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Original M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre header art

The M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> The M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre
Two-page Billboard broadside announcing the 1952 lineup of M-G-M/MBS programming from January 12 1952
Two-page Billboard broadside announcing the 1952 lineup of M-G-M/MBS programming from January 12 1952


Billboard Magazine full page ad for M-G-M Radio Attractions from November 5 1949
Billboard Magazine full page ad for
M-G-M Radio Attractions from November 5 1949





Background


September 1948 spot ad announces the call letter change from WHN to WMGM

The Marcus Loew Booking Agency had owned radio station call sign WHN since 1946. In September of 1948 WHN changed its call sign to WMGM, in part to capitalize on a series of M-G-M radio programming projects that Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Radio Attractions was attempting to introduce to a national audience. Programs such as The Adventures of Maisie, Crime Does Not Pay, The Hardy Family, M-G-M Theatre of The Air, and The Story of Dr. Kildare, all drew on material that M-G-M, as a film studio, already owned.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Radio Attractions logo

Having established Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Radio Attractions for the express purpose of transcribing, then syndicating, this programming, all that remained was for M-G-M to obtain a well-established radio station from which to broadcast their programming packages. The working assumption was that once heard in a wide enough area they'd be picked up nation-wide in due time. The concept seemed to be working for several years, until a change in M-G-M focus made their M-G-M Radio Attractions division redundant. WMGM slowly began changing its format to remain viable to its expanding local audience, and the era of MGM-produced, network-ready, syndicated content dwindled to nothing.

The M-G-M cachet was so persuasive that within days of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Radio Attractions' July 1949 trade announcements, M-G-M Radio Attractions had sold the following initial eight-program 'portfolio' to over 200 outlets in 45 states and Canada:

The package actually came to the air before M-G-M's own WMGM began its initial broadcast run in October 1949. Chicago's Mutual key station, W-G-N, was the first to broadcast M-G-M Theatre of The Air on September 16, 1949, barely a month after the first programs had been recorded.

M-G-M's Maisie, Hardy Family and Dr. Kildare franchises, alone, spanned forty-two feature films over twenty years. Their broad appeal and the feel-good, optimistic values and themes they contained were like a tonic to post-Depression America. When M-G-M spun off its M-G-M Radio Attractions syndicated Radio programming division it seemed only natural to draw upon their proven track record of popular Film features and shorts. M-G-M's Crime Does Not Pay series of short features were another natural candidate for a Radio feature. M-G-M Theatre of The Air was an obvious answer to Lux Radio Theatre, the Screen Guild Theatre series', and NBC's long-running series' of Film adaptations.

Thus, in one master stroke, the newly formed M-G-M Radio Attractions brought a compelling package of four half-hour features, an hour-long film adaptation feature, and three fascinating fifteen-minute features, Hollywood U.S.A., Good News from Hollywood, and At Home With Lionel Barrymore to Radio to compete, head-to-head with the best, then-available Radio programming of the era.

It's easy to see why the package was gobbled up within days of its announcement. Small market Radio outlets, as well as large, highly successful regional Radio broadcasters could obtain a diverse, highly promising package of features from a major studio, starring some of the greatest talent of the era--and at a fraction of the cost to produce and broadcast these features in-house.

Of course by 1949 America had heard literally hundreds of uplifting, 'family values,' small town-oriented situation comedies and serials. But then in 1951, the Mutual Broadcasting System (MBS) sought to expand its own feature programming. It seemed natural to turn to M-G-M Radio Attractions for solid, already transcribed programming. Mutual stations had already comprised the majority of subscribers to M-G-M's intial portfolio of eight Radio Attractions features. So it was that, mid-1951, MBS and M-G-M began hammering out a deal for what eventually became a ten-feature package of transcribed, syndicated programming, as follows:

A stunning and compelling lineup to be sure, the package carried forward the half-hour features Crime Does Not Pay, The Hardy Family, The Story of Dr. Kildare, and The Adventures of Maisie, as well as the hour-long feature, M-G-M Theatre of The Air. The MBS package added the half-hour situation comedies, Woman of The Year and The Modern Adventures of Casanova; the half-hour mystery, The Black Museum; the half-hour variety feature, The Gracie Fields Show; and complimented M-G-M's Film adaptation feature, M-G-M Theatre of The Air with The M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre of The Air.

After months of wrangling and delays, the deal was finally struck in November of 1951 and MBS began 'officially' airing the M-G-M Radio Attractions features the week of January 2-8, 1952. Designed to air in the prime-time spot of 8-10 p.m., Monday through Saturday, the package was also structured as a co-op package, similar to competing NBC's 'Tandem Package'. The Mutual package, referred to as 'MBS Plus', offered 'co-operative' advertising spots for multiple sponsors and advertisers. Thus a sponsor or advertiser could purchase any combination of quarter-hour advertising blocks between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., from Monday to Saturday on a daily, weekly, or biweekly basis. The opportunity to leverage their sponsoring expenses held great appeal as Radio entered an era of stiff competition with Television for sponsors' dollars. It also afforded member MBS stations a combination of straight drama, adventure, situation comedy, Film and Musical adaptations, and Variety programming in a package that sold for the approximate cost of three to five weekly half-hour features.


