Click to go to Digital Deli Too Home Page blank head
Preserving the Golden Age of Radio for A Digital Age
Explore Our Golden Age Radio Research Pages Click here to learn about our approach to Golden Age Radio Preservation [Under Development] Click to go to Our Radio Articles Page This Feature Is Currently Not Available
This will take you to our Numeric Radio logs
This will take you to our A Series Radio logs This will take you to our B Series Radio logs This will take you to our C Series Radio logs This will take you to our D Series Radio logs This will take you to our E Series Radio logs This will take you to our F Series Radio logs This will take you to our G Series Radio logs This will take you to our H Series Radio logs This will take you to our I Series Radio logs This will take you to our J Series Radio logs This will take you to our K Series Radio logs This will take you to our L Series Radio logs This will take you to our M Series Radio logs
This will take you to our N Series Radio logs This will take you to our O Series Radio logs This will take you to our P Series Radio logs This will take you to our Q Series Radio logs This will take you to our R Series Radio logs This will take you to our S Series Radio logs This will take you to our T Series Radio logs This will take you to our U Series Radio logs This will take you to our V Series Radio logs This will take you to our W Series Radio logs This will take you to our X Series Radio logs This will take you to our Y Series Radio logs This will take you to our Z Series Radio logs This will take you back to our Text List of Radio logs

Original CBS Forecast header art

The CBS Forecast Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> CBS Forecast

Article announcing the first CBS Forecast season of 14 'preview' programs, dated July 15, 1940
Article announcing the first CBS Forecast season of 14 'preview' programs, dated July 15, 1940

Article announcing the second CBS Forecast season of 14 'preview' programs, dated July 14, 1941
Article announcing the second CBS Forecast season of 12 'preview' programs, dated July 14, 1941

Article announcing the first CBS Forecast season of 14 'preview' programs, dated July 15, 1940
Article announcing the first CBS Forecast season of 14 'preview' programs, dated July 15, 1940

Article announcing the second CBS Forecast programs of Season One, dated July 22, 1940
Article announcing the second set of CBS Forecast programs of Season One, dated July 22, 1940

Article announcing the third set of CBS Forecast programs of Season One, dated July 29, 1940
Article announcing the third set of CBS Forecast programs of Season One, dated July 29, 1940

Article promotiong week Four of CBS Forecast's first season, with Of Stars and States as the focus, Aug. 4, 1940
Article promoting Week Four of CBS Forecast's first season, with Of Stars and States as the focus, Aug. 4, 1940

Article promotiong week Five of CBS Forecast's first season, with Leave It To Jeeves as the focus, Aug. 11, 1940
Article promoting Week Five of CBS Forecast's first season, with Leave It To Jeeves as the focus, Aug. 11, 1940

Article promotiong week Six of CBS Forecast's first season, with Back Where I Come From and a Dramatic Double Feature, Aug. 18, 1940
Article promoting Week Six of CBS Forecast's first season, with Back
Where I Come From and a Dramatic Double Feature, Aug. 18, 1940

Article promotiong Week Seven of CBS Forecast's first season, with Bethel Merriday and All God's Children, Aug. 25, 1940
Article promoting Week Seven of CBS Forecast's first season, with Bethel Merriday and All God's Children,
Aug. 25, 1940

Article announcing the second CBS Forecast season of 14 'preview' programs, dated July 14, 1941
Article announcing the second CBS Forecast season of 12 'preview' programs, dated July 14, 1941

Article announcing Week Two ofthe second CBS Forecast with 51 East 51 and Mischa The Magnificent, dated July 14, 1941
Article announcing Week Two of
the second CBS Forecast series with
51 East 51 and Mischa The Magni-
ficent, dated July 21, 1941

Article announcing Week Three of the second CBS Forecast series with Pibby and The Houlihans and Deductions Deluxe, dated July 28, 1941
Article announcing Week Three of the second CBS Forecast series with Pibby and The Houlihans and Deductions Deluxe, dated July 28, 1941

Article announcing Week Four of the second CBS Forecast series with Song Without End, the story of Claude Debussy, dated August 4, 1941
Article announcing Week Four of the second CBS Forecast series with Song Without End, the story of Claude
Debussy, dated August 4, 1941

Article announcing Week Five of the second CBS Forecast series with Class of 41 and Hopalong Cassiday, dated August 11, 1941
Article announcing Week Five of the second CBS Forecast series with Class of '41 and Hopalong Cassiday [sic], dated August 11, 1941

Article announcing Week Six of the second CBS Forecast series with Country Lawyer, arguably the finest preview by CBS of the entire two Season run of Forecast, dated August 18, 1941
Article announcing Week Six of the second CBS Forecast series with Country Lawyer, arguably the finest preview by CBS of the entire two Season run of Forecast, dated August 18, 1941

Article announcing Week Seven of the second CBS Forecast series with Three Wishes and Search for A Sponsor, dated August 25, 1941
Article announcing Week Seven of the second CBS Forecast series with Three Wishes and Search for A Sponsor, dated August 25, 1941

Lovely Bea Wain holds the distinction of being Command Performance U.S.A.'s first requested performer with her rendition of Chatanooga Choo-Choo on March 1, 1942
Lovely Bea Wain holds the distinction
of being Command Performance
U.S.A.'s first requested performer
with her rendition of Chattanooga
Choo-Choo on March 1, 1942

A Negro Minstrel Show parodied at the Savoy Hotel, ca. 1941
A Negro Minstrel Show parodied at the Savoy Hotel, ca. 1941

What remains of The Tree of Hope in front of the old Lafayette Hotel, ca. 1935
What remains of The Tree of Hope in
front of the old Lafayette Theatre,
ca. 1935

The setting for the original Tree of Hope in front of the Lafayette
The setting for the original Tree of
Hope in front of the Lafayette
Theatre, ca. 1935

Ethel Waters, ca. 1941
Ethel Waters, ca. 1941

Duke Ellington, ca. 1941
Duke Ellington, ca. 1941

Mercer Ellington, ca. 1942
Mercer Ellington, ca. 1942

Herb Jeffreys, ca. 1954
Herb Jeffreys, ca. 1954

Hall Johnson of the Hall Johnson Choir, ca. 1957
Hall Johnson of the Hall Johnson Choir, ca. 1957

"Marked for future reference . . ."

Preview programs weren't new in Radio. Since the mid-1930s the major Film Studios had been plugging their latest productions through a multitude of Movies On The Air types of programs. They were much like the trailers shown in later years in movie houses across America, and very much like those annoying five to seven movie trailers we each pay $10 to see with our favorite movies of today. But these were on Radio. The Film previews simply served to create interest in the listening public. In one instance, Warner Bros. attempted something similar to Radio program previews with its Warner Academy Theater often referred to as Encore Theatre of The Air, in which promising rising young Warner Bros. stars were featured in screenplays upon which the listening audience could phone or write in to voice their approval or disapproval for a given talent or screenplay.

Radio program previews--or public auditions--were a new wrinkle in test marketing for their day. CBS and NBC both exercised this technique during the 1940s. CBS's rendition was called CBS Forecast. NBC's rendition was called NBC Premieres [For Your Approval] and the later Show Case which auditioned BBC Programmes for possible adoption by the network. Not to be outdone, MBS also employed the format with its For Your Approval in 1946 and emcee'd by Sherman 'Jock' MacGregor. It was a very innovative way to gauge the potential of a proposed program to a far greater audience than test marketing auditions might disclose. To be sure, CBS, NBC, and MBS performed such focus group testing for smaller productions. They'd invite a cross-section of their target audience to one of their studios, give them the grand tour, treat them like honored guests, then sit them down and gauge their responses to a test program.

But the major broadcasts that CBS Forecast, NBC Premieres and MBS For Your Approval produced were far grander in both scope--and potential, if they clicked with a nationwide audience. It's CBS Forecast that we'll examine and chronicle here. If you've already taken a peek ahead, you'll have noticed both the calibre of talent and the potential scope of some of these proposed programs. Any one of them, by the time they reached this stage of network assessment, might very well have taken off with the public. But the network had to be sure on two counts:

  • Would they generate strong enough prime-time ratings to risk airing them as sustaining productions until a major sponsor could be brought on board, or . . .
  • Would a potential listening sponsor be so taken with the proposed program that they'd make CBS an offer to sponsor the program on spec . . .

The more resource-intensive productions certainly merited a wider test audience--especially proposed programs with major name stars. Major talent might receive $5,000 to $10,000 a week for a program they performed in on a recurring basis. Add another $4,000 to $7,000 per week in production costs, technical support, marketing, supporting cast, orchestra, etc., and you're talking a major investment for the day. CBS Forecast simply provided CBS a wider net to cast over the airwaves and perhaps snag a bigger fish in the process. And indeed, they did--on occasion. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we'll address the framework for the First Season.

Given the network's desire to gain the most visibility for their previews, they enlisted--and obtained--the support of the print industry to help tout the potential winners. Placing quarter-page announcements with newspapers in their target markets, they gave most of the proposed productions a reasonably good send-up. With accompanying photos of either the proposed stars or groups they were promoting, they helped to further whet the appetite of the readers--and potential listeners. Placing the entire run in the same prime-time time slot helped as well. Broadcasting on Mondays, after the dinner hour, gave CBS their best bang for the buck--and best opportunity for success.

CBS inaugurated its first Forecast season in the Summer of 1940. This was another strategic move. CBS's prime-time slots were invariably occupied with one or more of their nightly, longer-running successful programs. In this instance it was Lux Radio Theatre, a solid, already long-running, highly popular CBS drama and movie anthology. Most major productions broke for the Summer. So rather than fish around for something to keep the slot warm for three months, CBS essentially put the onus on themselves with these two seasons of Forecast. It was a clever, well-calculated gamble. Forecast's opener for its first season was a half-hour of Variety followed by a half-hour of Drama. Airing from both coasts during most of the Forecast broadcasts, the variety program, The Battle of Music aired from CBS's New York Studios. The dramatic test program, The American Theatre, aired from CBS's Hollywood Studios.

