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The American Story Radio Program

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NBC University of the Air's The American Story was produced by NBC-Red key station WEAF in New York City

NBC University of the Air's The American Story was produced by NBC-Red key station WEAF in New York City


Background

The value of NBC's various educational programming initiatives of the 1930s and 1940s can't be underestimated. For their time, they were some of the most noble experiments in combining entertainment with education over Radio. The NBC University of The Air and NBC Inter-American University of The Air initiatives, in particular, were conceived and executed with the most noble and altruistic of intentions. And in all fairness to the Columbia Broadcasting System, both giant networks realized the importance of their highly influential positions in mass communication throughout the Golden Age of Radio.

CBS and NBC often went head-to-head with their purely commercial productions as well as with their programming in the public interest. In rare cases, during even the most noble of motivations, both networks experienced missteps due to their constant competition with each other. A case in point was the two competing Shakespeare revivals of 1937. Both networks determined to mount competing revivials of the works of the great bard, but in doing so, neither of them produced a production worthy of the material. Both Shakespeare Cycle (CBS) and Streamlined Shakespeare (NBC) suffered from being rushed into production without a great deal of forethought as to the effect on the ultimate productions. And though mounted with the finest talent--and the greatest of intentions, both productions had an Achilles' heel of one kind or another as a result--and both failed miserably at the hands of the public and critics alike.

From the mid-1930s forward, CBS had its various incarnations of what they referred to as 'experimental Radio'--cutting edge applications of the emerging technologies, broadcast techniques and more innovative writing of the era with which to 'experiment' over the powerful medium of broadcast Radio.

NBC for its part, established its NBC University of The Air as an informal initiative within the company as early as the mid-1920s, recognizing its remarkable opportunity--and obligation--to both entertain and educate with its growing power and reach as a communication medium. With the advent of America's involvement in World War II, NBC executives, in 1942, determined to formalize their NBC University of The Air into two chartered initiatives: NBC University of The Air and NBC Inter-American University of The Air. The former addressing domestic educational initiatives and the latter addressing the growing importance of the United Nations and international diplomacy.

Between 1942 and 1948, NBC University of the Air launched numerous initiatives in the domestic public interest, among which were:

  • 1944 Pursuit of Learning
  • 1944-48 The Worlds Great Novels
  • 1944-45 We Came This Way
  • 1945 The Story of Music
  • 1944-46 The Land of The Free
  • 1946 Featuring Our Families
  • 1946 Tales of The Foreign Service
  • 1947 American Novels

NBC concurrently aired numerous United Nations-oriented productions under the NBC University banner, as NBC Inter-American University of The Air initiatives, in the public interest as well as embracing the larger world community:

  • July 6, 1942 The Lands of The Free
  • October 10, 1942 Music of The New World
  • 1943 For This We Fight
  • 1943 Music of The New World
  • 1944 The Department of State Speaks
  • 1945 Our Foreign Policy
  • 1946 Your United Nations
  • 1946 Home Around The World
  • 1946 Concert of Nations

As a natural extension of NBC University of The Air, NBC also embarked on several NBC Presents and NBC Theater Presents network-sustained and sponsored initiatives upon reevaluating the success and acceptance of it's University of The Air intiatives of the 1940s. 1948 marked the year that NBC determined that the public was seeking accurate and informative programming, to be sure, but that much of the public audience of the post-War years was somewhat put off by the word 'University' in the titles of such programming. From that point forward, NBC's more prestigious, signature productions bore the "NBC Presents" title in one form or another.

NBC University of The Air Presents: The American Story

As one of the formalized NBC Inter-American University of The Air initiatives, The American Story was almost certainly its most ambitious and authoritative of the era.

The series was not without its critics. From the July 8th 1944 Lethbridge Herald:

MUCH HISTORY NEEDS
RE-WRITING

(Edmonton Journal.)

