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 Frontier Gentleman header art

Original Frontier Gentleman cover art

The Frontier Gentleman Radio Program

Dee-Scription:
Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Frontier Gentleman
February 2, 1958 announcement of Frontier Gentleman, citing Ben Wright as the intended lead.
February 2, 1958 announcement of Frontier Gentleman, citing Ben Wright as the intended lead.

John Dehner reviews a script
John Dehner reviews a script.

Background

1958's Frontier Gentleman wasn't a ground-breaking adult western. That ground had been pulverized both in Radio and Television six years earlier. But Frontier Gentleman's perspective on the rough and tumble Montana and Wyoming Territories of the 1870s was a fascinating twist on the--by then--formulaic adult western.

The protagonist of the series is J.B. Kendall, a cashiered British Cavalry officer who spent most of his military career in the Punjab area of India. He takes a position with the London Times, on assignment to cover the developing frontier of the Montana and Wyoming Territories of America during the 1870s. His portfolio is to transmit first-person accounts of the roaring American frontier, offering insights into that tumultous time of exploration, colonization, warring Indian tribes, and the rampant anarchy still prevalent in most of the frontier towns of the era.

Such a premise would normally sell itself, but may have been too little, too late for its time. Any new Radio western--no matter how novel--was pretty much doomed at the outset during the late 1950s. Television was already in reruns of the twenty to thirty western adventures that proliferated on TV throughout the 1950s. And it was stiff competition, to be sure. Gunsmoke had achieved off the chart ratings for years, and Have Gun, Will Travel was very much a thinking person's western.

This takes nothing away from either John Dehner or Ben Wright's performances in the least. They were consistently top notch. But we'd venture to say that Frontier Gentleman is heard today by far more listeners than ever heard it when it was first broadcast. Be that as it may, it's the listeners of today that matter now. Frontier Gentleman consistently offers a wonderful variation on the western theme. Antony Ellis' scripts are well devised, historically accurate, and fully developed, given the imposed 30-minute formula. The atmosphere provided by both sound engineering and a young Jerry Goldsmith's magnificent musical background also places this program a notch or two above its peers.

Add to that a consistently brilliant cast of Radio's finest voice talent, stir, and voila!: yet another, short-lived, but highly entertaining Radio classic--and one of the last of its genre. In an interesting twist of irony, both Ben Wright and John Dehner auditioned for the lead in the production. Wright's audition was recorded on January 29, 1958, followed the next day by Dehner's on January 30, 1958. And while it was Dehner who won the lead, it was Ben Wright who was announced as the lead in the eight different newspaper announcements we reviewed from February 1958. We're certain there's a fascinating back-story there, but we'll have to keep researching to find it. As it turned out, Wright brought some wonderful characterizations to the four episodes he's heard in during the run.

Wright would certainly have brought authenticity to Englishman Kendall's voice. But in all fairness to Wright, John Dehner's rendition was delivered with equal authority and believability. For all we know, Wright may have been offered a Television deal concurrent with the scheduled recordings of Frontier Gentleman. With any luck, and a bit more persistence, I'm sure we'll tease out more details about the selection of Dehner over Wright.

Another sparkling performance during a four-story arc in Frontier Gentleman was Jeanne Bates (Lansworth) as Madame Verde, a.k.a. Madame Lurlene Monteverde, or as she's named in the four-story arc, Belle Siddons. The remainder of the recurring casts operated much like an ensemble, with a tight group of five to seven of West Coast Radio's finest actors returning in several new roles each week.

Check back in a few months or so, and see what else we can come up with. In the meantime, give Frontier Gentleman another listen, or two--or 43. You'll be pleasantly rewarded.