Whenever CBS aired a double bill they would generally air the New York broadcast first in the line-up, followed by the Hollywood broadcast. Given the prime-time Lux Radio Theatre slot allotted to Forecast, it made better sense to air the East Coast broadcast first.

Season One: Week One

The Battle of Music was a fascinating concept. Pitting a contemporary Dance Band against a more traditional Symphonic Orchestra provided a rarely heard counterpoint between the two, often dissonant, major music formats, hence the name. Conjecture as to its merits aside, the airwaves were already filled with any number of Band Remotes, as well as a full compliment of traditional symphonic orchestral offerings. In addition, programs such as The Chamber Music Society of Lower Basin Street already provided some of that counterpoint and entertaining dissonance. Esteemed Metropolitan Opera commentator Milton Cross delivered the critique of the mostly Jazz, Boogie-woogie and Swing music program, given in equal measure of tongue in cheek and artistic assessment. It ran for twelve years. The Battle of Music might very well have made a respectable run, but it wasn't picked up . . . . then. But it was picked up some five years later, as Battle of Music with Deems Taylor and Leonard Feather. So score this one a delayed fuse, perhaps.

The first Hollywood presentation starred Frederic March and Florence Eldridge in a proposed American Theatre series. The test program was The Gentleman From Indiana, a dramatic slice of American life much in the mold of The Best Years of Our Lives. Proposed as an inspirational dramatic anthology series, The American Theater would have drawn on the finest American novelists of the 19th and 2oth Centuries, anthologizing a broad cross-section of simple, hardworking Americans and the values they held most dear. The Gentleman From Indiana was written by Booth Tarkington, and adapted for the proposed series by John Houseman of the Mercury Theatre. Houseman also directed the production. The stirring music was scored and directed by Lud Gluskin. Married couple, Frederic March and Florence Eldridge performed very poignantly and effectively, but The American Theatre wasn't picked up.

Season One: Week Two

Forecast's second double-bill offered up a Comedy/Variety vehicle starring Danny Kaye with the working title, When You Were 21, and broadcast from New York. Proposed as an anthology of retrospectives on noteworthy years in America's Entertainment Past, it was more a vehicle for Danny Kaye's versatile antics than any other element of the production. And in that regard it worked, albeit on a timed fuse basis. Danny Kaye would launch his well-received The Danny Kaye Show with Lionel Stander four years hence, in much the same mixed format--minus the retrospective hook. So perhaps give this preview a close, but no cigar.

By contrast, CBS struck solid gold with the Hollywood broadcast of Forecast's second double bill. Proposed as a suspense thriller anthology, aptly titled, Suspense, the preview production mounted The Lodger with no less than Alfred Hitchcock directing his own adaptation of his own 1926 silent film chronicling the infamous Jack The Ripper--The Avenger. As if that wasn't enough to kick-start Suspense into regular production, The Lodger starred Herbert Marshall in the key narrating role, with Lurene Tuttle--Radio's First Lady, Joseph Kearns--later to be Suspense's The Man in Black, and Edmund Gwenn. Wilbur Hatch--of The Whistler--provided the wonderfully atmospheric musical scoring and direction. It was a stunning presentation, as might be expected from the sheer talent behind the preview. Intended as a vehicle for the only recently immigrated Alfred Hitchcock and his already lengthy filmography, the concept in its original form would have seen Hitchcock adapt his many films for a Radio thriller anthology.

Within two years, Suspense would commence a twenty-year Radio run, and one of CBS's greatest success stories of its Radio History. Suspense would go on to six highly successful seasons in early Television as well. If CBS hadn't gained one other 'Suspense' out of the two years of Forecast previews, Suspense alone recouped CBS's investment a thousand times over. As it turned out, Suspense didn't need Alfred Hitchcock to sustain it, nor did Alfred Hitchcock need Suspense to kickstart his career in America. But this historic juxtaposition of one of history's great Radio thriller anthologies and one of history's greatest thriller directors makes this broadcast one of The Golden Age of Radio's genuine treasures.

Season One: Week Three

Forecast's third week was another mixed bag and, again, somewhat bittersweet. From Hollywood, Forecast introduced Angel, a conceptual dramatic anthology centered around a Red Cross Nurse, and starring Loretta Young. From New York, Forecast debuted Duffy's Tavern with Ed Gardner.

Given all of the well-deserved publicity The American Red Cross earned throughout the first half of the 20th Century, it defies logic why this program wasn't picked up. The concept wasn't lacking in the least, and Loretta Young and Elliott Lewis were predictably effective in their respective roles. CBS's West Coast maestro, Wilbur Hatch, again scored the preview. A beautifully sympathetic treatment of a True Boardman story, we personally found Angel very compelling. One can only surmise that the timing simply wasn't right for its star, Loretta Young. For whatever rationale, Angel wasn't picked up--ever.

By contrast, the Duffy's Tavern preview evolved into another silver mine for CBS--and a gold mine for NBC-Blue and NBC. Ed Gardner debuted his irrepressible 'Archie', manager of Duffy's Tavern. A precursor to any number of local watering hole formats that followed it for the next sixty years, Duffy's Tavern was an almost Runyonesque treatment of the second home--and refuge--that, for many during the era, was their local neighborhood bar. Duffy's Tavern eventually ran for eleven years for CBS, NBC-Blue and NBC and another year in its Television incarnation. The Radio program also spawned a star-studded feature film, Duffy's Tavern (1945). All in all a very lucrative franchise, indeed. And it all started here, in CBS's Forecast.

Season One: Week Four

Forecast's fourth week brought one of the run's relative turkeys, an hour-long Variety format posited around the concept of presenting one American State's performers and musical and comedic traditions each week for, one would surmise, an intended forty-eight weeks. Perhaps they'd have lumped Rhode Island and Delaware into one week and brought the run in at forty-seven weeks. Not to demean the concept, but with the Nation at War and on the brink of being at War on two fronts simultaneously, one can't really see such a format succeeding. Sooner or later one or more of the smaller states would have come up dry, and in any case, we were a nation trying to pull together, not compete or attempt to one-up one state over the other. Given the political temperament of era, one has to wonder if this wasn't just another CBS attempt to appease Representative Martin Dies of Texas. In any case, the Hollywood broadcast preview showcased the State of Texas. One of the brighter spots of the presentation was the opportunity to showcase young starlet Virginia Vale. Hedda Hopper and Knox Manning were also predictably entertaining. Needless to say, Of Stars and States didn't make the cut.

Season One: Week Five

Forecast's fifth attempt was another stark contrast in formats--and quality. From New York we got The Life of The Party, a kitchen sink kind of production, positing the notion that every entertainer "has at least one bit he or she can do better than just about anyone else." In a more rational vein, the Hollywood broadcast was an attempt to star Edward Everett Horton and Alan Mowbray as Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, the valet from P.G. Wodehouse's classic comedy Leave It To Jeeves.

New York's kitchen sink broadcast had everything from American legend Bill Robinson tap dancing on a typewriter, to a musical fire extinguisher, to a man singing with his hands, to four of the Brooklyn Bums in a singing quartet--oh, and Hildegarde . . . being Hidegarde. All in all somewhat more reminiscent of The Gong Show meets The Ed Sullivan Show--with the best of the Gong Show and the worst of the Ed Sullivan Show.

Hollywood's Leave It To Jeeves offering was potentially very entertaining, but for Edward Everett Horton's treatment of Bertie Wooster. It just didn't ring true. Alan Mowbray and the supporting West Coast cast were very entertaining, and Edward Everett Horton was wonderful in almost any other role but Bertie Wooster. Apparently the listening audience agreed with us. It's really, really hard to mess up P.G. Wodehouse, but somehow CBS managed to do just that. Wilbur Hatch's transitions were--yet again--wonderfully timed and effective. But Leave It To Jeeves ultimately got left behind

Season One: Week Six

New York contributed to both the first and second offerings for CBS Forecast's sixth week. Opening from New York with Back Where I Come From, a wonderful folk singing and story-telling retrospective on the Great Depression's horrific Dust Bowl experience of painfully recent memory. Framed against the mass upheaval the Dust Bowl poverty created, performers Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, Len Doyle, The Golden State Quartet, Josh White and Henry Faulk contributed folk vignettes in song and story. Esteemed critic Clifton Fadiman emcee'd. If for no other reason than to hear a reasonably clear rendition of Woody Guthrie, this particular preview is a genuine keeper. Most of these performers could be heard on a regular basis on Alka Seltzer's National Barn Dance or The Bob Burns show. Putrefaction was a central theme of this presentation. Back Where I Come From aired briefly on some CBS East affiliates during the Fall 1940 season, as a fifteen-minute program for five months before disappearing completely from the CBS line-up in mid-March 1941.

Double Feature was an interesting contrast. Again from New York, Edna Best starred in Ever After, a lovely treatment by Keith Fowler of a what if hypothesis involving Snow White and Prince Charming. The question raised was, "Did they really live happily ever after?" Interestingly, Roy Atwell reprised his role as the dwarf, Happy, from the origjnal Walt Disney animated feature. To sum this one up, think Walt Disney meets The Bickersons and you pretty much have it. It was cute, novel and unique, but it got the hook.