     Canada is not alone in its growing belief that a lot of history needs to be re-written by impartial students devoted only to an honest recital. The desire expressed in the dominion for a history that would be "acceptable" in all provinces and the offer of a prize for the best history of that portion of the continent known in Carada as the prairie provinces and in the States as the northern middle west. Is supplemented south of the border by suggestions that American school histories could be vastly improved.
     Howard Vincent O'Brien, leading columnist of the Chicago Daily News, admitted recentlv that, he had been Icarnincc a lot of facts about American history from a radio feature, "The American Story." Of the period before the Revolution he wrote:

I learned, for example, that a good many Americans looked on men like Adams and Hancock as dangerous demagogues. The colonial population was anything but unanimous for separation from Britain. In the onlnlon of John Adams —- who should have known -— about a third of the colonists were for separation; a third were indifferent, and a third were bitterly opposed.
     Almost everv family had one or more members of the Tory persuasion. The brother of John Knox, commander of Washington's artillery, was an active Tory. So was Benjamin Franklin's son; and so was the brother of Governeur Morris. Among the many who held fast to the mother country was a member of the Winslow family, who, in 1770 was a fifth generation American!
     These are surprising facts. I for one, had forgotten them—If indeed I ever knew them. The history I learned in school didn't trouble itself much with disturbing complications. I was given to understand that there was a revolution against the tyranny of an English king! and that there were only two kinds of American--patriots and Benedict Arnold.
     It is a little disturbing, now, to discover that it was a civil war rather than a revolution; that of "tyrannv" there was little or none; and that the villain of the piece—if any—was parliament, not the crown.
     It was. fundamentally, the same conflict that is going on to this day-—the conflict between federal authority and states' rights—centralized government versus local autonomy. And there seems to have been just as little unanimity of opinion in 1776 as there is today. Much of the success of the American revolution was due to the support—financial and otherwise—of certain sections of the English people.

No doubt Mr. O'Brien's surprise in regard to American hlstorv would be shared by many of his countrymen: many a Canadian would be equally astonished by the background of outstanding events in the cominion's history.
     Of course, histories have been written that cover the ground and give a good picture of the people and the conditions from which grew the more important developments. Too often, however, their circulation has been restricted to the more advanced classrooms of universities. Perhaps we may yet have a history that the average Canadian will be able to read understandingly.


Series Derivatives:

The World's Great Novels; American Novels; NBC University of the Air; NBC inter-American University of the Air;
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Historical Documentaries
Network(s): NBC-Red [WEAF, Chicago]
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 44-02-05 01 The Discovery
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 44-02-05 to 45-09-07; NBC-Red [WEAF, New York]; Thirty-two, 30-minute programs
Syndication: NBC Orthacoustic
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Frank Papp
Principal Actors: Ed Jerome, Arnold Moss, John Gibson, Alexander Scourby, John Brown, Alfred Shirley, Joseph Julian, Will Geer, Karl Weber, Rod Hendrickson, Arthur Kohl, David Gothard, House Jamison, Ed Begley, Bernard Lenrow, Burford Hamden, Roger DeKoven, Grace Coppin, Alan Debitt, Hester Sondegaard, Tom Hoyer, Joseph Wiseman, Fred Barron, Richard Keith, Julian Noa, Norma Chambers, Joe Latham, Jack McBride, Reese Taylor, Harold Young, Arthur Cole, Jean Leonard, Evelyn Varden, Ted Osbourne, Don Maclachlan, Edgar Stehley, Paul Lasak, Maurice Tarplin
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): Archibald MacLeish, Francisco Herres,
Writer(s) Archibald MacLeish, Allan Nevins

Dr. Ernest McLeod [Musical Research]
Music Direction: Morris Mamorsky [Composer-Conductor

Suzanne Bloch [lute and accompaniment]
John Neare [Ballad]
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Archibald MacLeish, Arnold Moss, Alexander Scourby, Allan Nevins [Narrators]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
32
Episodes in Circulation: 20
Total Episodes in Collection: 22
Provenances:
Contributor Jerry Haendiges.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings and the recordings of Jerry Haendiges.


