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Please feel free to explore our growing library of over 400 Golden Age Radio programming and broadcasting history articles and logs. We start every article and every program log with a clean sheet of paper before us. We perform our own, independent research into every program or personality. Never hestitate to let us know how we're doing--pro or con. And if you have something to contribute--or challenge--in our findings, please drop us a comment.

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Fully Provenanced Radio Program Articles

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26 By Corwin with Norman Corwin, House Jameson and Lyn Murray.

We were fortunate to obtain Mr. Corwin's support in answering two of our lingering inquiries in support of this article. We're indebted to Mr. Corwin for giving us a couple moments of his time to provide us with the verifications we requested.

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2000 Plus with Joseph Julian

The Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) wasn't necessarily the most innovative network in Radio, but they did often manage to beat the 'big three' to market with many of Radio's most interesting genre programming, especially during the heyday of Don Lee-Mutual out on the West Coast. 2000 Plus did, indeed, beat NBC to the table by about a month. Dimension X followed closely on its heels. One might well conjecture that if MBS had brought 2000 Plus to the air even six months earlier, it might well have enjoyed the popular acclaim of NBC's Dimension X, for example.

2000 Plus, for its part, clearly had all the makings of a truly exceptional science fiction canon.

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A Case for Dr. Morelle with Cecil Parker

Fast forward to 1957 and Dudley's admittedly irritating sleuth was reintroduced in a thirteen-week comedy-detective drama, A Case for Dr. Morelle, featuring successful Film actor Cecil Parker as Dr. Morelle and Sheila Sim as Miss Frayle. Cecil Parker was a truly inspired choice, having portrayed several Film characters with many of Dr. Morelle's irritating traits and studied aloofness.

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A Christmas Carol as depicted by Lionel Barrymore

By 1934, when the Columbia System and Campbells Soups first considered a fully staged dramatic adaptation of A Christmas Carol, Lionel Barrymore would seem to have been the ideal choice to portray Ebenezer Scrooge for American audiences. Barrymore's first appearance as Scrooge in CBS' three-hour Christmas extravaganza on Christmas Day, 1934 had been overwhelmingly successful. Lionel Barrymore, the eldest of the 'First Family of The Stage', comprised of his younger sister Ethel Barrymore and younger brother, John Barrymore, performed while predominantly confined to a wheelchair throughout the late 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. His Radio portrayals of 'Old Scrooge' were no exception.

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ABC Mystery Theater with Les Damon

The discovery of the Mark Saber series as separate and distinct from the CBS Mystery Theatre series was an interesting revelation to us. We'd long read that ABC Mystery Theatre (or Theater) was 'considered' part of Molle Mystery Theatre, Hearthstone of The Death Squad and the other derivations of that Hummert-produced series.

Lo and behold, it was a fascinating--though short-lived--series in its own right, that was also airing over early Television at the same time, with an alternate cast.

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The ABC Screen Guild Theatre and ABC Screen Guild Players programs

The ABC Screen Guild Theatre and Players were the seventh through ninth incarnations of the famous, long-running Screen Guild series in support of The Country House and Hospital of the Motion Picture Relief Fund. The ABC Season was comprised of programs in an hour-long format, with approximately the second half of the season sponsored by the Buick Motor Division of General Motors.

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Abroad With the Lockharts with Gene and Kathleen Lockhart

The series is a tour de force for Gene and Kathleen Lockhart. Apart from the announcer, theirs are the only voices heard throughout the series. As best as can be determined, Gene and Kathleen Lockhart perform every role in the circulating recordings. Gene Lockhart, arguably the more widely known of the acting couple assumes the role of curmudgeonly foil to his romantic wife. It's also quite plausible that Gene Lockhart also wrote the scripts for the series. Kathleen Lockhart shines as the ever-romantic, ever optimistic, adventurer, dragging her reluctant spouse all over England, France and Italy. Kathleen's performance is the epitome of what one might imagine of the archetypal American homemaker of the 1930s devouring her first experience of international adventure.

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Academy Award with The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and The House of Squibb.

Revisiting Academy Award caught our attention when we realized that the program was almost universally referred to as Academy Award Theater (or Academy Award Theatre). Naturally no such program ever existed in Radio--either Academy Award Theater or Academy Award Theatre. In the process of setting the record straight and restoring the program to its rightful name, we also discovered--and corrected--even more misinformation regarding this fine, well-produced--albeit extremely expensive--program.

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Adventure Ahead with Bernard Lenrow.

Adventure Ahead! captured our interest after having developed a biography of Bernard Lenrow. In the process of that exercise we learned much more about this fascinating short-lived juvenile adventure series, while at the same time correcting much of the circulating misinformation about this program in the process.

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Adventures By Morse with Carlton E Morse, Elliott Lewis and Barton Yarborough

There's little dispute that this relatively short series--for Carlton E. Morse, anyway--raises as many questions as it answers. But then that's what continues to keep Golden Age Radio research as fascinating and fulfilling as it is; the more questions one answers, the more one often raises. At the least, in this instance, the answers are worth pursuing. For all its shortcomings and inconsistencies, Adventures By Morse remains something of a tactical--if not strategic--bridge between the longer network runs of I Love A Mystery, Carlton Morse's longest running adventure drama series. To the extent that it gave Morse more ammunition for the next round of network negotiations for I Love A Mystery, it's unlikely that Adventures by Morse provided Morse much leverage in the end.