The second half of Double Feature devoted itself to a Hollywood production of the Norman Corwin written and directed To Tim At Twenty. Starring married couple Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester, the story is a characteristically interesting Corwin twist. Charles Laughton sets down to pen a letter to his son for the son's twentieth birthday--fifteen years hence. The further twist is Laughton is an infantry officer writing from a trench on the battlefields of France, only moments away from one of those suicide charges so prevalent--and deadly--in trench warfare.

There's no question this format would have succeeded had it been given a chance. The contrast between the rather frivolous fare of Ever After and the poignant tale of a doomed man writing his last letter to his only son was a pretty great expanse of emotional impact. Had CBS turned over the entire production to Corwin's short stories, there's no doubt it would have attracted an audience--and sponsors. Corwin's genius is nowhere better showcased than in the remarkable number of poignant, shared vignettes of Life that Corwin manages to cram into this limited fifteen-minute format. Laughton and Lanchester were predictably brilliant.

Season One: Week Seven

Week Seven of CBS Forecast brought even more contrast in its two offerings. First from New York was an all-star musical montage starring gifted, legendary baritone Paul Robeson leading several Negro performers and groups. All God's Children leant a traditional Negro Spiritual theme to the half-hour with songs and readings by Paul Robeson, comedy by Eddie Green, the stirring Eva Jessye Choir and backed by the Mark Warnow Orchestra. Famous composer Earl Robinson penned the brilliant score and CBS's own Phil Cohan directed the ambitious ensemble. And ambitious it was, for a half hour format. It was over before it started. One wonders what they might have mounted with a full hour to present their talent. For its part, CBS was too politically cowardly to promote the All God's Children production, other than by the faintest of possible praise. One wonders what they could possibly have been thinking to produce it in the first place if they had no intention of promoting it. To its shame, America wasn't ready for a prime-time mixed race inspirational music format--much as it wasn't ready for the Norman Corwin message dramas of the era. In that respect both of the night's offerings were about three years ahead of their time.

Bethel Merriday was the Hollywood offering for the evening. Based on the Sinclair Lewis novel, it was CBS's hope that Margaret Sullavan might be the talent the production needed to put this preview over the top. The story traces the development of a stage actress purported to be the equal of a Helen Hayes or a Katherine Cornell. Episode 1 opens with a retrospective on Beth's formative years. Presumably subsequent episodes would have traced the various stages of her life. Adapted by Helen Deutsch specifically for Margaret Sullavan, it becomes obvious that the script was tailored to Margaret Sullavan's breathless, provocative delivery. Deutsch preserves Sinclair Lewis' gift for describing middle-American small town life. It was good theater, but not quite ready for prime-time.

Season One: Week Eight

CBS Forecast capped off its first Summer of Previews with an hour-long patriotic presentation ambitiously titled The Birth of A Nation. The format called for a series of patriotic retrospectives on the development of The Republic from its roots and everywhere in between. The preview installment traces the tribulations of Peter Zanger and his fight for Freedom of The Press between 1734 and 1735 in colonial America. Presented as prologue to the revolutionary developments to come, the selection was a good one. The acting talent was also superb with Frank Craven, Burgess Meredith, Mary Astor, Gene Lockhart and Thomas Mitchell in the leading and supporting roles. The proposed patriotic retrospective should have struck a chord, but the Nation was at War and looking forward, not backward. America was making history every day the War churned on. Ten years earlier or ten years later it might have clicked. Dupont's Cavalcade of America beat them to it--and was still airing. There just wasn't enough room at the time for another competing, prime-time retrospective of American History.

Season One Summary:

On sum, CBS Forecast's first season acquitted itself well. They got two sure-fire winners out of it, mounted fourteen interesting, varied teasers for eight weeks, and just as importantly, kept Lux Radio Theatre's spot nice and warm for another season. As history would demonstrate, CBS could have stopped right there and rested on the laurels of the Duffy's Tavern decade to come and the two decades of Suspense to come. But like a shark that needs to keep moving to keep oxygen circulating over its gills, CBS needed to continue to seek the next 'Suspense'. So it was that they dipped their toe in the shark infested water for one more Summer--The Summer of 1941.

Season Two: Week One

Arabian Nights consumed the entire hour of CBS Forecast's first offering of the Summer of '41. The first half was prologue and background. The second half was a sample episode of the proposed series, directed by Charles Vanda and adapted by True Boardman. It was a very ambitious undertaking, starring the mysterious, very private Marlene Dietrich and a supporting cast of Hollywood players, including Gale Gordon as The Sharia, or King. Simply obtaining Ms. Dietrich's participation in this exercise had to be major coup in itself for CBS. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov penned Scheherazade, Opus 35 in 1888, as a musical interpretation of the book of the "Thousand Myths" of Persian lore. Rimsky-Korsakov's atmospheric opus weaves beautifully in and out of the entire production as, one assumes, performed by Wibur Hatch and his orchestra. The back story of Scheherazade herself is truly the fabric of myth and legend. As the story went, a young Persian King had been betrayed by his first wife. In retaliation, the King married a different young virgin each day, spent the night with them, then had them beheaded the following morning. According to the legend, he'd engaged in these serially monogamous marriages for just over eight years--a total of 3,000 young wives. Against her father's wishes, Scheherazade agrees to marry the King. But when their wedding night arrives, she regales him with the first of what would become 1,000 fascinating nightly tales of Persian derring-do. Quite wisely, the story she chose for that first, critical night was a tale of a faithful wife, as suggested by pre-arrangement with Scheherazade's younger sister. According to Sir Richard Burton, Scheherazade:

"had perused the books, annals and legends of preceding Kings, and the stories, examples and instances of by gone men and things; indeed it was said that she had collected a thousand books of histories relating to antique races and departed rulers. She had perused the works of the poets and knew them by heart; she had studied philosophy and the sciences, arts and accomplishments; and she was pleasant and polite, wise and witty, well read and well bred."

Clearly the young queen was well equipped to continue to entertain the blood-thirsty Sharia with her fascinating tales. And so she apparently did, for 1,000 nights and three young sons later.

Dietrich actually played three roles in Arabian Nights; Scheherazade herself, Zamura the slave girl, and Zamar the King. Sadly, we can't hear Dietrich's rendition of Zamar The King, since only three of the 4-disc electrical transcriptions of this broadcast have survived. It's just as well. Even still, where this proposed CBS series could have led is anyone's guess--but it didn't lead to a prime-time production. But again, if we fast forward ten years, we find Marlene Dietrich finally starring in her own drama anthology, Cafe Istanbul--for Mutual.

Season Two: Week Two

CBS's second Forecast of Season Two proposed two comedy/variety formats, each with a different twist. Seemingly both situation comedies, 51 East 51 was advertised as "a new musical show with comedy, and vice versa" in which artists and performers would be weaved into the script as a natural element of the unfolding of the story for the evening. Mischa The Magnificent, by contrast, was to be more of a straight situation comedy but with some variety worked into the scripts.

51 East 51 opens the hour with its broadcast from New York. The namesake for the proposed series is a nightclub named 51 East 51, presumably its address in New York City. Beautiful band singer and chorus director Kay Thompson is the mistress of ceremonies at the club and gets to try her hand at Radio comedy for the first time. Lionel Stander and Everett Sloane are cast as a team of screenwriters known for their comedy scripts--and pranks. Erik Rhodes provides a little--emphasis on little--comic relief in his persona as Ramon, a reportedly Maurice Chevalier-esque character. Archie Bleyer's orchestra is billed as the club's band. In practice much of this ensemble falls flat. Everett Sloane in particular, cast against type as a wise-cracking comedy writer seems utterly out of place in the production. Erik Rhodes' Ramon is amusing but clearly contrived. All of this is a shame, since Kay Thompson seems to show promise as a potential singing comedienne. Basically, the ensemble attempts to portray itself as simply writers and performers passing a typical evening at 51 East 51. The program closes with hints that possible further episodes would guest star Orson Welles, Groucho Marx, Boris Karloff and Danny Kaye. Jackson Wheeler, the announcer, attempts to sneak in his own credit sotto-voce in the final seconds of the broadcast. Pretty cheesy. Much like the entire production. We feel we're in pretty good company mildly panning this preview. No less a critic than Walter Winchell observed on July 28, 1941, " . . . That Forecast item, "51 East 51" (with Kay Thompson, Lionel Stander, et al) made good listening, but they murdered it in advance--shrieking how gorgeously superior it was going to be. Look: don't make up your minds, eh, fellas? . . ."

From Hollywood, Mischa The Magnificent stars Film and occasional Radio character actor Mischa Auer pretty much being Mischa Auer. Which is appropriate since the program is described as being biographical in nature. We'll cut to the chase here and simply say this one was a stinker. Mischa Auer portrayed some fascinating, wacky characters throughout his Film and Television career but as a lead in a situation comedy about his own life he was a flop-o-roonie.

Season Two: Week Three

Forecast's third outing of the Summer was comprised of two situation comedies. The first, from New York was Pibby and The Houlihans, the story of an Irish-American family and its rollicking adventures. The second preview, from Hollywood, was Deductions Deluxe, billed as a comedy-mystery starring Adolphe Menjou and Verree Teasdale--or Mr. and Mrs. Menjou--as a pair of married society sleuths.

Pibby and The Houlihans from New York starred the famous Stage and Film character actor Dudley Digges in the role of Pibby Houlihan, head of the Clan Houlihan and scoundrel and schemer extraordinaire. The proposed series would have continued the adventures of Pibby and his scheming mateys much in the vein of Amos 'n' Andy. The reference to Amos 'n' Andy is much in evidence throughout the preview broadcast. Call this one Amos 'n' Andy meets Paddy O'Gill. Or more appropriately, Amos 'n' Andy meets James McGill, the program's director. In practice, thirty minutes of the tales of an Irish scoundrel with no apparent redeeming qualities appears to have been thirty minutes too much. Dudley Digges was fine in a role he'd pretty much perfected on the Stage and in Film in many variations, but he wasn't enough to carry the program.