M-G-M and Mutual premiere M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre

From the January 2nd 1952 edition of the Janesville Gazette:

Full Hour Comedy 'Holiday in Mexico' on WCLO Tonight head

     Walter Pidgeon and Jane Powell, featured in the original film success "Holiday in Mexico," are again co-starred for WCLO-Mutual's initial broadcast of hte new M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre of the Air series at 7 tonight.
     The widely acclaimed program series will be heard each Wednesday at the same time and will be of one hour's duration.  The full-hour Musical Comedy program series will be condensations of major motion picture musicals.
     A variation from the original will permit the WCLO-MBS broadcast appearance of Victor Marchese, the country's newest tenor-sensation.  Marchese is to be heard tonight in the role originally written for Xavier Cugat.
     Dozens of Hollywood headliners are scheduled for these programs each Wednesday night.  Each broadcast is to be based on an M-G-M film production.  Typical stars for this series include, in addition to Walter Pidgeon, Jane Powell and Victor Marchese, such personalities as Barry Sullivan, Monica Lewis, Kathryn Grayson and Keenan Wynn.
     David Rose will conduct the orchestra and chorus which provide the musical background for the series.
     The Wednesday presentations of the M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre of the Air are a part of the Mutual programming innovation that has surprised the entire radio field.  The series, produced in collaboration with M-G-M's Hollywood facilities and stars, has been the most important forward step in radio programming in recent years.  For the first time it establishes a nighttime strip, five days a week, which stars movie personalities in shows worked out with a major movie studio.
     The programming is the result of a multi-million dollar transaction involving stars, studios, network and 500 Mutual-affiliated stations.


'Mister PLUS' was the promotional face of Mutual's 'MBS Plus' time-sharing advertising program of the 1950s.

The combination of the M-G-M Radio Attractions package deal with Mutual and Mutual's own new advertising scheme--"MBS Plus"--provided small market sponsors large and small the opportunity to purchase several tiers of MBS programming time-sharing for their respective spots. The 1950s, due primarily to exponentially aggressive competition from Television, found all four of the major Radio networks scrambling to hold on to their advertisers.

Having pretty much ruled the Media roost since the mid-1920s, Radio found itself at a growing disadvantage holding big sponsors for their programming during the 1950s and beyond. Their solutions were two-fold: dramatically reduce the cost of Radio programming in general; and make it more attractive (e.g., cheaper) to both retain and attract commercial sponsors for the respective network' programming.


From the September 27, 1943 issue of Life magazine, M-G-M's extraordianry stable of stars

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Musical Comedy Adaptations
Network(s): MBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 52-01-02 01 Holday in Mexico
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 52-01-02 to 52-12-17; MBS; Fifty-two, 60-minute programs;
Syndication: Mutual Broadcasting Compeny in cooperation with Metro Goldwyn Mayer and M-G-M Radio Attractions.
Sponsors: C. F. Sauer and Company; General Mills [Kix Corn Puffs]; Charles Antell Inc, of Baltimore [Formula No. 9 Hair Lotion and Shampoo]; National Health Aids [Fastabs]
Director(s): Raymond Katz [ Producer]; Mark B. Loeb [Director]
Principal Actors: Walter Pidgeon, Jane Powell, Barry Sullivan, Monica Lewis, Keenan Wynn, Russell Nype, Mimi Benzell, Alfred Drake, Olga San Juan, Vera-Ellen, Johnny Johnston, Georgia Gibbs, Denise Darcel, Andy Russell, Mary McCarty, Robert Alda, Carol Bruce, Boris Karloff, Lisa Kirk, John Conte, John Griggs, Wendell Holmes. Bert Lahr, Martha Wright, Jackie Cooper, Arlene Dahl, Lex Barker, Phyllis Kirk, Mickey Rooney, Kitty Kallen, Lynn Duddy Choir, Edward Everett Horton, Polly Bergen, Earl Wrightson, Lauritz Melchoir, Lois Hunt, Jules Munshin, Marilyn Erskine, Rosemary Clooney, Joan Blondell, Dick Foran, Connie Haines, Basil Rathbone, Edith Fellows, Yvonne DeCarlo, Patrice Munsel, Igor Gorin, Audrey Totter, Peggy Lee, Johnny Desmond, Fran Warren, Carl Ravazza, Nanette Fabray, Robert Sterling, John Loder, Howard Keel, Monica Lewis, Patsy Kelly, Carleton Carpenter, Annette Warren, Parker Fennelly, John Raitt, Eileen Barton, Melville Cooper, Ray Middleton, Arnold Stang, Gloria DeHaven, Jeffrey Lynn, Bob Haymes
Recurring Character(s): None
Protagonist(s): Varied from production to production
Author(s): Jacques Thierry
Writer(s) Welborn Kelly [Adapter]; Irving Broeker [Screenplay];
Music Direction: Joel Harrison, David Rose
Musical Theme(s):
Announcer(s): Ed Stokes
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
52
Episodes in Circulation: 1
Total Episodes in Collection: 1
Provenances:

