Old-Time Radio Names: Zenith, Zero and Tao

Old-Time Radio Names: Zenith, Zero and Tao

I’m sure you’re all really busy making preparations to celebrate National Radio Day tomorrow, the day set aside to commemorate old time radio—I but hope you can take some time out to look at these interesting vintage radio character names we’ve dug up.

They date back to a time, from the 1930s to the fifties, when listening to the radio was the only home entertainment there was, aside from harmonizing around the piano. Moms tuned in to their daily soap operas— often only fifteen minutes long—as they feather-dusted and darned Junior’s socks, before Junior rushed home from school to hear the latest adventure of Don Winslow of the Navy. And in the evening the whole family would gather around the big console to laugh at Baby Snooks or shudder at Suspense Theater.

Many of these shows were populated with great old names you don’t hear any more, from exotic flowers like Geranium (used not once but in two different shows), Gardenia, Lotus and Tulip, to unusual word names like Fury, Casino  and Tweed.

Here are some of the most interesting examples, with the titles of the mostly long-forgotten soaps and space odysseys they appeared in:


Ardala Valmar, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Birdie Lee Coggins—The Great Gildersleeve

BurmaTerry and the Pirates

Casino—Home of the Brave

Charity Amanda DykeAmanda of Honeymoon Hill

Corliss ArcherMeet Corliss Archer

Ebba FieldingAgainst the Storm

Effie PerrineSam Spade

Eula ShermanDan Hardin’s Wife

Fury Shark—Captain Midnight

GardeniaBetty and Bob

GeraniumThe Judy Canova Show, Amos ‘n’ Andy

Inza BurrageFrank Merriweill

KeturahHolly Sloan

Lillums—Harold Teen

Lish HarumDavid Harum

Lorelei Kilbourne—Big Town

LotusDon Winslow of the Navy

Maisie Revere–Maisie

Maraine ClarkBarry Cameron

Marilly—Mayor of the Town

MercyBackstage Wife

Meta BauerThe Guiding Light

Ora MountStella Dallas


Pixie OsborneHilltop House

Portia Blake ManningPortia Faces Life

Sapphire Stevens—Amos ‘n’ Andy

Siri AllenAgainst the Storm

SundayOur Gal Sunday

Tulip Valentine ElsonHilltop House

Zenith Sambrini—Ma Perkins


Ajax CassidyThe Fred Allen Show

Alabama RandallThe Jack Pearl Show

Ballard Brandon, John’s Other Wife

Bronco Thompson, The Great Gildersleeve

California CarlsonThe Hopalong Cassidy Show

Cleve HarringtonEvelyn Winters

Cosmo Topper—The Adventures of Topper

Cullen Andrews—Lone Journey

Eben Crowell—Four Corners, U.S.A

Enor—Lone Journey

Gann MurrayOur Gal Sunday

Goodman AceEasy Aces

Greyling DennisThe Brighter Day

Hannibal CobbHannibal Cobb

Ichabod Mudd—Captain Midnight

Kyron WelbyPretty Kitty Kelly

Lansing McKenzieLone Journey

Lorenzo JonesLorenzo Jones

Nero WolfeThe Adventures of Nero Wolfe

Oogie Pringle—A Date With Judy

Pagan Zeldschmidt—A Man Called X

Pascal TylerAgainst the Storm

Pepper  (born Lawrence) YoungPepper Young’s Family

Philo Sands—The Story of Mary Marlin

Phineas T. GrantThe Man I Married

Poindexter BriceDear John

Robespierre—The Baby Snooks Show

Rollo St. CloudLone Journey

Scotson WebbGirl Alone

Socrates Mullen—The Fred Allen Show

Tao SmithLone Journey

Thatcher ColtThatcher Colt

Tweed ParkerThe Romance of Helen Trent

Ulysses Hink—Dear Mom

Wolfe BennettLone Journey

Zero SmithHowie Wing

Anything here that strikes your fancy?

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About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.