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The American Story Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
44-02-05
1
The Admiral
The Discovery
Y
[Premiere]

44-01-12 Winnipeg Free Press
Archibald MacLeish. head of the library of the U.S. congress, and one of America's most significant poets, has prepared a series of talks to be entitled The American Story. It will be presented by the NBC Inter-American University of the Air, and will commence Feb. 5 over NBC.

44-02-05 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Discovery," Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30 (Premiere).

44-02-05 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA): "
The Discovery," first story of series tracing development of American literature; story of Columbus, culled from journal of Columbus and other original source records.

Announces
The Discoveries of The Americas as next
44-02-12
2
The Names For the Rivers
The Discoveries of The Americas
Y
[1st half only]

44-02-12 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Discoverers," Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.
44-02-19
3
The American Name
The Naming of America
Y
44-02-19 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Naming Of America," With Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF 7-7:30.

Announces
The World of the Incas as next
44-02-26
4
The Discovered
Y
44-02-26 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Discovered," With Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.

44-02-26 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--The American Story (WIBA): "
The Discovered," dramatized series by Archibald MacLeish.

Announces
The Indians of Mexico as next
44-03-04
5
The American Gods
Accounts In the New Land
Arrival--From Indian Point of View
Y
44-03-04 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Accounts in the New Land," Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.

Announces
The Wars Against the Indians as next
44-03-11
6
The Many Dead
The Wars Against the Indians
Y
44-03-11 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Wars Against the Indians," Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.

Announces
The Accounts of the New World as next
44-03-18
7
Ripe Strawberries and Gooseberries and Sweet Single Roses
The Accounts of the New World
N
44-03-18 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Accounts From the New-Found Lands"; Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.
44-03-25
8
Between The Silence and The Surf
The Settlement
Y
[ Open cut]

44-03-25 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Settlement," Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.

Announces
The American Experience of Freedom as next
44-04-01
9
Nat Bacon's Bones
The Colonial Experience
Bacon's Rebellion
Y
44-04-01 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Colonial Experience," Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.

44-04-01 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA): story of "
Bacon's Rebellion."

Announces
The Wars of Freedom as next
44-04-08
10
Socorro, When Your Sons Forget
The Wars of Freedom
Y
44-04-08 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
The Wars of Freedom," With Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.
44-04-15
11
Apostles of Faith
N
44-04-15 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
Apostles of Faith" Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF--7-7:30.

44-04-15 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA): "
Apostles of Faith," first of second series, written by Allan Nevins, twice Pulitzer prize winner.

44-04-22
12
The Moving Frontier
Y
44-04-22 New York Times
The American Story: "
The Moving Frontier," Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF--7-7:30.

Announces
The Emergence of An American Spirit as next
44-04-29
13
The Struggle of the Negro
Bowed Shapes
The Infection of Freedom
Y
44-04-29 New York Times
The American Story: Play,
"Struggle of the Negro to Gain Recognition"; Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF, 7-7:30.

44-04-29 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA): "
The Infection of Freedom."
44-05-06
--
Pre-Empted
--
44-05-06 New York Times
7:00-WEAF--Stand By: Interviews With NBC Correspondents on Fighting Fronts.

44-05-06 Wisconsin State Journal
6:00 NBC Stands By--WMAQ
44-05-13
14
The Shape of Freedom
Infection of Freedom
Y
44-05-13 New York Times
7:00-WEAF--The American Story:
The Shape of Freedom.

44-05-20
15
The Shape of Loyalists
The Shape of Loyalty
Y
44-05-20 New York Times
American Story: "
The Shape of Loyalty"--WEAF, 7--7:30.

