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Original Frontier Fighters header art

The Frontier Fighters Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Frontier Fighters
Original Frontier Fighters cover art
Frontier Fighters mp3 Cover Art

Frontier Fighters was a fascinating concept. Each script recounted an historical moment or figure from the history of the American Frontier of the 1600s to 1800s. But going well beyond that, each production aired a dramatization of that moment or person. To understand how difficult this had to have been, remember that this was a 15-minute program. But it wasn't really a 15-minute script.

This was a TransCo syndicated program, which provided almost two-minutes of music fill at the beginning and end of each transcription for the sponsors' message(s). This yielded only 11 minutes for the script. The writers had to provided sufficient exposition by the narrator to frame the historical person or moment, then transition to two to six scenes of drama, then provide a closing exposition to tie the whole script together. Going further, the cast often numbered three to five identifiable voices--within only five to seven minutes of available dialogue.

The end result was a fully developed vignette about a significant historical person or event in Frontier History, that included a thorough exposition about the topic of each episode, and a complete dramatization of that event or person. This was a remarkable achievement. One supposes that, for its time, this may not have seemed such a monumental task, but placed in context with other similar documentaries of the period--and well after--it remains a remarkable accomplishment.

Sadly, very little is known about the program other than what has been gleaned from exemplar electrical transcription labels. Thankfully, TransCo's labels were quite thorough, but unfortunately, no attribution has surfaced as to writers, directors, performers or music accompanyment and sound engineering. But what the TransCo labels do provide are the episode numbers for each production.

This series remains a wonderfully compelling production of fascinating, historically accurate--albeit romanticized, and fully developed mini-documentaries on the 39 most important events and persons responsible for the development of the frontier territories of America's Great West. These vignettes are just as fascinating today as they had to have been in 1938.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Dramatized Documentaries
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 38-01-05 01 Robert La Salle
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 38-01-05 to 38-10-26; NBC [KTSM]; Thirty-nine, 15-Minute episodes; Wednesdays, 7:15 p.m. [El Paso, TX], then 6:45 p.m., then 5:45 p.m.
Syndication: Radio Transcription Company Of America (TransCo) [Original Syndicator]; Broadcasters Program Syndicate/Bruce Eells and Associates
Sponsors: Peak-Hagedon Funeral Home
Director(s):
Principal Actors: Hanley Stafford
Recurring Character(s): Vary from script to script
Protagonist(s): Vary from script to script
Author(s): Unknown
Writer(s) Unknown
Music Direction:
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Unknown
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
39
Episodes in Circulation: 39
Total Episodes in Collection: 39
Provenances:

Announced the same day that KTSM began advertising Frontier Fighters, KTSM announced joining the NBC network on January 3 1938
Announced the same day that KTSM began advertising Frontier Fighters, KTSM announced joining the NBC network on January 3 1938

Peak-Hagedon Funeral Home spot ad for 'Frontier Fighters, January 8 1938
Peak-Hagedon Funeral Home spot ad for 'Frontier Fighters, January 8 1938

RadioGOLDINdex (David Goldin), Jay Hickerson Guide, El Paso Herald-Post, Martin Grams' Radio Drama.

Notes on Provenances:

With the exception of the El Paso Herald-Post, all above cited provenances are in error in one form or another. Martin Grams' Radio Drama was the most in error. RadioGoldINdex was the most helpful.

Frontier Fighters has long been poorly documented, primarily due to the inability to determine a first broadcast date for the syndicated series. Virtually every log in the hobby cites an approximate 1935 air date for the series. In fact the first advertised air date for the series was January 26, 1938, though it may well have aired even earlier. This provenanced by its sponsor, the Peak-Hagedon Funeral Home in El Paso, Texas, which sponsored the entire run. Peak-Hagedon's first spot ad for the series appeared in January 26th's El Paso Herald-Post, announcing Peak-Hagedon's sponsorship for the broadcasts airing Wednesdays at 7:15 p.m., then 5:45 p.m., weekly.

  • Episode #1 should be titled Robert de La Salle, instead of 'Robert LaSalle.'
  • Episode #3 should be titled Zebulon Montgomery Pike, instead of 'Zebulon Mt Pike.'
  • Episode #4 should be titled John C. Fremont, instead of 'John C. Freemont.'
  • Episode #6 should be titled Jedediah S. Smith, instead of 'Jebediah S. Smith.'
  • Episode #8 should be titled Dr John McLoughlin, instead of 'John McLaughlin.'
  • Episode #16 should be titled William H. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody, instead of 'William H. Coty.'
  • Episode #21 should be titled Captain Thomas Jonathan Jeffords, instead of 'Captain T J Jefferds.'
  • Episode #22 should be titled Colonel Grenville Dodge and Leland Stanford, instead of 'Grenville, Dodge, and Leland Stanford.'
  • Episode #28 should be titled The Hero Of Fort Phil Kearney, instead of 'John F. Phillips.' There was never a 'John F. Phillips.' John "Portuguese" Phillips was born Manuel Felipe Cardoso in Lages do Pico, in the Azores.
  • Episode #31 should be titled Annie D. Tallent, instead of 'Annie's Talent.'
  • Episode #32 should be titled Ira Burton Perrine, instead of 'Bert Perrine.'
  • Episode #34 should be titled Anson Pacely Killen Safford, instead of 'Anton P.K. Stafford.'