Initial announcement of eight-program M-G-M Radio Attractions package from Billboard magazine July 9 1949
Initial announcement of eight-program M-G-M Radio Attractions package from Billboard magazine July 9 1949

Spot ad for first run of M-G-M Radio Attractions eight-program package over WMTW Portland, ME from October 30 1949
Spot ad for first run of M-G-M Radio Attractions eight-program package over WMTW Portland, ME from October 30 1949


Billboard magazine announcement of Mutual and MGM intentions to broadcast a package of MGM Radio Attractions features ove MBS from November 3 1951
Billboard magazine announcement of Mutual and MGM intentions to broadcast a package of MGM Radio Attractions features over MBS from November 3 1951


Billboard announcement of initial effectiveness of the Mutual-MGM package of ten feature programs from February 2 1952
Billboard announcement of initial effectiveness of the Mutual-MGM package of ten feature programs from February 2 1952

Billboard announcement from May 10 1952 cites 625 'co-op' sales of leveraged advertising for the ten-program portfolio of M-G-M Radio Attractions
Billboard announcement from May 10 1952 cites 625 'co-op' sales of leveraged advertising for the ten-program portfolio of M-G-M Radio Attractions
.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

Much of the confusion regarding the M-G-M Radio Attractions programming 'packages' of the era can be attributed to two distinct, widely advertised and promoted programming packages:

  • 1949's Initial Package of Eight Transcribed features . . .
    • M-G-M Theatre of The Air
    • At Home with Lionel Barrymore
    • Hollywood, U.S.A.
    • The Story of Dr. Kildare
    • Good News From Hollywood
    • Crime Does Not Pay
    • The Hardy Family
    • Maisie
  • 1951's Mutual (MBS) Package of Ten Transcribed features [this package was limited to a maximum of 52 episodes of any given weekly feature, per agreement between the parties] . . .
    • Woman of The Year
    • Crime Does Not Pay
    • The Black Museum
    • The Story of Dr. Kildare
    • M-G-M Musical Comedy Theater of The Air
    • The Modern Adventures of Casanova
    • The Gracie Fields Show
    • The Adventures of Maisie
    • The Hardy Family
    • M-G-M Theater of The Air

The earliest contiguous broadcast of M-G-M Theatre of The Air that we turned up was over Chicago's Mutual Radio key station W-G-N on September 16, 1949. The M-G-M package of eight transcribed features had been sold to at least 200 stations in 45 states as of November 1949. It would appear that WMGM, New York, didn't begin airing M-G-M Theatre of The Air until a month later than the independent stations and network affiliates M-G-M initially sold it to.

From the July 9, 1949 issue of Billboard Magazine:

MGM Heading Toward Boff
Wax Profit; May Hit $1 Mil
 

     New York, July 2.--Within a few days of the initial public announcement of the eight open-end waxed radio series being peddled by the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) Radio Attractions, between 150 and 200 stations gave written, wired and phoned for information concerning the shows.  Should 150 outlets in different markets be pacted for the shows, which feature top film names, MGM Attractions probably will gross about $5,000,000 annually, with a net take of about $1,000,000, according to Bert Lebhar Jr., Sales director of WMGM, New York, who heads Attractions.
     Over $100,000 already has been put out in waxing shows for the series, Lebhar said, with about 250 separate stanzas already on disks.  The programs will be sold on a percentage basis of the purchasing stations' hourly rate.  The eight shows total five hours and 45 minutes of programing weekly, and the cost to stations will be slightly under three times their basic hourly rate for all these shows.
               Seek Portfolio Deal
     Each program may be bought separately, but MGM is attempting to sell all as a single "portfolio" deal, with Music Corporation of America (MCA) handling the peddling.  Lebhar said he hopes to have the shows running by the start of September, but will settle for October.  The MGM drive to build a wax web based on these shows and others to follow is reflected in the offer of "exclusivity" on all MGM radio attractions to stations which become "full affiliates" by taking all of the first eight stanzas.
     Lebhar said the MGM web deal will not conflict with the live networks; on the contrary, he declared, the heads of the four major webs undoubtedly will welcome MGM's venture.  The wax shows will be used only on station option time, and will not eat into live web programing.  The prestige nature of the programs, too, Lebhar opined, will be a real boost for the stations using them.  The stations will be protected by getting exclusive rights in their territories to the properties, and will not be embarrassed as some live web affiliates have been, by having their top attractions shift to another web and air over their leading competitor's facilities.
     The eight programs will cost MGM close to $1,500,000 per year for production and talent charges.  Talent is being paid on a minimum fee plus percentage-of-net basis, according to Lebhar, with the percentage deals ranging from 16 !/3 to 33 percent.  About one dozen shows of the weekly hour-long dramatic MGM Theater of the Air series have been cut in New York.  Over 60 thrice-weekly 15-minute philosophy shows and Paula Stone's five-a-week quarter-hours of film chatter are ready.  Crime Will Not Pay, a 30-minute weekly drama, is about to go into production.  Three other weekly half hour shows will get started in August:  Maisie, Dr. Kildare and Judge Hardy's Family.