Series Derivatives:

AFRTS END-Series 'Sagebrush Theater'
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Adult Western Dramas
Network(s): CBS, AFRTS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): 58-01-29 Remittance Man [with Ben Wright]
58-01-30 Remittance Man [with John Dehner]
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 58-02-02 01 South Sunday
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 58-02-02 to 58-11-16; Forty-one, 30-minute episodes; Sundays at 12:30 p.m.
Syndication: AFRTS Syndication
Sponsors: Kent Cigarettes; Studebaker Lark; Tums; Chrysler; O'Brien Paints
Director(s): Antony Ellis
Principal Actors: John Dehner, Ben Wright, Stacy Harris, Jeanette Nolan, Jeanne Bates, Ted DeCorsia, Joe Kearns, Harry Bartell, Virginia Gregg, Vic Perrin, Jack Kruschen, Jack Moyles, Martha Wentworth, Barney Phillips, Charlotte Lawrence, Larry Dobkin, Eddie Firestone, Ralph Moody, Vivi Janiss, William Lally, Parley Baer
Recurring Character(s): J.B Kendall [John Dehner for the production run, Ben Wright for the first audition]; Belle Siddons a.ka. Madame Verde or Madame Lurlene Monteverde [Jeanne Bates (Lansworth)]
Protagonist(s): J.B Kendall, a British reporter for The London Times, reporting from the 'rough justice' frontier of the Montana Territories.
Author(s): Antony Ellis
Writer(s) Antony Ellis, Tom Hanley
Music Direction: Jerry Goldsmith; Wilbur Hatch; Joel Davis
Musical Theme(s): Jerry Goldsmith
Announcer(s): Dan Cubberly, Johnny Jacobs, Bud Sewell, John Wald
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
42
Episodes in Circulation: 42
Total Episodes in Collection: 42
Provenances:
RadioGOLDINdex, 'The Directory of The Armed Forces Radio Service Series'.

Notes on Provenances:

All above cited provenances agree for the most part. The most helpful provenance was the log of the RadioGOLDINdex.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

A fictional 'otr' myth that's been perpetuated for years concerns a purely fabricated tale regarding the tired old 'East Coast' and 'West Coast' ploy. No better than a con-game, the ploy involves a small, but influential, group of early commercial vintage Radio traders that have proselytized a perceived 'need' to collect both East Coast and West Coast renditions of a given transcribed, syndicated Radio program. Let's simply blow this fraud apart with a simple, but telling, observation. Frontier Gentleman was a transcribed network production intended for syndication to a specific set of affiliates within the CBS network. This was 1958. Television was already king. CBS left it to network affiliates that operated both Radio and Television broadcasts in a given region, to arrange their own, most appropriate scheduling of their Radio features. If, for example, they failed to air a specific episode, they could simply air it at a later date--or not at all. If it might have interfered with a more successful Television production in the same timeslot, that would have been yet another reason to either delay, or not broadcast, a specific episode.

The source of this absurd ploy is a product of the East Coast-centric body of early 'commercial otr founders and organizers' who conceitedly determined that they were the epicenter of the vintage Radio collecting universe. This conceit has permeated the entire vintage Radio hobby for almost three decades. When they found the larger, growing community of vintage Radio collectors escaping their artificially-imposed control, they resorted to 'inventing the need' to collect all renditions of a given Radio feature. Box 13, and Escape are other classic examples of this ploy. What's the common denominator? They were all West Coast-originating features. This small but influential body of self-styled East Coast commercial otr magnates couldn't 'control' the West Coast renditions of the programming entering circulation, so they invented a need to collect both the original West Coast broadcasts as well as the invented--but identical--East Coast renditions of the exact same broadcasts--albeit with possible local airchecks and commercials. The East Coast renditions were not only in shorter supply, but they often didn't air at all. How to create something from nothing? Pronounce the fewer East Coast renditions of the exact same recordings as 'rare'. Brilliant, no?

The time is long overdue to restore at least meaningful, titles to the digital .mp3 recordings in our vintage Radio collections. And there's certainly no further excuse to employ arcane, meaningless titles or program names in a digital vintage Radio collection. Frankly I won't even begin to pretend to understand the logic behind well over half of the titles that evolved in the circulating episodes of most otr logs. In the vast majority of cases, anectotal titles bore no meaningful resemblance to either the story line, script, or protagonists of Frontier Gentleman epsiodes. They clearly meant something to a handful of Frontier Gentleman collectors of the past 30 years, but for collectors of today, the majority of the circulating titles for the canon make no sense whatsoever--either logically, or as to plot. The most glaring examples are as follows:

