Insomnia drives me to discovery. When I can’t sleep, I usually reach for an iPod Touch that I have loaded up with old time radio programs. The device has a small speaker that I keep low and close to my head so only I can hear it. I’ll listen to a program and as the plot unravels, I drift off to sleep. It works pretty well, but I’m running out of programs. I could kill a lot of time hunting and pecking for material on The Internet Archive, but I opted to use an application that is available for a number of operating systems and devices including my nearly obsolete Kindle.
It’s called The OTR or Old Time Radio Player, and it works great. It streams programs from a large catalog of old time radio programs in a number of different genres. I find mysteries and police procedurals work best for lulling me to sleep. The comedy programs are a little too loud and brash and some of the horror programs have so much shrieking in it, it wakes me right up. Actors really loved to scream their heads off in shows like Lights Out and Suspense. I need something a little more sedate. One recent restless night I was poking through the drama section when I came across The Maltese Falcon. I thought it would be the radio version with the movie’s cast that I had heard before, but when I turned it on, it turned out to be Edward G. Robinson playing detective Sam Spade and not Humphrey Bogart.
It was part of the Lux Radio Theatre which aired hour long dramas played live in front of a live audience. Sometimes they would adapt a movie for radio with the original cast and sometimes they would mix things up as in the case of The Maltese Falcon. This production was based on the screenplay of John Huston’s film but with different actors. It’s the same story, but the actors play the roles a little differently. I was really curious about Laird Cregar taking on the Kasper Gutman role. It’s very different from Sydney Greenstreet. If you are as familiar with the story as I am or just like a good mystery, give it a listen.
(Click on the white triangle to the left to start the program.)