Hollywood's contribution, Deductions Deluxe--pronounced Delooxe--presented an entertaining variation on those other two popular married sleuths, Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man (1934). The wrinkle here is the stars, Adolphe Menjou and Verree Teasdale, were actually married in real life. They portrayed Roger and Twyla Boone, of the Deductions Deluxe Detective Agency, hence the name of the proposed program. The wrinkle was charming enough and the repartee from writers Keith Fowler and Frank Galen was snappy enough. The mystery yarn was alright as well. The cast was also quite good. Gerald Mohr plays the Ordway's Irish chauffeur Jerry Hogan. Verna Felton plays society matron, Mrs. Gerald Ordway, the owner of Fluffy the Green Poodle. Arthur Q. Bryan plays Sir Oliver Trout, a fellow dog-lover. Kathleen Fitz plays Miss Alice Mason, the focus of the mystery. The canine element frames the title of the preview caper, "The Problem of The Painted Poodle," or "Who Gave Fluffy the Brush?" An entertaining enough premise and a well-spun mystery with an interesting take on the dénouement.

Of the productions from Forecast's first three weeks, this one showed the most promise. The proposed capers to follow were also interesting:

  • "The Problem of the Elderly Juvenile"
  • "Which of The Chorus Girls Has A Wooden Leg?"
  • "The Affair of The Listening Corpse"
  • "Should A Hearse Have An Outboard Motor?"

The program never aired on CBS, but NBC had already debuted The Adventures of The Thin Man in July of 1941 and NBC debuted Mr. and Mrs. North in 1942--both long-running programs following along the same lines as Deductions Deluxe.

Season Two: Week Four

CBS's sixth preview presentation--from New York--tackled another ambitious dramatic undertaking; a biography of Achille-Claude Debussy titled Song Without End. The production stars Burgess Meredith as Claude Debussy and Margo [María Marguerita Guadalupe Teresa Estela Bolado Castilla y O'Donnell] as the love of his life, his inspiration--and his Achille's heel, the similarly mono-named Gabrielle. This is a hard one to figure on two counts: 1.) there are no circulating examples of this recording, and 2.) what could CBS have been thinking. Perhaps it was a consolation prize to Burgess Meredith--he'd already gotten the hook with CBS's preview of the previous Forecast season, The Birth of A Nation.

Burgess Meredith undoubtedly turned in one of his more sensitive performances, I'm sure. But I just don't see Margo as the inspiration of Claude Debussy's life. To Francis Lederer's life perhaps. And clearly to Eddie Albert's life. But to Claude Debussy? And more apropos of the format, exactly what series was this supposed to have developed into? A retrospective on the lives of great tortured composers? Or perhaps a retrospective on tortured artists in general? Every composer in history's led a tortured life. That's what composing is . . . torture. I'm sorry, but I can see why this one scored a miss rather than a hit without ever having heard it. That's not to say it doesn't pique my interest, but it hasn't made it onto my must have list just yet.

Season Two: Week Five

Forecast's fifth outing presented two well-intentioned, but quite different send-ups. The first, from New York, was a youthful revue called Class of '41. The Hollywood offering was a juvenile western adventure, Hopalong Cassidy.

Class of '41, from New York, was a wonderful idea, conceptually, anyway. And in many ways it was ultimately quite a success for many of the artists and writers it showcased. I can almost see it as a recurring program back then. CBS stood to make out pretty well, also. With a weekly showcase of young new up and comers, there's every reason to expect it might have born even more fruit for CBS in time. But there already existed any number of ways for CBS to cast a spotlight on a young new 'comer.

The program showcased new young actors, writers, and performers--hence, the Class of '41, calculatedly ambiguous. The writers, guided by comedy pros Abe Burrows and Mac Benoff, were Herb Rickles, Sid Rogers, Ernest Lehman, Sid Garfield, Jim Backus and Lawrence Burns. The up and coming young actors were Arnold Stang, Jim Backus, and Al Bernie. The young performers were The Choralites and Gwen Davies. Jack Jordan, Eddie O'Shea, and Timmy Hodges provided the remainder of the young supporting cast. Reviewing the list of performers, it's clear that well over half of this cast went on to very productive careers in their own right. The Choralites were a bit grating after the first two or three of their pieces, but lovely Gwen Davies was a real stand-out, as was Lyn Murray and his CBS Orchestra. Jim Backus and Arnold Stang went on to compile extraordinary careers in Film, Radio and Television. All in all CBS did very well for its young protégés, but alas, the concept wasn't quite ready for a prime-time green-light.

Hopalong Cassidy, the Hollywood offering, was a delayed winner for CBS. By the Summer of 1941, Paramount had already reeled off thirty-nine of the Hopalong Cassidy Westerns. That franchise was already a well-established, continuing gold-mine for both Paramount and William L. Boyd--not to be confused with William 'Stage' Boyd, an infamous, drunken cur of the 1930s. The character had begun as Hop-Along Cassidy--he had a limp but he was fast on the draw--from the pulps to the silver screen. William Boyd reinvented the character as the squeaky clean, non-smoking, non-chewing, non-drinking, non-swearing and non-womanizing Hopalong Cassidy--basically the antithesis of the pulp character. And yes, Hoppy famously wore a black hat, but his horse was pure white, he never ever drew first and he rarely shot to kill. He'd shoot you in the hand, in the arm, in the gun, in the saddle--never in the horse, in the chaps, or in the spurs, but he'd almost never shoot to kill--anyone or any thing.

In its preview incarnation, Hopalong Cassidy was played by Lou Merrill. Most elements of Clarence E. Mulford's famous cowboy are preserved. In the preview Hoppy was asked to mosey up to Utah to look into a rustlin' problem his friend Judge Marlin has been experiencing. Hoppy leaves Red Connors to mind the Bar-20, the Arizona ranch Hopalong Cassidy calls home. After a brief, uneventful eight hundred-mile mosey (poor Topper), Hoppy arrives to find Judge Marlin indeed beset with rustlers and land-grabbers. Gerald Mohr plays Bart Collins, Judge Marlin's nephew. Ruthless rustler/con-artist/bushwhacker Clark Crandall confronts Hoppy at the local watering hole in Twin Forks, trying to warn Hoppy off the case. Never one to back down, Hoppy and his sidekicks commence ta wrasslin', tustlin', and shootin' their way out of their first showdown with Crandall.

Long story short . . . Hoppy corrals the bad-guys, saves the good-guys and does it all without spittin', drinkin', cussin', or killin' anyone. The format was pretty formulaic for the era and the full half-hour gives the yarn plenty of time to unravel. All in all an intriguing audition for the long-running Radio and Television franchise that eventually arrived in 1950. But this one wasn't an immediate winner--for CBS.

The real Hopalong Cassidy's first Radio airing was over the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1950. CBS finally obtained the Radio franchise nine months later, in September 1950, airing it for two seasons while inaugurating its wildly successful The Adventures of Philip Marlowe detective dramas during the short Summer 1951 replacement season for Hopalong Cassidy. This brought Gerald Mohr full circle, having played the villain in Hopalong Cassidy's initial airing, only to get his kick-start into a long running series from Hoppy a full ten years hence.

William Boyd had wisely literally hocked his own ranch to buy up all the Film rights to Hopalong Cassidy, as well as the Hopalong Cassidy name. [Note to self: If a time machine is invented, go back to 1946 and outbid Bill Boyd]. By the time Hopalong Cassidy finally aired over Radio, his Commodore Productions was creating the transcriptions. Almost simultaneously, The Adventures of Hopalong Cassidy began airing over NBC as their first network Television program (1949). All in all a wonderfully lucrative franchise for anyone that was a party to it for well over 20 years. On the CBS production side, Wilbur Hatch showed even more versatility scoring the Hollywood production for CBS Hollywood. Score this one another CBS winner, albeit belatedly and in a round-about way.

Season Two: Week Six

Forecast's sixth 1941 week devoted itself to a full-hour, Hollywood presentation of beloved character actor Raymond Massey in Country Lawyer. Country Lawyer chronicled the story of a small town country lawyer--Samuel Seldon Partridge-- from just after the Civil War to just before World War I. The program devotes a good fifteen minutes of its prologue and exposition to trace the multimedia history of the best-selling book, The Country Lawyer, a fascinating, behind the mike historical chronicle in itself, framed as a legal brief in support of the proposed CBS production.

The next thirty minutes launch into the first episode of The Country Lawyer, based in the charming small town of Phelps, New York. Civil War veteran Samuel Seldon Partridge actually moved to Phelps to practice law shortly after the War and moved into the law office at 15 Church Street in Phelps a few years later. Partridge never owned the building, but due to the 1939 best-selling novel, The Country Lawyer, written by his son, Bellamy Partridge, the building became known as The Country Lawyer's Office from that time forward. It still stands, virtually as erected, to this day.

We digress--though it's tempting to, given the wonderfully nostalgic frame for this program. Charles Vanda produced and directed the production. Harold Medford wrote the masterful adaptation. Wilbur Hatch composed and directed the marvelously touching musical atmosphere for the production. Knox Manning played Bellamy Partridge, Arthur Q. Bryan played Old Tic. Joseph Kearns portrayed the narrating lawyer. Frank Graham appeared as Jerry Billings. Kathleen Fitz played Mrs. Partridge. Earl Ross appeared as Fred, the District Attorney. Bennie Rubin played Charlie Hobson. Edgar Barrier portrayed Gus. Berry Kroeger, Ed Max, Grace Lenard, Bea Benadaret, and Jerry Hausner provided the rest of the remarkable Hollywood supporting cast.

