Eight By Request spot ad from August 4 1949
|RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, Martin Grams' Radio Drama, and the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress'.
Notes on Provenances:
We invite you to compare our fully provenanced research with the '1,500 expert researchers' at the OTRR and their Radio City Playhouse log, which the OTRR claims to be correct according to their 'OTTER log'. We've provided a screen shot of their current log for comparison, HERE to protect our own due diligence and intellectual property.
All above cited provenances are in error in one form or another. The most helpful provenances were the radioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings. This is quite understandable, given both the ambiguity of the provenance cues contained within those productions actually broadcast, and the apparent failure of the script continuity editor to keep track of the script order for all three series' Indeed, the radioGOLDINdex qualifies its episode numbering as follows: "The program numbers indicated are based on the calendar, not the announcement ."
In the first place, there were never the reported 72 scheduled broadcasts cited by virtually all independent log preparers. Indeed as can best be determined there were never more than 65 Radio City Playhouse scripts produced--or broadcast--by any verifiable historical provenance. Neither were there ever any more than 68 scheduled broadcasts of Radio City Playhouse, in any market--certainly not the 72 broadcasts continually reported.
'Commercial otr traders' [sellers] had a vested interest in keeping this and many other marginally documented programs as murky as possible for as long as possible so as to 'trade' more ambiguous, questionable recordings over the years. The advent of several commercial digital libraries of newspaper 'morgues' has finally made it possible to debunk many of these self-appointed 'expert traders' for what they've been doing all these years until technology finally caught up with them.
The confusion for collectors in cataloging this series arises from the Announcer and Director announcements of the 'Attraction Number' of any given week's production. Normally this would be a godsend for the attentive collector, assuming the 'Attraction Number' provenances remained accurate through the entire run. Such was not the case in these three series' of Radio City Playhouse and it's derivative, 'Eight By Request'--eight specially requested rebroadcasts of Radio City Playhouse episodes, broadcast on a different day and in a differing time slot between 49-06-30 and 49-08-18. NBC employed this strategy several times between 1948 and 1952, in their head-to-head battle with CBS for ratings. Another similar cross-promotion, 'For Your Approval' or 'by request' gambit was a series of Night Beat episodes aired out of the regular schedule to promote other programming in the NBC line-up.
Continuity for this provenance remained accurate through episode 9, correctly announced as Attraction Number 9. But from that point forward things began to get quite out of hand, with, for example: skipping Attraction 10 altogether and jumping to Attraction 11, then announcing two Attraction 12's with differing scripts and casts, then, variously, announcements of two Attraction 27's, two Attraction 30's, two Attraction 56's and finally two Attraction 65's, etc.--all with differing casts, scripts and provenances.
To further add to the confusion, several unannounced rebroadcasts were introduced into the lineup over the years--with no continuity cues, and an obvious overdub at the intro. In addition, there were several other overdubbed intros for genuinely unique episodes, which contained neither an attraction number, nor exposition by Harry W. Junkin, the director for the series.
And if that didn't create enough confusion, NBC introduced eight other apparently 'by request' episodes called, appropriately enough, Eight By Request, between scheduled episodes from 49-06-30 through 49-08-18. The eight scripts were re-cast and re-adapted for the eight new productions of previously aired scripts:
- Item 1, Long Distance, rescripted for Geraldine Fitzgerald (previously aired with Jan Miner)
- Item 2, Treasure Trove, (previously aired with Claudia Morgan)
- Item 3, One From Three Leaves Two, (previously aired with Jan Miner and John Larkin)
- Item 4, Two Moods From The Past, rescripted for Frederic March and his wife, Florence Eldridge (previously aired with Jan Miner and John Larkin)
- Item 5, The Door, rescripted for John Garfield (previously aired with Casey Allen)
- Item 6, Hit and Run, rescripted for Paul Henreid (previously aired with John Larkin)
- Item 7, Soundless, rescripted for Marla Toren (previously aired with John Larkin and Jan Miner)
- Item 8, Machine, rescripted for Lizabeth Scott (previously aired with Elspeth Eric)
Given the above, one is forewarned to be on the lookout for commericial 'otr' sites claiming that the Eight By Request recordings were simply 2nd--or 3rd--rebroadcasts from the regular Radio City Playhouse canon. Clearly, they were not. Buyer beware. By the same token, be advised that virtually all circulating Radio City Playhouse episodes annotated 'rebroadcast' are simply the original broadcast with a different file date.
The beginning and end of the respective series' were also kept somewhat murky by the Network itself. The network unaccountably ended the Summer series with an abrupt announcement at the end of Episode 13, citing no rationale for the termination of the run. But the series reappeared six weeks later as 'Series 1'. If, as it was, the Summer series of 1948 was just a Summer replacement run, it was never announced as such. It may have been promoted that way within other broadcasts.
