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Original Favorite Story header art

The Favorite Story Radio Program

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Billboard magazine Ziv promotion for Favorite Story from May 31 1947
Billboard magazine Ziv promotion for Favorite Story from May 31 1947

The Extraordinary Team of Lawrence and Lee

Excerpts from the Ohio State University's biography of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee in the introduction to the records of The Lawrence and Lee Collection of the Ohio State University Library:

"The playwriting team of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee was one of the great partnerships in American twentieth-century theatre. Among their many long running and widely produced plays are Inherit the Wind, First Monday in October, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and Auntie Mame. Lawrence was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1915, and received the BA degree from The Ohio State University in 1937. Lee was born in Elyria, Ohio, in 1918, and educated at Northwestern University and Ohio Wesleyan University. The two met and formed their legendary 52-year collaboration in January 1942. Their first work, Inside a Kid's Head, was produced on radio and has since been widely anthologized. Their new-formed writing partnership continued through their war service. They were two of the founders of the Armed Forces Radio Service and worked on Mail Call, Yarns for Yanks, Command Performance, and other official radio programs. After the war they wrote radio scripts for such programs as Favorite Story, Young Love, The Frank Sinatra Show, Hallmark Playhouse, and The Railroad Hour."

"From the late 1940s, Lawrence and Lee collaborated on plays for the theatre. Their first Broadway production, Look, Ma, I'm Dancin'!, opened at the Adelphi Theatre in1948. Their second play, Inherit the Wind, was produced in 1955 by Margo Jones's Theatre '55 in Dallas, Texas, and opened at the National Theatre in New York on 21 April 1955, establishing Lawrence and Lee in the American theatre. This play clearly demonstrates one of the team's firmly held beliefs: "the theme of the dignity of every individual mind, and that mind's life-long battle against limitation and censorship."

"In addition to dozens of plays, the partnership produced books for musicals, screenplays, radio and television scripts, biographies and textbooks, and many stories and articles for a variety of publications, nationally and internationally. They also directed many productions of their own plays. Both writers taught frequently, sharing their expertise and mentoring novice playwrights at the University of California (Los Angeles), the University of Southern California, the Ohio State University, New York University, and Baylor University. They were co-founders of American Playwrights Theatre established to enable work by established playwrights to be produced outside of New York."

"Lawrence and Lee have received numerous awards including the Peabody Award separately, and the Donaldson Award, the Outer Critics' Circle Award, and the London Critics' Award for Best Foreign Play for Inherit the Wind jointly. Both were recognized with honorary degrees for their literary accomplishments -- Lawrence from the Ohio State University, Fairleigh Dickson University, and Villanova University, and Lee from Ohio Wesleyan University and the Ohio State University. They were inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1990. That same year, they were named Fellows in the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C."

KFI Spot Ad for The Bullocks Show 'Favorite Story' episode 'The Bet' from May 18 1948
KFI Spot Ad for The Bullocks Show 'Favorite Story' episode 'The Bet' from May 18 1948


From the Time Magazine article of Monday, April 28, 1947:

Radio: The Open-End Game

Radio City's executive eyebrows, the hypersensitive seismographs of the broadcasting industry, were twitching excitedly. Cinemactor Ronald Colman's new transcribed show, Favorite Story, was having its premiere over Chicago's WMAQ. To many a radioman it sounded like an early, diffident mumble of an earthquake that might upset the whole map of U.S. commercial radio.

Transcribed shows had Big Radio—NBC and CBS—worried. Big Radio's power has always rested chiefly on its near-monopoly of famous entertainers. Last fall, Bing Crosby fled the fold. He recorded his weekly show, sold it to 208 ABC stations—and over the head of at least one big network to some of its member stations. Total Crosby stations: 400. The advantages: Bing can record the show any time he likes, can edit it before it reaches the air. If other big names followed Bing's lead, the big networks might lose control of their affiliates, might soon be torn apart.