  • The Shelton Brothers -- The Shelton Brothers aren't the focus. The dysfunctional town, South Sunday is the focus
  • There are no such words as either Honkytonkers or Honkeytonkers
  • Naming two completely different titles simply 'Random Notes' is just laziness
  • The Cannibal?? What the heck is that?
  • Daddy BuckBucks, Daddy Bigbucks, Daddy Big Bucks, and Daddy Backbucks??? Why not simply, The Richest Man in The West?
  • The Cowboy. How imaginative is that? This is a forty-one episode, adult western series. What does 'The Cowboy' tell us? They may as well have called it 'The Cactus', or "The Sagebrush" or "The Cow Flop"
  • School Days? It's the story of two competing towns prepared to duel over the one School Marm in the territory.
  • Gambling Lady. Belle Siddons, in her various guises, is a recurring thread throughout the first three quarters of the production run. Her name(s), and exploits evolve in continuity over the first 31 episodes, why not the four titles she appears in?
  • And please . . . The Bellboy's Prisoner? Is that a Thin Man episode?? That's one of the OTRR's contributions from their 'certified complete' set on archive.org where they tell everyone to delete their old Frontier Gentleman holdings before downloading the OTRR certified complete set. How stupid is that?? And where did a bellboy come from, anyway.
  • Mighty Mouse and Mighty Tired?? What do either of those absurd names have to do with the plots--or the price of tea in China for that matter. They're both ridiculous titles.
  • Cat Man. How does that inform the title or the real plot?
  • Wonderboy? What is that? Wonder Boy might be marginally less of a stretch, but it simply trivializes the arc of the script.
  • Golddigger. No such word.
  • . . . and Nasty People?? huh?

Some of the above apocryphal or anecdotal titles may well never be corrected. Some of them, may indeed, represent actual script titles. A handful of artificially influential individuals purport to hold the answers to many of them, but apparently feel obliged to withhold such rudimentary details simply--and only--because they can. We'll continue to uncover as many as we can--hopefully before some of these indivuduals allow these 'secrets' to die with them, to the detriment of American Radio History.

[
Update: A tip o'the hat to Stewart Wright for providing us with two corrections to the titles for the auditions of Frontier Gentleman, as well as the long-missing John Dehner audition of Remittance Man.]


What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here are the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No goofy, upencoded recordings. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No flaky 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.







Frontier Gentleman Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
58-01-29
0
Remittance Man
Y
[ Audition ] with Ben Wright
58-01-30
0
Remittance Man
Y
[ Audition ] with John Dehner
58-02-02
1
South Sunday
The Shelton Brothers
Y
[ Premiere Episode ]

