Monday, January 2, 2012

San Pedro Stories: The Romance of the Ranchos

San Pedro Stories: The Romance of the Ranchos


The Old Time Radio (OTR) program The Romance of the Ranchos includes several San Pedro related stories. While every story is based on actual characters and events, historical accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to entertainment in these early infotainment productions. Each episode is a 1940s dramatizations of a 1930s romanticized short story by Palmer Conner derived from the land title records of the Title Insurance and Trust Company of Los Angeles (the same company which published the stories and sponsored the radio series).


The first land grant in modern California was Rancho San Pedro, awarded in 1784 to Juan Jose Dominguez, a career soldier who served for nearly 30 years in the Spanish military. Today this land includes the cities, in whole or in part, of Carson, Compton, Gardena, Lomita, Palos Verdes Estates, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, Torrance, Wilmington, and West Carson. Rancho San Pedro was also the only Spanish Rancho to survive through three governments relatively intact. Only about 25 grants were made during the Spanish era (1697-1821), and the rest, some 480 of them, were granted during the Mexican era (1821-1847). After California became a state in 1850, grantees were required to submit legal documents to prove their ownership. This process took more than three decades, and it ruined all but a few. (Curtright)


An excellent set of contemporary maps showing the final boundaries of the ranchos after the surveys were complete and the U.S. patents issued are available online from cartographer Jack Curtright.

The Romance of the Ranchos starred the “man with a thousand voices,” voice actor Frank Graham (IMDb page), as the narrator/host. Graham did numerous radio programs, but today is best known for his animation work (filmography)—such as 2 of Tex Avery’s 1943 classics, Red Hot Riding Hood (narrator and wolf) and Dumb-Hounded (mayor and the killer hounded by “Droopy Dog”).

All of the episodes in the series are good old fashion fun (I like OTR). So kick back, pick an episode, close your eyes, and visit the adobe days of California:




Use the next and back buttons on the player (above) to toggle between episodes or click on a specific title (below) to download the mp3 file from the Internet Archive and open in your own media player (the mp3 files are 6.3-6.7 MB each).



No.
Episode Title
Date
01
1941-09-07
02
1941-09-14
03
1941-09-21
04
1941-10-01
05
1941-10-08
06
1941-10-15
07
1941-10-22
08
1941-10-29
09
1941-11-05
10
1941-11-12
11
1941-11-19
12
1941-11-26
13
1941-12-03
14
1941-12-10
15
1941-12-17
16
1941-12-24
17
1941-12-31
18
1942-01-07
19
1942-01-14
20
1942-01-21
21
1942-01-28
22
1942-02-04
23
1942-02-11
24
1942-02-18
25
1942-02-25
26
1942-03-08
27
1942-03-15
28
1942-03-23
29
1942-03-29
30
1942-04-05
31
1942-04-12
32
1942-04-19
33
1942-04-26
34
1942-05-03
35
1942-05-10


All 35 episodes are available at the Internet Archive for listening or download (Location 1; Location 2). You can read much more about the original OTR program at the excellent Digital Deli page (or get the bare facts from the RadioGOLDINdex page).



14 comments:

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