Transcribed-show builders last week were smug-sure that Colman's walkout (for a guaranteed $150,000 a year) would some day become a stampede. Although NBC makes transcriptions, at least one energetic independent was ready with staff and know-how to handle runaways. He was hard-eyed, 41-year-old Frederic William Ziv, the producer of the Colman show and the big beglerbeg of the "open-end"* game.

The Ziv outfit is currently releasing 23 high-rating open-enders, has 30 crack salesmen retailing them to advertisers all over the U.S. Ziv's chief sales targets: advertisers who can't afford (or don't want) to buy time on a full network. Some of his open-ends are filled in by as many as 80 advertisers on 200 stations. Ziv's 1946 income: about $7.5 million; the pickings would be much, much fatter after an earthquake.

Ten top radio comedians got on the record, too. The ten: Benny, Cantor, McGee & Molly, Gardner, Burns & Allen, Bergen, Amos 'n' Andy. They formed their own company, Audience Records, Inc., and this week will release one eight-side comedy album of each act. Price: $4.50. The records will be banned from the air and from jukeboxes. They are designed, the company pressagent explains, for posterity and such of the living as would like to be the life of the party. So the folks at home will know when to laugh, the records were made with a studio audience.

* A transcribed program with blank periods for commercials—so that it can be sold to any number of sponsors. A few Ziv-produced open-enders: the Wayne King, Barry Wood, Kenny Baker, Easy Aces and Philo Vance shows.

And from the June 16, 1947 of the Oakland Tribune:

Transcribed Shows Gain New Stature 

     Transcribed radio shows have attained within the last two years an impressive respectability.  The biggest deal both from the standpoint of prestige and money involved is the new transcription series called "Favorite Story" in which Ronald Colman is featured, sometimes as an actor, sometimes as commentator.  Colman is backed up and assisted by an excellent cast and Frederic W. Ziv Company, which produces the series, is looting literature for its stories.  Here are a few of the titles:  "Huckleberry Finn," "Cyrano De Bergerac," "Jane Eyre," "Little Women," "Les Miserables," "Wuthering Heights" and "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court."
     The Colman deal, as are all transcribed series, was a costly gamble.  The half-hour shows cost around $9,000 apiece to produce and the Ziv company cut 13 of them, an outlay of $117,000 before they realized any return at all.  "Favorite Story" is already on the air in a great many cities and will be heard in New York by fall. 


     Transcribed shows of the caliber of "Favorite Story" are already providing lusty competition for the networks and are likely to provide a good deal more in the future.   Besides the Colman show, the Ziv company has 22 other transcribed shows which are heard on a total of 678 stations, or roughly two-thirds of the radio stations in the country.  Many of Ziv's best customers are network affiliates. 
     Virtually every sort of show is being transcribed now--bands, mysteries, drama, singers.  About the only thing that can't be transcribed is news, which is too perishable.  While Ziv is the biggest company in the business, there are a few others.  Lawrence Hammond Productions have a highly successful transcribed series, "Keeping Up With the Wigglesworths," a dramatic show based on family and community problems and their solution.  Louis G. Cowan Inc., is peddling two highly successful shows "Murder at Midnight" and "The Smiths of Hollywood."


     "Murder at Midnight" is an excellent show of its kind and in price ($7000 a week) rivals the Colman show.  This program was a $100,000 gamble before it got on the air and Cowan admits somewhat ruefully that if he had known of the expense and work involved in a transcribed series, he would have stuck to live shows.  Besides Cowan, Ziv and Hammond, NBC is deep in the transcription industry with a musical show, an adventure strip, a mystery and a dramatic show which compete with its own live shows.
     Transcription isn't new; in fact, it's as old as radio but only within the last two years has it come into its own.  The first transcribed shows were of poor quality both in transcription and program content.  In recent years, transcription has improved so that it can't be distinguished from live shows even by experts.  Also the quality of the programs is as high and higher than many network shows.


