For several years now, I have gone to sleep each night listening to radio dramas from the 1940s and early 1950s. And when I wake up during the night, I listen to them to get back to sleep.

I have avoided losing no telling how many hours of sleep by returning to the stories and adventures of yesteryear.

My favorites are mysteries, including newspaper shows; a well-written and presented adventure show that was directed at youngsters and the Lone Ranger, which on radio was much better written and acted than the later TV series.

The specific shows I most often listen to are: Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons, developed by Frank and Anne Hummert, creators of many daytime soap operas; Dragnet episodes from the late 40s and early 50s; Philo Vance, a detective show that came from a series of books from the 1920s and 30s and later was featured in movies in the late 1920s and early 1930s; Casey Crime Photographer, Big Town and Night Beat, all newspaper shows; Sgt. Preston of the Yukon and the Lone Ranger.

nov cov story

Dragnet's Jack Webb

I use an MP3 player that I can hide in the palm of my hand. It has no moving parts and holds hours of the old shows that I can download free from the internet. It has an internal rechargeable battery that I can charge by plugging the player into my computer.

So as not to be disturbing, I use earbud phones. Sometimes the player stops after I go to sleep and sometimes it just keeps playing. When I wake up, I put the buds back into my ears if I want to keep listening. It is easy to restart the player if it has stopped.

The title and lead-in to the show about the “famous old investigator” Mr. Keen incorrectly indicate that his cases deal with finding lost persons. Nearly all of the shows, however, are just murder mysteries. There is little violent action. He is aided by his partner Mike Clancy, a former New York policeman.

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