Specific Provenance Notes:
1. NBC's attraction naming issues began with 'Attraction #9', Betrayal, 48-08-30. At the end of the production, Bob Warren announces 'Attraction 10' for the following Monday, as The King of The Moon. However, by the following Monday the script for The King of The Moon has Bob Warren announce the production as 'Attraction 11'.
This is a script continuity problem from production to production which plagues NBC and Radio City Playhouse from this point forward, until 49-01-10 for a run of fair continuity for almost three months, then drifts again until the last three episodes of Series 2. It would appear that NBC underestimated the reception the series would receive, since at various times throughout the series, H.W. Junkin would comment on how far behind they were in answering their mail from appreciative listeners. One can only surmise that any number of those correspondents were addressing NBC's Attraction continuity issues.
A possible mitigating factor in this confusing oversight might be NBC shuffling the series all over the timeslot map for the Summer series--a total of four different days and timeslots for the first thirteen productions. It goes without saying that only a Network-sustained production could get away with such quixotic re-scheduling.
2. 'The's: Actual Attraction 10, Episode 10, of 48-09-06 is titled The King of The Moon, not King of The Moon. Actual Attraction 13, Episode 13, of 48-09-25 is titled The Dark Hour, not Dark Hour. Actual Attraction 19, Episode 19, of 48-12-13 is titled The Heritage of Wimpole Street, not Heritage of Wimple Street.
- Why so picky about 'The's? For one reason, most of the scripts in this series of productions are, in all probability, still under copyright protection, and should be correctly identified for both parties' protection. The other obvious reason is simple accuracy. But from a practical standpoint, it keeps the common databases of these details sorted accurately and efficiently, not to mention verifying provenances for the series.
This is the same rationale for absolute accuracy in spelling episode titles for due diligence research purposes. It does no good, for example, to look--in vain--for a title named 'Conquerers Isle' when the only true result set from an accurate database--in any form--would be 'Conqueror's Isle'. Most unsophisticated 'fuzzy search' techniques would fail in this situation, since there are two 'fuzzy neighbor' issues to detect and resolve: the incorrect 'e' and the possessive apostrophe--within one character of each other. Accurate resolution is even more vital when seaching 'OCR', or optical character recognition-sourced results--such as digital newspaper morgues. So it's not simply common sense. It's absolutely vital for accurate, consistent, fruitful database or search engine results.
3. With that thought fresh in mind, Terry Salomonson, a respected, disciplined radio scholar, cites an episode of Radio City Playhouse titled, 'Conqueror's Isle', broadcast on 49-10-02. We can find no provenance for that script, or any published record of its actual broadcast.
4. Announced Attraction 35, actual Episode 38, dated 49-05-02, is titled 'The Hands of Mr. Ottermole', not 'Hands of Dr. Ottermole'. (For some reason, 'The Hands of Mr. Ottermole' is often conflated with another popularly performed drama from the era, 'The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse.' This conflation of the two recurs over and over again throughout otr logs.)
5. Announced Attraction 65, actual Episode 66, dated 49-12-18, is titled 'The Wine of Oropalo', not 'Wine of Ora Paula'.
6. The 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress', is in error as to it's citation of announced Attraction 31, actual Episode 33, 'The Wardrobe Trunk', as broadcast on 49-04-06, a Wednesday. There was no WNBC broadcast of Radio City Playhouse on Wednesday that week. The actual broadcast date of that episode was 49-04-04, a Monday. The 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress' is simply in error. This is also the 'authoritative source' that alleges that the series began July 3, 1949. This is demonstrably false. The Summer Series actually began on July 3, 1948. Given the importance of the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress' we felt obliged to capture a snapshot of it from October 28, 2008. As an official document of The Library of Congress, we're pleased to have preserved it here to illustrate how we assisted the Library of Congress in improving it even more (note also that the original published date of the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress' was September 11, 2001, the day of the infamous 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., where the Library of Congress is located):
Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress
.pdf of Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress
WayBack Machine archive of Radio City Playhouse Official Log from 07-12-15
[Update: both of the above cited errors have apparently been corrected via the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress'. We're pleased to have helped them correct their Official Radio City Playhouse Log. We quite naturally didn't mind the failure to attribute our assistance. It is, afterall, from our own Library of Congress.]
7. The 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress', is in error as to it's title of announced Attraction 41, actual Episode 41, dated 49-06-06, as 'Danger B'. The correct title is Note On Danger 'B'. This can easily be resolved by actually listening to it--both the opening and the close.
[Update: the above cited error has apparently been annotated via the notation of an a.k.a. of "Note On Danger B" in the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress'. We were equally pleased correct the Official Radio City Playhouse Log. It appears that it has yet to actually listen to the episode to hear what was actually announced in that recording. Naturally, we recognize how busy they are preserving and archiving Golden Age Radio recordings. We're happy to help anyone correct the Official Radio City Playhouse Log as often as it cares to, without ever attributing our own research. ]
8. The 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress', cites the broadcast of an Episode titled, 'Affliction', as broadcast on 49-09-25, a Sunday. There was no WNBC broadcast of Radio City Playhouse on that Sunday that week in the announced 5:00 pm to 5:30 pm timeslot--or any other timeslot, in either the L.A Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, or The N.Y. Times. The program in that timeslot that day was WNBC's America United.
