schaden’s Old Time Radio was the one thing that I looked forward to and couldn’t wait to sit down, get comfortable and warm and tune in the radio to hear such things as the next installment of Superman versus the Atom Man or Fibber McGee and Molly, Jack Benny, Dimension X, Gangbusters – all the great old-time shows that called up such old and wonderful memories of a time so long ago. There was nothing even close to compare to the great memories I have from sitting and listening to your shows and I always felt a little tug of dismay when they were finally over for the night!
Mr. Schaden, I just wanted to say thank you and tell you that your shows did make a difference to people out there over all those years. You made us feel good, if even for a few hours at a time. I sure hope that you’re enjoying your retirement time. You certainly earned it, but it’s still a sad note to see an era come to such a long-journeyed end. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan now and it’s nearly impossible to catch Those Were The Days up here, but I’ll always have those great memories of curling up in a little guard shack out in the middle of nowhere and pouring a cup of hot chocolate from my beat-up old thermos and settling in with the radio to listen once again to the next installment to come. Thanks. You did good.
COMMENT: Mr. Griffith now knows about this website with the availability of our TWTD Encore programs and that Those Were The Days with host Steve Darnallmay be heard at www.wdcb.org every Saturday from 1-5 p.m. (CST).
BRIAN VALENTE, November 21, 2011
I just found your interview of Howard Duff and wanted to thank you for making it, and making it available.
JIM HAAS, November 21, 2011
LOVE the encore programs and interviews Chuck. Keep ‘em coming!
LOUIS NEMECEK, November 21, 2011
It’s the best of times. Past programs that I have missed by Chuck Schaden. Present programs by Steve Darnall. Both with the “secret sauce” Ken Alexander. Is this OTR heaven or what?!!!
LOUIS NEMECEK, December 1, 2011
Thank you, Chuck for these WW II programs. At a lecture event last May I talked to Steve Darnall about the possibility of recreating a series of WW II programs for those who missed the original broadcasts of 20 years ago. Steve indicated that it would be better to wait for the 75th anniversary of the date instead—but he said to wait and something may be possible before then. I guess he had “insider” information that he could not reveal then.
Thanks again for the opportunity to hear these historical broadcasts that provide an audio insight into the war years as it was unfolding.
SARAH COLE, December 5, 2011
Are you taking “requests” for interview postings? I ask because I was wondering if there was any chance you might post your interview with Richard Beals sometime. It was a particularly thought-provoking exchange, and, when it was over, I recall you saying of him that he was one of the most “together” people you had ever met. In watching the young people involved in social media, I’ve noticed that a lot of them have some interest in voicing cartoon characters. His comments might be helpful to them.
His work also illustrates the power of the human voice. One of the reasons I especially like that interview was because of a funny experience I had when you broadcast it. When it was over, I realized I felt tired. It dawned on me that I was feeling tired because I had been sitting at attention during the whole of the interview. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why; until it occurred to me that his voice was the voice of every leader of every kid’s gang of every Saturday morning cartoon I had watched as a child! He was the boss, and you pay attention when the boss talks!
Who would have thought that, even after thirty-five years, a voice could retain that amount of subconscious authority?
The kids aspiring to voice video game characters and cartoons ought to learn the insights of the truly great voices of the craft they wish to join, and come to understand the power that their voices can have. I do hope the Beals interview will be posted eventually; if for no other reason than many of us could probably stand some reinforcement from our childhood commander. Thank you, as always, for your wonderful work
COMMENT: Thank YOU for your thoughtful comments. The Richard Beals interview, from 1998, will probably be posted to our website during the month of March, 2012.
BOB KOLAR, December 20, 2011
I just finished listening to the first program of WW II. It was great; I had forgotten what a treat it was listening to you all those years. Merry Christmas!
BOB KOLOSOSKI, December 20, 2011
I love this website and listen while I’m working around my office (where my computer is located). Doing this was an inspiration and a wonderful service to your loyal listeners. Please keep up the good work.
WILLIAM AVORIO, December 21, 2011
I have been a listener of TWTD since 1980. I rarely missed a program. I am very grateful for all the entertainment provided over the years. I am pleased with your current site and the fact that the encore programs and interviews are placed in an archive for all to enjoy.
One of the highlights of the year for me (and many others) was the TWTD Christmas-themed programming. I wish you would upload “the best of…” Christmas oriented shows to the Speaking of Radio site. Steve and Ken are doing a great job and are enjoyed immensely by many to be sure. However, a handful of what you think were some of your best Christmas-themed programming would be a hit… maybe have a Best of the Holiday Shows section on your site. Just an idea/thought, Chuck.
COMMENT: You’ll find a number of great Christmas and holiday radio shows during our “Radio and WW II” series which began on December 7 of this year. Those shows, along with the programs chosen every year by Steve Darnall on the current TWTD broadcasts on WDCB should give you a pretty great selection of “the best of…” seasonal programs. Also check out www.nostalgiadigest.com and click on Audio File Nostalgia Shop for a large and wonderful collection of Christmas shows available on compact disc. I’m very happy that you’ve been such a long-time, loyal listener and that we’ve connected again via this website.
RICHARD DUSLACK, December 28, 2011
I want to thank you for rebroadcasting your programs from the early ‘90s. I was in the Peace Corps in Poland from 1990-92, and then stayed on my own for another year. When I was home during that time, I enjoyed the programs, but was sorry I was missing so many WW II programs.