From Library Journal
Mystery writer and radio talk show host Dunning has expertly compiled and organized a massive amount of research data on hundreds of radio shows aired from the 1920s through the 1960s. The entries, listed alphabetically by show title, each contain a treasure trove of information?broadcast dates, casts and personnel, anecdotes, special analyses, and a detailed overview of each show's background, format, and content. Entries range from popular series such as Amos 'n' Andy and The Green Hornet to the Metropolitan Opera Auditions and the NBC University Theatre?everything from soaps, Westerns, and comedy to sports, drama, and documentaries. An extensive bibliography and index enhance the book's appeal. For those who once gathered around the console, the more than 700 pages of entries should provide a wonderful stroll down memory lane. Historians and researchers will also find this a valuable reference tool, offering new discoveries and insights. For reference libraries with large media collections.?Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
As he did in Tune in Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio
(Prentice Hall, 1976), Dunning here provides a storehouse of information about the people and programs of radio's Golden Age (1930s, 1940s, 1950s). The storehouse, however, has been thoroughly remodeled and refurbished. The amount of material covered has been considerably expanded and its presentation carefully reorganized.
Some 1,500 radio shows, listed in alphabetical order, are described in concise articles linked with an extensive system of cross-referencing. The cross-referencing is crucial, because someone looking for Ozzie and Harriet or Sam Spade will need to know that both programs are listed in the main part of the text under The Adventures of.... The articles vary in length, from the briefest of paragraphs (The Billie Burke Show and Linda's First Love) to several pages (The Lone Ranger and The Mercury Theater of the Air). Each program entry consists of title and broadcast history (including exact starting and ending dates, day and timeslot, network, announcer, sponsor, etc.). This is followed by an essay that often imparts all manner of detail, or, in the case of those short entries, a capsule description of the program.
Although the majority of the articles are about individual programs, there are also a number of survey articles, such as sports broadcasts, concert broadcasts, and news broadcasts. Here, too, the cross-referencing is essential in order to find information about a specific program that might fall under one of those categories and is not listed separately. There is an extensive bibliography, which will be of great help to those wishing to pursue the subject further.
In the electronically connected world of today, it is hard to imagine a time (not so long ago) when there was but one medium of electronic information. The rich detail in this solid work helps convey the flavor of that earlier time. Devotees of classic television shows may be surprised to find out that such programs as Father Knows Best, Our Miss Brooks, Queen for a Day, and Sky-King all started as radio programs. A worthy addition to most reference collections, this volume is an interesting portrait of a time when radio was more than background music or xenophobic talk shows. Another recent publication, the Historical Dictionary of American Radio [RBB Ag 98], covers a wider range of topics related to radio but has far less coverage of individual programs.