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Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator with William Gargan.

The Adventures of Barrie Crane, Confidential Investigator was by no means the first detective, crime or mystery program to introduce multiple sponsors during the same run. And as a practical matter few of the audiences that heard Barrie Crane, then Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator were ever aware of the very targeted distribution of the series across the NBC network.

As with a ballpark hotdog, you don't really need to know how they are made to enjoy them--quite the antithesis in fact. Indeed the only way the average listener might have realized the extraordinarily complex scheduling that Barrie Craig undertook during its four-year run was if they were a regular commuter to another state, major city, or region of the country.

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The Adventures of Ellery Queen with Carleton Young, Ted De Corsia and Ernest Chappell.

The Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) was the first Radio network to bring Ellery Queen to a Radio audience on a recurring basis. Though still clouded in secrecy as to the true identities of either/both the creator, Ellery Queen or the actor portraying Ellery Queen, both details remaind shrouded in secrecy until the last episodes of that first CBS run of sixty-seven, CBS-produced mystery quizzes. That first series premiered in an hour-long format on the Sunday evening of June 18, 1939.

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The Adventures of Frank Race with Tom Collins, Tony Barrett and Paul Dubov.

An admittedly humble first offering, the three-feature series' offered name actors, top-notch writing and high production values. The syndicate offered the following to describe its concept:

"Since its organization less than a year ago, the Broadcasters Program Syndicate has built a success story unparalleled in the history of radio.
Operating on a subscription basis exclusively, the Broadcasters Program Syndicate is essentially of, by, and for station subscriber-members.
A single weekly fee equal to the subscribing station's national one-time class A quarter-hour rate entitles the station to the Syndicate's entire output of network-calibre programs. All current programs--plus every additional series produced by the Syndicate in the future.
Currently, for a single weekly fee "PAT O'BRIEN FROM HOLLYWOOD," "FRONTIER TOWN," and "ADVENTURES OF FRANK RACE" all go to the following members of the Broadcasters Program Syndicate:"

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The Adventures of Maisie with Ann Sothern and Lurene Tuttle.

The Adventures of Maisie remains a work in progress. There's no simple excuse for it. The entire first CBS run of the series appears to be shrouded in secrecy of one sort or another. As best as we can determine a good portion of it is still part of a combination of institutional and private holdings. The MBS run--as an MBS run--was rarely ever accurately described in contemporaneous newspaper listings. But in the process we corrected hundreds of little bits of misinformation regarding this exceptionally interesting program. Maisie's convoluted history alone makes for engrossing research. And of course the chance to do bioigraphies of two of Radio's greatest ladies--Ann Sothern and Lurene Tuttle--was a chance we couldn't pass up.

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The Adventures of Nero Wolfe with Santos Ortega and Luis van Rooten

The first--and most elusive--of the Nero Wolfe adventures over the years. This one got its start on the old New England Network with J.B. Williams as Nero Wolfe. By the time it first aired over a national network, Santos Ortega was holding the role of Nero Wolfe. And by the time the first series of The Adventures of Nero Wolfe had run their course, it was famous character actor Luis van Rooten who finished out the role of Nero Wolfe.

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The Adventures of Philip Marlowe with Gerald Mohr, Van Heflin and Raymond Chandler

One of the Golden Age of Radio's most collected programs--and one of the slowest to enter complete circulation. It was also one of Radio history's most inaccurately understood or documented programs. We set all of that straight in one of our earliest--and most successful--research efforts.

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The Adventures of Sam Spade Detective with Howard Duff, William Spier, Dick Joy and Steve Dunne

Arguably Golden Age Radio's most collected detective genre program, the history of Sam Spade, Detective was a confusing muddle before we tackled it. In the process we almost fully documented it, resolved most of the previous disparities and identified its most accurate chronology to date. We also enjoyed giving William Spier, Howard Duff, Dick Joy, and Steve Dunne their due. We'd already memorialized Radio's First Lady, Lurene Tuttle, with our Adventures of Maisie article and log. And no, we didn't overlook Dashiell Hammett either. He's memorialized below, and in our The Adventures of The Thin Man. And yes, he not only did The Thin Man, but also The Fat Man, and Secret Agent X-9.

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The Adventures of The Abbotts with Les Damon and Claudia Morgan

The return of The Abbotts to Radio came at a most unpropitious time. The post-War years following the departure of The Abbott Mysteries found America turning more and more to Television for its detective and mystery drama interests.

The series premiered over NBC on Sunday, October 03, 1954 with Don Briggs as Pat Abbott and Claudia Morgan as Jean Abbott. Claudia Morgan had previously starred as Nora Charles in The Adventures of The Thin Man, often co-starring with Les Damon as Nick Charles during the series' nine year run. And in fact, beginning with 1955, Claudia Morgan began starring with Les Damon as Pat Abbott in The Adventures of The Abbotts. Damon departed the series after about thirteen episodes to be replaced by Mandel Kramer. Switching marital partners was by no means new to Claudia Morgan. During the run of The Adventures of The Thin Man, Morgan alternated between Les Damon, Les Tremayne, David Gothard and Joseph Curtin in the role of Nick Charles. This was by no means a novelty to Claudia Morgan who, herself, was married four times during her Radio career.

