Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

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Larry M
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Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Sat Jun 09, 2007 6:44 am

The following are all the sources I have used in building my own radio soap opera collection, with the exception of a couple of dealers who have gone out of business and one whose holdings have been inaccessible for several months. Most of these have been mentioned in other posts, but I'll bring them all together here, update them, and add one or two new ones.


I. Free Downloads

Archive.org is a great source of free mp3 downloads. It offers many episodes of Backstage Wife, The Goldbergs, The Guiding Light, The Life of Mary Sothern, Ma Perkins, One Man's Family, Pepper Young's Family, and Young Widder Brown.

On the same site, single episodes of almost twenty soap operas are to be found under "Complete Broadcast Day." A log identifying them is located on the main page for that item.

Also, single episodes of nine soaps are under "D-Day." No log is provided there, but the soap operas are found in the following:

Part 008: Valiant Lady, The Light of the World, The Open Door, Bachelor's Children.

Part 009: Amanda of Honeymoon Hill, Second Husband, Aunt Jenny's True Life Stories (aka Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories).

Part 010: Big Sister, The Romance of Helen Trent.


II. Radio Club Libraries

The SPERDVAC (sperdvac.org) library system contains well over two hundred episodes of soap operas on cassette tapes. After joining the club for $25, members may borrow items from the various libraries for a modest fee and keep them for about a month. You can listen to the tapes, and if you have the equipment can dub the programs onto your own cassettes or encode them to another format.

SPERDVAC has some episodes of most of the soaps found on archive.org, as well as a host of others. Here is a partial list: Against the Storm; Aunt Mary; The Brighter Day; Joyce Jordan, M.D.; Just Plain Bill; Life Can Be Beautiful; Lora Lawton; Midstream; Myrt and Marge; Our Gal Sunday; The Right to Happiness; Road of Life; The Second Mrs. Burton; Stella Dallas; This Is Nora Drake; The Woman in My House; The World of Rosalind Marlowe; and Young Doctor Malone.

The Old Time Radio Researchers Library Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OTRRLibrary/) lends disks to members for only a postage charge ($2 per order is common). To join this group, you must first be a member of either the Old Time Radio Researchers Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OldTimeRa ... hersGroup/) or the OTRR Distro Group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OTRRDistroGroup/). Membership in all these groups is free.

Most of the library's holdings are in wav format, which can be played on a computer with a dvd drive. Single episodes of Against the Storm and The Right to Happiness are available, as are multiple ones of Joyce Jordan, M.D.; Hilltop House; Road of Life; and Backstage Wife.


III. Dealers

Many soap opera recordings are offered in mp3 format at otrcat.com. Some of the series with multiple episodes are Big Sister, The Brighter Day, Front Page Farrell. Hilltop House, Just Plain Bill, Lorenzo Jones, Myrt and Marge, This Is Nora Drake, The Romance of Helen Trent, Stella Dallas, Valiant Lady and Young Doctor Malone. A single episode of each of these can be heard as a free download.

Bookzap.com provides multiple episodes in mp3 format of The Guiding Light, The Life of Mary Sothern, Ma Perkins, Backstage Wife, One Man's Family and Young Widder Brown.

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby Larry M » Thu Jul 12, 2007 7:54 am

Since the original post, I have noticed that ten episodes of the soap opera Front Page Farrell are available as free mp3 downloads at archive.org. Some of these are very good. David Farrell and his wife Sally are a delightful couple with a great marriage.

Episodes three-through-five follow a single story line, "The Case of the Lady and the Cheetah." The way these downloaded for me, number five should be listened to first, then three and four.

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby Larry M » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:37 pm

Episodes of three more soap operas have recently been made available as mp3 downloads on archive.org. They are as follows:

Against the Storm-- 8 downloads (7 episodes, 1 duplicate). This acclaimed series was one of only two radio soap operas ever to win a Peabody Award for excellence in broadcasting. A couple of these recordings are of poor audio quality, but the rest are fine. A valuable addition to any collection.

The Brighter Day-- 6 downloads (5 episodes, 1 duplicate). In my opinion there is no better soap opera than this one. Only a few of the broadcasts have survived in addition to the ones offered here. Happily, the program's first episode is included among these downloads.

Kay Fairchild, Stepmother-- 13 episodes. I have not listened to these yet except to spot check for audio quality, which seems all right. This serial is mentioned (usually by the title "Stepmother") in every extensive encyclopedia, dictionary, etc. dealing with OTR that I have consulted. It will be interesting to see how good it is.