[Update: the above cited error has apparently been annotated to reflect that "NBC Log files show this, but no newspaper record of it airing can be found" by the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress'. Of course there's a very good reason they can find no record of it airing anywhere in the world on September 25, 1949. No Radio City Playhouse program ever did air anywhere in the world on September 25, 1949.]
9. As does the Salomonson log, the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from The Library of Congress' cites the broadcast of an episode titled, 'Conqueror's Isle', broadcast on 49-10-02, a Sunday, with a 25-second portion of the broadcast "pre-empted for the announcement of a Sports Bulletin concerning the Yankees and Dodgers World Series Play." Now under normal circumstances that would be a wonderfully seredipitous provenance in and of itself for dating an episode. There's just one problem with the cited provenance: the 1949 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers didn't even commence until October 5, 1949. As any red-blooded New Yorker would attest, any announcement regarding a cross-town World Series would certainly merit a break during even a series as popular and prestigious as Radio City Playhouse--but not three days before the World Series was yet to begin.
Here's our recording of Game 5 of the 1949 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers played at Ebbets Field on October 9, 1949 beginning at 1:45 E.S.T. over WOR. Heard are Mel Allen and Red Barber with the play by play for Gillette. Game 5 ran 2 hours and 58 minutes. Radio City Playhouse aired at 5 p.m. in New York over WNBC.
[Update: the above cited error has apparently been annotated to insert the word "to" between "Dodgers" and "Play" via the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress'. The fact, however, remains, that the episode in question can't possibly have aired on October 2, 1949. The episode that actually aired that day, as announced and widely advertised across our great nation, was the Premiere of Series 2 of Radio City Playhouse, a program titled, Affliction.]
The Library of Congress was by no means alone in their errors. Martin Grams' "Radio Drama," contains all of the above errors--and a few more. Unfortunately all of Radio Drama's errors remain uncorrected.
Another more trivial, yet audibly factual, point we need to address are the series' of productions themselves. They were never addressed as 'seasons'--ever. They were three series': a Summer Series, a Series One  and a Series Two . Given the painstaking detail of the 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress,' we'd have hoped that fact might have been updated as well in time. As of this writing, it stands uncorrected after going on nine years now.
Exercising inductive logic, we are told that there were five scripts purported to be available for broadcast during the four week period, 49-10-02 through 49-10-23, not the five week period between 49-09-25 through 49-10-23 (we have only three of these recordings from which to actually listen for provenances):
- Conqueror's Isle *
- The Plotters
- Ground Floor Window (with a different cast than 48-07-10) *
We know from contemporaneous Radio Listings from four different, reputable newspapers that no Radio City Playhouse aired on September 25, 1949, as alleged by virtually every other log in circulation--even the prestigious 'Radio City Playhouse Official Log based upon records from of The Library of Congress.' And from actually listening to 'Affliction', we can hear the announcement of 'Conqueror's Isle' for the following week. That provenance tends to reinforce the likelihood that Conqueror's Isle--if indeed it aired at all--had to have aired during Game 5 of the 1949 World Series, or 49-10-09--Q.E.D..
If Conqueror's Isle actually aired as alleged, then that leaves only two remaining weeks to air the other three purported episodes at issue: The Plotters, Duet, and the re-casting of Ground Floor Window, because every following weekly production until the end of the series on January 1, 1950 can be both accounted for and provenanced.
Time Magazine published the Radio City Playhouse schedule for October 16, 1949 as follows: "Radio City Playhouse (Sun. 5 p.m., NBC). Two playlets: The Lake and Collector's Item." One might well imagine that Duet, given that it starred the Announcer, Fred Collins in its first of two, 13-minute plays should certainly have demanded airing as scheduled. Added to that, Duet was actually announced as the production to follow The Plotters. Giving further weight is the announcement of Ground Floor Window to follow Duet.
That leaves two episodes as the more plausible candidates for never having actually aired: Conqueror's Isle and the re-cast Ground Floor Window:
- Given the elaborate alleged embedded "World Series provenance" for Conqueror's Isle, which, by the way, we don't doubt in the least, given that it came directly from our own Library of Congress, it seems more likely that if it aired as alleged, then it had to have aired on October 9, 1949. We've already established that it couldn't possibly have aired on October 2, 1949 and the snippet announcing the World Series couldn't have been announced on October 2, 1949 because the playoffs hadn't been resolved as of air time on October 2, 1949.
- Indeed, if any episode didn't actually air, it seems more likely that it would have been the alleged re-cast Ground Floor Window
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