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The Adventures of The Falcon with Berry Kroeger, Les Damon and Les Tremayne

Irrespective of the resolution of the convoluted etymology of the various The Falcon characters, April 10, 1943 launched a thirteen-year Radio and Television franchise of urbane, highly educated, and independently wealthy Michael Waring as a new nemesis of injustice and espionage, The Falcon. The Adventures of The Falcon ran off and on over the ensuing eleven years over Radio and ultimately over Television for another three years. Debuting over NBC's Blue Network (WJZ), the series appeared over The Blue Network (ABC), the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), then ultimately over CBS as Television's The Falcon, starring Charles McGraw as 'Mike' Waring.

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The Adventures of the Thin Man with Dashiell Hammett, Les Tremayne and Claudia Morgan

The extraordinary success of The Thin Man series in Film virtually guaranteed an equally successful run over Radio. And for many of its seven incarnations that was certainly the case. One of Radio history's most mis-scheduled series it was also, thankfully, quite well documented in the era's newspapers. We unraveled the mysteries of The Thin Man over Radio for you, and provided one of the most well-documented logs of this fascinating program in the process.

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The Adventurers' Club with Ken Nordine

The premise of The Adventurers' Club was ideally suited to its timeslot and intended audience--aspiring juvenile adventurers. Heard well outside Chicago, over the CBS Network, the series was produced in the Chicago Studios of WBBM. During the course of its fifty-two programs the fascinating series relates first person accounts of some of modern history's most engaging and captivating adventurers.

Conceived and created by The Adventurers Club of Chicago, several of the adventurers profiled were members of the Chicago Adventurers Club, America's second oldest such club, founded in 1911. Indeed, the Chicago Adventurers Club founder, Major Robert Foran, was the subject of Program No. 40, from October 11, 1947, The Story of Robert Foran and Program No. 51, from December 27, 1947, The Story of Robert Foran. The club he founded was predated by The Explorers' Club of New York, founded in 1904, and itself predated the Los Angeles Adventurers' Club, founded in 1912.

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Agatha Christie's Poirot with Harold Huber

Given the rights and licensing arrangements Dame Agatha had already undertaken with international producers it may be that those various arrangements limited or precluded acquiring those rights for North American Radio distribution.

Those limitations apparently didn't dissuade durable and versatile Film actor Harold 'Hal' Huber from pursuing Dame Agatha for the rights to produce a rendition of the exploits of Hercule Poirot for American Radio, Film or Television. Huber's persistence was apparently rewarded with The Billboard announcement of March 25, 1944 noting his successful acquisition of the Radio rights to the Hercule Poirot character. Hal Huber intended to produce the series for Radio with the help of Carl Eastman as director. Huber's ambitious plans also called for utilizing his multi-lingual acting talents to transcribe the series in Spanish for South American audiences.

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The Amazing Nero Wolfe with Francis X Bushman

The second most elusive Nero Wolfe series starred legendary silent screen idol Francis X Bushman as the agoraphobic genius detective. Elliott Lewis serves as Francis X Bushman's Archie in the one existing circulating exemplar. Now that we have it accurately documented for the first time, we can only hope that other exemplars will begin to surface.

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American Adventure with Charles Kuralt and Carl Kasell

This was an all too long overlooked little gem from the beginning of the careers of two of Radio's most beloved broadcast journalists--Charles Kuralt and Carl Kasell. Also a sentimental favorite for all UNC-Chapel Hill grads across America, it was a fascinating anthology of American History vignettes.

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American Novels

American Novels was one of the many initiatives of the NBC University of The Air and NBC Inter-American University of The Air productions produced between 1942 and 1948. The theme of NBC University of The Air's American Novels was "books that live." These were distinctly American novels that continued to provide the same message and substance irrespective of the era of their first printing. These were timeless stories of human struggle, resolve, and reaffirmation that both encouraged and inspired the reader--or in this instance, the listener.

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American Portraits with Dee Engelbach and Ben Grauer

The center of attention with this NBC Presents offering was a series of eight radioplays by George H. Faulkner, an NBC staff continuity and script writer. The theme uniting Faulkner's eight radioplays was the human element of some of America's greatest historic figures. There was one other uniting element--George Faulkner had already penned most of these radioplays for Cavalcade of America (in addition to another 30-40 Cavalcade of America scripts). Given that this was a Summer replacement for Cavalcade of America, one might well call this brief series, Cavalcade of America 'Lite'.

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The American Story with Archibald MacLeish

As a natural extension of NBC University of The Air, NBC also embarked on several NBC Presents and NBC Theater Presents network-sustained and sponsored initiatives upon reevaluating the success and acceptance of it's University of The Air intiatives of the 1940s. 1948 marked the year that NBC determined that the public was seeking accurate and informative programming, to be sure, but that much of the public audience of the post-War years was somewhat put off by the word 'University' in the titles of such programming. From that point forward, NBC's more prestigious, signature productions bore the "NBC Presents" title in one form or another. As one of the formalized NBC University of The Air initiatives, The American Story was almost certainly its most ambitious and authoritative of the era.