By April 1950, M-G-M Radio Attractions had agreed to produce a second cycle of the eight-feature package, for a total commitment of 52 episodes each of the featured programs. This entirely supports our working hypothesis regarding the both the initial distribution and broadcast of The Story of Dr. Kildare up to that point, as well as our hypothesis regarding the ultimate number of episodes of The Story of Dr. Kildare that were ever produced for syndication. From the April 22nd 1950 issue of Billboard Magazine:

MGM To Spend 500G on 2d 26-Week Air Shows

A half-million dollars will go into the production of the second 26-week cycle of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer radio attractions. The first cycle has established the success of the venture by its acceptance of 200 radio stations in 45 states. WMGM, New York, is the film firm's key outlet here.

From the November 17, 1951 issue of Billboard Magazine:

MGM Program Line-Up
Finalized by Mutual

      NEW  YORK, Nov. 10.--Mutual Broadcasting System's programming plans with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer were finalized this week when the movie outfit came thru with a long-delayed complete list of programs and stars.  Line-up was originally scheduled to start November 19, but belated agreement necessitated moving date to week of December 31, when all of the new programs will make their debut over the full Mutual network.
     MGM star line-up includes "Woman of the Year" (Mondays 8-8:30 p.m. EST) with Bette Davis, a comedy-drama series based upon the MGM movie; "Crime Does Not Pay" (Mondays 8:30-9 p.m. EST) dramatizations of MGM's Academy Award winning film subjects; "The Black Museum" (Tuesdays 8:30-9 p.m. EST) with Orson Welles' mystery series based on Scotland Yard case histories; "The Story of Dr. Kildare" (Tuesdays 8:30-9 p.m. EST), the Lew Ayres-Lionel Barrymore vehicle; "MGM Musical Comedy Theater of the Air" (Wednesdays 8-9 p.m. EST), featuring condensations of such top MGM musicals as "Anchors Aweigh," "Meet Me in St. Louis," etc; "The Modern Adventures of Casanova" (Thursdays 8-8:30 p.m. EST), an Errol Flynn thriller; "The Gracie Fields Show" (Thursdays 8:30-9 p.m. EST); "Adventures of Maisie" (Fridays 8-8:30 p.m. EST) with Ann Sothern; "The Hardy Family" (Fridays 8:30-9 p.m. EST, Mickey Rooney, et al; "MGM Theater of the Air" (Saturdays 8:30-9:30 p.m. EST), featuring Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton, Fredric March, Robert Taylor, Burgess Meredith, Cornell Wilde, Margaret O'Brien, Peter Lawford.
     These shows will be supplemented with the rescheduling of 12 currently aired MBS programs into the block from 8 to 10 p.m., Monday thru Saturday.  Mutual shows include "Crime Fighters," "War Front--Home Front," "Official Detective," "The Hidden Truth," "Mysterious Traveler," "The Family Theater," "Rod and Gun Club of the Air," "Reporter's Roundup," "Magazine Theater," "Twenty Questions," "Armed Forces Review" and "Lombardoland U.S.A."
     Half of the MGM programs will be offered for local sale by MBS affiliates, including the four half hours from 8:30 to 9 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays; and the full hour "MGM Theater of the Air" on Saturdays.  Remaining five airers will be offered to national sponsors on a "multi-message" basis, similar to that of the National Broadcasting Company's tandem plan.

From the November 8, 1952 issue of Billboard Magazine:
 
MBS-MGM Radio Attractions Rift
Over Renewal Terms Widen
 
     NEW YORK, Nov. 1.--The rift between the Mutual Broadcasting System and MGM Radio Attractions over renewal terms on the latter's group of 10 radio shows was widened this week, as the flicker outfit virtually suspended production on all series at the request of the web.  Because of the production shut-down, Mutual now is offering re-runs on most of the programs.  MGM shows air in the 8-9 p.m. time, Monday thru Saturday, on MBS.  The deal constituted the largest one-package program arrangements in the web's history.
     In line with this, there's a possibility that performers featured on some of the shows may have a beef since re-run money to actors is paltry.  For instance, Lilli Palmer, who appeared on an hour-long "MGM Theater of the Air" program, received less than $7 when the play tape was aired for the second time.
     As reported in The Billboard last week, the MGM packages are up for renewal December 31, and negotiations for a new contract are currently underway between network execs and the film firm.  Meanwhile, the web reportedly is looking for indie packages to spot in the 8 to 9 p.m. time period if the MGM renewal doesn't go thru.  MGM, meanwhile, is said to be attempting to come up with some fresh stanzas as possible substitutes. 
     The production shutdown reportedly was ordered by Mutual, because the web desired to make certain changes in the shows before any more were put on tape.
     Among the shows involved, are the Errol Flynn "Casanova" series; the Mickey Rooney "Hardy Family" show; Bette Davis' "Woman of the Year" package; Ann Sothern's "Maisie"; Orson Welles' "Black Museum"; the Gracie Fields show; Lionel Barrymore's "Dr. Kildare" series; "Crime Does not Pay"; "MGM Theater of the Air," and "MGM Musical Comedy Theater of the Air."


