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Original American Novels header art

The American Novels Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> American Novels

NBC Universityof the Air's The World's Great Novels was produced by NBC Red key station WMAQ in Chicago
NBC Universityof the Air's American Novels was produced by NBC-Red key station WMAQ in Chicago



Background

American Novels was one of the many initiatives of the NBC University of The Air and NBC Inter-American University of The Air productions produced between 1942 and 1948. The theme of NBC University of The Air's American Novels was "books that live." These were distinctly American novels that continued to provide the same message and substance irrespective of the era of their first printing. These were timeless stories of human struggle, resolve, and reaffirmation that both encouraged and inspired the reader--or in this instance, the listener.

The dramatization of these novels was structured to both retain the underlying story, while focusing on the principles or themes of the authors framed as illustrations of their craft. The authors represented within the canon of American Novels spanned over a hundred years of American literature, focusing on the works of nine American novelists and authors:

  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Samuel Clemens [Mark Twain]
  • James Fenimore Cooper
  • Edward Eggleston
  • Bret Harte
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Washington Irving
  • Helen Hunt Jackson
  • Herman Melville

Ranging from the most herioc of plots to simple depictions of the challenges of nineteenth century and turn of the century life, each of these novels were marked by the distinctly American nature of their stories.

The dramatized novels were the equal of any of the NBC University of The Air productions of the era--well mounted, well adapted for Radio and well performed. The series also encouraged further reading and study of these timeless American works, reminding listeners to seek out these novels for themsevles at their local libraries or book stores. NBC University of The Air also offered a listeners' guide to the entire series, for the cost of postage and handling.

As a Summer series, the program was not widely adopted as curricula by educational institutions of the era, as many of the other NBC University of The Air productions had been. But as a light Summer literary survey of American Literature, American Novels very nicely complimented the other prestigious regular season offerings of NBC's University of The Air of the post-War years.

Series Derivatives:

World's Great Novels
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Dramatized Novels
Network(s): NBC, ABC Blue Network [West], The AFRS, and several other local affiliates and networks while in syndication.
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 47-07-04 01 Moby Dick
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 47-07-04 to 47-10-03; NBC [WMAQ, Chicago]; Fourteen, 30-minute programs; Fridays, 10:30 p.m.
Syndication: NBC Orthacoustic
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Homer Hecht, Herbert Letou
Principal Actors: David Whitehouse, Leonard Smith, Viola Berwick, Bill Rath, Elmira Ressler, Fern Persons, Florine Sears, George Cisar, Jess Pugh, Don Gallagher, Geraldine Kay, Martha McCain, Doris Grundy, Mary Ann O'Neill, Fern Persons, Martha Graham, Charles Flynn, Larry Alexander, Everett Clarke, Jess Pugh, Donald Gallagher, Curt Kupfer, Cliff Norton, Arthur Peterson, Bob Smith, Cliff Soubier
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): Edward Eggleston, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, James Fenimore Cooper, Bret Harte, Helen Hunt Jackson, Washington Irving, Louisa May Alcott
Writer(s) Ned Blandon, Agnes Eckhart, Ethel Harris Gregory [Adapters]
Music Direction: Emil Soderstrom [Composer]
Bernard Berquist [Conductor]
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Hugh Downs, Don Elder
Philip Lord, Jonathon Pohl [Narrators]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
14
Episodes in Circulation: 6
Total Episodes in Collection: 14
Provenances:
A tip of the hat to Jerry Haendiges for the first actual episode of NBC University Theatre's American Novels.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings and Jerry Haendiges.

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The American Novels Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
47-06-27
--
--
[Contrary to the below newspaper provenances, Hoosier Schoolmaster, Parts I and II didn't actually air on this date. They did finally air beginning on 47-08-29 on succeeding weeks; NBC announced in the final installment of World's Great Novels' Second season that NBC University Theater's new American Novels cycle would be delayed by a week, airing first on July 4th 1947, rather than June 27th 1947]

47-06-27 Hutchinson News Herald
9:30 American Novels
Hoosier Schoolmaster.

47-06-27 Sandusky Register Star News - NBC 10:30 Summer drama, American Novels, starting with "
Hoosier, Schoolmaster;" program to be heard at an earlier time next week.

47-06-27 New York Times
11:30-12--American Novels:
Part I of Eggleston's "The Hoosier Schoolmaster."--WNBC.

47-06-27 Washington Post
New summer series of American Novels begins with dramatization of "
Hoosier Schoolmalster," WRC--11:30 p.m.

47-06-27 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 Great Novels WMAQ
47-07-04
1
Moby Dick
Y
47-07-04 Hutchinson News Herald
7:00 American Novels
Moby Dick.

47-07-04 New York Times
9-9:30--American Novels: Drama:
"Moby Dick"--WNBC.

47-07-04 Washington Post
Melville's "
Moby Dick" opens summer dramatic series based on American novels, WRC--9 p.m
47-07-11
2
The Scarlet Letter
Y
47-07-11 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--American Novels (WIBA): "
The Scarlet Letter."
47-07-18
3
Tom Sawyer Part 1
Y
47-07-18 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--American Novels (WIBA): "
Tom Sawyer."
47-07-25
4
Tom Sawyer Part 2
Y
47-07-25 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--American Novels (WIBA): second part of "
Tom Sawyer."
47-08-01
5
The Pilot
Y
47-08-01 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--American Novels (WIBA): Cooper's "
The Pilot."
47-08-08
6
The Luck Of Roaring Camp
Y
47-08-08 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--American Novels (WIBA): "
The Luck of Roaring Camp" by Bret Harte.
47-08-15
7
Ramona Part 1
Y
47-08-15 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--American Novels (WMAQ): "
Ramona."

47-08-15 Reno Evening Gazette - AMERICAN NOVELS 7:30 P.M. "
Ramona", Helen Hunt Jackson's romantic story of Indian and Spanish life in the early days of Southern California will be dramatized.
47-08-22
8
Ramona Part 2
Y
47-08-22 Olean Times-Herald
WNBC 11:30 American Novels "
Ramona," part II.
47-08-29
9
The Hoosier Schoolmaster Part 1
Y
47-08-29 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--American Novels (WMAQ): "
The Hoosier Schoolmaster."
47-09-05
10
The Hoosier Schoolmaster Part 2
Y
47-09-05 Berkshire Evening Eagle
10 American Novels:
Hoosier Schoolmaster, Part 2.
47-09-12
11
Life On the Mississippi
Y
47-09-12 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--American Novels (WMAQ): "
Life on the Mississippi."

47-09-12 Reno Evening Gazette - AMERICAN NOVELS 7:30 P.M. "
Life on the Mississippi," Samuel Clemens' classic of river life during the middle of the last century will recall experiences of pilots, captains, and barge men of the Mississippi.

Announces "
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" as next
47-09-19
12
The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

Y
47-09-19 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--American Novels (WMAQ): "
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."
47-09-26
13
Little Women Part 1
Y
47-09-26 Wisconsin State Journal
10:30 p.m.--American Novels (WMAQ): "
Little Women."
47-10-03
14
Little Women Part 2
Y
47-10-03 La Crosse Tribune
AMERICAN NOVELS will broadcast the second installment of a two-part dramatization of Louisa M. Alcott's "
Little Women" on WKBH-NBC tonight at 10:30. The story of four girls and their mother during the period after the Civil War was standard reading to most present-day adult listeners during their childhood, and is still a favorite with many youngsters today









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