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The American Trail with The Ladies Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars

Another sadly overlooked gem from The Golden Age of Radio, we couldn't resist giving this fine production its due. Sponsored and promoted by the fine ladies of The Ladies Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars, they assembled a splendid patriotic anthology to both educate and inspire the 4th to 8th graders of America. In the process we managed to fully provenance every single broadcast.

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An American Gallery

Although we're still attempting to ascertain its production history, it appears that An American Gallery was one of hundreds of compelling and entertaining AFRS and AFRTS features produced in Hollywood's famous Capitol Records building. We can't presently be more precise, but we believe it to have been produced during the mid-1960s. Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cosby were two of the celebrity hosts for the series, which should help date the series to the mid-60s. The series identifies itself as from the canon of 'The Armed Forces Radio Service', but after approximately 1951 - 1953 most AFRS airchecks began changing to 'The Armed Forces Radio and Television Service'. Since both Bill Cosby and Dick Van Dyke would have been in only their teens or 20s during the era prior to 1953, we doubt seriously if An American Gallery would have been produced prior to the AFRS shift to the AFRTS.

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American in England
An American In England with Norman Corwin, Lyn Murray, Joseph Julian and Benjamin Britten

This is another of the famous Norman Corwin projects for CBS during the World War II years. Produced by no less than Edward R. Murrow himself, Norman Corwin both wrote and directed the programs. An ambitious attempt at one of the first dramatic Transatlantic presentations over shortwave, the long distance broadcasts weren't as successful as the lessons learned from the early broadcasts' failures.

We managed to reconstruct an entire log from multiple newspaper provenances and verification and confirmation of our findings by Norman Corwin himself. This series also provided us the opportunity to memorialize our own Joseph Julian, as well as one of the most important composers in British History, Benjamin Britten.

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Anthology Radio Log with Leith Stevens

Quite aptly named, Anthology launched as a recurring showcase of the finest, predominately American Poetry and Music ever yet assembled in one production. But that word, 'poetry' . . . As annotator Harry Fleetword noted, the word 'poetry' itself has an almost 'spinach-like' connotation to the average person. For the minority that love poetry, the series came as a long-overdue blessing. For the vast majority of the regional listening audience, however, 'poetry' was altogether like 'spinach' in many respects. As good as poetry is for the soul--and spinach for the body--the average person generally shuns any exposure to either the green, leafy vegetable or alliterative verse. Mind you, the average person also believes both spinach and poetry to be conceptually good things. But . . .

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Arch Oboler's Plays with Arch Oboler and Raymond Edward Johnson

The Arch Oboler's Plays franchise aired in one form or another over a period of almost thirty-three years, counting the original canon of fifty-three new radioplays, the subsequent special canon of twenty-six radioplays for the Mutual Broadcasting System (1945), then a 1964 revival, and finally a 1971 revival. The original canon of scripts encompassed some ninety-plus original stories. And, as dyed in the wool Lights Out! fans will surely point out, a good number of Lights Out! stories were reprised among the Arch Oboler's Plays canon over the years as well.

By the second year of Lights Out!, America was under the spell of the diminutive giant of a playwright, Archibald 'Arch' Oboler and his spellbinding, highly personalized writing style. While clearly a genius in his own right, it's also clear that much of his writing style had been informed by Wyllis Cooper at the least. Cooper's own writing style almost routinely employed a highly personalized point of view, so as to further attenuate the listening experience of his radioplays to the greatest degree. Given young Arch Oboler's close association with Cooper with Lights Out!, it's difficult to divorce Wyllis Cooper's writing style from Oboler's in many respects. There's no question that Oboler more than differentiated himself with his Arch Oboler's Plays seasons, but it's also quite clear that even after cranking out some sixty-seven original radioplays for his own breakout dramatic franchise, that he was even then being influenced by his association with Wyllis Cooper.

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The Author Meets The Critics

Few realize that one of Radio and Television's longest, continuously running programs, Meet The Press, first aired over Mutual. Another of Radio's longest running panel discusssion programs aired first--and last--over Mutual: The Author Meets The Critics. Premiering in December 1942, The Author Meets The Critics aired almost continously for twelve years. To underscore this remarkable longevity, the premise of The Author Meets The Critics would initially seem to have been a non-starter: an author of a literary work is placed between proponents and detractors of his or her work in a no-holds-barred literary joust over the published work.

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Author's Playhouse

There's no question that Author's Playhouse was an ambitious undertaking from the get-go. The production promised a new adaptation of original short stories every week. Drawing from some of the finest authors throughout history as well as a long list of new authors and their stories, Author's Playhouse more than met its charter in bringing fresh dramatizations to Radio week after week for over four years.

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Avalon Time

Brown & Williamson actively sought popular Country singer 'Red' Foley to introduce Avalon Time to the air over NBC-Red (WEAF). Red Foley was riding a crest of popularity in the late 1930s. Either intentionally or otherwise, the color "Red" became a uniting theme throughout the chronology of Avalon Time:

  • All four hosts for the programs--'Red' Foley, 'Red' Skelton, Cliff Arquette and Dick Todd--sported red hair
  • NBC-Red produced the program throughout its runs

Red Foley hosted the program from its October 1938 debut through July 1939. Red Skelton hosted the program from July 1939 to December 1939. Cliff Arquette hosted the program from January 1940 through May 1940. Dick Todd hosted Avalon Time from May 1940 through August 1940.