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M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
51-12-26
--
--
51--12-26 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 10:30 The Ed Silvera Show
52-01-02
1
Holiday In Mexico
N
52-01-02 Janesville Daily Gazette
Walter Pidgeon and Jane Powell, featured in the original film success, "
Holiday in Mexico," are again co-starred for WCLO-Mutual's initial broadcast of the new M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre of the Air series at 7 tonight.
52-01-09
2
No Leave, No Love
N
52-01-09 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "
No Leave, No Love," with Barry Sullivan, Monica Lewis, Keenan Wynn.
52-01-16
3
It Happened In Brooklyn
N
52-01-16 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC):
"It Happened in Brooklyn," with Russell Nype, Mimi Benzell.
52-01-23
4
The Cuban Love Song
N
52-01-23 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Alfred Drake, Olga San Juan in "
The Cuban Love Song."
52-01-30
5
Born To Dance
N
52-01-30 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Vera-Ellen, Johnny Johnston, Georgia Gibbs in "
Born to Dance."
52-02-06
6
Going Hollywood
N
52-02-06 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Denise Darcel, Andy Russell, Mary McCarty in
"Going Hollywood."
52-02-13
7
Honolulu
N
52-02-13 Janesville Daily Gazette
Self-defense is a basic motive for the homo sapiens species, even for movie idols. That's particularly true for the hero of the film musical, "
Honolulu," which is to be adapted for the hour-long M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre broadcast tonight at 7. Robert Alda is to be starred in the broadcast as Brooks Mason, a romantic screen idol whose adoring public mobs him and dogs his every step. Fearful of what maly happen to his profile, the hero swaps appointmnets with a chance acquaintance who could easily pass as his double and heads for a Honolulu vacation. Carol Bruce is co-starred with Alda in this hit, playing the role of an entertainer who falls in love with the Hawaiian businessman even after she discovers he's really the film idol.
52-02-20
8
Yolanda and the Thief
Y
52-02-20 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Boris Karloff, Lisa Kirk, John Conte in "
Yolanda and the Thief."
52-02-27
9
Ship Ahoy
N
52-02-27 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Bert Lahr in "
Ship Ahoy," with Martha Wright, Jackie Cooper.
52-03-05
10
Lady Be Good
N
52-03-05 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): Arlene Dahl, Lex Barker, Phyllis Kirk in
"Lady Be Good."
52-03-12
11
Babes On Broadway
N
52-03-12 Janesville Daily Gazette
RADIO CHATTER
Mickey Rooney to Star in "Musical Comedy Theatre"
By RALPH SCHROEDER
Irrepressible Mickey Rooney is to be starred in the Tommy Williams dance role when the M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre presents the radio adaptation of "
Babes on Broadway" tonight at 7. Rooney also played the lead role in the film version of this theatrical drama. Songstress Kitty Kallen and the Lynn Duddy Choir are to be co-starred. The stardom of a group of youthful performers. Among the hit tunes to be heard are "How About You," "Anything Can Happen in New York," "Babes on Broadway," "Hoe Down" and "Blackout Over Broadway."
52-03-19
12
On An Island With You
N
52-03-19 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "
On an Island With You," with Edward Everett Horton, Polly Bergen, Earl Wrightson.
52-03-26
13
Two Sisters From Boston
N
52-03-26 Janesville Daily Gazette
RADIO CHATTER
Melchoir Stars in "
Two Sisters From Boston"
By RALPH SCHROEDER
Lauritz Melchoir is to be featured in "Two Sisters from Boston," one of his film hits and the musical scheduled for the M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre program tonight at 7. Co-starred with the famed operatic star will be Lois Hunt, Jules Munshin and Marilyn Erskine. The story concerns a pretty miss of a conservative New England family who comes to New York determined to become an opera singer. Her family follows her to dissuade her, setting the theme for a series of amusing incidents. Among the show's hit tunes are "There Are Two Sides to Every Girl," "The Fire Chief's Daughter," "Down By hte Ocean" and "G'wan Home, Your Mudder's Calling."
52-04-02
14
Two Girls On Broadway
N
52-04-02 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "
Two Girls on Broadway," with Rosemary Clooney, Joan Blondell, Dick Foran.
52-04-09
15
The Kissing Bandit
N
52-04-09 Janesville Daily Gazette
We got our wires confused last week, passed along the wrong information to you in regard to the M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre and gave you tonight's program. So with our apologies we now procede with our tonight's program which is as follows: A bandit's son who somehow didn't measure up to his father's reputation for robbing hte men and kissing the women is the hero of "
The Kissing Bandit" at 7 p.m. Olga San Juan and John Conte will be starred. Conte is to be heard in the role of Ricardo, the timid lover who manages to win the governor's daughter while ridding himself of his father's gang.
52-04-16
16
Born To Sing
N
52-04-16 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "
Born to Sing," with Russell Nype, Connie Haines, Lynn Duddy chorus.
52-04-23
17
Three Darling Daughters
N
52-04-23 Janesville Daily Gazette
Gladys Swarthout, Basil Rathbone and Edith Fellows are the stars featured in the musical based on a newspaperwoman's romantic adventures when the M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre program presents "
Three Darling Daughters" tonight at 7. The story revolves around editor Louise Morgan and her three vivacious daughters who attempt to patch up a domestic quarrel. When the situation gets out of hand, the heroine's boss steps in to save the day. Among the hit tunes to be heard are "The Dickey Bird Song," "You Made Me Love You," "Route 66" and "Hail Alma Mater."
52-04-30
18
The Barkleys Of Broadway
N
52-04-30 Janesville Daily Gazette
Tonight's M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre is to offer a fast moving play about the trials and tribulations of a theatrical couple. "
The Barkleys of Broadway" is scheduled for the broadcast tonight at 7. Yvonne DeCarlo and Alfred Drake play the lead roles for this drama of New York stage life. Just a line about the new time schedule for this program. The Janesville Cubs baseball games will mean that the M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre will be heard next week on Sunday instead of the regular Wednesday evening time. Watch for the time of the broadcast.
52-05-07
19
Luxury Liner
N
52-05-07 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Patrice Munsel in "Luxury Liner," with Igor Gorin, Audrey Totter.

