This story was published in Radio Recall, the journal of the Metropolitan Washington Old-Time Radio Club, published six times per year.
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THE ESSENTIAL OTR REFERENCE LIBRARY
(From Radio Recall, April 2008)
To begin, there are only two OTR "must-have bibles": 1) John Dunning's encyclopedia On The Air and 2) Jay Hickerson's Ultimate Revised History of Network Programming, now in its 3rd edition. If you don't have these two major reference books, you're not really a serious OTR hobbyist.
Beyond these two volumes, the rest of an "essential" library depends on whether you are 1) a researcher, historian, or serious collector, or 2) an OTR fan who likes to read about your favorite shows. For the fan of certain stars or series, it's easy to compile your "essential library." You can start with a good OTR bibliography (Dunning has compiled an excellent one, so has Jim Cox.....both exceed 300 books) and you merely check off all the books that cover the shows you are interested in, buy 'em, and that fills up your book shelf.
On the other hand, if you are serious about OTR history and research (or you just want to answer tricky questions posted on the internet’s OTR Digest) here are the eight additional comprehensive books you must have at hand.
3) The Great Radio Heroes by Jim Harmon (the book that "launched" our hobby)
4) Radio Speakers by Jim Cox ( a bio-dictionary of over 1,100 OTR performers)
5) Radio Mystery and Adventure, etc. by Jim Harmon (best book on the popular juvenile shows)
6) Radio Crime Fighters by Jim Cox (detailed summary of every crime series)
7) Radio Stars by Thomas A. DeLong (bio-dictionary of over 900 OTR stars and musicians)
8) Handbook of Old-Time Radio by Jon Swartz & Robert Reinehr (excellent composite of most network series)
9) Don't Touch That Dial by J. Fred MacDonald (Still pertinent although first published in 1979)
10) Hake's Price Guide to Character Toy Premiums by Ted Hake (Radio premiums are too important not to have an excellent reference source.)