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Baker's Theatre of Stars with Wilbur Hatch

Neither CBS nor the Bakers of America spared any expense to bring one of CBS' finest drama anthologies to the air. There's no question that CBS would have loved continuing the series beyond thirteen episodes, but once the June Convention had come and passed, the promotion had accomplished its purpose for Bakers of America. This had to have been an incredibly expensive production to mount. One glance at the roster of leading stars shows Hollywood actors well worth the $3,000 to $5,000 appearance fee they'd have commanded by 1953. Add to that, CBS Pacific Net's finest supporting actors, one of their brightest up and coming directors, Norm Macdonnell, music direction by Wilbur Hatch, announcer and spokesman, Wendell Niles, and you have a $7,000 to $9,000 a week production.

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Battle Stations! with Raymond Edward Johnson

The entire four-installment arc of Battle Stations! stands as one of the finest two-hour documentaries on the history of The Navy produced during World War II. It's a tribute to both The Department of The Navy and NBC's Department of Special Events that they managed to mount such an enduring tribute to The Navy's Sea and Air Arms with such consistent production quality and fascinating content throughout. Supported by America's finest voice talent from both coasts, the New York-based production continues to be a stirring, inspirational account of The Navy's struggle to compete for resources with The Army, while diversifying itself enough to not only preserve its own rich history of contributions to America's defense, but create an even more important and enduring force for the protection of America and it's allies in the process.

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Behind the Mike with Graham McNamee

Appropriately enough, NBC debuted Behind The Mike with one of NBC Radio's earliest and most prolific announcers, Graham McNamee. Along with Harold Arlin, Phillips Carlin, Norman Brokenshire, and Milton Cross, McNamee was one of Radio's pioneers, and with the others mentioned, one of Radio's most recognizable voices by 1940.

Commencing with it's premiere broadcast on September 15, 1940, Behind the Mike quickly lived up to its name.

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Best Plays with Ernest Kinoy

Best Plays came under the 'NBC Presents' banner for NBC, their premiere drama programs throughout the Golden Age of Radio. In this case, the finest 20th Century Stage plays then available. It was also an opportunity to memorialize the great Ernest Kinoy, who wrote many of the adaptations and plays for the series and who, of

course, would go on to produce some of the finest science fiction dramas of the 20th Century as well.

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The Big Show with Tallulah Bankhead and Dee Engelbach

The Big Show was a pretty big deal--on many levels. NBC had lost one of it's major artists to CBS--Jack Benny and his ensemble. And to add insult to injury, when it came time to broadcast NBC's The Big Show, it was up against, by then, CBS's The Jack Benny Program. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

The Big Show was the brainchild of NBC Vice President for Programming, Charles 'Bud' Barry. It had been Barry's thankless task to rebuild NBC's market share over Radio. The head-to-head between CBS and NBC as both major networks entered Television, had been a knock-down, drag-out competition. In the five years leading up to 1950, CBS and NBC had been proactively poaching each other's talent on an often breathtaking scale from time to time. If one couldn't compete with a popular program, the thinking was, "Well let's just buy that talent from under them."

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The Big Story with Berry Kroeger and Ernest Chappell

Needless to say, American Tobacco was one of the era's savviest--and most experienced--sponsors. Having just sponsored their Frank Morgan situation comedy vehicle, The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy, when the series failed to attract the ratings they'd hoped for, American Tobacco began casting about for a dramatic vehicle to attract more consistent ratings.

That dramatic vehicle became The Big Story, an anthology of compelling news story dramatizations submitted by newspaper editors and journaists themselves. The writers, journalists and editors submitting their stories were awarded $500 for every story submitted, dramatized, and aired. Sponsored initially by American Tobacco's 'Pall Mall' cigarette brand, the series ultimately showcased its 'Lucky Strike' cigarette brand for the final two years of the canon.

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Biography In Sound

During the Fall programming season of 1954, NBC's News Division began airing a series of highly produced, intimately detailed biographies of high-profile celebrities, beginning with Sigmund Romberg and Sir Winston Churchill. The initial two documentaries received such wide acclaim that NBC News aired a subsequent documentary on Ernest Hemingway, the first broadcast to be characterized as a Biography In Sound, first airing on December 19, 1954.

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The Black Book with Paul Frees, John Dehner and Virginia Gregg

Paul Frees, arguably Radio's single most prolific, widely heard voice throughout the Golden Age of Radio and The Golden Age of Television, was particularly busy between 1948 and 1952, as CBS sought vehicle after vehicle for him to lead. Between those years, CBS showcased Frees as the lead in:

  • The Player (1948) as all scripted characters
  • Studio X (1948) as all scripted characters
  • The Green Lama (1949) as Jethro Dumont, The Green Lama
  • Crime Correspondent (1949) as Larry Mitchell, Radio Crime Reporter
  • The Man In Black (1951?) as 'The Teller of Tales'
  • The Black Book (1952) as 'The Teller of Tales'

This of course, in addition to Frees' various announcing, narrating and character acting roles in scores of other CBS dramatic vehicles. He'd been the announcer on Suspense for 100+ episodes throughout that period, as well as acting in both Suspense and Escape! throughout the same period. In addition, out on the west coast, ABC had Frees airing a nightly D.J. program from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m.