44-05-20 Lowell Sun
AMERICAN STORY: "
The Shape of Loyalists" WBZ. 7 to 7:30

44-05-27
16
Arms and the Man
Y
44-05-27 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
Arms and the Man"--WEAF, 7-7:30.
44-06-03
17
The Battle For the Bill of Rights
Against Spiritual Tyranny
Y
44-06-03 New York Times
American Story: "
Battle For the Bill of Rights"--WEAF, 7-7:30.

44-06-03 The Lima News
Adoption of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution is the subject for the episode of Allan Nevins' "American Story" Saturday (WEAF. 7 p. m., EWT). Titled "
The Battle for the Bill of Rights," the broadcast describes
how George Mason's Bill of Rights for Virginia was embodied in the national Constitution.

44-06-03 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA): "
The Battle for the Bill of Rights," showing how Virginia's bill of rights was embodied in national constitution
44-06-10
18
Transplanting the Industrial Revolution
Indiustrial Revolution Begins
Y
44-06-10 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
Transplanting the Industrial Revolution"--WEAF, 7-7:30.
44-06-17
19
Doubling Our Heritage
Y
44-06-17 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
Doubling the American Heritage"--WEAF, 7-7:30.
44-06-24
--
Pre-Empted
--
44-06-24 New York Times
7:00-WEAF--Republican Convention Preview: Talks, Interviews.

44-06-24 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--Convention Rehearsal (WMAQ): behind-the-scenes preparations for Republican convention broadcasts; H.V. Kaltenborn, Richard Harkness discuss candidates.

44-06-24 The Lima News
Allan Nevins, twice Pulitzer Prize winner, devotes the next chapter of "American Story" Saturday, to a discussion of the opening of the western rivers as part of the development of this nation
(WEAF, 7 p. m., EWT.) Titled "
Western Waters and Westward Farers." this episode deals with the steamboat and its influence on the opening of the Ohio, Mississippi and their tributary rivers.

44-06-24 Naugatuck Daily News
7:00 p. m.
WABC—Mayor of the Town
WATR- Good Old Days
WEAF-WTIC- American Story
WJZ-Republican Program

44-06-24 Washington Post
WRC 7:00--GOP Convention Rehearsal

44-07-01
20
Westward Waters and Westward Farers
Western Waters
Y
44-07-01 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
Westward Waters and Westward Farers"--WEAF, 7-7:30.

44-07-01 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA): "
Western Waters and Westward Farers."

44-07-08
21
Yankee Clippers and Foreign Horizons
Oregon And China
Y
44-07-08 New York Times
The American Story: Play, "
Yankee Clippers and Foreign Horizons"--WEAF, 7-7:30.

44-07-08 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA): "
Yankee Clippers and Foreign Horizons."
44-07-15
22
A Salute to Bastille Day
Y
44-07-15 New York Times
7:00-WEAF--The American Story:
Bastille Day.

44-07-15 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--American Story (WIBA):
special broadcast marking Bastille day.

Announces the last in the current series and
They Call Me Joe as the next series.
44-07-22
--
--
44-07-22 Wisconsin State Journal
6 p.m.--They Call Me Joe (WIBA): new dramatic series citing contributions to America by racial groups among U.S. servicemen. Irish and Chinese contributions on initial broadcast.





45-06-29
--
--
45-06-29 Wisconsin State Journal
11:30 p.m.--World's Great Novels (WMAQ): "Candide" by Voltaire
45-07-06
1
The Admiral
N
45-07-06 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
The Admiral, " Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF.