All told, we can't say enough about the absolute superiority of this production. It was arguably the finest dramatic presentation of the twenty-six preview run over CBS Forecast's two years. And yet, as hard as it is to believe, the production didn't get the green-light from CBS. There has to be a fascinating sub-plot to this story in particular. The vehicle, as advertised, was unquestionably tailor-made for Raymond Massey. The supporting players, writing and direction were absolutely top-notch. Perhaps it was simply too good for Radio. The only conceivable dog in the manger may have been Massey's Film contracts at the time.

CBS did eventually get to air The Country Lawyer, but as a Lux Television Theatre (Season 3, Episode 8) production out of their fabled CBS Studio 61 in 1951, and starring Thomas Mitchell. Perhaps Massey was simply too busy with Film commitments. Between 1940 and 1945, Massey performed in twelve feature films for Paramount and Warner Bros., culminating with his astounding performance as Jonathan Brewster in the Capra-Corn masterpiece, Arsenic and Old Lace (1944). As with many things in life, if it appears to be too good to be true, it probably is. Such was the case with CBS Radio's Country Lawyer.

Season Two: Week Seven

Forecast's penultimate week of its second--and final--season previews two very different formats. From New York, Three Wishes was an amazing concept in which a famous person would be granted the chance to hear his or her three favorite entertainment wishes. If this sounds familiar, it was the format for the famous, long-running World War II production, Command Performance. In this guise, it was a famous person that would be granted their three choices. Under the Command Performance formula it was G.I.s that got their wishes granted. The Hollywood offering was A Tour of Hollywood, a musical comedy format basically performing in search of a sponsor for the format.

Three Wishes has to have been a breath-taking presentation. Alexander Woolcott (think Truman Capote's grandfather, add about 80 pounds, and you can pretty much conjure up the image) was the famed drama critic for The New York Times and The New Yorker magazine. He was also a long-running commentator on Radio. It was Woolcott that coined the famous quote, "All the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening." Woolcott's 'three wishes' were for the famous Stage couple Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne's rendition of the last scene from "Elizabeth, The Queen", Paul Robeson's rendition of "Water Boy", and Moss Hart, Russell Crouse, Franklin P. Adams, and Frank Sullivan's reenactment of the famous George S. Kaufman sketch, "If Men Played Cards as Women Do." The first two requests were clearly dramatic favorites. The third was a page out of Woolcott's own past. George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart had fashioned their Sheridan Whiteside character from their famous play, The Man Who Came to Dinner on Alexander Woolcott. They were also long-time friends and former members of the famed Algonquin Roundtable, a loose confederation of literary wags that used to gather at New York's legendary Algonquin Hotel for lunch throughout the Roaring '20s. Franklin Pierce Adams--or simply FPA--was another New York commentator, critic, and member of the Algonquin Roundtable. Rex Stout was also a member in good standing. Indeed, in Woolcott's vanity, he fancied himself as the model for Stout's Nero Wolfe character as well.

We wrote has to have been because we know of no circulating example of this wonderful preview. But this presentation is also historic for suggesting the amazing Command Performance U.S.A. (1942) productions that ran throughout World War II. The concept is as compelling today as it was in the 1940s, although given today's artistic temperaments the cost of such a program would be ridiculously prohibitive. Given the talent conjured up by Alexander Woolcott's three wishes the mind reels at what might have been broadcast for an entire season of such a production. The United States Bureau of Public Relations ran with this idea on a recommendation from the advertising firm Young & Rubicam, inaugurating their rendition of this concept in March 1, 1942, and subsequently folded into the Armed Forces Radio Service series as both BPR H-18 and the subsequent AFRS H-18 series, Command Performance (Command Performance U.S.A. was the stateside title). The first program of the BPR run was emceed by Eddie Cantor, as requested by a U.S. Army Private 1st Class with the initials 'R.G.' who requested Chattanooga Choo-Choo performed by Bea Wain. Thankfully Command Performance granted just such a wish a year later, running for well over four-hundred star-studded performances--and proving that G.I.s had just as good taste in great entertainment as New York critics.

A Tour of Hollywood was Hollywood's contribution to Forecast's next to last week. Billed as a musical comedy, in practice it was more a revue. Tony Martin opened the broadcast with his first ever Radio performance of the Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1-inspired Tonight We Love, backed by David Rose and his Orchestra. Character actor and comedian Bert Lahr performed a sketch comedy, Shangri-Lahr which opens in a Hollywood beauty parlor, and Linda Ware performs two numbers. Billed as a musical comedy, the production lacked continuity. As a revue it was notable for the introduction of Tony Martin's hit single Tonight We Love, but not much else. The format wasn't picked up.

Season Two: Final Week

Jubilee was CBS Forecast's final preview of the two year series and it was a splendid finale in every way. Regrettably, CBS didn't think much of it themselves, listing it simply as a "Variety program" in the Forecast time slot in newspaper listings throughout the country. No reference to Forecast or even CBS was made to accompany any of the listings--only the affiliate's call letters gave any hint as to its origin. This was no simple or inadvertent oversight. It was clearly CBS' intent to utterly disassociate itself with its final presentation. This is exactly what it did with the twelfth presentation of its previous season, All God's Children led by Paul Robeson. Once is an oversight. Twice is a slap in the face. CBS loved playing up Paul Robeson's appearances in its mixed card presentation, but when it got down to brass tacks, CBS Corporate wanted nothing to do with promoting an all-Negro program.

One imagines they were patting themselves on the back for even producing and airing Jubilee and All God's Children in the first place. It's instructive to remember that this was still only 1941. America's Negros were fighting and dying 'over there' for all of America. It was six years before Jackie Robinson would break the color barrier in Baseball. Not even progressive states like Massachusetts were permitted to associate either the names CBS or Forecast with their newspaper listings for either of these ground-breaking presentations. It's seventy years later and one still has to shake one's head.

Produced in coordination with the Negro Radio Workshop, the first half hour originated in New York, with a 'romantic prologue' titled Tree of Hope. The second half-hour originated from Hollywood, carrying the title Jubilee, the actual proposed preview program.

Tree of Hope refers to the tree of hope located in front of the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, a symbol to all aspiring young Negro performers of the possibilities inherent in Hope. Through myth, lore, religion and choral interludes, the Tree of Hope theme is expanded to describe an anecdotal history tracing the progress of Negro performers in America. The narrative is astonishingly frank and pragmatic for its time. Phil Cohan directed the New York segment. The segment includes renditions of early minstrel shows, actually applauding the traditional Sambo and Mister Bones characterizations of the earlier era. Snippets tracing the birth of The Blues in the South are beautifully intercut throughout the narrative montage. The narrative then traces the birth of Jazz in the same manner. Broadway's early Negro revues are described as the most significant opening to mainstream exposure for the early Negro performers. Scat dancing and singing are explored through the frame of Bill Robinson's first break onto The Great White Way. In the final analysis the Tree of Hope is held up as the gateway to a national stage, such as that afforded by the following broadcast from Hollywood.

Orson Welles introduced the segue into the Jubilee segment. It's instructive to remember that it was Orson Welles and John Houseman of The Mercury Theatre that helped direct the all-Negro Macbeth presentation under the auspices of the WPA's Federal Theatre Project that introduced much of America to the talent of Negros in Classical Theatre. Charles Vanda directed the Hollywood segment which opens with Ethel Waters announcing her own segment of Jubilee, followed by a medley of her signature songs. Ethel Waters narrates and sings a moving rendition of The Crucifixion. She wraps up her segment with Hoagy Carmichael's standard, Georgia On My Mind. Duke Ellington swings into the next segment with his signature piece, 'A' Train, followed by Flamingo, sung by Herb Jeffreys. Monologist Wonderful Smith does a clever bit of business communicating with Heaven with Ma Bell's help. Mercer Ellington gets a boost with one of his pieces directed by 'Dad'--The Duke himself. Hall Johnson introduces America to his Hall Johnson Choir with Let My People Go, The Battle of Jericho, and Get On Board. Also heard were the Juanita Hall Singers, Hamtree Harrington, Flournoy Miller, and Georgette Harvey. 'Central Avenue Horace' Wilkes is the commentator (Los Angeles' Central Avenue was L.A.'s Harlem, the heart of Negro Clubs and entertainment during the 1940s and 1950s).

There's no rational reason why this program couldn't have enjoyed a prime-time spot on the radio dial. It was excellent--it still is excellent. As it turned out, Jubilee enjoyed the same spotlight Command Performance U.S.A. enjoyed through distribution to the troops beginning October 9, 1942, only six months after Command Performance began distribution under the auspices of The Bureau of Public Relations. The Bureau of Public Relations also pressed the first rendition of Jubilee as Freedom's People. Once transitioned to the AFRS the name was changed to Jubilee. Appropriately, Rex Ingrams introduces Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington and The Hall Johnson Choir as the lead entertainers for Jubilee's first official transcription disc distributed throughout the world to its troops. The AFRS designation, H-11 refers to how early into AFRS distribution Jubilee entered the system.

It's no wonder that the entire Jubilee run comprises some of the Jazz, Swing and Blues collectors' most prized holdings today. CBS' loss was our American troops' gain. Ostensibly created for Negro G.I.s, Jubilee, Downbeat and G.I. Jive soon became the most requested transcriptions in both the Pacific and European theatres of operation--by both American troops and international troops--with an eventual run of over 500 unique electrical transcriptions spanning 1942 to 1952. Hmmm . . . a popular, ten-year run. Too bad CBS didn't pocket a dime of that action. Success, indeed, is the best revenge.

