Broadcast from July 7th 1953 through November 1st 1956 on the CBS network.
21st Precinct was a very dramatic police drama. CBS decided to use New York City as the backdrop for this series and to focus on the happenings in an actual police precinct. The premise was to put the listener into the drama from the opening phone call until the final report was written.
The 21st was described as
"just lines on a map of the city of New York. Most of the 173,000 people wedged into the nine-tenths of a square mile between Fifth Avenue and the East River wouldn't know if you asked them that they lived or worked in the 21st."
The detail was made up of 160 patrolmen, eleven sergeants, and four lieutenants, under the command of one captain - Frank Kennelly. It was mentioned in each episode's closing that, "21st Precinct is presented with the official cooperation of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association an organization of more than 20,000 members of the Police Department, City of New York."
The Captain was the primary character and also acted as the narrator. Three actors played the Captain's role: Everett Sloane as Kennelly for the first 109 episodes and returned briefly in episode 135; James Gregory as Vincent Cronin for episode 109-144; and Les Damon as Thomas Keough starting in episode 145 through the remainder of the series. In supporting roles were Ken Lynch as Lt. Matt King and Harold Stone as Sgt. Waters. Santos Ortega appeared frequently as Lt. Patrick "Red" Gorman.
Ninety-two episodes are in circulation for this series. It is generally believed that they were all recorded off the air by one collector as they were broadcast; however, many episodes appear to have been circulating independently of one another in the early 1970s. Several dealer catalogs from that period list them for sale, stating 'dubbed from the original transcription disks'.
NOTE: Updated with Version 3 files (07-Jan-2020).
NOTE: Updated with Version 2 files (22-Mar-2013).
From the Old Time Radio Researchers Group. See "Notes" Section below for more information on the OTRR.
It contains the most complete and accurate version of this series in the best sound possible at the time of creation. An updated version will be issued if more episodes or better sounding ones become available.
This is the Single Episodes Page. The Certified Set includes extras not found here. It is located at OTRR Certified Set. This Single Episodes page is provided in case you want to sample the shows.Note that in many cases, file names have been modified from the original OTRR names to conform to archive.org naming requirements.
If you are interested in preserving Old Time Radio (OTR), you may wish to join the Old Time Radio Researchers Group at Facebook and Groups.io.
Relax, listen, and enjoy!
OTRR Maintained Set -- This set contains all known episodes in the best available audio condition with the most accurate dates and titles known to be in general circulation and based on current research at the time of release. Replaces OTRR Certified Accurate and OTRR Certified Complete.
OTRR Non-Maintained Set -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Maintenance process.
Pre-2019 OTRR Definitions:
OTRR Certified Accurate -- A series that was "Certified Accurate" indicated that all the episodes were properly identified and labeled based on current information but that the series did not contain all known extant episodes.
OTRR Certified Complete -- A series that was "Certified Complete" achieved the highest level of certification available under the OTRR Certified Standards. This certification level implied that all the files in the series were "Certified Accurate" and also indicated that the series was as complete as possible and included all circulating episodes.
OTRR Non-Certified -- A collection of shows that has not gone through the OTRR Certification process.
Also, beginning in 2019, the version numbers of our OTRR releases changed format -- instead of v1.0 or v2.1, we are now using a version number that reflects the year and month the set was released. The format used is a two-digit year followed by a two-digit month. For example, "v1906" indicates a set that was released in June 2019, or "v1910" indicates a set released in October 2019.
NOTE: There are no passwords for any of our ZIP files. If you are prompted for a password, before downloading the file again, try unzipping the file into a shorter full folder path name -- for example, unzip to "C:\" instead of "C:\Documents and Settings\your_Windows_ID\some_other_folder\". Sorry, some of our releases contain long folder and file names, which sometimes manifests itself on the Windows platform as prompting for a password for the ZIP file. Or try renaming the ZIP file itself to a shorter name before unzipping.
April 10, 2017 Subject:
Interesting, but formulaic
If you listened to these shows when they first aired once a week, one could pass over the repetitiveness of the scripts. But if you listen one after another, the shows become a bit tedious. Every show opens and closes the same way...the captain repeats his duties in each episode...some of the 21st's daily routine is a bit too esoteric. BUT the basic storylines are decent. I tend to like Broadway's My Beat a bit more, though. Much better scripts and story lines.
July 27, 2016 Subject:
A lot of the terminology and procedures are spot on accurate. I retired from NYPD in 1986. Obviously some things change, but very realistic & informative.
Reviewer Max Reiner...Most fiction, either book, radio TV or movies use precinct numbers that no longer exist.
June 11, 2012 Subject:
Why No Actual 21st Precinct? & Everett Sloan
Any know why there is no real 21st police precinct in NYC?
Everett Sloan had a distinguished show show biz history. He was a member of Orson Welles Mercury Theater. I recall him him in a movie as the father of Marjorie Morningstar.
Many of these radio shows here are in good shape. The earlier ones have very muddy sound. The later the shows though, the better the audio quality.
October 23, 2011 Subject:
Great, Great series
Being a current police officer myself in a suburb of nyc, this is a very authentic and realistic show. I am a fan of old time radio and this is my favorite show of all of them. I also like "squad cars" and "nightwatch."
April 22, 2011 Subject:
Enjoyed this set of shows
I gerally listen in my car as I drive to places I work. Download to computer then put on regular CD, don't have mp3 in the car. Long one, two, or three days trips. This is a good companion. I also listen at home in my office as I do things that don't need concentration.
Just the right mix of real sounds and story telling.
May 19, 2008 Subject:
I thought I be the first to write review on what I consider to be a very underated show surely it has been overshadowed by it's rival Dragnet. If you have seen Hill Street Blues surely you will understand where the writers took the idea, From this show!!! Having listen'd to many classic radio shows now this is up there with the best crime dramas, scripts and emotional dilogue do not date this show Everret Sloane is most convincing as Captain Frank Kennelly.I strongly ask those OTR buffs to check this out! Thankyou to all those working on Internet Archive for a great site!!