     Transcription has opened radio to the small advertiser who must compete with network shows on a local budget.  Prices range all over the map.  The Colman show, for instance, can be had for $12 on a station reaching less than 10,000 persons but will cost $1000 a week in New York.  Other shows are even cheaper.  Another Ziv show "Easy Aces" sells for as little as $3.75 a performance and its top price is only $30.  "Easy Aces" and the Wayne King show are two of the most popular transcribed shows on the air.  The King show is now on 170 stations, which is roughly the same number as NBC or CBS, though, of course, not all are large stations.
     According to John L. Sinn, partner in the Ziv company, there is no popular resistance to transcribed shows, but there was stiff resistance at first from advertisers.  This has largely melted away.  Transcribed shows have repeatedly demonstrated they can outdraw live shows.  "Murder at Midnight" draws more listeners than any of the 19 other stations on in New York at that time.  "Truth or Consequences" is heard by transcription in Cincinnati (since WLW there can't clear the regular time) and has a higher Hooper in that city than in any other.
Copyright, 1947, for The Tribune

Ronald Colman was one of the first 'heavy hitters' that Frederick Ziv coaxed into his fold of transcribed, syndicated radio stars. Reportedly over six months in negotiations with super-star Ronald Colman, the two eventually arrived at a series of compromises that would net Ronald Colman a reported $150,000 per year for a guaranteed three years, plus a percentage of sales. Ziv, for his part, fronted a reported $117,000 for the first set of thirteen transcriptions then breathed a huge sigh of relief when the series immediately took off.

As with the big-name stars that followed Colman in Ziv's stable, Ronald Colman was allowed to establish a schedule for recording Favorite Story transcriptions that very liberally catered to Colman's still rigorous and highly successful Film commitments. And indeed, by late 1947, Ziv was already projecting $1M a year in sales of Favorite Story that eventually ran for as many as 156 installments in the U.S. and Canada, with as many as 275 subscribing stations between 1946 and 1952.

On the back end of the production, Colman was compensated a flat $3,000 per week, whether he recorded or not. With an estimated cost of $9,000 per installment, the math alone would eventually disclose an approximate $1.4M expense for the production over three years. But with a projected $1M a year in sales, the longer the series ran, the better for Frederick Ziv. And indeed, once all 156 episodes were pressed, even the later small-market subscribers acquired an extraordinary deal of versatility in their programming and scheduling choices. This simply underscores Frederick Ziv's strategem of pricing his syndications on a sliding scale based on the size of the target audience for individual radio stations.

Small market 'mom and pop' operations could pay as little as $12 an episode. This appealed not only to small-market radio stations, but to the small market sponsors that often bankrolled thirteen installments at a time. Imagine, for example a small local furniture store or hardware store that could pay as little as $12 a week, plus promotional expenses, advertising their exclusive promotion of a Ronald Colman-hosted radio program. The highly leveraged benefits to virtually any small business of the era are self-evident. The local broadcasting station would further leverage their sponsors' investments by airing a high production value program for the cost of their own technicians' time, which was part of their basic overhead in any case. It was a win-win for any small market station.

Ziv's ongoing genius with these big-name led productions was in maintaining the very highest quality standards in writing, engineering and supporting talent. For Ronald Colman's part the vast majority of the productions required only his role as host. While actually performing in many of the productions himself, the weight he leant to hosting the series made any of the productions very attractive to any listening audience. Ronald Colman's velvety, gentle, highly familiar introductions and expositions were as entertaining as any of his actual performances.

Returning to the business side, Frederick Ziv's by then legendary 100-man sales force had already obtained an estimated 220 commitments for the intial 52-installment run by September 1947, the month that the vast majority of mainstream outlets began airing the series.