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The Black Museum with Orson Welles and Harry Alan Towers

The Black Museum was--and remains--a documentation challenge. And yet, we've managed, in the process of documenting six different runs of The Black Museum, to provide something of a 'rosetta stone' for comparing and piecing together all known titles broadcast. This one will remain a work in progress, although we're simply polishing the apple at this point.

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Blondie with Hanley Stafford, Elvia Allman and Florence Lake

King Features, Chic Young, the Blondie films and the Blondie Radio features worked hand in glove throughout this same twelve year period. Cross-indexes and promotions between the comic strip, comic books, feature films and Radio series' all worked to promote Blondie throughout the U.S., Canada and internationally.

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Bold Venture with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Jester Hairston and David Rose

Bold Venture is one of the programs we originally set out to thoroughly document and correct in the process. While technically still a work in progress, of the circulating examplars of the series, we've fully documented and correctly sequenced the circulating run after years of misinformation regarding this historic series.

In the process we learned a great deal more about it's three primary stars, Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Jester Hairston. Jester Hairston, especially, was a fascinating rediscovery for us.

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Boston Blackie with Chester Morris, Richard Kollmar and Maurice Tarplin

Box 13 was a sentimental favorite that also gave us an excuse to create a biography of Alan Ladd, one of a handful of actors who actually got involved in producing, flogging, and distributing their own syndicated Radio programs. Ladd's Mayfair Transcriptions Company not only produced Box 13, but several other important programs of the era, most notably, The Damon Runyon Theatre.

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The Bourjois Show: Listen to A Love Song

Bourjois's Foote, Cone & Belding agency had been seeking another light, romantic variety vehicle for Bourjois to promote its Evening in Paris line of frangrances. Recently returned U.S. Army Air Corps Tech Sergeant Tony Martin was available--and eager to jump start his career again. It wasn't as if Tony Martin needed to jump start his talent. But it was clear to anyone who knew of his pre-War talent that the numerous Billboard articles tracing the young singer's meteoric rise were spot on.

But could Tony Martin support an entire weekly variety program with interesting dialogue and an engaging personality. As it turned out, he was a natural.

read more . . .

Original Box 13 header art
Box 13 with Alan Ladd

Box 13 was a sentimental favorite that also gave us an excuse to create a biography of Alan Ladd, one of a handful of actors who actually got involved in producing, flogging, and distributing their own syndicated Radio programs. Ladd's Mayfair Transcriptions Company not only produced Box 13, but several other important programs of the era, most notably, The Damon Runyon Theatre.

read more . . .

Original Bright Star header art
Bright Star with Fred MacMurray, Irene Dunne, Elvia Allman and Frederick W. Ziv

Bright Star, in addition to the obvious, proven talent and popular appeal of Dunne and MacMurray, supported its stars with Elvia Allman, one of Radio's most versatile, popular, and experienced comediennes. The productions also featured such artists as Sheldon Leonard, Betty Lou Gerson, Virginia Gregg, Parley Baer, Will Wright and Howard Culver. The scoring was composed and conducted by Irv Norton and his orchestra. Harry Von Zell announced and narrated the first twenty-six programs and Wendell Niles announced and narrated the last twenty-six programs of the run.

read more . . .

Original The Brownstone Theatre header art
The Brownstone Theater with Jock MacGregor, Les Tremayne and Gertrude Warner

The Brownstone Theater premiered on February 21, 1945 as a nostalgic tribute to the many older Broadway and off-Broadway plays that were often mounted in 'brownstone theatres' much like Mutual's own Longacre Theatre. Mutual's The Brownstone Theater inaugurated its first cycle of sixteen, half-hour productions with an adaptation of Charles Klein's 1905 sensation, The Lion and The Mouse. Following a two-week break, the series returned on Sunday evenings with Edward Rose's 1919 hit Cappy Ricks. Thereafter followed another eleven productions, ending with yet another revival of Richard Sheridan's timeless comedy, The Rivals, on September 23, 1945. Dating from 1778, Sheridan's The Rivals had been revived eight other times between 1778 and 1942--and almost always in brownstone theaters much like Mutual's Longacre.

read more . . .

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Our Fully Provenanced Radio Articles

This section of articles on Golden Age Radio programs represents our most complete and fully provenanced (e.g., backed up by one--or several--hard copy references) Radio Articles to date. We'll continue to add to the list as we research more programs.

What's the importance of 'provenanced' articles and logs? It's painlessly simple. We put our reputation behind what we publish. The articles in this section are all fully supported by either contemporaneous newspaper listings and articles, spot advertisements, or first-hand, first-person, listening accounts. Even better examples are actual correspondence with Norman Corwin, or fact-checking verification of Metropolitan Police history with representatives of New Scotland Yard.