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby Larry M » Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:57 pm

I have uploaded 17 episodes of Hilltop House to my Multiply site. As far as I know, these are not available as free downloads anywhere else.

The site address is http://radiosoapfan.multiply.com. To access the files which are in the Music section, you will need to be registered (which is free and only involves a user name and email address) and logged in. Left click on any episode to listen, right click to download.

All the programs are from 1953 and follow a single story line. The audio quality is very good. For a good description of Hilltop House, please see the main entry for the series on this forum.

bbcanuck
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Postby bbcanuck » Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:36 pm

Larry, I am in OTR heaven! :D Thank you so very, very much for these links. I've been steadily building up my own OTR collection and have grown to love these programs. As a major OTR soaps fan, I thank you for feeding my insatiable hunger for entertainment from a better age!

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby Larry M » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:19 pm

First a belated hello to bbcanuck for the nice post. I hope you continue to enjoy OTR soap operas and add to your collection.

A major development is occurring which I think will eventually at least double the number of OTR soap opera episodes available to listeners and collectors. The Old Time Radio Researchers Group (OTRRGroup) has established a new website (http://www.otrrlibrary.org) to which volunteers are in the process of uploading episodes in mp3 format of more than one thousand OTR series, many of which are soap operas. These can be downloaded free. The home page gives a list of this online library's holdings, and about halfway down the page on the right are instructions for filling out an application for a free library membership. Once approved, you can download as many shows as you wish from the site.

The OTRRGroup is a trustworthy organization, strictly not for profit and consisting entirely of unpaid volunteers. It has certified numerous OTR series and made them available free of charge on the Internet Archive.

While the site is still a work in progress, quite a few soap opera programs are ready to download right now. I'll list them here, with the number of episodes available to library members in parenthesis: Adopted Daughter (2); Against the Storm (18); Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories (1); Aunt Mary (about 600); Backstage Wife (about 220); The Goldbergs (several hundred); Hearts in Harmony (about 450); Hilltop House (16); Ma Perkins (about 135); Mary Foster, Editor's Daughter (8).

Many other soaps are scheduled to be uploaded. They are too numerous to list all of them, and I'm sure I missed some in just scanning through the holdings. But some great coming attractions are Bachelor's Children, Big Sister, Claudia, Lora Lawton, Our Gal Sunday, Road of Life, Stella Dallas, This Is Nora Drake, When a Girl Marries and Young Dr. Malone.

So I hope everyone will join the library and help make sure the soap operas are "checked out" more often than anything else.

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Postby Larry M » Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:32 am

As coincidence would have it, I just read a post by one of the owners of the OTRRGroup a few minutes ago to the effect that the library site is still in a testing stage and isn't yet quite ready for non-group members to use. So if you visit the site and look around, maybe wait a few weeks to apply for library membership. When I learn that it is ready for non-OTRRGroup members I'll post here right away.

Larry M
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Thu Feb 12, 2009 9:41 pm

Here is some additional information on soap opera episodes that are available as free mp3 downloads. Archive.org now has ten episodes of Lorenzo Jones, one of Our Gal Sunday and two of Stella Dallas. The Lorenzo Jones broadcasts are not part of a single story line but in fact span eleven years (1939-50). The audio quality is good except for the shows dated 5/26/41 and 10/30/50, where the sound is less distinct. The Our Gal Sunday episode is from September 21, 1939 and is thus widely available elsewhere, including as part of the "Complete Broadcast Day" entry on the same site. The Stella Dallas episodes are from a story line referred to as "The Egyptian Mummy," and their sound quality is very good. There are also more than seventy episodes of Perry Mason on archive.org, but I'm not sure whether they are relatively new to the site or whether I just didn't notice them before.