58-02-02 Independent Star-News
It has been quite apparent that television has corralled the Western theme, hut don't look. ' now, here comes radio slipping the noose over a new series entitled "Frontier Gentleman."
Based on the life in Western America during the 1870's as seen through the eyes of a British army veteran, the program will make its debut today, at 12:30 p.m. over CBS-KNX.
Antony Ellis, who created the show, will also write, produce and direct the series.
Featured in the leading role of J. B. Kendall, a quiet-spoken freelance correspondent tor a London newspaper and a veteran of a long service with the British army in India, will be tile
versatile radio and TV actor Ben Wright, who has appeared in many of CBS Radio's most popular dramatic programs.
In the role of a working newspaperman on the lookout for articles of interest for his London paper, Kendall will bring radio listeners weekly stories dramatizing the neverending Indian wars, the battles between roving desperados and the early settlers as well as tales of everyday life in the rough and quarrelsome settlements along the western frontier.
Though mild-mannered, Kendall will become personally involved in the action of which he writes.
Music for tlie new series is composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith.
58-02-09
2
A Meeting With Sitting Bull
Y
a.k.a. Charlie Meeker
58-02-16
3
The Honky Tonkers
Y
58-02-23
4
Kendall's Last Stand
Y
58-03-02
5
The Lost Mine
Y
58-03-02 Independent Star-News
Another new Western being heard on KNX at 12:30 p.m., finds J. B. Kendall, the "Frontier Gentleman," journeying to Fort Benton
where he meets an old miner who takes him for a stranger and tries to talk him into financing a search for a lost mine, alleged to be one of the richest in existence. The action thickens when an undesirable element seeps in resulting in a race for the untold wealth.
58-03-09
6
The Claim Jumpers
Y
58-03-16
7
Big Sam for Governor
Y
58-03-23
8
The Actress
Y
58-03-30
9
Gentle Virtue
Y
58-04-06
10
The Powder River Kid
Y
58-04-13
11
Kendall for The Defense
Y
58-04-20
12
Aces and Eights
Y
[Chrysler commercial]
58-04-27
13
Some Random Notes From A Stagecoach
Y
58-05-04
14
The Richest Man In The West
Y
a.k.a Daddy Big Bucks
58-05-11
15
Shelter From The Storm
Y
58-05-18
16
Advice to the Lovelorn
Y
58-05-25
17
Bound for Laramie
Y
58-06-01
18
Duel for A School Marm
Y
58-06-08
19
Sheriff Belljoy's Prisoner
Y
58-06-15
20
The Well
Y
58-06-29
21
Madame Belle Siddons, Confederate Spy
Y
58-06-29 Bridgeport Post
IN NEW TIME
'"Frontier Gentleman," the western series starring John Dchner, will team up with the veteran "Gunsmoke" for a full hour of outdoor dramas. With the "Jack Benny Show" taking its regular summer vacation, "Frontier Gentleman" will be heard on CBS radio Sundays at 7 p. m., effective tonight, with "Gunsmoke" preceding It at 6:30 p. m.
58-07-06
22
The Education Of Kid Yancy
Y
58-07-13
23
Justice of the Peace
Y
58-07-20
24
Jesse James Robs Kendall
Mighty Mouse
Y
58-07-20 Independent Star-News
J. B. Kendall becomes involved in a stage coach robbery during the "Frontier Gentleman" story heard at 4 p.m. on KNX.
58-07-27
25
Kendall Robs Jesse James
Mighty Tired
Y
58-08-03
26
Nebraska Jack
Y
58-08-10
27
A Wagon Full of Cats
Y
58-08-17
28
The Fastest Gun That Never Was
Y
58-08-24
29
Belle Siddon's Encore
Y
58-08-31
30
Belle Siddon Strikes Back
Y
58-09-07
31
The Last of Belle Siddons
Y
58-09-14
32
A Horse for Kendall
Y
58-09-21
33
Injun Lover
Y
58-09-28
34
The Gold Digger
Y
58-10-05
35
The Librarian
Y
58-10-12
36
How The 'Dead Man's Hand' Got Its Name
Y
[Kent commercial]
58-10-19
37
The Preacher
Y
58-10-26
38
The Rainmaker
Y
58-11-02
39
The Deadly Grover Family
Y
58-11-09
40
Holiday
Y
58-11-16
41
Some Random Notes From A Train
Y
[ Last Episode ]





AFRTS 'Sagebrush Theater' Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
58-02-09
2
A Meeting With Sitting Bull
N
58-07-05 Pacific Stars and Stripes
WEDNESDAY—A new program, "Frontier Gentleman" at 8:05 p.m. starring John Dehner as J. B. Kendall, ft roving Englishman and reporter for the London Times, starts its series with a story about a mistrusted Indian scout and an interview with the great Chief Sitting Bull.
58-02-16 The Honky Tonkers
N
From Frontier Gentleman

58-07-12 Pacific Stars and Stripes
WEDNESDAY—The friendly andcourteous newsman J. B. Kendall finds that these traits get him in trouble when he has a social drink with the girlfriend of a town ruffian on "Frontier Gentleman" at 8:05 p.m.
58-02-23 Kendall's Last Stand
N
From Frontier Gentleman
58-03-09
6
The Claim Jumpers
N
58-08-02 Pacific Stars and Stripes
WEDNESDAY—Roving reporter for the London Times J. B. Kendall stars himself on an exciting drama involving gold and greedy prospectors, when he picks up a young hitchhiker on "Frontier Gentleman" at 7:05 p.m.
58-03-23 The Actress
N
From Frontier Gentleman
58-04-13 Kendall for The Defense
N
From Frontier Gentleman
58-04-20 Aces and Eights
N
From Frontier Gentleman
58-05-11 Shelter From The Storm
N
From Frontier Gentleman
a.k.a. The Cannibal
58-05-18 Love's Labors Are Not Always Lost
N
From Frontier Gentleman
a.k.a. Advice to The Lovelorn
58-05-25 Bound for Laramie
N
From Frontier Gentleman

58-11-08 Pacific Stars and Stripes
Wednesday. Nomadic newsman J. B. Kendall moves through the Wyoming
Territory and gets Involved in a pistol-slinging affair between some cattlemen and homesteaders on "Frontier Gentleman" at 8:05 p.m.

