485 episodes

Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio Broadcasting.

Breaking Walls James Scully

    • History
    • 4.8 • 90 Ratings

Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio Broadcasting.

    Burning Gotham Chapter 2 and Breaking Walls Reminder

    Burning Gotham Chapter 2 and Breaking Walls Reminder

    James Scully here, wanting to remind you that Burning Gotham 002: Bankruptcy is now available in the Burning Gotham feed. You can subscribe (for free) anywhere you'd get a podcast by searching for Burning Gotham or going to http://burninggotham.com/.

    Also, Breaking Walls EP134: Christmas With Jack Benny in a Changing World (1949)will be out this Thursday, 12/1/2022 in full on the Breaking Walls Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/TheWallBreakers) feed, and in parts beginning in the normal Breaking Walls feed as well.

    You can support the Burning Gotham Patreon for as little as $2 per month (https://www.patreon.com/BurningGotham) and the Breaking Walls Patreon for as little as $1 per month. The combined cost — $3 — is frankly. less than the cost of one cup of Starbucks coffee.

    So keep getting out there, keep breaking those walls. My name is James Scully, and you'll hear from me soon.

    • 49 sec
    Burning Gotham 001: Moving Day

    Burning Gotham 001: Moving Day

    May 1st, 1835 — It’s a cold and rainy Moving Day. Every renter in New York is out on the street looking for lodging. Most of the city’s quarter-million live below Houston Street in buildings four stories or smaller, but construction is booming.

    New people are pouring onto New York’s dangerously overcrowded streets by the thousands. Rich and poor, many come to earn an honest living. Others for more nefarious reasons. It’s the perfect place to begin.

    Aaron Columbus is an illegitimate son, desperate to make his fortune. Together with Aaron’s brother Wyndham Bowen—an African man born in Europe—they involve themselves in backroom deals, Abolitionism, potential war with France, and City politics.

    Aaron has struck an illegal import deal with John Jacob Astor, America’s richest man. The import? Two exiled Russian Countesses; Sorina and Raisa Zubov, and their inheritance—eleven pounds of diamonds.

    The two women have just arrived in New York.


    Download Episode Transcript


    Written By:
    Olga Lysenko & James Scully


    Eirik Gislason
    Kacie Laforest
    Roland Lane
    Mary Murphy
    Anna Pirogov
    Nancy Pop
    Matt Roper
    James Scully


    The Hesperus Early Music Ensemble
    The Itinerant Band


    Josh Wilcox of Brooklyn Podcasting Studio


    Director & Post-Producer:
    James Scully


    Support Burning Gotham on Patreon

    • 20 min
    BW - EP133: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery (1949)

    BW - EP133: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery (1949)

    In Breaking Walls episode 133 we spend Thanksgiving 1949 with the cast of I Love a Mystery.


    • Thanksgiving Eve, 1949
    • Carlton E. Morse—Budget Stretcher
    • The First Two I Love a Mystery Runs
    • Mutual Broadcasting in 1949—I Love a Mystery Relaunches
    • Thanksgiving Day 1949—Thorson and Boles
    • Mercedes McCambridge—Oscar Winner
    • Tony Randall’s Early Career
    • I Love a Mystery is Canceled
    • Parley Baer and One Final Pilot
    • Wrapping Things Up
    • Looking Ahead to Christmas With Jack Benny


    The WallBreakers:

    Subscribe to Breaking Walls everywhere you get your podcasts.

    To support the show:


    The reading material used in today’s episode was:
    On the Air — By John Dunning
    The I Love A Mystery Companion — By Martin Grams Jr.
    Network Radio Ratings — By Jim Ramsburg


    On the interview front:

    • Parley Baer, Jim Boles, Mercedes McCambridge, Carlton E. Morse, Tony Randall, Russell and Don Wilson, were with Chuck Schaden. Hear their full chats at SpeakingOfRadio.com.

    • Parley Baer and Himan Brown were with SPERDVAC. For more info, go to SPERDVAC.com.


    Selected music featured in today’s episode was:
    Sligo Creek — By Al Petteway
    It All Depends on You — By Frank Sinatra
    Shenandoah — By Michael Hanna
    The Holly and the Ivy — By George Winston


    A special thank you to Ted Davenport, Jerry Haendiges, and Gordon Skene.