At http://randsesotericotr.podbean.com/ are four shows taken from the site owner's transcription disks which I have not seen anywhere else. Two of them are Backstage Wife (8/13/47 and 7/3/47), one Joyce Jordan M.D. (7/3/47) and one Lora Lawton (9/3/47). On the home page, scroll down until you see a menu labeled "Categories" on the right side and select "soap opera." That will take you to a page with the four episodes on it. Beneath the summary of each you are given a choice of listening to it on the site or downloading it as an mp3 file. These are all full length with commercials and music intact, and are a joy to hear.

http://tennesseebillsotr.com has a lot of soap opera episodes. Included are about 210 of Ma Perkins and 270 of Perry Mason. Last year the Old Time Radio Researchers Group released the Singles and Doubles collection which is now available on archive.org and also on this site. Many soap opera episodes are in the collection and can be downloaded individually here. Listed below are the shows I identified as soap operas (some with the help of Jim Cox's book Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas) and downloaded from the tennesseebillsotr site. All are singles unless otherwise indicated in parenthesis: Aunt Mary; The Affairs of Dr. Gentry; The Life of Irene Castle; Pretty Kitty Kelly; Adopted Daughter; Arnold Grimm's Daughter; Manhattan Mother; John's Other Wife; Jane Endicott, Reporter (2); Judy and Jane; Bachelor's Children; Amanda of Honeymoon Hill; The Woman in White; This Changing World; Wendy Warren and the News (2); Aunt Jenny's Real Life Stories; The World of Rosalind Marlowe; Rosemary; Bob and Victoria (2); Life Can Be Beautiful; Scattergood Baines (3).

This is not an exhaustive list, either of the soap operas represented in the Singles and Doubles collection or of those on this site. OTR shows from various genres are being uploaded here on a regular basis. The home page has a lot of interesting information, but if you prefer an address that takes you right to the directory listings for quick downloading it is http://tennesseebillsotr.com/otr/.
Last edited by Larry M on Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

Larry M
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Sat Jul 11, 2009 5:02 pm

It appears that archive.org has dropped several soap operas from the site. These include Backstage Wife, Ma Perkins, One Man's Family, Pepper Young's Family, and Young Widder Brown. One can only hope they will become available there again in the future.

Ma Perkins is still available at http://tennesseebillsotr.com/otr/. There is also another set of directory files on the OTR Share and Trade site which provides free mp3 downloads of several soaps. The address is http://otrshareandtrade.com/shares/otrplus/charles/otr/. Here is a list, with the approximate number of episodes in parenthesis: The Couple Next Door (99), Myrt and Marge (100), Nona From Nowhere (4), One Man's Family (205), The Romance of Helen Trent (7), and This Is Nora Drake (16).

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:00 pm

Sixteen soap opera episodes are part of the folder entitled "August 10, 1945" which has been uploaded to http://tennesseebillsotr.com/otr/. All items in the folder are available as free mp3 downloads. I have on cassette tapes the several hours of this broadcast day which have been preserved, but have never seen the contents offered in mp3 format and free of charge anywhere else.

The soap opera episodes are complete with commercials and music, and are wonderful to hear. Some of the great soaps which have only a few episodes in circulation are represented. These include Portia Faces Life, The Right To Happiness, Stella Dallas, When a Girl Marries and Woman in White.

Also, another major soap opera which has disappeared from archive.org is now obtainable at the tennesseebill site. There are about 180 episodes of Backstage Wife, most of which follow a single story line leading up to a terrible crime and its aftermath. In addition, there are five episodes of the rare Stella Dallas here as opposed to only two at archive.org.

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Fri Aug 28, 2009 9:05 am

I would like to share some information about the availability of soap opera episodes from the NBC and CBS radio coverage of June 6th and 7th, 1944. Both days of NBC programming are on the Internet Archive, but finding it can be a challenge. It is nowhere to be seen on the "Browse by Subject/Keywords" page, and none of the "D-Day" or "Complete Broadcast Day" links on that page lead to it. Go to http://www.archive.org/details.php?iden ... dtimeradio and type "nbc d-day broadcast" into the search box. Of the two search results that appear, choose the second ("Complete Broadcast Day D-Day NBC") and you will find the free mp3 NBC downloads along with a very helpful log.

Although NBC broadcast no soap operas on June 6th, we find twenty episodes listed on the 7th. I have downloaded and listened to these, and they are generally of above average sound quality and are complete as originally aired. The David Harum time slot, it should be noted, is pre-empted by war news and thus no episode of that soap opera is actually broadcast. Many well known soap operas are among those aired on June 7th, but a few were not familiar to me. Modern Romances, Helpmate, Brave Tomorrow, A Woman of America and We Love and Learn, obscure as they are today, are all found in Jim Cox's book Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas and are therefore among the twenty mentioned above.