a.k.a. The Cowboy
58-06-29 Madame Belle Siddons, Confederate Spy
N
From Frontier Gentleman
a.k.a. Gambling Lady
58-07-06 The Education Of Kid Yancy
N
From Frontier Gentleman
58-09-07 The Last Of Belle Siddons
N
From Frontier Gentleman
58-11-02 The Deadly Grover Family
N
From Frontier Gentleman
58-11-09 Holiday
N
From Frontier Gentleman
Bill Richmond, Prospector
N
From Frontier Gentleman






Frontier Gentleman Biographies




John Dehner [John Forkum]
(
J.B. Kendall)
Radio, Television, Film and Stage Actor, Stage Director, Professional Pianist, News Editor and Commentator, Champion Fencer
(1915-1992)
Birthplace:
Staten Island, New York, USA

Radiography:
1945 Dispatch From Reuters
1947 Family Theatre
1947 Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1948 Lassie
1948 Escape
1948 Let George Do It
1948 NBC University Theatre
1948 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1948 The Whistler
1949 Screen Director's Assignment
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Emotion
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 Suspense
1950 Romance
1950 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1951 Short Story
1951 Pursuit
1952 The Black Book
1952 The Man Called X
1952 The Pendleton Story
1952 Wild Bill Hickok
1952 The Silent Men
1952 The Judge
1952 Gunsmoke
1952 Hollywood Playhouse Of Romance
1953 General Electric Theatre
1952 On Stage
1953 Bakers' Theatre Of Stars
1953 Rogers Of the Gazette
1953 Lux Radio Theatre
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1954 Crime Classics
1954 Stars Over Hollywood
1954 Inheritance
1954 Life With Luigi
1956 Fort Laramie
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1958 Frontier Gentleman
1958 Have Gun, Will Travel
1973 Hollywood Radio Theatre
1979 Sears Radio Theatre
Hollywood Notebook
John Dehner c. 1953
John Dehner c. 1953

Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940)
Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940)
Fantasia Draft Illustration
Fantasia Draft Illustration

Walt Disney's Bambi (1942)

Walt Disney's Bambi (1942)
John Dehner c. 1981
John Dehner c. 1981
John Dehner began his career in the Media Arts not as an actor, but as an assistant animator for Walt Disney Studios, working on the classics, "Fantasia" (1940) and "Bambi" (1942), and on several Mickey Mouse cartoons.

Born John Forkum on November 23, 1915 in Staten Island, New York, he was the son of an artist, consequently spending much of his youth throughout Europe. He returned to the U.S. in his teens and briefly tried his hand at stage acting. It was while working for the Walt Disney Studios as an assistant animator, that he volunteered for the Army. Indeed, during World War II served as a publicist for the Army covering the brilliant, flamboyant and quixotic
General George S. Patton. Upon completion of his War service, he worked in radio for several years as a disc jockey, newsman, commentator and actor. He also performed as a professional pianist.

But it was during 1945 that he made his Film and Radio debuts. A tall, striking looking man with a rich voice, penetrating blue eyes, and somewhat flamboyant demeanor, Dehner found himself most often cast as an outlaw leader, corrupt banker or saloon owner in westerns and adventure films. As adept in straight dramatic roles as in thriller, adventure, or detective dramas, it was in western adventures that he is most commonly remembered.

Although his most ardent Radio fans will remember his numerous appearances in both light and heavy detective dramas of the late 1940s and early 1950s. His first leading role was in 1947's Voyage of The Scarlet Queen, but some of his most enjoyable and memorable character roles were in Let George Do It, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, The Adventures of Sam Spade, and Richard Diamond, Private Detective. Indeed it was in the lighter detective dramas of the era that he showed a distinctive flair for both sardonic and flamboyantly comedic character roles.

Though originally cast as Capt Lee Quince for the Fort Laramie audition, it was his friend Raymond Burr that assumed that role for the production run of the series. But Dehner remained part of the Fort Laramie ensemble, appearing in several roles throughout the production's run. Dehner's appearances in radio westerns were as numerous as his appearances in radio detective dramas. But it was the western genre that gave him leads as J.B. Kendall in Frontier Gentleman (1958) and as Paladin in Have Gun, Will Travel (1958).