Ziv's targeted sponsors, once they were aprised of the fantastic ratings Favorite Story was garnering throughout the country, were uniformily highly enthusiastic about sponsoring Ziv's Favorite Story, as well as others from Ziv's growing portfolio of syndicated favorites. Such as this, from the October 8, 1948 edition of Maryland's, The Denton Journal:

Nuttle Lumber Fetures New Radio Program Over WCMD

Local Station Will Broadcast Ronald Colman's Favorite Story Program At 4:30 P.M. Every Sunday

     Pleased with the enthusiastic response received from the large and steadily increasing audiences of the Guy Lombardo Show, heard on The Nuttle Sunday Evening Hour over WCMD., Cambridge, The Nuttle Lumber Companies are sponsoring an additional outstanding radio show —"Favorite Story" with Ronald Colman as its host, Narrator and Star.  To give balance to the entertainment which the Nuttle organization is bringing to Eastern Shore audiences, the new program was carefully selected from the field of drama rather than music.
     Under the editorial guidance of Author-Publisher George Palmer Putnam, and adapted for radio by its most distinguished writers and scripters, "Favorite Story" has succeeded in retaining the force and flavor of whole volumes in thirty tense and absorbing minutes.  The stories are adapted and scripted by two of radio's top writers, Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.
     "Favorite Story" also has the distinction of being one of the best orchestred radio shows—the musical background being supplied by a fifteen piece orchestra under the direction of Claude Sweeten, whose name has become a by-word in radio.  "Favorite Story" musical background is one of Hollywood's favorite composers of dramatic music.
     Mr. Colman who will be heard regularly on "Favorite Story" is known to millions of movie goers for his magnificent leading roles in such movies as "Arrowsmith", "Tale of Two Cities", "Random Harvest" and the all-time fictional favorite story, "The Late George Apley".  What is classic, semi-classic, legend or fantasy?  The selected favorites of notable public figures of today will be heard on this new program.  Many more won't know until they have heard Ronald Colman, best known and loved for his vibrant, persuasive voice and his exquisite diction, combine his talent with that of an all-star cast for his roles on "Favorite Story".  Mr. Elias W. Nuttle, President and General Manager of The Nuttle Lumber Companies, said in announcing this added radio presentation that Mr. Colman's brilliant performance, excellent supporting cast made up of top Hollywood and network stars and the masterful production combine to make "Favorite Story" the unchallenged choice from among the many nationally known radio entertainments when arranging this third Nuttle sponsored show for the educaton and pleasure of all ages.
     "Favorite Story" is this year's most outstanding show.  Not only has Mr. Colman won the coveted Academy Award for the best acting in 1947 for his performance in "A Double Life", but also the program itself has been named the best direct-selling sponsored radio program produced during 1947 by the Fourth Annual Radio and Business Conference of The City College of New York.  Added to these honors, are the Distinguished Achievement Awards given a group of the "Favorite Story" actors by Radio Life Magazine, the widely read West Coast publication.
     The producers of "Favorite Story" with its galaxy of features have employed many unusual techniques of radio production.  A multiple studio system is used, in which the orchestra and dramatic cast are isolated in completely separate studios, with separate engineers and separate microphone pick-ups.  This allows for rich and fluent musical background, with complete control of balance against the actors' voices.  The use of two and sometimes three studios permits the clearest and most effective blending of sound, voices and music.
     "Favorite Story" is the second of two great nationally known radio programs sponsored by The Nuttle Lumber Companies.  In addition to 'Favorite Story" heard every Sunday afternoon at 4:30, the Nuttle organization will continue to sponsor the Guy Lombardo show on Sunday evenings at 6:30 p. m. over WCMD, Cambridge.  Have your dial set at 1240 this Sunday and every Sunday at those times if you wish to go with Ronald Colman into a thrilling series of unforgettable experiences from famous books and legends, and with Guy Lombardo into the dream world of the "Sweetest Music This Side of Heaven".
     Due to technical difficulties encountered in radio reception after night-fall in the area immediately around and north of Denton, WCMD cannot be clearly heard after 6:00 p.m. on most radios in that area.  It is, therefore, very much regretted that the Guy Lombardo Show will probably be missed by some listeners during the Fall and Winter months.  However, 1240 on your dial at 4:30 Sunday afternoons should permit of clear reception for "Favorite Story" all year around on all radios within a radius of fifty to seventy-five miles of Cambridge.  It is hoped that broadcast range for The Nuttle-Lombardo Show can also be increased within
the near future.