We've all seen the tens of thousands of 'otr articles' on the internet, predominately taken from anecdotal or apocryphal information or simply 'radio lore' passed on from site to site to site to site, claiming authoritative articles on a program or personality. But as becomes obvious, the majority those articles are either simply plagiarized from other sites, cut and pasted from equally incomplete, incompetent, and inaccurate WikiPedia 'otr' articles purporting to pass as Golden Age Radio research--or simply fabricated out of whole cloth. But the enduring 'message' of all those sites is the same: "Who cares about vintage radio history? Just listen and enjoy them and forget that we're lying to you about them." An obviously self-serving meme. And apparently a very effective one to date . . . And why not? It's all about the money.

As a perfect example of this nonsense, noted 'OTR Author' Martin Grams, Jr. has embarked on a crusade of sorts flatly stating that newspaper listings throughout the Golden Age Radio era were mostly inaccurate, and that he knows of "no true researcher in the field who relies on newspapers for reference and anyone who claims to use newspapers as a source of information needs to reevaluate their past findings." Even further, he equates contemporaneous Radio listings of the era to TV Guide listings. Hmmm. . . was there a TV Guide between 1928 and 1940? That's quite an expansive strawman indeed. As is typical of Mr. Grams' extravagant and repeatedly inaccurate guesses, surmises, strawmen, and 'conclusions' regarding the history of Radio broadcasting, Mr. Grams builds strawman after strawman throughout his writings, logs and books to support his often erroneous conclusions. One need but read his piece on CBS Forecast to realize the sizeable shortcomings of Mr. Grams' repeatedly erroneous and fallacious guesswork--and grammar. We'd simply point out the following to Mr. Grams:

  • The majority of the numerous errors throughout Mr. Grams' initial OTR opus, Radio Drama: American Programs, exist simply because Mr. Grams apparently never listened to the majority of the programs he logged in that $90 book; nor apparently did the sources from whom he unattributedly built that entire $90 book. Nor does he cite any sources or references for that 'scholarly work' whatsoever.
  • Mr. Grams arrogantly dismisses employing newspaper listings as either ridiculous or as folly, to include all Golden Age Radio programs from even the earliest days of American Radio. In point of fact newspaper listings and recurring newspaper spot ads from the 1930s are virtually the only way to accurately reconstruct the broadcast history of the majority of Radio's earliest programs.
  • Mr. Grams reinforces his strawman hypothesis citing the 'fact' that when he presented his treatise on the shortcomings of newspaper listings from the Golden Age of Radio at the 2010 Friends of Old Time Radio Convention that his treatise was "well-received." Is it any wonder that it was "well-received" before such a limited audience of commercial OTR retailers, loggers, OTR Groups, and authors all there to hawk their commercial goods? This is how strawman hypotheses become eventually accepted as 'fact'--in a vacuum of honest discourse and peer review. Anyone remember that pesky lil Iraq War we were all lied into based on a series of strawman hypotheses? Or that pesky lil economic meltdown we're all suffering due to a series of lies and strawman hypotheses?
  • We've researched article after article on 1930s Radio programs that were all but impossible to reconstruct from any source other than contemporaneous newspaper listings--one of them almost entirely reconstructed from contemporaneous spot ads alone!

We'd never be so foolhardy--or presumptuous--to simply dismiss an entire historical resource with such a ridiculous and patently arrogant hypothesis. But perhaps that's one of the key differences between our approach and that of Mr. Grams. That and the fact that we actually listen to what we write about and log. Of course we recognize that someone as self-important and esteemed by the 'OTR Community' as Mr. Grams can't be wasting his valuable time listening to the 100% aural medium he writes so authoritatively about. I guess we're lucky that we have so much idle time on our own hands to actually listen to the programs we research and log.

We've described and logged almost 400 Golden Age Radio programs during the past three years, and as best as we can determine, Mr. Grams has done the same for less than 100 over a period of ten years--if that. We'd have to say we're on fairly solid ground here precisely because we actually listen to what we write about and log. And you know what? We learn a lot that way--and we enjoy the process far more. Neither do we charge anyone for the 'privilege' of reading our research, articles, or logs. Indeed, we even enjoy imparting this information for free--that way we don't have to continually waste the majority of our time obsessed with who might be stealing something from us. It's become quite obvious that many are, but we've got far better things to do than chase down all the OTR Groups and OTR websites and blogs that 'borrow' our research, logs and graphics without any form of attribution. We value, above all, the little sanity we have left during this increasingly trying and economically challenging time.

You may have also noticed that we don't 'watermark' or otherwise adulterate the tens of thousands of images we maintain on our site. One self-important "OTR author" in particular continues to imply that we routinely steal images from his numerous poorly written and inaccurate books to enhance our own articles and logs:

  • In the first place we own only one of this self-important author's books--and we sure as heck won't ever own another one.
  • In the second place, there's not one single image on this entire website that we haven't personally touched, recomposited, cleaned up, repaired, healed, or enhanced for web viewing. Over 2,800 of those images--as of this writing--are fully recomposited spot ads from newspapers, trade magazines, and periodicals of the era. Recompositing these spot ads to restore them to their appearance when first viewed usually takes from as little as half an hour to as long as several hours--each.
  • In the third place there's not one single image on the pages of the one book by that author that we own.
  • And finally, and most obviously, the Radio Programming articles we publish are here for one purpose and one purpose alone--to educate. They're absolutely not here to make a buck on the basis of sloppy historical research.

