East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Old Time Radio: One World Flight


I think I already mentioned in the past the Old Time Radio Researchers Group, a community of old time radio aficionados devoted to bringing accurate reproductions of old radio shows to the attention of the public.
I am not an expert of Old Time Radio – I know the basics, I’ve heard a few of the best known shows – and the OTRR Group is to me a source of endless surprises.


Browsing their collections of the Internet Archive is always a source of delight, and yesterday I discovered One World Flight, a 1947 documentary series by Norman Corwin (a giant in the history of American broadcasting).

According to Time Magazine article of Monday, 27 Jan 1947, Norman Corwin began his trip in Jun 1947. He took with him CBS Recorder Lee Bland and 225 pounds of magnetic wire-recording equipment. The trip lasted four months, covered 42,000 miles and they visited 16 countries which produced 100 hours of recorded interviews. He interviewed heads of state and common people, people of all types regardless status or walks of life. The transcript alone produced 3700 typed pages. Norman Corwin, four recording engineers and six typists took three months to develop this documentary series. Each program covered a portion of the trip and made an important contribution to the public perception of the rest of the world to help heal some of the wounds of World War II.

9780826434111I was of course quite interested in the episodes covering the Mediterranean area and the East, but the whole show (that you can download from the Internet Archive via a handy Torrent link) is an absolute delight, featuring travelogue notes, interviews and local color from 70 years ago.

In 2009, the diaries Corwin wrote during his adventure where discovered and published as Norman Corwin’s One World Flight: The Lost Journal of Radio’s Greatest Writer, and the volume is today still available through Amazon and other online vendors.
It’s now on my to read list, as it sounds like the sort of real-life adventure I love.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Old Time Radio: One World Flight

  1. Norman Corwin died at 101 in 2011. His was a sustaining voice for genuine civic discourse between gentle men and women — a steady and studied guy. OTR lives on and on, fortunately.
    Speaking of OTR, one of my online achievements of note is introducing you to the inimitable “Pat Novak for Hire” 🙂


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