There are a whole host of misconceptions and misinformation about this series. It's not really appropriate here. We've highlighted the most egregious misinformation in our Provenances section below. CBS Forecast has long been one of Radio's most misunderstood broadcasts. We hope we've managed to clear the air a bit and give this fine preview series its due.

Please send any comments or factual clarifications to digitaldelitoo at thedigitaldeli dot net. All rights reserved.

Copyright Digital Presence New England 2009.

Series Derivatives:

Jubilee; Suspense; Hopalong Cassidy; Duffy's Tavern; Command Performance; Battle of Music
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Public Audition Programs
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): They were all test programs for future consideration.
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): Season One: 40-07-15 01 The Battle of Music
Season Two: 41-07-14 01 Arabian Nights
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): Season One: 40-07-15 to 40-09-02; CBS; Fourteen, 30-minute or one-hour programs; Mondays, 9:00 p.m.
Season Two: 41-07-14 to 41-09-01; CBS; Twelve, 30-minute or one-hour programs; Mondays, 9:00 p.m.
Syndication: CBS Radio
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Season One: John Houseman, Alfred Hitchcock, Glenhall Taylor, Charles Vanda, Norman Corwin in Hollywood; George Zachary, Brewster Morgan, Dave Elman, Nicholas Ray in New York
Season Two:
Sterling Tracy, Frank Galen, Keith Fowler, Charles Vanda, W. B. Lewis, and Nat Goldstone in Hollywood; Earle McGill, Perry Lafferty in New York
Principal Performers: Season One: Frankie Hyers, Joe Venuti, Freda Gibson, Gordon Gifford, Fredric March, Florence Eldridge, Danny Kaye, Rush Hughes, Joan Edwards, Lurene Tuttle, Noreen Gammill, Edmund Gwenn, Joseph Kearns, Ed Gardner, F. Chase Taylor, Gertrude Niesen, Larry Adler, Mel Allen, Loretta Young, Elliott Lewis, Nan Grey, Dickie Jones, Virginia Vail, Donald Barry, Ann Miller, Knox Manning, Cortez Peters, David Ross, Shirley Wayne, Joseph Julian, Fred Hall, Hildegarde, The Dodgers Quartet, Dixie Walker, Tex Carleton, Alan Mowbray, Donald Morrison, Edward Everett Horton, Helen Wood, Edna Best, Mark Smith, Roy Atwell, Richard Whorf, Elsa Lanchester, Charles Laughton, Clifton Fadiman, Woody Guthrie, Len Doyle, Burl Ives, The Golden Gate Quartet, Josh White, John Henry Faulk, Bob Burleson, Byron Kane, Howard Da Silva, Margaret Sullavan, Norman Corwin, Norman Field, Paula Winslowe
Season Two:
Mischa Auer, Arthur Q. Bryan, Dudley Digges, Adolphe Menjou, Verree Teasdale, Verna Felton, Edwin Max, Gerald Mohr, Kathleen Fitz, The Choralites, Jack Jordan, Eddie O'Shea, Gwen Davies, Arnold Stang, Bea Benaderet, Benny Rubin, Berry Kroeger, Earle Ross, Edgar Barrier, Edwin Max, Jerry Hausner, Joseph Kearns, Kathleen Fitz, Knox Manning, Raymond Massey, Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, The Hall Johnson Choir, Hamtree Harrington, Flournoy Miller, The Juanita Hall Choir, Wonderful Smith, Orson Welles, Georgette Harvey, Tony Martin, Bert Lahr, Linda Ware
Recurring Character(s): Varied from production to production
Protagonist(s): Varied from production to production
Author(s): Sinclair Lewis, Bellamy Partridge, Booth Tarkington, Marie Belloc Lowndes, P.G. Wodehouse
Writer(s) Season One: George Faulkner, Ed Forman, Nathaniel Curtis, Sylvia Fine, True Boardman, Keith Fowler, Norman Corwin, Alan Lomax, Nicholas Ray
Season Two:
Roz Rogers, Carl Hertzinger, George Corey, Keith Fowler, Frank Galen, Jim Backus, Herb Rickles, Sid Rogers , Ernest Lehman, Sid Garfield, Larry Berns, Paul Pierce, TSgt Harold Medford, Jean Holloway, Sam Perrin
Music Direction: Season One: Lud Gluskin, Wilbur Hatch in Hollywood; Lyn Murray, John Kirby and His Orchestra, in New York
Season Two: Wilbur Hatch in Hollywood; Lyn Murray in New York
Musical Theme(s): Season One:
Season Two: Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Sheherazade, Opus 35; Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1
Announcer(s): Season One: John Tillman, Thomas P. Francis, Thomas Freebairn-Smith, Dick Joy, Ken Niles,
Season Two: Frank Goss, Jackson Wheeler, Bob Moon, Art Gilmore, 'Central Avenue Horace' Wilkes
Estimated Scripts or
Season One: 14
Season Two:
Episodes in Circulation: Season One: 12
Season Two:
Total Episodes in Collection: Season One: 13
Season Two:
Contributor Jerry Haendiges, Forecast Log by Martin Grams, Jr., Mason City Globe-Gazette.

Notes on Provenances:

We invite you to compare our fully provenanced research with that of the OTRR and their Forecast log. We've provided a screen shot of their current log for comparison, HERE to protect our own due diligence and intellectual property.

All above cited provenances are in error in one form or another--some far more than others. The most helpful provenances were the Mason City Globe-Gazette newspaper listings. The most inaccurate provenance was the Forecast Log by Martin Grams.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


This was not a series of auditions. They were previews. Auditions were produced specifically for potential sponsors, networks, or affiliates. They were not intended for public consumption. Forecast programs were preview programs for possible future productions. Any 'otr' source that suggests otherwise is simply mistaken.

There was no episode titled Thousand and One Nights in either season of Forecast. The title of the first program of Forecast's Second Season was Arabian Nights, Q.E.D. Thousand and One Nights is simply yet another made-up name from commercial 'otr interests'. Anyone can make up a name for any program he or she chooses to. But that doesn't make it the name or title for the production or the program. Simply repeating misinformation a thousand times doesn't change the historical facts. Nor as this one notable 'OTR expert' alleges is Arabian Nights simply one, long, half-hour 'monologue'. In the first place no one we're aware of possesses four intact electrical transcriptions from this program. As such there are only three quarters of the existing program to assess. There is a great deal of dialogue between the performers in Arabian Nights, Gale Gordon among them. Any 'otr expert' would know that had they ever actually listened to it.

Contrary to one 'otr expert' in particular, there was most definitely direct feedback from listeners for each and every Forecast program that aired. CBS went out of its way to solicit such feedback following almost every program for both seasons.

Arlene Francis did not appear anywhere--in any capacity--in Battle of Music--or in any other Forecast program for that matter.

It's also suggested that these broadcasts were 'experimental Radio'. CBS never either implied or stated that any of these programs were to be interpreted as 'experimental Radio'. Columbia Workshop and CBS Radio Workshop were CBS' only programming vehicles specifically chartered as experimental Radio--by design.

Forecast's Program #2 of Season Two, 51 East 51 was never promoted or advertised as experimental Radio. CBS 'teased' it as a "new musical show with comedy and vice versa". We fail to see what's experimental about that. There were any number of highly popular, long-running programs with this exact same format in various incarnations. And not to put too fine a point on it, but Kay Thompson didn't 'pour out her unhappy heart' in song. The entire premise of 51 East 51 was to allow events to unfold in the course of the scripted program just as they might have in the course of a typical evening at a popular night club. There was no drama per se. There were some casting missteps, to be sure. And some of the bits fell flat. But this format was designed precisely to gauge whether a production that looked good in scripted or rehearsed form would fall flat on a mass audience. And in fact several of these presentations did just that.

Neither, as this same expert suggests, was there any direct relationship between simple pubic acceptance or approval of a specific program and any certainty that it would eventually air. Public acceptance of any of these programs was simply one facet of the formula for success. In several instances during these two seasons of proposed programming, a perfectly splendid production never made it into production despite listeners' high approval of the production through their cards, letters and phone calls:

  • The contractual obligations of the stars were a factor.
  • Other ongoing projects were a factor.
  • Scheduling was a factor.
  • The War was a factor.
  • Other networks' offerings were a factor.
  • Contractual obligations with existing sponsors were a factor.
  • The potential cost of a production was a factor.

And any of these factors could present a tipping point in one direction or the other, Q.E.D.

Forecast Season One's second presentation, The American Theatre never posited a format of historical American restrospectives. It was presented as a proposed anthology of 19th and 20th century American novels--whether historical or not. There's no comparison or contrast to Cavalcade of America to be made. The stated premise was to focus on "typical American values in a cross-section of American society."

This same review states that Alfred Hitchcock didn't direct the Suspense program of Season One, Week Two. Apparently CBS lied to its national audience--and any potential sponsors--in both its promotional copy and its announcement in the program. The reviewer cites no provenance his statement. Alfred Hitchcock was indeed quite well known in America prior to 1940. The popularity of Hitchcock's movies in America and his growing international fame were the very reasons he was in demand here in the first place.

As to the folly of Herbert Marshall not seriously considering a continuing role in Suspense, had it been picked up that year, Marshall was continuously appearing in any number of Radio programs throughout 1939, 1940 and 1941--his Film schedule permitting. Marshall was also selflessly involved in several projects for the Armed Force Radio Service throughout this period. To suggest that simply because Marshall was appearing in a film at the same time, that he wouldn't appear on Radio any further is just silly.

The same reviewer's enthusiastic obsession with Cavalcade of America resurfaces in his observations about the Loretta Young vehicle, Angel from Forecast Season One. Angel wasn't proposed as an historical retrospective. It was proposed to focus on the career of an American Red Cross Nurse. That's the beginning and end of the premise. Nothing more. No other hidden meaning. By what tortured logic does The American Red Cross equate, yet again, to Cavalcade of America? Could it be because that same commercial reviewer also authored a book on Cavalcade of America?

