John "Losh Man" Losh II is a writer and broadcaster, presenting 102.7 The Hog's weekly show 'Hollywood Classics'
Nearly every young boy at some stage of his childhood has been a fan of westerns. They have strapped on a set of toy pistols, a 'kerchief about their neck, and a cowboy-hat, either during or after their favourite western shows, imitating their ropin’, ridin’ and shootin’ heroes. You even hear these fantasies in modern songs of our day, like Billy Dean's ‘Billy The Kid’ and Toby Keith's ‘Should’ve Been A Cowboy’.
While some of these westerns may have been on the glow of the big or small screen, many have been as a result of taking their imagination to another level: by listening to them on Old Time Radio.
Many homes during the Golden Age of Radio may not have even had a television, so gathering around the radio as a family to hear their favourite daily or weekly radio dramas or comedies was a regular staple in their lives.
For many years the American westerns played a regular and important role in the audio entertainment of families. Now, these shows are so widely available for24/7 listening on the internet, through the various stationary or mobile devices we use on a daily basis. Many people are creating pages on the various social media outlets specifically dedicated to Old Time Radio, as well as classic movies and TV. I dare say I am not alone in OTR Westerns being a regular part of my life, regardless of the day we live in.
And why are Westerns such an important part of so many of our lives, be it on TV, in the movies, or on Old Time Radio? The very same reason that entertainment in general does - it provides us with a form of escapism. It lets us temporarily leave the responsibilities and routines of our lives and imagine being the pistol-packin', stallion ridin', cowboy-hat wearin' hero, chasin' the bad-guys, and romancing the ladies on the side. It lets us travel in the time-machine of our imaginations back to when the States we now live in were an unruly, wild time, when frontier law and order were in their infancy. When the Winchester rifle and the Colt .45 revolver ruled the landscape.
In some cases, it gave a reason for debate over who was the greatest fictional western hero; The Lone Ranger, Marshall Dillon, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, The Cisco Kid, Brit Ponset, Hopalong Cassidy, The Virginian. Any of the western characters played by John Wayne, Randolph Scott, Gary Cooper, and so many more.
So what are the stations and the OTR Westerns available to the interested listener here in the 21st century? Well, let me give you enough to get you started on the journey and I know you will discover many more sites along the way.
The Lux Radio Theater has many episodes of The Cisco Kid, Luke Slaughter Of Tombstone, Gunsmoke, Frontier Town, The Lone Ranger, Have Gun-Will Travel, The Six-Shooter, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and individual shows like Destry Rides Again, Red River, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, and Broken Arrow.
The Screen Director's Playhouse has Stagecoach and Fort Apache - both starring John Wayne - The Paleface with Bob Hope, The Gunfighter, and Broken Arrow starring James Stewart.
The Screen Guild Theater has Destry Rides Again and Along Came Jones.
The site known as Old Time Radio Westerns has Gunsmoke, Frontier Town, The Six-Shooter, Challenge Of The Yukon, Tales Of The Texas Rangers and The Lone Ranger.
The Lone Ranger shows can also be found on sites such as Great Old Time Radio, and Radio America.
The Old Time Radio Theater www.mysteryshows.com has 95 episodes of The All-Star Western Theater, 167 episodes of The Cisco Kid, 3 episodes of Daniel Boone - Indian Scout, 24 episodes of Fort Laramie, 41 episodes of Frontier Gentleman, 47 episodes of Frontier Town, 485 episodes of Gunsmoke, 106 episodes of Have Gun-Will Travel, 105 episodes of Hopalong Cassidy, 16 episodes of Luke Slaughter Of Tombstone, 43 episodes of Gene Autry's Melody Ranch, 56 episodes of Red Ryder, 79 episodes of Roy Rogers, and 92 episodes of Tales Of The Texas Rangers.
Old Time Radio www.otr.net has 13 episodes of American Trail, 173 episodes of The Cisco Kid, 40 episodes of Fort Laramie, 41 episodes of Frontier Gentleman, 43 episodes of Gene Autry's Melody Ranch, 406 episodes of Gunsmoke, 115 episodes of Have Gun-Will Travel, 97 episodes of Hopalong Cassidy, and 973 episodes of The Lone Ranger, 15 episodes of Luke Slaughter Of Tombstone, 38 episodes of The Six-Shooter, and 70 episodes of Tales Of The Texas Rangers.
The site at www.dumb.com/oldtimeradio/ has numerous episodes of American Trail, The Cisco Kid, Fort Laramie, Frontier Fighters, Frontier Gentleman, Frontier Town, Gene Autry, Gunsmoke, Have Gun-Will Travel, Hopalong Cassidy, Horizons West, The Lone Ranger, The Roy Rogers Show, The Six-Shooter, Tales Of The Texas Rangers and Fifth Horseman.
Happy Western listenin', pardner!