52-05-10 Janesville Daily Gazette
A young co-ed who stows away aboard her father's steamer and causes no end of commotion during the cruise is the heroine for the MGM Musical Comedy Theatre broadcast tomorrow evening at 7. It's the story of the "Luxury Liner" and spotlights Doretta Morrow, Igor Gorin and Audrey Totter. This new broadcast time will be regularly scheduled over WCLO instead of the Wednesday evening time, in order to bring listeners other regular Wednesday programs at that time.
52-05-14
20
For Me and My Gal
N
52-05-14 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Peggy Lee, Johnny Desmond in "For Me and My Gal."
52-05-21
21
Neptune's Daughter
N
52-05-21 Madison Capital Times
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater: "Neptune's Daughter," story of young girl who falls in love with masseur, thinking he is South American athlete--WISC.

52-05-21 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "Neptune's Daughter," starring Fran Warren and Carl Ravazza, story of romance in South America.
52-05-28
22
Fiesta
N
52-05-28 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): Nanette Fabray, Robert Sterling and John Loder are starred in the storyof a y oung man who refuses to follow in his father's footsteps--matador in "Fiesta."
52-06-04
23
Two Girls and A Sailor
N
52-06-04 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "Two Girls and a Sailor," with Howard Keel, Monica Lewis, Patsy Kelly.
52-06-11
24
Summer Holiday
N
52-06-11 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "Summer Holiday," with Carleton Carpenter, Kitty Kallen, Annette Warren, Parker Fennelly.
52-06-18
25
Everybody Sing
N
52-06-18 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Music Comedy Theater (WISC): John Raitt, Eileen Barton, Melville Cooper in "Everybody Sing."
52-06-25
26
Hullabaloo
N
52-06-25 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater (WISC): "Hullabaloo," with Arlene Dahl, Ray Middleton, Arnold Stang.
52-07-02
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52-07-02 Janesville Daily Gazette
George M. Cohan
A Salute to George M. Cohan, born on the Fourth of July, marks the first program in Mutual's and WCLO's new Music for a Half Hour series tonight at 7. A medley from his "Little Nellie Kelly," plus several of his more famous compositions, will be presented by guest soprano Frances Greer and tenor star Jimmy Carroll. Emerson Buckley conducts the orchestra. Great Day Show The second half your of hte summer time replacement for the MGM Musical Comedy Theatre will be another top favorite program that has been a regular Saturday evening feature, The Great Day Show. This quiz show is for the boys in the service, who as contestants have a chance to win a three day pass and up to $100 in prizes.





52-09-25
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--
52-09-25 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 10:00 E.C. Hill; Ed Silvera Show
52-10-01
27
Dancing Co-Ed
N
52-10-01 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): returns to the air; Gloria DeHaven, Johnny Johnston, Patsy Kelly in "Dancing Co-Ed."
52-10-08
28
Holiday In Mexico
N
52-10-08 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): Walter Pidgeon, Jane Powell in "Holiday in Mexico," with Victor Marchese.
52-10-15
29
No Leave, No Love
N
52-10-15 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): Monica Lewis, Barry Sullivan, Keenan Wynn in "No Leave No Love."
52-10-22
30
It Happened In Brooklyn
N
52-10-22 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): Mimi Benzell, Russell Nype in "It Happened in Brooklyn."
52-10-29
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52-10-29 Wisconsin State Journal - WISC 10:30 E.C. Hill; Black Museum.