A highly esteemed and versatile character actor, his distinctive baritone voice--and timing--was instantly recognizable in whatever role he voiced in Radio. But in fact, throughout his Radio performing years he was just as active in Film and Television, appearing in over 280 films and television episodes between 1945 and 1988.

Having mastered virtually every area of the Performing Arts--Animation, Musical Performance (Piano), Stage, Radio, Film and Television, John Dehner stands as one of the most versatile artists and performers throughout the Golden Age of each of the major Performing Arts.

While a Los Angeles radio news reporter, editor and
commentator, he garnered KFWB the covetted Peabody Award for his coverage of the first U.N. Conference on International Organization in San Francisco between 25 April 1945 and 26 June 1945. He was also voted "Best Radio Voice" by Radio Life Magazine.

Indeed he became as much of a Renaissance Man in his chosen fields as the famous general he covered during World War II. John Dehner remains one of the 25 most fondly remembered and respected male actors of The Golden Age of Radio, leaving his mark on virtually every major Media endeavor of the 20th Century--in one capacity or another.



Jeanne R. Bates [Jane Bates; Jeanne Bates; Jean Bates]
(Belle Siddons)
Stage, Screen, Radio, and Television Actor
(1918-2007)

Birthplace: Berkeley, California, U.S.A.

Education: Burlinghame High School; San Mateo Junior College

Radiography:
1940 Whodunit
1945 Doctor Christian
1947 Family Theatre
1947 The Whistler
1947 Shorty Bell, Cub Reporter
1948 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1948 Let George Do It
1948 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1948 The Anacin Hollywood Star Theatre
1949 Sam Pilgrim's Progress
1949 Prowl Car
1949 Escape
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 The Adventures Of Frank Race
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Adventures Of the Saint
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1950 Night Beat
1950 Rocky Jordan
1950 Lux Radio Theatre
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1950 Romance
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 The New Adventures Of Nero Wolfe
1950 The Amazing Nero Wolfe
1950 The Line-Up
1951 Mr and Mrs Blandings
1951 The Adventures Of Nero Wolfe
1951 Dangerous Assignment
1951 Wild Bill Hickok
19511951 The Man From Homicide
1951 The Great Gildersleeve
1952 Guest Star
1952 Stars Over Hollywood
1952 The Silent Men
1952 Stars In the Air
1952 Broadway Is My Beat
1952 Errand Of Mercy
1952 Gunsmoke
1953 Jason and the Golden Fleece
1953 General Electric Theatre
1953 Bakers' Theatre Of Stars
1953 Retribution
1953 You Were There
1953 Rocky Fortune
1954 That's Rich
1954 Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator
1954 Saturday Theatre
1955 Suspense
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1956 Fort Laramie
1956 Heartbeat Theatre
1956 The Lone Ranger
1958 Whispering Streets
1958 Frontier Gentleman
1958 Have Gun, Will Travel
Skippy Hollywood Theatre

Jeanne Bates as Diana Palmer in The Phantom (1943) for Columbia Pictures
Jeanne Bates as Diana Palmer in The Phantom (1943) for Columbia Pictures


Jeanne Bates co-starred in all 15 thrilling episodes of The Phantom (1943)
Jeanne Bates co-starred in all 15 thrilling episodes of The Phantom (1943)


Lovely young Jeanne Bates as Diana Palmer here seen with Tom Tyler as The Phantom and Frank Shannon as Professor Davidson
Lovely young Jeanne Bates as Diana Palmer here seen with Tom Tyler as The Phantom and Frank Shannon as Professor Davidson


Jeanne Bates in the Boston Blackie adventure The Chance of a Lifetime (1943) for Columbia Pictures
Jeanne Bates in the Boston Blackie adventure The Chance of a Lifetime (1943) for Columbia Pictures


Jeanne Bates as Jean Strague in Perry Mason (1958)
Jeanne Bates as Jean Strague in Perry Mason (1958)


Jeanne Bates as Miss Clay in Perry Mason (1958)
Jeanne Bates as Miss Clay in Perry Mason (1958)



Jeanne Bates as Western Union Clerk in Perry Mason (1958)
Jeanne Bates as Western Union Clerk in Perry Mason (1958)


Jeanne Bates as Edna Gibbs in One Step Beyond
Jeanne Bates as Edna Gibbs in One Step Beyond (1960)

Please visit the Saving The Lives or Our Own website to learn what you can do about this travesty, if the Motion Picture and Television industries won't.