[Note: All of the above errors are from Martin Grams' Radio Drama ($90 dollars). Kind of a stiff price to pay for such inaccurate information. We point this out, having both paid $90.00 for Grams' book. We can't help wondering outloud how an American citizen who demonstrably knows nothing about American history can refer to himself as an historian . . . . just sayin . . ]


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Frontier Fighters Radio Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
38-01-05
1
René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
Y
[ Premiere Episode ]

The story of the great French explorer of Louisiana and the Mississippi river

38-01-05 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-01-12
2
Meriwether Lewis, William Clark and Sacagewea
Y
President Jefferson's expedition is made possible by the faithful Sacagawea.

38-01-12 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-01-19
3
Zebulon Montgomery Pike Jr.
Y
The search for the continental divide and the discovery of Pike's Peak.

38-01-19 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-01-26
4
John C. Fremont
Y
The story of the soldier ordered to explore our country between the Missouri river and the Rocky Mountains.

38-01-26 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-02-02
5
Christopher Houston 'Kit' Carson
Y
Kit Carson leaves Franklin, Missouri and joins a wagon train to Santa Fe.

38-02-02 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-02-09
6
Jedediah S. Smith
Y
How Jedidiah Smith followed the Missouri river, trapped for furs and fought Indians in the Northern Plains.

38-02-09 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-02-16
7
Marcus Whitman
Y
A missionary gives his life to bring his religion to the Indians and secures the Northwest for the new country of the United States.

38-02-16 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-02-23
8
Dr John McLoughlin
Y
The story of the governor of The Hudson's Bay Company who encouraged American immigration into the Oregon Territory.

38-02-23 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-03-02
9
The Donner Party
Y
The story of the ill-fated wagon train that was trapped in the snows of the mountains while heading West.

38-03-02 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-03-09
10
The Fall Of the Alamo
Y
The story of the massacre of one hundred and eighty three Texans by eight thousand Mexicans in 1833.

38-03-09 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-03-16
11
General Stephen W. Kearney
Y
General Kearney travels all the way to Santa Fe to confront the Mexicans.

38-03-16 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-03-23
12
Brigham Young
Y
The great Mormon leader leads his people to what would eventually become Salt Lake City.

38-03-23 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-03-30
13
Joseph L. Meek
Y
The story of the man who brought the Oregon Territory into the United States.

38-03-30 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-04-06
14
Lyman A. Cutler and Captain George E. Pickett
Y
The story of the man who kept the Stars and Stripes flying over San Juan Island on the American-Canadian border, all because of an argument caused by a pig.

38-04-06 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-04-13
15
Marshall and Sutter
Y
The story of the start of the California gold rush.

38-04-13 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-04-20
16
William H. 'Buffalo Bill' Cody
Y
How the start of the Pony Express gave a fourteen year old boy named William Cody the opportunity to become Buffalo Bill.

38-04-20 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-04-27
17
Pike's Peak Rush
Y
Gold and silver is discovered in what would come to be the Colorado Territory.

38-04-27 El Paso Herald-Post
7:15--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-05-04
18
The Santa Fe Trail
Y
The road from Kansas City to Santa Fe New Mexico is freed from the threat of Indians.

38-05-04 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-05-11
19
James Butler 'Wild Bill' Hickok
Y
How James Butler Hickok got his name "Wild Bill," by outshooting a gang of bad guys and getting six bullet wounds and a knife wound in the process.

38-05-11 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-05-18
20
Reverend Thomas Starr King
Y
Reverend King is called to San Francisco in 1860 and dedicates his life to saving the Union during the Civil War.

38-05-18 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-05-25
21
Captain Thomas Jonathan Jeffords
Y
Major General O. O. Howard is told by President Grant to capture Apache Chief Cochise, with the help of Captain T. J. Jeffords.

38-05-25 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-06-01
22
Colonel Grenville Dodge and Leland Stanford
Y
General Dodge and Leland Stanford complete the first transcontinental railroad after the Civil War.

38-06-01 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-06-08
23
The Massacre At Taos
Y
After the governor of New Mexico is killed by a mob, civilization slowly comes to the territory.

38-06-08 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-06-15
24
Custer's Last Stand
Y
The story behind the famous Indian battle.

