rand’s esoteric otr

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The Whistler, AFRS Pgm 211, Jan 27, 1952 - Borrowed Byline

July 18th, 2008

"The Whistler" is a popular otr mystery anthology series that was on CBS for several years. Here we offer an Armed Forces Radio Service version of a show that's in circulation in its network version; this particular AFRS version of the program survives in remarkable condition and is near hi-fi in quality.

AFRS program 211, "Borrowed Byline", was originally broadcast January 27, 1952 on CBS. The story concerns a reporter who is drawn into a scheme involving deception and murder in Hong Kong. A small part of the show might sound familiar - if you listen closely around the six minute mark, they use a library sound effects recording of boat sounds in a harbor; it's the same record used in the Welles broadcast of "War of the Worlds" where the announcer is on top of the "broadcasting station" and the killer gas envelopes the city.

The show was transferred from an original Armed Forces Radio vinyl transcription.


  • D Fries

    Wow, how nice to hear such a pristine recording of one of my favorite old radio shows! Thanks so much for posting all these great shows!

    Jul 20, 2008 at 5:22 am
  • Kliph

    Where did you obtain your amazing collection of OTR transcriptions? Your sidebar description seems to indicate you made them - but surely i’m interpreting that wrong.

    Aug 3, 2008 at 5:26 am
  • Jim Widner

    Hi Randy, Thanks for an excellent example of what radio probably sounded like in the recording studios of the networks. Of course, when it went out over a radio, there was the additional environmental additions of static, etc. But this is a fine example to young fans of old time radio who never had an opportunity to be in an audience, or in a recording studio when these dramas were broadcast.

    This one is truly ear-popping!

    Aug 17, 2008 at 10:08 am
  • Mike Newton

    I appreciate being able to listen to these programs on my Windows website so that I can surf other sites on my computer. I used to have several of these programs on cassette which I played on my replica 1932 Crosley radio. While many of these recordings are over 50 years old, they have held up in their quality because they have been properly stored and treated. Also, b y using modern hi-tech equipment, you can modify some of the surface distortions such as “ticks” and “burrs.” Also there is not the sound drop which sometimes occurs with old recordings which have come down through the years without too much treatment. These AFRS recordings were sent to post WWII service bases for broadcast. In some cases, they are the only recordings of a particular program left because the commercial recordings heard on the network were discarded.

    Apr 7, 2010 at 7:19 pm