    For Ted go to RadioMemories.com, for Jerry, visit OTRSite.com, and for Gordon, please go to PastDaily.com.


    Thank you to:
    Tony Adams
    Steven Allmon
    Ron Baron
    Orson Orsen Chandler
    Phil Erickson
    Eirik Davey-Gislason
    Jessica Hanna
    Perri Harper
    Briana Isaac
    Thomas M. Joyce
    Ryan Kramer
    Gary Mollica
    Barry Nadler
    Christian Neuhaus
    Aimee Pavy
    Martin Schwartz
    Ray Shaw
    John Williams


    WallBreakers Links:
    Patreon - patreon.com/thewallbreakers
    Social Media - @TheWallBreakers

    • 4 hr 7 min
    BW - EP133—010: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery—Looking Ahead To Christmas With Jack Benny

    BW - EP133—010: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery—Looking Ahead To Christmas With Jack Benny

    Well, that brings our look at I Love A Mystery to a close, but there’s no mystery about what people thought of the subject of our next Breaking Walls episode.

    Next time on Breaking Walls, we celebrate the holidays by going shopping with the one and only Jack Benny.

    • 5 min
    BW - EP133—009: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery—Wrapping Things Up

    BW - EP133—009: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery—Wrapping Things Up

    Chuck Schaden interviewed Tony Randall on September 16th, 1970 at the Ambassador Hotel in Chicago. Eight days later Randall’s new series The Odd Couple debuted on ABC. Randall played Felix Unger. The show ran for five seasons and became Randall’s most-remembered role. He continued acting until passing away on May 17th, 2004.

    After I Love A Mystery went off the air, Carlton E. Morse penned a new serial drama entitled Family Skeleton. He cast Mercedes McCambridge in the lead role. The Program would air weeknights on CBS from June 8th, 1953 through March 5th, 1954. It pulled a rating of 3.3 for Sweetheart Soap.

    Mercedes McCambridge had many trials and tribulations. She was nominated for a second Academy Award for her role in Giant in 1956. She also voiced the demon in The Exorcist.

    She won a battle with alcoholism and penned an autobiography in 1981 called The Qualities of Mercy.

    Six years later her son John—a futures trader—was caught embezzling funds under McCambridge’s name after she’d given him money to invest. Mercedes refused to cooperate with her son and the company he worked for. They wanted to institute a repayment scheme which would have kept the matter from becoming public.

    In November of 1987 John wrote a scathing note blaming her for his problems before killing his wife, children, and then himself.

    Mercedes appeared in one final TV role in 1988. Her second husband, radio and tv writer/producer/director Fletcher Markle, passed away in 1991. She died on March 2nd, 2004 in La Jolla, California.

    • 21 min
    BW - EP133—008: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery—One Final CBS Pilot

    BW - EP133—008: Thanksgiving With I Love A Mystery—One Final CBS Pilot

    Although the serial went off the air in 1952, in May of 1954 a new audition record was produced for CBS in Hollywood. With Russell Thorson back in Los Angeles he carried over the role of Jack, with Ben Wright as Reggie, and Parley Baer as Doc. Parley Baer was most-known for playing Chester Proudfoot on Gunsmoke.

    CBS didn’t pick up the series and I Love A Mystery went off the air for good.

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
90 Ratings

90 Ratings

fphillips52 ,

Love it when they break down the fourth wall!

I can getOTR from any number of sources but I love the background interviews on this podcast.

RehanKhan510 ,

A Treasure for OTR fans

Old Time Radio behind the scenes archive!!! This is gold! A compilation of interviews with stars, producers & directors, and pertinent portions of radio shows. It is not only entertaining and well crafted, but it’s an invaluable historical record. Everyone interviewed has been gone for so long; their genius is back on display. I am so impressed and loving it!!!

timmersj ,

Long podcasts the best…

…the longer podcasts, I.e. over an hour, some as long as a couple hours, are really the best way to spend some of my time with my iPod. My old time radio hobby addiction can only be treated in this manner. Keep up the absolutely wonderful work producing these programs. Thank you very much.

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