Production History and Details

The earliest airings of Favorite Story originated from the KFI, Hollywood station at which the entire series was recorded. The first sponsor, Bullock's Department Stores, was the early beneficiary of what had to have been a sweetheart deal for both Bullock's and Frederick Ziv. Ziv gained a high profile local sponsor for those first crucial thirteen episodes, and Bullock's launched what would eventually become one of the most successful independent syndications in broadcasting history.

Called variously, My Favorite Story, Your Favorite Story or simply Favorite Story, those earliest broadcasts aired from as early as the Spring and late Summer of 1946. By the time that Ziv realized he had another winner on his hands, and the first fifty-two installments were pressed, Ziv fanned out his vaunted 100-man sales force throughout the U.S. and Canada. Those first sales of fifty-two installment packages resulted in another re-launch of the series throughout the U.S. and Canada during the Fall of 1947.

Series Derivatives:

The Ronald Colman Show; Ronald Colman Presents; Ronald Colman; Your Favorite Story; My Favorite Story; The Bullocks Show
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Dramatized Stories
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 01 Jean Valjean and The Bishop
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): KFI Premiere June 18, 1946
Syndication: Ziv Transcriptions
Sponsors: Bullock's Department Stores; Dayton Power and Light Company; Weber's Department Store; Jackson's Home Furnishings; Galbraith Furniture Stores; Cole Baking Company; Iroquois Indian Head Beer and Ale; Gregg's Department Store; Terry Farris Department Stores; Hemphill-Wells Company; Levy's, Tucson's Store of Famous Labels; The Guarantee at Alamo Plaza; The Nuttle Lumber Companies; E. M. Payne Company; Rimes and Hildebrand; Kingsport Federal Savings and Loan; Gayles; Wolbrink Insurance Agency; Altstadt & Langlas Baking Co.;
Director(s): Jerome Lawrence [Director/Producer]
Robert E. Lee[Producer]
Principal Actors: Ronald Colman, Edmond MacDonald, Noran Field, William Conrad, Adele Longmeyer, Betsy Kelly, Dick Hogan, Verna Felton, Janet Waldo, Ben Alexander, Joseph Kearns, Jerry Farber, Dick Ryan, Jeff Corey, Gloria Gordon, Byron Kane, Cy Kendall, Horace Willard, Jimmy Lydon, Peter Rankin, Thomas Ames, Peggy Webber, Helen Geddes, Joan Loring, Howard Duff, William Conrad, Thomas Freebairn-Smith, Tom Collins, Lurene Tuttle, Dawn Bender, Arthur Q. Bryan, Buddy Duncan, Earle Ross, Herb Vigran, June Foray, Frank Lovejoy, Joel Davis, Elliott Reid, Tony Barrett, Carl Harbord, Chilius, Vincent Price, Betsy Blair, Lionel Stander, Hal Berger, Anne Stone, Tommy Bernard, Heather Angel, John Beal, John McIntire, Jeanette Nolan, Norman Field, Skip Homeier, Jimmy Lyndon, Helen Craig, Hans Conried, Sean McClory, Marvin Miller, Mary Jane Croft, Dan O'Herlihy, Janet Scott, Raymond BUrr, Herb Butterfield, Betty Lou Gerson, Berry Kroeger, Bea Benadaret, Luis Van Rooten, Peter Rankin, William Johnstone, Kirk Regan, Mary Lou Harrington, Kirk Regan, Ed Begley, Eric Snowden, Alan Reed, Edna Best, Ruth Perrot, Tom Holland
Recurring Character(s): None
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): Victor Hugo, Louisa May Alcott, Emily Bronte, Mark Twain, Edmond Rostand, Charles Dickens, Alexander Pushkin, Charlotte Bronte, William Makepeace Thackeray, Mary Shelley, Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde, Robert Louis Stevenson, Louis Adebert Chamisso, Lewis Carroll, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Rudyard Kipling, Leo Tolstoy, Maurice LaVelle, Jonathan Swift, Ernest Lawrence Thayer, Edward Everett Hale, Alexandre Dumas, Alexander Woollcott, George du Maurier, Guy de Maupassant, James Hilton, Jane Austen, George Bernard Shaw, Lew Wallace, Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall, Edgar Allan Poe, Garson Karin, John Keir Cross, Anatole France, W.H. Hudson, Anton Checkhov, Holworthy Hall, H.G. Wells, Arthur T. Quiller Cooch, W.W. Jacobs, Wilkie Collins
Writer(s) Jerome Lawrence, Irving Reis, Robert E. Lee [Writers/Adapters]
Music Direction: Claude Sweeten [Composer/Conductor/Arranger]
Robert Mitchell [Orchestral Score]
Musical Theme(s): Jack Hayes [Sound Effects]
Announcer(s): Host: Ronald Colman
Narrators: True Boardman, Tom Tully
Announcer: George Barclay
Bob Frissell [Bullock's Spokeperson]
Estimated Scripts or
Episodes in Circulation: 84
Total Episodes in Collection: 80