45-07-06 Wisconsin State Journal
11:30 p.m.--American Story (WMAQ):
first of series of repeat broadcasts on his story of America; premiere, "The Admiral," story taken from Columbus' log, with Archibald MacLeish, assistant secretry of state, author of the series as commentator.
45-07-13
2
The Names For the Rivers
N
45-07-13 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
The Names for the Rivers," With Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF.
45-07-20
3
The American Name
N
45-07-20 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
The American Name," With Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF.
45-07-27
4
The Discovered
N
45-07-27 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
The Discovered," With Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF.
45-08-03
5
The American Gods
N
45-08-03 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
The American Gods," With Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF.
45-08-10
6
The Many Dead
N
45-08-10 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
The Many Dead," With Arnold, Narrator--WEAF.
45-08-17
7
Ripe Strawberries and Gooseberries and Sweet Single Roses
N
45-08-17 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
Ripe Strawberries and Gooseberries and Sweet Single Roses," Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF.
45-08-24
8
Between the Silence and the Surf
N
45-08-24 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
Between the Silence and the Surf": Arnold Moss, Narrator--WEAF.
45-08-31
9
Nat Bacon's Bones
N
45-08-31 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story: "
Nat Bacon's Bones," Archibald MacLeish, Commentator--WEAF.
45-09-07
10
Socorro, When Your Sons Forget
N
45-09-07 New York Times
11:30-12--The American Story--"
Socorro, When Your Sons Forget," Archibald MacLeish, Narrator--WEAF.
45-09-14
--
--
45-09-14 New York Times
11:30-12--World's Great Novels: Tolstoy's "War and Peace," Part I; Paul P. Mikhailov, Commentator.--WEAF.






The American Story Radio Program Biographies




Archibald MacLeish
(Narrator-Writer)

Poet, Author, Historian, Librarian of Congress, Activist
(1892-1982)

Birthplace:
Glencoe, Illinois, U.S.A.

Radiography:
1937 Columbia Workshop
1937 Shakespeare Cycle
1939 President Franklin Roosevelt
1940 I'm An American
1941 The Free Comopany
0941 Dinner For Edward R. Murrow
1942 This Is War
1942 Archibald MacLeish's Address To Radio Stations
1942 United China Relief
1945 Building the Peace
1945 American School Of the Air
1945 Freedom Forum
1946 Beyond Victory
1946 Operation Crossroads
1947 Hollywood Fights Back
1948 The Son Of Man
1950 Art Education and the Creative Process
1954 Anthology
1957 CBS Radio Workshop
1965 Some Friends Of Stevenson
1969 Man At the Moon
1974 NASA Audio News Features
1975 Earplay

Archibald MacLeish circa 1935
Archibald MacLeish circa 1935
From the April 21, 1982 edition of The New Mexican:
 
