Best Old Time Radio Series Ever!


Joy and I have been running the RU Sitting Comfortably web site ever since 1999.

Since the site first saw the light of day we’ve reviewed tens of thousands of shows for the site. Everything from classic radio drama through to comedy, science-fiction and quizzes.

One day we were making a long journey by car when we started to discuss what the best old time radio series of all time was. After two hours, and numerous ‘discussions’ about the merits of each show we decided it was impossible for us to come up with a conclusive answer between just the two of us.

There was only one answer!

Ask everyone else what they think and then compile the results to get a definitive answer.

We figured if we could get a hundred people to nominate their favorite series we’d have a good representative sample.

As it turned out we had over 600 people fill out their answers. Wow! Now that means this answer is pretty conclusive I’m sure you’ll agree.


The Voting Process

We felt it was unfair to list the series that we thought would be the contenders and then get people to vote on those. That would definitely have been easier for gathering the results, but easiest isn’t always best.

To make it as fair as possible we simply asked people to list their three favorite series in order. There was no prompting, or urging people to nominate specific shows, as that would have made the  results invalid. We wanted to keep the process as simple as possible. Just list your three favorite shows in order and click done. Simple!

We put up the survey on the 9th November 2013. By the morning of the 14th November we had hit the 600 mark, which was a long way above the hundred or so nominations we’d been expecting. With each of the 600 respondents listing three shows that meant there were 1,800 shows to count through. Guess who got the honor of doing all the counting. I’m sure there must be automated tools for doing this kind of stuff, but sometimes there’s nothing like a manual challenge to tax the old grey cells.

It took me from the 14th November to the 17th to tally everything up and you’ll find the results of all this counting below.

For anyone interested in old time radio shows this sure makes interesting reading. Isn’t it wonderful that after all the decades there is still such a huge interest in these shows.


The Results

First I have listed the top 20 series of all-time when taking onto account series listed as favorite, second favorite and third favorite. After that I have include the individual lists for series nominate as most favorite, followed by the series nominated second most favorite, and then those that were most often voted as third favorite. I’ve also included pie charts to provide a graphical representation of the top results.


The Favorite Series of All-Time (Combined)

The table below combines all the voting together.

I have weighted it as follows.

  • When a series was voted as a favorite series it received 3 points.
  • When a series was voted as second most favorite it received 2 points.
  • When a series was voted as third most favorite it received 1 point.

I hope you agree this was a fair way to rank the results. I did consider using 5 points for the favorites,  3 points for second favorites and 1 point for third favorites, but felt that probably gave to much emphasis to the favorites.


Pie Chart: Favorite Series of All-Time (Combined Results)

Here’s how the combined voting stacks up as a pie chart. As you can clearly see over half the votes went to the top 10 series, which really goes to show how universally popular these ten series are. However, looking at it from the other direction, you could say that half the people who voted had favorites that were not in the top 10, which goes to show how well loved a wide variety of old time radio series are.



Nominated as Favorite Show of All-Time

The series listed in the table below were nominated the most frequently as being the favorite show. 

It is very clear that the Jack Benny Program was the leader by quite some margin. In the second and third favorite nominations voting was a lot closer between all the different series, but when it came to voting on the favorite the same shows came up again and again, and by quite some margin from all the other shows.

It is quite amazing that Jack Benny received roughly 60% more votes than the nearest rival, which was Gunsmoke with 8.68% of the vote. In total the top five series received an amazing 41.9% of the vote between them.

Here’s how the voting for the favorite looks as a pie chart.




Nominated as Second Favorite Show of All-Time

The series listed in the table below were nominated the most frequently as being the second favorite old-time radio series.

The voting for the second favorite was a lot closer. There was no runaway leader like for the favorite series. Gunsmoke held its place at number 2, whilst Jack Benny fell down to third place and Johnny Dollar leapt from fourth place into first place. Making an appearance at number 10 was Dimension X and X Minus 1. I combined the voting for these shows together as so many of the nominations that came in listed them both at the same time, which is understandable I suppose.

Here’s how the voting for second favorite looks as a pie chart.



Nominated as Third Favorite Show of All-Time

The series listed in the table below were nominated the most frequently as being the third favorite old-time radio series.




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