52-10-29 New York Times
8:00-WOR--The Black Museum.
52-11-05
31
Babes On Broadway
N
52-11-05 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): Mickey Rooney in "Babes on Broadway," with Kitty Kallen.
52-11-12
32
Born To Dance
N
52-11-12 Madison Capital Times
10:35 p.m.--Musical Comedy Theater: Vera-Ellen, Georgia Gibbs, Johnny Johnson in "Born to Dance"--WISC.
52-11-19
33
On An Island With You
N
52-11-19 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): "On an Island With You," with Edward Everett Horton, Polly Bergen, Earl Wrightson.
52-11-26
34
Yolanda and the Thief
N
52-11-26 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): "Yolanda and the Thief," with Boris Karloff, Lisa Kirk, John Conte.
52-12-03
35
Ship Ahoy
N
52-12-03 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): Bert Lahr, Martha Wright, Jackie Cooper in "Ship Ahoy."
52-12-10
36
Going Hollywood
N
52-12-10 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): Denise Darcel, Andy Russell, Mary McCarty in "Going Hollywood."
52-12-17
37
Lady Be Good
N
52-10-17 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): "Lady Be Good," with Jeffrey Lynn, Arlene Dahl, Phyllils Kirk, Bob Haymes.
52-12-24
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52-10-24 Wisconsin State Journal
10:35 p.m.--Musical Theater (WISC): hour of Christmas stories and legends--WISC.
52-12-31
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52-10-31 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 10:30 E.C. Hill; New Year's Eve.
53-01-07
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53-01-07 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 10:30 E.C. Hill; Files of Flamond.






M-G-M Musical Comedy Theatre Radio Program Biographies




Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Radio Attractions
(Production Company)

(1924--)

Incorporation: New York City, NY, U.S.A.

Radiography:

1936 Leo is on the Air
1940 MGM Hollywood Theater
1943 People’s Reporter
1943 Lion’s Roar
1944 MGM Screen Test
1949 MGM Theater of the Air
1949 Crime Does Not Pay
1950 Dr. Kildare
1952 MGM Musical Comedy Theater of the Air

MGM trademark logo
MGM trademark logo
Marcus Loew, ca. 1902
Marcus Loew, ca. 1902

Samuel Goldwyn (Samuel Gelbfisz), ca. 1916 (Samuel Gelbfisz first entered into partnership with Broadway producers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn, hence the Gold-Wyn name. Gelbfisz later changed his name legally to Goldwyn, for understandable reasons)
Samuel Goldwyn (Samuel Gelbfisz), ca. 1916 (Samuel Gelbfisz first entered into partnership with Broadway producers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn, hence the Gold-Wyn name. Gelbfisz later changed his name legally to Goldwyn, for understandable reasons)

Louis B. Mayer, ca. 1935
Louis B. Mayer, ca. 1935

Metro logo ca. 1921
Metro logo ca. 1921


Goldwyn logo, ca. 1920, with 'Slats' The Lion

The revised Metro-Goldwyn logo, ca. 1922
The revised Metro-Goldwyn logo, ca. 1922


The amalgamated Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with 'Tanner', the Lion, ca. 1925

'Grampa' Mayer with little Margaret O'Brien, July 4, 1944
'Grampa' Mayer with little Margaret O'Brien, July 4, 1944

MGM Radio Attractions transcription label for Program 9 of John Nesbitt's Passing Parade.
MGM Radio Attractions transcription label for Program 9 of John Nesbitt's Passing Parade.

WMGM logo circa 1949
WMGM logo circa 1949
With over 4,000 film credits to its name during its 85 years of operation, one might well imagine that MGM has always had as much business as it can handle. Radio would seem one of the last venues that MGM's roaring lion would care to tackle.

By 1924, movie theater magnate Marcus Loew had already acquired Metro Pictures Corporation (founded in 1916) and Goldwyn Pictures (founded in 1917) to provide a steady supply of films for his large theater chain, Loews, Incorporated. However, these purchases created a need for someone to oversee his new Hollywood operations, since long-time assistant Nicholas Schenck was needed in New York to oversee the theaters.

Louis B. Mayer's ten-year record of success on the West Coast made him a natural candidate to provide the oversight and managerial talent Loew was seeking. So Loew simply bought Mayer Pictures on April 16, 1924. Loew made Mayer vice-president of Loews and head of the studio operations in California. He appointed Harry Rapf and boy wonder, Irving Thalberg (only 25 at the time) as heads of production. For decades thereafter, MGM was listed on movie title cards as "Controlled by Loews, Inc."

Loew's original Metro-Goldwyn logo had already incorporated Goldwyn's mascot, Leo the Lion. Mayer's name was added to the masthead, and in a further nod to the Culver City Goldwyn studios, the "Art for Art's Sake" motto--Ars Gratia Artis--was incorporated into the initial MGM logo. The resulting logo has been updated several times during the ensuing eighty years, but those basic essential elements remain.