Born and raised in the Berkeley area of California, Jeanne Bates began her acting career while attending Burlingame High School.

Her first real print notice was in a Founder's Day Pageant presentation at Burlingame High School, in the San Mateo Times notice of February 16, 1934, wherein she's mentioned as the capable young performer of the 'religion' presentation of the Pageant. Young Miss Bates is mentioned several times in the Society section of The San Mateo Times throughout the late 1930s, including a favorable 1935 notice for her performance in the Noel Coward play, Hay Fever, with her Burlingame High School theatrical group:

"Jeanne Bates was smooth and well-cast as the sleek Myra Arundel, "a dangerous woman." Her scene with David in the second act was handled admirably. She seems to have a poise and ease on the stage that few students have ever been able to attain."

Miss Bates is also mentioned several times in notices of Bridge Parties she hosted or attended throughout her high school years. More importantly, she continued to receive rave local notices after she graduated from Burlingame and enrolled in the Drama program at San Mateo Junior College. It was while she was still attending San Mateo Junior College, that she began to appear on West Coast Radio soap operas in San Francisco.

She landed a lead role in the West Coast Don Lee-Mutual Radio mystery series, Whodunit (1940), written by her future husband, Lew X. Lansworth. Her scream was the signature element of the program and the show's success secured her an offer to move to Hollywood in 1941 as a Columbia Pictures contract player.

She signed a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1942. Once Jeanne's contract work began to pay off, Bates and Lansworth married in 1943. She had her film debut in 1943, in the Boston Blackie mystery, The Chance of a Lifetime. She portrayed Diana Palmer in the 1943 serial feature, The Phantom (1943) with Tom Tyler. She was also Bela Lugosi's first victim in Return of the Vampire (1943). She also had a small role in the classic, Death of a Salesman (1952).

From the March 3, 1947 edition of The San Mateo Times:

Former J. C. Girl
On Hersholt Show

Jeanne Bates, former Burlingame High school and San Mateo Junior college student, will be heard in a prominent supporting role on the "Dr. Christian" show, starring Jean Hersholt, Wednesday night over the Columbia net. Bates, who attended the junior college in 1936, 1937 and 1938, took several leading roles in plays at the college. She lived at 1272 Cabrillo avenue, Burlingame, at that time. In 1937 she entered radio in San Francisco and was a member of the original cast of the "Whodunit" show on KFRC. Later she appeared in the movies playing supporting roles with Warner Baxter, Chester Morris and Larry Parks. The broadcast will be heard at 8:30 p. m. over KQW.

Jeanne Bates was no flash in the pan. From the beginning of her work in Radio, she rapidly became one of Radio's busiest young actresses. Her radiography rivals that of Lurene Tuttle, Irene Tedrow, Betty Lou Gerson and Virginia Gregg. Her estimated 5,000 appearances over Radio spanned a Radio career of twenty-five years.

Her Television career was even more remarkable. Working steadily in Television almost from it's popular inception, Jeanne Bates was seen at one time or another on virtually every significant Television program during the Golden Age of Television--some 4oo appearances over a 50-year career in Television. She is most commonly remembered for her roles as Nurse Wills on Ben Casey (1961-1966), and her nine years of appearances as Anne Peters in Days of Our Lives (1966-1975). But over her fifty years in Television, Jeanne Bates delivered a staggering number of widely varied--and highly effective--characterizations.

Bates also taught acting for almost twenty-three years. A favorite of quixotic director David Lynch, she appeared as Mrs. X in his Eraserhead (1977) and 24 years later in his darkly atmospheric Mulholland Drive (2001).

Her husband of 38 years, successful writer Lew Lansworth, passed away in 1981. Jeanne never remarried. What's more remarkable is that for all Jeanne Bates' extraordinary success--well into her 80s--it was this remarkable artist's fate to ultimately spend her last years residing at the Motion Picture & Television Country Home and Hospital in Woodland Hills, where she ultimately succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 89.

We recognize the fine work and resource that the Motion Picture & Television Country Home and Hospital was for over 68 years, meeting the needs of destitute artists and technicians--many of them still living legends at the time of their demise.