In the process we've also enjoyed numerous conscientious visitors helping us correct our research, findings, captions or logs. That's the best peer review of all. And that's precisely why we publish these articles on the Internet in the first place. Our research, articles and logs aren't etched in stone--nor should they be.

We're almost certain that you didn't find this page from any 'otr' site links. Quite understandable, since our information is tantamount to 'kryptonite' for the overwhelming majority of them--especially the ones top-heavy with 'highly credentialed otr experts.' We invite you to check out the accuracy of our articles and logs for yourselves then ask yourselves one simple question:

Why don't any 'highly credentialed' otr sites link to our fully provenanced articles?

The answer is patently obvious: poor or wholly unsubstantiated information is one of the primary characteristics of 'commercial otr'--o-t-r, a term invented out of whole cloth 35 years ago to commercially exploit vintage radio recordings, performers and writers--coincident to the expiration of the vast majority of their copyrights in 1976. 'OTR' is about one thing and one thing only--money. 'OTR' and American Radio Broadcasting History are the antithesis of each other.

That term 'commercial otr', or old time radio: What precisely does that mean? It's intentionally ambiguous--by design. It's certainly not historically representative--also by design. And it's absolutely not a term that came from conscientious Golden Age Radio or Vintage Radio proponents and participants of the era--who have consistently over the years referred to this historic medium as either 'vintage radio' or 'golden age radio.'

There's one very practical exception: unless they were paid to refer to it as 'otr' or 'old time radio' as a condition of appearances at old time radio conventions. 'OTR' such as it is in its current deteriorating state is nothing more than an utterly commercial undertaking attempting to pass as a vintage radio preservation activity. Golden Age Radio isn't 'old-time' by any rational stretch of the imagination--it's timeless. Absolutely timeless for those who actually listen to it. But as must be obvious from reading virtually all other circulating radio program logs in the U.S., it becomes increasingly obvious that almost none of those program loggers actually listen to what they log.

Here's our challenge: compare any WikiPedia-referred "OTR" article or log to our corresponding article or log:

  • Which one shows you the proof behind the information provided?
  • Which one explains the preemptions or breaks in detail?
  • Which one shows you spot ads proving announced schedule starts and changes?
  • Which one has original, interesting biographies from the series?
  • Which one shows you all the derivations of a program?
  • Which one is accurate enough to substantively challenge the 'otr' misinformation it debunks?

Tens of thousands of our visitors can already answer these questions to their satisfaction.

We've taken a radical departure with our original articles. We began with a sanity check of information we'd accumulated over the years from the internet and various published articles. That extensive review revealed more and more identical misinformation that simply didn't track with our own ears, let alone our combined 35 years of study of vintage radio. We began to smell a rat. Sure enough, the vast majority of the circulating information was simply plagiarized from one or two sites or books, or, even worse, were simply made-up anecdotes or hearsay with no factual support--or provenance--of any kind whatsoever.

Further investigation brought us to the sad realization that well over 60% to 75% of the 'information' in circulation throughout the 'commercial otr world' was comprised of recycled, plagiarized, or utterly unsupported anecdotes. This realization made us mad as wet hens. The absolute worst of the lot were of the 'complete and accurate' variety, which in every single case that we've undertaken thus far, were far from complete, and utterly INaccurate. The vast majority of those 'complete and accurate' logs stem from one, sloppily led, highly commercial Yahoo group. Thankfully, we can't honestly believe that any serious collector or Radio Historian would base his or her own logs on 'research' that sloppy.

But as we began to debunk anecdote after anecdote, completely inaccurate log after log, we soon realized that we'd probably have to begin each new article or log with the presumption that the vast majority of circulating information about each of them was mostly recycled or plagiarized rubbish. Sadly, our research to date on these articles only underscores that evolving hypothesis each time we undertake a new Radio program from the era.

That same, commercial Yahoo group has consumed eight years of a purported 1,500 expert researchers' combined efforts, squandered tens of thousands of dollars in 'donations', and an equal number of man-hours to arrive at approximately 104 purportedly 'certified, complete and accurate logs' of the Radio programs they've purportedly 'researched'. What's that you say? You didn't realize that the OTRR is a commercial enterprise? [See? You've learned something already. ] We passed the 245 articles and logs mark after only twelve months of structured effort. We're so confident of our own due diligence that we challenge anyone reading this to compare any of our articles and logs to any Yahoo group article or log of the same program.

As always, you're free to believe commercial otr-fabricated rubbish or historical proof. It's always your choice.

All the above having been said, here's our own disclaimer:

We represent that we have verified in one form or another--from at least two hard-copy historical sources, references, or first-person accounts--that the information currently contained in our articles is as up to date and as accurate as presently verifiable. As more authoritative sources present themselves or surface, we'll continue to update these articles, commensurate with the quality of any new discoveries.

What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here are the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No misrepresentations. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.

We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.

We continue to provide honest research into these wonderful Golden Age Radio programs simply because we love to do it. If you feel that we've provided you with useful information or saved you some valuable time regarding this log--and you'd like to help us even further--you can help us keep going. Please consider a small donation here:

We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.

All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2011 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.

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