Of Stars and States had nothing to do with Parade of States from the 1930s. The concept wasn't even the same, except perhaps for the existence of the word 'States' in both titles. Of Stars and States was proposed as a showcase for the Performing Artists of a different American state each week. Again, nothing more.

The tenth program of Season One is titled Back Where I Come From, not "Back Where I Came From," which the same reviewer would have heard if he'd actually listened to it, instead of simply copying the radioGOLDINdex Forecast log or's log to prepare his review. The whole point of the use of colloquial American English was to underscore and inform the folk song aspect of the proposed program. One wonders why this reviewer in particular didn't simply cut and paste the entire radioGOLDINdex Forecast log into his article and put his own name on it. It's as much that way already, radioGOLDINdex's rare warts and all--even radioGOLDINdex's occasional typos . . . verbatim!

Program #12 of Season One is absolutely not titled Jubilee, nor was it a precursor to the AFRS Jubilee canon nor the Jubilee presentation of Season Two. That's simply more recycled 'commercial otr' lore. The name of the program was All God's Children. In fact there's no point of comparison between All God's Children and the Tree of Hope and Jubilee presentations of Season Two. None whatsoever. Period. Well I suppose there's indeed one--they're both showcases of Black talent of the era. If the presence of black performers in a production makes it another secret, hidden, or 'insider knowledge' Jubilee presentation then one might well argue that there were really five 'Jubilee's' in Forecast's two seasons.

Duke Ellington, Wonderful Smith and The Hall Johnson Choir weren't in All God's Children at all--nor was Ethel Waters for that matter. They appeared in Season Two's Tree of Hope and Jubilee programs. All God's Children featured Paul Robeson, the Eva Jessye Choir and Eddie Greene, all backed by the predominantly caucasian Mark Warnow Orchestra and produced and directed by the very caucasian Phil Cohan.

In Bethel Merriday there's no scenarist named "Helen Dutch" except as a typo in the radioGOLDINdex. The scenarist's name is Helen Deutsch. Which yet again explains the persistent recycling of this commercial 'otr' misinformation. The radioGOLDINdex has hundreds of thousands of entries in its marvelous radioGOLDINdex database. It's more than entitled to make a rare error or typo. It's the knuckleheads that keep plagiarizing radioGOLDINdex's work and calling it their own scholarship that riles anyone with a conscience--especially when they plagiarize even its typos.

Season Two, Program #3 is titled the Memoirs of Mischa The Magnificent, not the Memories of Mischa The Magnificent, which any expert reviewer who'd actually listened to it would have heard.

There's no actor named 'Jerry Moore' in Season Two's Program #5, Deductions Deluxe. There is indeed the famous Radio star Gerald Mohr--Gerry Mohr to his friends, but alas, no "Jerry Moore." But take one guess where there is a "Jerry Moore" . . . as a typo in the radioGOLDINdex. Given the above referenced reviewer's extensive scholarship one would reasonably expect that he'd actually listened to Deductions Deluxe before he wrote his 'authoritative log' instead of just 'phoning it in'. . . no? Or is that really too much to expect.

Three Wishes starred Alfred Lunt and his wife Lynn Fontanne, not Fontaine. Nor was Paul Robeson requested to sing Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. He was asked to sing 'Water Boy.'

In a final flourish, the author referenced above rounds out his 'review' with a description of Tree of Hope and Jubilee as being a 'reprisal' [sic] of All God's Children from Season One. He further claims that this is the only repeat broadcast of the entire Forecast run. Putting aside the preposterous misinformation, what possible logic would there be in the CBS Network recycling a presentation from Season One when the entire purpose of this expensive, two-season exercise was to bring new programming to Radio? Then as if to underscore his 'authoritative' review of Forecast, he reminds us that he's the author of a long list of books on 'old-time radio and television'.

Should cataloging integrity matter? That's a very personal decision for any Golden Age Radio collector or preservationist, but continuing to support serial plagiarists serves no one but the poseurs--and their promoters--that it continues to enrich. This wonderfully satisfying avocation deserves far better from its proponents. At an absolute and unqualified minimum, it not only deserves, but demands 'experts' prepared to, at very least, listen to the programs they catalog or about which they disingenuously claim expertise.

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's 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 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.

CBS Forecast Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
Battle of Music
40-07-15 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Forecast (WBBM): the initial broadcast featuring a "battle of music" with Raymond Paige, Albert Spaulding, Joe Venuti, Fredda Gibson, Gordon Gifford, and two orchestras. And "The American Theater" with Frederic March and wife, Florence Eldridge, in Tarkington's "The Gentleman from Indiana."
The American Theatre: The Gentleman From Indiana
When You Were 21
40-07-22 Wisconsin State Journal
Herbert Marshall and Alfred Hitchcock will team their efforts in a "suspense" drama--a new kind of radio drama--during the Forecast program on WBBM at 7 tonight. The play will be an adaptation of Mrs. Belloc Lowndes chill-classic, "The Lodger." Other performers in the show will be Dannly Kaye, Joan Edwards, Rush Hughes, the Four Clubmen, and Lynn Murray's orchestra.
"When Herbert Marshall appears in "Suspense" under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock in the new CBS "Forecast" program Monday it will be in the nature of a test. If the appearance is successful it will turn into a radio serial for Marshall."
"Forecast . . .
Gorgeous Loretta Young and garrulous Ed Gardner will top the list of entertainers on the CBS "Forecast" program Monday at 8 p. m. Miss Young will play opposite Elliott Lewis in True Boardman's especially written "Angel" on the Hollywood half of the hour-long program. Gardner will recreate "Archie" in the grand opening of "Duffy's Tavern" on the New York half."

40-07-29 Wisconsin State Journal
Another demonstration of what radio fans may expect when the fall season opens will be given in "Forecast" on WBBM at 7 tonight. Loretta Young and Elliott Lewis will be starred in "Angel," a Red Cross drama by True Boardman. Ed Gardner will appear in "Duffy's Tavern" as the garrulous Archie, a sort of Runyan-Lardner-Saroyan-Dooley character. Others on the broadcast will be Col. Lemuel Q. Stoopnagle, John Kirby's orchestra, Gertrude Niesen, the Golden Gate Quartet, and Larry Adler, harmonica star.
Duffy's Tavern
Of Stars and States
"A highlight of the broadcast week is the CBS Forecast program aired by KFAB Monday at 7 p m. which this week presents a one-hour variety show from Hollywood entitled, "Of Stars and States." Ths program, designed to show what kind of talent may be provided by a different state each week, draws upon Texas as a sample. Among those to appear are John Boles, Virginia Vayle, Gov. Lee O'Daniel, Nan Grey, Arthur Q Bryan and others."

40-08-05 Wisconsin State Journal
Texas will highlight tonight's "Forecast" broadcast at 7 over CBS-WBBM. The program, a full-hour variety show, will use talent and material exclusively drawn from the Lone Star state. John Boles, Gov. Lee O'Daniel, Virginia Vale, Nan Grey, and the Texas Rangers will participate.
The Life of The Party
"Two more new program ideas make their appearance on the CBS Forecast series Monday night. The first half hour will present "Life of the Party", directed by Dave Elman. The show plays up the idea everyone does one bit of entertainment better than anyone else. Some of the guests Monday will be Hildegarde, Shirley Wayhne, and David Ross. The show is on KFAB at 7 p.m.

40-08-12 Wisconsin State Journal
Edward Everett Horton and Alan Mowbray team up on the Columbia "Forecast" broadcast tonight to present P.G. Wodehouse's "Leave It to Jeeves" over WBBM at 7. Horton plays Bertie Wooster, gentleman-at-large, with Mowbray as the suave, precise, imperturbable gentleman's gentleman.
Leave It to Jeeves
"Wodehouse Story Given

At 7:30 p.m. Edward Everett Horton and Alan Mowbray will be teamed in a radio version of P.G. Wodehouse's famous story, "Leave It To Jeeves.""

Back Where I Come From
40-08-19 Wisconsin State Journal
7:00 p.m.—Forecast with Clifton Fadiman emceeing first half, entitled "Back Where I Come From," drawing on American Folklore; and two dramas in the second half, starring Edna Best in one and Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester in the other."

Double Feature:
Ever After
To Tim At 20


40-08-19 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Forecast (WBBM): Charles Laughton, Elsa Lancaster, Clifton Fadiman, Edna Best, and Roy Atwell, guests. From New York "Back Where I Came From" and from Hollywood, "Double Feature."
All God's Children

"7 00 p.m.— Forecast with Paul Robeson heading first half-hour and Margaret Sullavan in "Bethel Merriday," in the second half."

40-08-26 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Forecast (WBBM): From Hollywood Margaret Sullavan in Sinclair Lewis' "Bethel Merriday" and from New York Paul Robeson with Eddie Greene in a musical production.
Bethel Merriday
"Margaret Sullavan, star of of the current screen hit, "The Mortal Storm," will come in on KGLO-CBS Monday at 7 p. m. playing the leading feminine role in Sinclair Lewis' best seller "Bethel Merriday." This is a special radio adaptation of the novel prepared for Miss Sullavan by Helen Deutsch."
The Birth of a Nation
"Frank Craven, Burgess Meredith, Mary Astor, Gene Lockhart and Thomas Mitchell do a dramatization of Peter Zanger's fight for a free press in 1734-35 under title "The Birth of a Nation," in the last of CBS' Forecast series tomorrow night at 8 WBBM, full hour."
[First Season End]
[Second Season Begin]
Arabian Nights
""FORECAST" PREMIERE Marlene Dietrich, cast in the most exotic role of her career, the glamorous Scheherezade of "Arabian Nights", is the star of the first broadcast of the second annual series of the "Forecast" series to be heard at 7 tonight over WBBM. Sultans, princesses, scheming merchants, dancing slave girls and charging hordes of desert warriors promise to come to lite as Marlene delves deeply, into the greatest source of romantic legendry, the "Arabian Nights.""