MacLeish:  Poet, statesman,
3-time Pulitzer winner is dead
 
     BOSTON (AP) -- Archibald MacLeish, a poet, statesman, librarian of Congress, winner of three Pulitzer Prizes and composer of verses hailing Americans and the "stars and expectations" that guide them, is dead at 89.
     MacLeish helped plan the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; he worked as a soldier, lawyer, editor, professor at Harvard, dramatist and farmer.  He condemned McCarthyism, urged writers to rally against facism, and explored theological questions in "J.B.," a play that won the Pulitzer Prize.
     "There are all sorts of things I want to do that I haven't been able to," he said in his last published interview, which appeared six months ago.
     MacLeish, who lived in Conway, Mass., and retired in 1970 as Boylston professor of literature at Harvard University, died Tuesday night in Massachusetts General Hospital, which he entered March 20 for treatment of an undisclosed illness.  The cause of his death was not announced.
     "Down to about two years ago, I was working my head in the usual way," MacLeish told the Greenfield (Mass.) Recorder in an interview published last November.  "But I had a little heart business.  I've been a lot slower."
     In 1939 he published "America Was Promises," a strong and explicit social statement.  He wrote:
     "Tom Paine Knew.
     "Tom Paine knew the People.
     "The promises were spoken to the People. 
     "History was voyages toward the People.
     "Americas were landfalls of the People.
     "Stars and expectations were the signals of the People."
     MacLeish exhibited his usual sharp opinions in the Recorder interview.  He said President Reagan was "going to begin to think God talks to him," and aimed a dart at rock 'n' roll.  "I'd like very much never to have to hear it again," he said.
     MacLeish won a wide audience and his first Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for  "Conquistador," a poem based on his trek by pack mule along the trail of the soldiers who conquered Mexico.
     His second Pulitzer came in 1953 for "Collected Poems 1917-1952."  "J.B.," which won the Pulitzer drama award in 1959, was a play in verse based on the Book of Job.
     He spent much of his life on his 200-acre Uphill Farm in Conway, a small town in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts where he lived with Ada, his wife of 65 years.
     Born in Glencoe, Ill., on May 7, 1892, MacLeish graduated from Yale University, where he won a Phi Beta Kappa key, and received a law degree in 1919 at the head of his class at Harvard Law School.  His schooling was interrupted by World War I, and he served in the field artillery, first as a private, then as a captain.
     MacLeish was a writer and later an editor with Fortune magazine for nine years during the Depression.  During World War II, he directed the Office of Facts and Figures and was assistant director of its successor organization, the Office of War Information.
     MacLeish served as head of the Library of Congress for five years beginning in 1939, then became assistant secretary of state for cultural affairs.
     Among his many awards were the Antoinette Perry Award in drama in 1959, the Bollingen prize in poetry and the National Book Award for poetry in 1953.
     In addition to his wife, MacLeish is survived by a son, William H. of Woods Hole, Mass.; a daughter, Mary H. Grimm of Kensington, Md.; a sister, Ishbel Campbell of Geneva, N.Y.; nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.



Arnold Moss
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor
(Narrator-Ensemble Actor)
(1910-1989)

Birthplace:
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

Education:
B.A., New York City College
M.A., Columbia University
Ph.D., New York University

Radiography:
1938 Columbia Workshop
1939 Radio Guild
1939 Arch Oboler's Plays
1942 Great Plays
1942 This Is Our Enemy
1943 The Cresta Blanca Carnival
1943 Inner Sanctum
1943 Words At War
1944 The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
1944 Columbia Presents Corwin
1944 The Open Door
1944 Theatre Of Romance
1945 Molle Mystery Theatre
1945 Matinee Theatre
1945 This Is Your FBI
1945 Treasury Salute
1946 Adventures Of the Red Feather Man
1946 Radio Reader's Digest
1947 Then Are the Children Free
1947 The Shadow
1947 Casey, Crime Photographer
1947 The Spoken Word
1947 The Whistler
1947 The Journey Of the Magi
1948 Your Playhouse Of Favorites
1948 CBS Is There
1948 The Eternal Light
1948 The Big Story
1948 Gang Busters
1948 Ford Theatre
1948 Cabin B-13
1948 Hallmark Playhouse
1948 Cavalcade Of America
1949 And Not Yet Free
1949 The Adventures Of Frank Merriwell
1949 You Are There
1949 Radio City Playhouse
1949 MGM Theatre Of the Air
1950 The New Frontier
1950 Dimension X
1950 Lights Out
1950 Cloak and Dagger
1951 Guest Star
1952 Barrie Craig, Confidential Investigator
1953 The Chase
1953 Rocky Fortune
1956 This Is My Story
1957 X Minus One
1974 CBS Radio Mystery Theatre
1985 Americans All
The Cisco Kid
Treasury Star Parade
The Guiding Light
The Man On the Line

Arnold Moss as Dr. Bannister in Big Sister circa 1942

Arnold Moss studied at Eva LeGalliene's Civic Repertory Theatre
Arnond Moss studied at Eva LeGalliene's Civic Repertory Theatre

Arnold-Moss in dressing room before play, Back to Methusaleh, ca.1958
Arnold Moss in dressing room before play, Back to Methusaleh, ca.1958

Arnold-Moss in charaacter for play, Back to Methusaleh, ca.1958
Arnold Moss in charaacter for play, Back to Methusaleh, ca.1958