As for CBS radio, extensive coverage of both June 6th and 7th is in circulation. Programs from June 6th only are on the Archive. Use the address above, then click on "Browse by Subject/Keywords" in the middle box, then on "D-Day." In an earlier post I have listed the nine soap opera episodes aired that day on CBS.

CBS coverage of June 7th is more elusive. It is not on the Archive, and I have not found it available anywhere as a free mp3 download. I have run across a couple of dealers who offer it on CDs. One is http://www.audio-classics.com/, where it can be found under "Programs on CDs" as "CBS D-Day Coverage." Another is http://www.goldenagesounds.com, search for "D-day."

The second day is full of soap opera episodes, seventeen in all. The Audio Classics site provides a log for both days. There is a more extensive, annotated log only for the soap operas at http://radiobackwhen.blogspot.com which lists sponsors and provides brief plot summaries. Look under "Previous Posts" for "June 6-7, 1944 Soap Opera Broadcasts on CBS." This is something I posted several years ago before discovering this forum.

Larry M
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Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:14 pm

Pepper Young's Family has just reappeared on the Internet Archive. Eighty-eight episodes present the story line of the failure of Sam Young's business, and the courtship of Peggy Young and Carter Trent. To download these free mp3 files, go to http://www.archive.org/details.php?iden ... dtimeradio and click on "Browse by Subject/Keywords." A link to the downloads will be on the page that appears.

Quite a few series, soap operas included, have been taken down from the Archive recently. So in terms of downloading, "sooner rather than later" would seem to apply.

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Mon Nov 09, 2009 8:12 pm

At http://tennesseebillsotr.com/otr/ can now be found a folder labelled "Soap Operas" which contains a great many free mp3 downloads. Most of these follow single story lines over multiple episodes, often with original commercials and music intact. Several are difficult to obtain except through dealers, if at all.

Here are some that I would especially recommend, with the number of available episodes in parenthesis: Big Sister (34); Hilltop House (18); Joyce Jordan, M.D. (24); Lora Lawton (25); The Story of Aunt Mary (14); and This Is Nora Drake (17). Most of these have excellent sound quality and do not suffer from the excision of "superfluous" elements such as signature openings and closings, music and commercials.

Larry M
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:51 pm
Location: Ohio

Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Larry M » Fri Jan 14, 2011 8:53 pm

Now seems a good time to update this topic, especially since many changes in the sources of OTR soap opera episodes have occurred since my last post. I hope to provide information about some of those in the near future. For now, here is an updated list of radio soap opera material presently available on the Internet Archive. I have used Jim Cox's Historical Dictionary of American Radio Soap Operas to help identify some of the shows.

To locate and download any program listed, go to http://www.archive.org/details.php?iden ... dtimeradio and click on "Browse by Subject/Keyword" in the middle of the page that appears. You will be taken to an alphabetical listing of shows on the archive, and the following reflects the order in which the soap series appear there. Information about the number of available episodes is in parenthesis: Against the Storm (8); Betty and Bob (40); Big Sister (34); Clara, Lu 'N' Em (15); The Couple Next Door (729); Easy Aces (about 200); Ethel and Albert (16); Front Page Farrell (9 or 10); The Goldbergs (several hundred); The Guiding Light (close to 100); Hilltop House (18); Joyce Jordan, M.D. (25); Just Plain Bill (3); Kay Fairchild, Stepmother (13); Linda's First Love (8); Lorenzo Jones (10); Ma Perkins (109); Mary Foster, The Editor's Daughter (4); Myrt and Marge (112); Nona From Nowhere (5); Pepper Young's Family (88); Perry Mason (several dozen); The Right To Happiness (5); The Romance of Helen Trent (11); Rosemary (4); Sam 'N' Henry (22, may be some duplicates); Stella Dallas (2); The Brighter Day (5); The Career of Alice Blair (3); The Doctor's Wife (3); The Green Valley Line (26); This Is Nora Drake (17); Vic and Sade (about 365); Whispering Streets (40).

Many of these are new to the archive since my last post, and it should be noted that shows can and do disappear from this site without warning. So strike while the iron is hot if you see something you would like to download.

Jeeper One Radio
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Re: Sources of OTR Soap Opera Episodes

Postby Jeeper One Radio » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:24 pm

You can also addRandy's Old Time Radio Shows to the list of places to download OTR soaps as well. He has just about everything

JFYI.....

Cheers & 73 :)

Pat


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