Remembering Radio: An Oral History of Old-Time Radio) and Jack French (Private Eyelashes: Radio’s Lady Detectives) in September 2011 for an encyclopedia on old-time radio western series that has just been published as Radio Rides the Range. McFarland is calling it a “reference guide” but it’s really more of an encyclopedia—covering 106 examples of radio programs dealing with the Western genre. Published at 244 pages (and featuring a foreword from Will “Sugarfoot” Hutchins), it features such old-time favorites as The Cisco Kid, The Lone Ranger, Gunsmoke, Fort Laramie and Frontier Gentleman, to name only a few. Twenty individuals contributed to this tome, including TDOY/Facebook friends like Fred Berney, Ryan Ellett, Martin Grams, Jr., Terry Salomonson, Charlie and Katherine Summers, Barbara Watkins and Stewart Wright.
Most of the major series are discussed in great detail, but unfortunately many weren’t able to receive such treatment due to a number of factors; no surviving recordings, lack of background information, etc., but they are mentioned in a separate appendix in the book. There’s also a timeline for the debut of every program in that appendix (from Empire Builders in 1929 to When the West Was Young in 1966), as well as a separate section of western broadcasts on mainstream network series like Escape and Lux Radio Theatre. Two additional appendices—covering the availability of audio copies (whether for purchase or rental) and scripts—complete the special features of Radio Rides the Range. The reference work is also lavishly illustrated (including photographs that have not previously appeared in print), with a bibliography containing eighty old-time radio reference works, as well as various magazine and newspaper articles.
Amazon, Barnes & Noble or directly from McFarland’s website; if you own a Kindle device you can also purchase a copy for it at a substantial discount, so that’s good to know. It can also be found at your friendly neighborhood bookseller, and if you buy a copy I’ll be more than happy to autograph it…provided I happen to be in the store at the same time, of course. All kidding aside, I’m simply going to give you the straight dope: if you’re an old-time radio fan and your taste runs to shows like The Lone Ranger and Gunsmoke…you really should acquire a copy of Radio Rides the Range for your bookshelf. It’s the perfect gift for both the casual fan and budding radio historian.