Arnold Moss as Anton Karidian in Star Trek, ca. 1966
Arnold Moss as Anton Karidian in Star Trek, ca. 1966

Arnold Moss as Vidaru in The Monkees, ca 1967
Arnold Moss as Vidaru in The Monkees, ca 1967

Arnold Moss was born on January 28, 1910 in Brooklyn, New York. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of New York City College, Moss earned his Master's Degree in Old French at Columbia with hopes of teaching. Moss soon settled upon Acting as a career and trained with Eva LaGallienne at her Civic Repertory Theatre. He returned to NYU in the 1960s and earned his Ph. D. in Theatre--at the age of 63.

A gifted, classically trained Stage actor, Arnold Moss formed his own company, The Shakespeare Festival Players. Moss also enjoyed an active career in Radio and also wrote for Inner Sanctum, Dick Tracy, Suspense and at least nine scripts for Himan Brown's CBS Radio Mystery Theatre (1974). But it's his over 500 acting appearances in Radio for which we honor him here. Arnold Moss' deep, resonant voice was perfect for a broad range of Radio genres. Moss was heard in adventures, mysteries, detective and crime dramas, melodramas, classical dramas and even comedies. Often cast as a forboding villain, Moss was as often heard in a broad range of ethnic roles, such as India Rajahs or Turkish or Arabian princes.

Moss is also fondly remembered for his recurring Dr. Fabian role in 1948's Cabin B-13. Arnold Moss had married Stella Reynolds, then a writer, in 1933. The couple had a daughter and a son, Jeff Moss, who eventually became a founding writer of the long-running Sesame Street PBS Television program. Arnold Moss would later work with his wife on the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre. Stella Moss wrote at least ten of the scripts for the great Golden Age Radio revival mystery series. Arnold and Stella adapted three of the CBS Radio Mystery Theatre scripts jointly.

Arnold Moss made his film debut in Temptation (1946) as Ahmed Effendi. His film credits later included: The Loves of Carmen (1948), Reign of Terror (1949), the film noir classic, Border Incident (1949), Kim (1950) with Errol Flynn, Quebec (1951), My Favorite Spy (1951), Viva Zapata! (1952), Salome (1953) in a return engagement with with Rita Hayworth, Bengal Brigade (1954), the classic comedy Casanova's Big Night (1954) with Bob Hope, Hell's Island (1955), the sci-fi thriller The 27th Day (1957), Caper of the Golden Bulls (1966) and Gambit (1966) with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, his last film.

As if Moss needed any more accolades for his amazing career, for almost forty years from the 1940s through the 1980s, Arnold Moss was a major crossword puzzle constructor--or cruciverbalist--in the U.S.. Moss constructed a great number of vaunted New York Times Sunday crossword puzzles--the really hard ones. Moss also narrated and soloed for several symphony orchestras and was heard as The Voice of God for the Chicago Lyric Opera's production of Paradise Lost. Moss worked regularly as one of the great staff announcers for CBS radio, along with the likes of Dan Seymour and Dan O'Herlihy. The U.S. State Department sent him on a world tour as an Ambassador of Theatre. Moss also taught Theatre at several universities and taught Drama at Brooklyn College for ten years.

Adding Television to his extensive, multi-faceted c.v., Arnold Moss regularly guest-starred on Suspense, Lights Out, Tales of Tomorrow, Studio One, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Laredo, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Time Tunnel, Star Trek, The Monkees, Bonanza, Fantasy Island, and The Edge of Night. In all, Moss appeared in over twenty movies and over 100 Television appearances.

Arnold Moss succumbed to lung cancer on December 15, 1989, at age 79. For both his tens of thousands of current Radio fans and the tens of thousands to come, Arnold Moss' wonderfully distinctive voice and acting talent continue to be presrved in the hundreds of Golden Age Radio recordings preserved from the era.



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