With the merging of the three major studios, MGM soon surpassed Universal Pictures as the largest studio in the world--a title it held for the following 25 years. When Marcus Loew died in 1927, control of Loews passed to long-time associate, Nicholas Schenck. Rival mogul William Fox of Fox Film Corporation saw Loew's passing as an opportunity to expand the Fox Empire. In 1929, with Schenck's agreement, Fox purchased the Loew family's holdings. Louis B.Mayer and Irving Thalberg were understandably outraged, but they weren't shareholders at the time.

Ever resourceful, Mayer used his political connections to persuade the United States
Justice Department to sue Fox Film Corporation for violating federal antitrust law. But quite serendipitously, during the summer of 1929, William Fox was badly hurt in an automobile accident. Before he'd fully recovered, the stock market crash of 1929 wiped out all but a fraction of Fox's financial holdings. This effectively ended any chance of the Loews merger going proceeding--with or without the Justice Department's powerful blessing.

This was manna from heaven for Mayer. Nicholas Schenck and Mayer had never gotten along. Indeed, Mayer, who loved assigning pet names to friend and foe alike, reportedly referred to his boss as Mr. Skunk in private. The aborted merger only intensified the animosity between Schenck and Mayer. The persistant rivalry lasted over twenty more years, becoming an East Coast/West Coast, New York/Hollywood schism in the media giant. The rivalry finally ended when Schenck finally dismissed Mayer in 1951.

In 1934 MGM began to produce a number of three-color [Technicolor] short subjects including 1935's musical La Fiesta de Santa Barbara, waiting until 1938 to film a complete feature in the three-color process--Sweethearts with Jeanette MacDonald. But in addition to a growing short subjects program of its own, MGM also released the shorts and features produced by Hal Roach Studios, including the famous comedy shorts starring Laurel and Hardy, Our Gang, and Charley Chase. MGM's distribution deal with Roach lasted eleven years, from 1927 to 1938, with MGM reaping great benefit from the success of both the popular Laurel and Hardy films and the Our Gang comedy shorts.

MGM purchased the intellectual rights to Our Gang in 1938, moving the production in-house, and continuing production of the successful series of children's comedies until 1944. Between 1929 and 1931, MGM produced a series of comedy shorts called All Barkie Dogville Comedies [a shameless play on the 'All Darkie' farces from vaudeville and the silent film era], in which trained dogs were dressed up to parody contemporary films, while voiced by human actors.

On the Animation front, in 1930, MGM purchased the rights to distribute a series of cartoons that starred a character named Flip the Frog, produced by Ub Iwerks. The first cartoon in this series--Fiddlesticks--was the first sound cartoon to be produced in two-color Technicolor.

MGM's short subjects were not to be taken lightly. MGM's Loews Theaters connection provided a ready audience throughout the Loews stronghold in the Northeast United States. While producing as many as fifty feature films a year, it was the shorts--both animated and film--that was the glue connecting a full slate of enjoyable features for their cash-strapped Depression years audiences. And on the strength of a ready-made, captive distribution outlet--the Loews Theater chain--MGM was the only major studio during the period to issue stock dividends throughout the Great Depression years. But this monopoly would resurface fifteen years later in 1954's settlement of U.S. vs. Paramont Pictures, et. al, wherein Loew's, Inc., was ordered to divest itself of MGM.

Crime Does Not Pay, in addition to MGM's Passing Parade and Pete Smith Specialties were immensely popular in their day. The Pete Smith Specialties, in particular, were nominated for Academy Awards sixteen times in various short film categories. MGM's fifty Crime Does Not Pay shorts ran from 1935 to 1948, showcasing many early appearances by what would eventually become some of MGM's finest character actors and feature film stars.

It was the Crime Does Not Pay series of short features that led to MGM's inspiration to expand into Radio Programming. The Marcus Loew Booking Agency had owned New York radio station WHN since 1946. Responding to a suggestion by MGM publicity head, Pete Smith, MGM leased studio and manufacturing space in the Broadcasters Program Syndicate headquarters building in New York, to coincide with the launch of competing NBC's first 1949 broadcasts between its new NBC Studios in Los Angeles and its flagship studios in 30 Rockerfeller Plaza in New York. MGM was granted a call sign change from WHN to WMGM, to further call attention to its ownership of one of the nation's earliest radio stations.

M-G-M Radio Attractions recorded programs for syndication--and for broadcast over WMGM:

  • M-G-M Theatre of The Air
  • At Home with Lionel Barrymore
  • Hollywood, U.S.A.
  • The Story of Dr. Kildare
  • Good News From Hollywood
  • Crime Does Not Pay
  • The Hardy Family
  • The Adventures of Maisie
  • The Passing Parade
  • Woman of The Year
  • The Black Museum
  • M-G-M Musical Comedy Theater of The Air
  • The Modern Adventures of Casanova
  • The Gracie Fields Show

All fourteen programs were well received, but within seven years, MGM would be out of the radio programming and syndication business. MGM Records, however became a major label from the 1950s, on. WMGM's format changed to appeal to a broader audience--and format--and eventually reverted back to call sign WHN in 1962.




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