But with the decision to finally close the Motion Picture & Television Country Home and Hospital for good, we need to take a deeper, more introspective look at an industry--and society--that takes so very much from these incredibly talented artists, while ultimately turning its back to them in their time of greatest need.

The decision to close the Country Home and Hospital demands far greater scrutiny of the various, highly profitable Performing Arts industries. It's a travesty that artists of Jeanne Bates' caliber should be consigned to live out their last years in an industry-supported welfare system in the first place.

But now that the industry has pulled the rug out from that last critical resource, what does it say about the heart and soul that so many epic films purport to portray on big screen and small--but have no room for in their own corporate conscience?

Jeanne Bates' remarkable career deserved better--far better. At least she was one of the last artists of her caliber to benefit from her industry's last hope for artists with no surviving family or safety net.

But there's enduring justice in the legacy of the thousands of her recordings, films, and television programs that serve as a poignant reminder of both her great talent, and the shameful travesty that her industry has devolved to since her passing.




Ben Wright
(Various roles)

Radio, Television, Film, Documentary, Animation and Stage Actor
(1915-1989)
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Radiography:

1939 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 The Adventures of Maisie 1946 Encore Theatre
1947 Holiday Wilde
1947 The Story Of Holiday Wilde
1947 The New Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1947 Mystery In the Air
1947 Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 Suspense
1947 The Whistler
1948 Escape
1948 Steve Canyon
1948 NBC University Theatre
1948 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1949 Our American Heritage
1949 Chandu the Magician
1949 Tell It Again
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Family Theatre
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 The Adventures Of Maisie
1950 T-Man
1950 Let George Do It
1950 Hallmark Playhouse
1950 The Adventures Of Christopher London
1950 The Halls Of Ivy
1950 Night Beat
1950 Pursuit
1950 The Log Of the Black Parrot
1950 Dangerous Assignment
1950 Romance
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1951 The Pendleton Story
1951 The Silent Men
1951 Stars Over Hollywood
1952 The Modern Adventures Of Casanova
1952 Screen Guild Theatre
1952 Short Story
1952 Broadway Is My Beat
1952 Crime Classics
1952 The Cisco Kid
1953 On Stage
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1953 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1953 General Electric Theatre
1954 Inheritance
1954 I Love A Mystery
1954 The Six-Shooter
1955 The Adventures Of Captain Courage
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1956 O'Hara
1957 Gunsmoke
1958 Frontier Gentleman
1958 Have Gun, Will Travel
1959 Heartbeat Theatre
1964 Arch Oboler's Plays
1973 Hollywood Radio Theatre
1979 Sears Radio Theatre
The Pendleton Story
Horizons West

Ben Wright circa 1955
Ben Wright circa 1955

Ben Wright from the Jim Bowie Television series circa 1958
Ben Wright from the Jim Bowie Television series circa 1958

Ben Wright was born May 15, 1915, to an English mother and an American father in London, England, UK. At 16, he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts where classmates included such future stars as Ida Lupino.

Upon graduating, he acted in several West End stage productions. When WWII broke out, he enlisted and served in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1946 to attend a cousin's wedding, eventually settling in Hollywood. He embarked on his American acting career in Radio, quickly establishing himself as a master of dialects with such roles as Hey Boy, the Chinese servant, on "Have Gun, Will Travel" with John Dehner, and another John Dehner vehicle, 'Frontier Gentleman." Indeed, Wright was to be given the lead, but got edged out by John Dehner. The last minute change didn't make the deadline for the newspapers of the era, almost all of which announced Ben Wright in the lead role of J.B. Kendall, Field Reporter for the London Times. Oops!

His talent for dialects also kept him busy in the many WWII-related films and TV shows of the 1950s and '60s wherein he played innumerable Germans and Frenchmen as well as a variety of both low brow and high brow Englishmen--for which he always took pains to ensure the dialects were accurate depending on which part of England they were from.

After years of radio, TV, stage and film work, he entered semi-retirement in the late 1970s, accepting occasional voice work and small guest appearances on TV. On June 16, 1989, after completing his last role, providing the voice of Grimsby in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), he entered St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank for quadruple bypass surgery from which he never recovered. He died of heart failure July 2, 1989.



Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Frontier Gentleman