38-06-15 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-06-22
25
Stephen F. Austin
Y
The story of the founding of Texas.

38-06-22 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-06-29
26
Oregon 54-40
Y
The story of how Oregon became a United States Territory, without our going to war with Canada.

38-06-29 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-07-06
27
Nevada and the Comstock Lode
Y
The big bonanza puts the state on the map.

38-07-06 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-07-13
28
The Hero Of Fort Phil Kearney
Y
Because of the bravery of John Phillips, a fort on the Bozeman Trail was saved from the Indians.

38-07-13 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-07-20
29
Oklahoma Land Rush
Y
The Federal government ignores its promise to the Indians and opens the Indian Territory to settlers.

38-07-20 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-07-27
30
Oregon and the Pacific Republic
Y
The plans for another independent nation during the Civil War.

38-07-27 El Paso Herald-Post
6:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-08-03
31
Annie D. Tallent
Y
The story of the first white woman in the Dakotas.

38-08-03 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-08-10
32
Ira Burton Perrine
Y
The story of a man who dreamed of building a dam in Idaho to open a new frontier to irrigation.

38-08-10 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-08-17
33
Wells-Fargo
Y
A new idea in stage coach protection proves successful.

38-08-17 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-08-24
34
Anson Pacely Killen Safford
Y
The "Little Governor" of Arizona crusades for public education.

38-08-24 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-08-31
35
Arthur A. Denny and the City of Seattle
Y
The story of the founding of the city of Seattle.

38-08-31 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-09-07
36
Yellowstone National Park
Y
The story of how President Grant was persuaded to establish the national park.

38-09-07 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-09-14
37
Eliza Ann Brooks
Y
The story of a pioneer mother.

38-09-14 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-09-21
38
General Nelson A. Miles
Y
The story behind the battle at Wounded Knee, the last Indian uprising in the Dakotas.

38-09-21 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters
38-09-28
39
Alaska
Y
[ Last Episode ]

The story of "Seward's Folly," the purchase of Alaska.

38-09-28 El Paso Herald-Post
5:45--KTSM--Frontier Fighters






Frontier Fighters Biographies




René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle
(French Explorer)


(1643-1687)

Birthplace: Rouen, Normandy


Robert de la Salle
In 1682, upon leaving Fort Crevecoeur with eighteen native Americans, Robert La Salle canoed down the Mississippi River, naming the Mississippi basin "La Louisiane"--in honour of Louis XIV. At what is now the site of Memphis, Tennessee he built a small fort, Fort Prudhomme. On April 9, at the mouth of the Mississippi River near modern Venice, Louisiana, La Salle buried an engraved plate and a cross, claiming the territory for France. France's claim to the Lousiana Territory stood until the Lousiana Purchase of 1803.

The U.S. paid France 60 million francs ($11,250,000) plus the cancellation of debts worth 18 million francs ($3,750,000), for a total cost of $15,000,000 for the Louisiana territory. That amount, adjusted for inflation, would be $279 million in today's dollars.




Meriwether Lewis
(1774-1809)
Albemarle, VA
William Clark
(1770-1838)
Caroline County, VA
Sacagawea
(1788-1812)
Salmon, ID

(American Explorers and their Guide)


William Clark and Meriwether Lewis
William Clark and Meriwether Lewis

Sacagawea-like photo
Sacagawea-like photo

Sacagawea was pregnant with her first child when the Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery arrived near the Hidatsa villages to spend the winter of 1805-1806. Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark built Fort Mandan and interviewed several trappers who might be able to translate or guide the expedition further up the Missouri River in the springtime. They agreed to hire Charbonneau as an interpreter when they discovered that his wife spoke the Shoshone language, as they knew they would need the help of the Shoshone tribes at the headwaters of the Missouri.

Charbonneau and his wife, Sacagawea, moved into the fort a week later. Lewis recorded the birth of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau on February 11, 1805. The boy was called "Little Pomp" or "Pompy" by Clark and others in the expedition.

In April, the expedition left Fort Mandan and headed up the Missouri River in pirogues, which had to be poled and sometimes pulled from the riverbanks. On May 14, 1805, Sacagawea rescued items that had fallen out of a capsized boat, including the journals and records of Lewis and Clark. The Corps commanders praised her quick action on this occasion, naming the Sacagawea River in her honor on May 20, 1805.

As the expedition approached the mouth of the Columbia River, Sacagawea gave up her beaded belt in order to allow the captains to trade for a fur robe they wished to return to President Jefferson.

On the return trip, they approached the Rocky Mountains in July 1806. A week later, on July 13, Sacagawea advised Clark to cross into the Yellowstone River basin at what is now known as Bozeman Pass, later chosen as the optimal route for the Northern Pacific Railway to cross the Continental Divide.




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