Radio Rides the Range

A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929–1967

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About the Book

This is a comprehensive encyclopedia to the more than 100 radio programs portraying the American West, in fact and fiction, heard by generations of listeners from the Great Depression through the Cold War era. The book includes both the popular and lesser known series, as well as would-be offerings that never made it past the audition stage. Each entry describes the series, the extent to which it was based on actual facts, the audience it was written for, and its broadcast history. The descriptions also examine how the programs reflected society’s changing social and cultural attitudes towards racial and ethnic minorities and the role of women. The availability of surviving audio copies and original scripts is noted. An extensive bibliography and several appendices provide additional sources of information about Western programming during the Golden Age of Radio.

About the Author(s)

Jack French, a retired FBI agent, has researched vintage broadcasting for over 40 years. He edits Radio Recall and is the author of Private Eyelashes: Radio’s Lady Detectives, which won the Agatha Award. Inducted into the Radio Once More Hall of Fame in 2011, he lives in Fairfax, Virginia.
The late David S. Siegel collected golden age of radio broadcasts, scripts, magazines, books and ephemera for 50+ years and had one of the largest radio archives in private hands. He was the editor, author or coauthor of seven books about old time radio and lived in New York.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Jack French and David S. Siegel
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 244
Bibliographic Info: 26 photos, appendices, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7146-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1254-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments ix

Foreword by Will Hutchins 1

Preface 5

The Programs 11

Appendix 1: Series with Insufficient Data to Classify or Describe 209

Appendix 2: Time Line of Western Programs 211

Appendix 3: Western Programs on Mainstream Radio 213

Appendix 4: Sources for Audio Copies of Western Programs 215

Appendix 5: Sources for Scripts of Western Programs 216

Bibliography 217

About the Contributors 221

Index 224

Book Reviews & Awards

“a fascinating glimpse into the world of the American cowboy and its portrayal on old-time radio”—ARBA; “impressive…fascinating reading…valuable and entertaining…buy this book…wonderful book. I loved the write-ups, I loved the meticulous attention to detail, I loved the wealth of information provided, and especially I loved the long, chatty, interesting articles about these shows. If you are a fan of OTRadio you will love this book”—Radio Collectors of America Newsletter; “a detailed guide to more than 100 programs”—Communication Booknotes Quarterly; “I’m talkin’ radio. Radio Rides the Range can’t be beat. French and Siegel, have put together a ripsnorting reference guide”—Western Clippings; “fascinating”—ARBA; “French and Siegel are excellent writers and researchers…a must”—The Illustrated Press; “another great book from McFarland”—b-westerns.com; “very informative…a fun read”—Milwaukee Area Radio Enthusiasts; “excellent”—Radio Recall; “well-researched and documented facts…provides a fascinating thread of American history…entertaining…informative”—Radio Historical Association of Colorado; “this book is an absolute must for collectors and historians”—The Old Radio Times; “while the encyclopedic volume will be priceless to researchers, its topics will fascinate and inform readers for pleasure. There’s plenty to savor within”—Chattanooga Airwaves; “This sorely needed book will help document the radio westerns. The content has been provided by dedicated contributors who have the background and knowledge of each series.”—Fran Striker, Jr., His Typewriter Grew Spurs: A Biography of Fran Striker; “Playing Little Beaver on Red Ryder was my most exciting radio role. I’m gratified to be in this extraordinary volume of western radio drama which David and Jack have compiled.”—Frank Bresee, Golden Days of Radio.