41-07-14 Wisconsin State Journal
At 7 p.m., CBS-WBBM will resume its experimental "Forecast" broadcasts. Marlene Dietrich will star in the initial program, portraying Scheherezade and her adventures "for a thousand and one night" in "Arabian Nights."
51 East 51
"Mischa Auer and Kay Thompson are the headliners of the two CBS "Forecast" programs to be broadcast tonight. Kay, singing star of a dozen major radio series, heads a cast including Erik Rhodes of the films, Lionel Slander, Frank Readick and Walter Gross' orchestra in "51 East 51" described as a "new musical show with comedy and viceversa.""
Memoirs of Mischa the Magnificent
"Mischa Auer will be heard from Hollywood in "Memoirs of Mischa the Magnificent," or how to get out of paying room rent. The cofeature will be broadcast from New York starring Kay Thompson in a musical comedy, "51 East 51." WBBM will air the hour starting at 7 p. m."

41-07-21 Wisconsin State Journal
"Forecast's" second broadcast will be a double feature. Mischa Auer will be heard from Hollywood in "Memoirs of MIsha the Magnificent," or how to get out of paying room rent. The co-feature will be broadcast from New York starring Kay Thompson in a musical comedy, "51 East 51." WBBM will air the hour starting at 7 p.m.
Pibby and The Houlihans
"7 p. m. — Forecast (WBBM): Dudley Digges, Adolphe Menjou, and Verree Tensdale, guestars. Dudley broadcasts from New York in the Irish playlet, "Pibby and the Houilhans," while the Menjous are heard from Hollywood in "Deductions Deluxe," a comedy-mystery."

41-07-28 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Forecast (WBBM): Dudley Diggs, Adolphe Menjou, and Verree Teasdale, guestars. Dudley broadcasts from New York in the Irish playlet, "Pibby and Houlihans;" while the Menjous are heard from Hollywood in "Deductions Deluxe," a comedy-mystery.
Deductions Deluxe
Song Without End
""7 p. m. — Foreost (WBBM): Burgess Meredith and Margo in "Song Without End," the life of Claude Debussy in music and drama.""

41-08-04 Wisconsin Satate Journal
7 p.m.--Forecast (WBBM): Burgess Meredith and Margo in "Song Without End," the life of Claude Debussy in music and drama.
Class of '41
"7 p. m. — Forecast (WBBM): "Class of '41," a revue of "stars-to- be"; "Hopalong Cassidy," a hard-riding hero of the westerns."
Hopalong Cassidy
41-08-11 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Forecast (WBBM): "Class of '41," a revue of "stars-to-be"; "Hopalong Cassidy," a hard-riding hero of the westerns.
Country Lawyer
"7 p. m.—Forecast (WBBM): Raymond Massey in Bellamy Partridge's "Country Lawyer.""

41-08-18 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Forecast (WBBM): Raymond Massey in Bellamy Partridge's "Country Lawyer."
Three Wishes
""Forecast" will hit a starstudded high tonight at 7 through WBBM when it presents a split-hour broadcast. The first portion, from New York, will be "Three Wishes," starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontaine, Paul Robeson, Russel Crouse, Moss Hart, Franklin Adams, Frank Sullivan, and Carl Van Doren. The story is to meet the request of Alexander Woollcott to hear once again the three items he has most enjoyed in his lifetime. The second portion, entitled "Search for a Sponsor," will star Bert Lahr, Linda Ware, and Tony Martin."
A Tour of Hollywood
Search For A Sponsor

A Tour of Hollywood transcription label

"THE CBS FORECAST . . . for tonight, on WBBM at 7:30 will bring Tony Martin. Bert Lahr. Linda Ware and Dave Rose's orchestra will feature the second half of the broadcast, titled "Search for a Sponsor.""

41-08-25 Wisconsin State Journal
"Forecast will hit a star-studded high tonight at 7 through WBBM when it presents a split-hour broadcast. The first portion, from New York, will be "
Three Wishes," starring Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Paul Robeson, Russel Crouse, Moss Hart, Franklin Adams, Frank Sullivan, and Carl Van Doren. The story is to meet the request of Alexander Woollcott to hear once again the three items he has most enjoyed in his lifetime. The second portion, entitled "Search for a Sponsor" will star Bert Lahr, Linda Ware, and Tony Martin.
Tree of Hope
[ Last Forecast Program ]
"9:00 P.M.—WFBL-WABC Forecast presents "
Jubilee," all-Negro production"

9 p. m.—Variety: "
Jubilee" with Ethel Waters, Duke Ellington, WABC."

CBS Forecast Biographies

Wilbur Hatch
(CBS Hollywood Music Director)


Birthplace: Mokena, Illinois, U.S.A.

Education: University of Chicago


1937 White Fires Of Inspiration
1939 Gateway To Hollywood
1940 I Was There
1940 Forecast
1942 The Whistler
1942 They Burned the Books
1942 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1942 Meet Corliss Archer
1943 Suspense
1944 American Rhapsody
1944 Three Of A Kind (Audition)
1944 Four For the Fifth
1945 Twelve Players
1945 Columbia Presents Corwin
1947 The City
1947 Camel Screen Guild Theatre
1948 Escape
1948 Shorty Bell, Cub Reporter
1948 The Little Immigrant (Audition)
1948 Our Miss Brooks
1948 Life With Luigi
1948 My Favorite Husband
1949 Young Love
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 Broadway Is My Beat
1951 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1952 I Love Lucy
1952 Hollywood Playhouse Of Romance
1953 General Electric Theatre
1953 Bakers' Theatre Of Stars
1953 Rogers Of the Gazette
1953 Crime Classics
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1958 Luke Slaughter Of Tombstone
1958 Frontier Gentleman

Wilbur Hatch, ca. 1958

Wilbur Hatch, ca. 1958

Wilbur Hatch with Desi Arnaz, ca. 1960
Wilbur Hatch with Desi Arnaz, ca. 1960

Wilbur Hatch was a very active member of the American Federation of Musicians
Wilbur Hatch was a very active member of the American Federation of Musicians

Wilbur Hatch Spot Ad thanking listeners for their response to his American Rhapsody Program, ca. 1944
Wilbur Hatch Spot Ad thanking listeners for their response to his American Rhapsody Program, ca. 1944
A midwestern product, Wilbur Hatch was born in Mokena, Illinois just southwest of Chicago. Wilbur Hatch attended the University of Chicago and upon completing his degree in Music, in 1922, became a staff pianist for KYW Radio in Chiacago at the age of 20. Hatch moved to Los Angeles in 1930 and began working as a staff composer and musician for CBS and Radio KNX in 1937

By 1937 Hatch was composing and conducting for CBS Radio's White Fires of Inspiration (1937-1938), Gateway to Hollywood (1938), and I Was There (1940). In 1940, Hatch got his big break tackling the Music Direction, composing, scoring and conducting for all of CBS Forecast's West Coast-originating previews for both the 1940 and 1941 seasons. The productions ranged from straight dramas to western adventures to comedies to variety programs. In all, Wilbur Hatch was credited with twelve out of the fourteen CBS Hollywood originating programs for Forecast's two preview seasons--an extraordinary performance.

Over the next twenty years, Hatch composed, conducted and/or directed the music for over 4,000 CBS Radio programs. He has one of the top 20 highest number of Radiography entries in the RadioGOLDINdex database of Radio programs and performers. Known for the music behind The Whistler (1942-1955), Hatch also scored the music for five of The Whistler movies, and twelve of The Whistler (1954-1955) Television programs.

Hatch's Radiography shows a breadth and versatility unique in Radio History. Wilbur Hatch directed most of the Screen Guild Players programs over a span of thirteen years. He also scored and directed the music for Broadway Is My Beat (1949) and Our Miss Brooks (1948) and then went on to direct the Music for the Our Miss Brooks (1952-1955) Television programs.

Even as CBS Television was taking off, Hatch continued to score and direct for both Radio and Television. CBS New York had Lyn Murray and CBS Hollywood had Wilbur Hatch. And that's how it stacked up for both of them for over twenty years for CBS.

Hatch got his next career break directing the Music for the I Love Lucy series, which led to his appointment as Music Director for Desilu Studios and all of their prolific output of Television programs. The 1960s saw Hatch directing and/or scoring the music for Gunsmoke (1964), The Untouchables (1960-1963), Mission Impossible (1966-1967), Twilight Zone (1961), and Star Trek (1966-1967).

Despite one of the busiest careers in Hollywood, Wilbur Hatch always found--or made--time to volunteer his talents to a dizzying array of Church and Community programs. His wife, Margaret, was also a Choral Director and soloist. They were both heavily involved in the local Church community.

Hatch was one of Hollywood's most respected and beloved Music Directors for almost thirty years, before he died suddenly of a massive heart attack in 1969. A devoted family man, Hatch was survived by his wife, three children, and eight grandchildren.

Wilbur Hatch continues to be remembered by hundreds of thousands of Golden Age Radio fans to this day. Having scored a great number of Radio and Television's most popular and enduring programs over the years, it's a foregone conclusion that virtually every Golden Age Radio collector has at least 400 to 1,000 examples of his Hatch's work in their libraries. An extraordinary testament to one of Radio's most enduring, yet unsung talents--unsung until now, that is.

Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> CBS Forecast