Ziv transcription label for Program 13 'Joan of Arc'
Ziv transcription label for Program 13 'Joan of Arc'
Ziv transcription label for Program 14 'Frankenstein'
Ziv transcription label for Program 14 'Frankenstein'

Bullocks one of Los Angeles' most prestigious department stores sponsored the first broadcasts of Favorite Story
Bullocks one of Los Angeles' most prestigious department stores sponsored the first broadcasts of Favorite Story

Billboard magazine Ziv promotion for Favorite Story from September 20, 1947 citing '156 available half-hours'
Billboard magazine Ziv promotion for Favorite Story from September 20, 1947 citing '156 available half-hours'

July 1 1947 Spot ad for Premiere of Favorite Story with the Rockwell Kent favorite Jean Valjean and the Bishop from Les Miserables
July 1 1947 Spot ad for Premiere of Favorite Story with the Rockwell Kent favorite Jean Valjean and the Bishop from Les Miserables
Ziv transcription label for unnumbered Christmas Special 'A Christmas Carol'
Ziv transcription label for unnumbered Christmas Special 'A Christmas Carol'

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, The Papers of Lawrence and Lee at Ohio State University Library's Jerome Lawrence and Robert Lee Collection. (Ziv Program labels 61 and 62 were provided by the rand esoteric website).

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc

The difficulty in tracking the broadcast history of the Favorite Story canon is what one might expect of most of the Ziv transcribed and syndicated programming of the 1940s and beyond. As with most of Ziv's programming, the syndications were sold to both sponsors and radio stations. It would appear from contemporaneous accounts of the era that Ziv began recording the series--with Ronald Colman as host--during the Spring of 1946. A similar program, produced under the banner of "Lawrence and Lee Productions" apparently began airing over KFI, the series' originating station for the entire recording run, under Bullocks of Los Angeles sponsorship as early as June 18, 1946. Under the Lawrence and Lee Productions banner, the program had the guest star of the production providing the story introduction, narrative and exposition and the Bullocks spokeperson provided both opening and closing for the program. As such, the earliest published broadcasts and/or script dates we could find were as follows:

  • KFI-originated broadcasts for Bullocks, Los Angeles:
    • 46-06-18 through at least 49-04-05
  • WMAQ, Chicago [NBC] Ziv-syndicated broadcasts:
    • 47-03-15 through ?
  • KPO, San Francisco [NBC] Ziv-syndicated broadcasts:
    • 47-06-17 through 49-12-13 [131 broadcast episodes]
  • Ohio State University Library's Lawrence and Lee Collection of scripts from Favorite Story:
    • 46-06-18 through 49-11-15

We know from the Ziv broadside from Billboard magazine [left] that Ziv was advertising "156 half-hours available" as of September 20, 1947. If the KPO [KNBC] run never aired a repeat, except for the Christmas Special, A Christmas Carol, it would have broadcast a theoretical 130 unique scripts out of the "156 half-hour" scripts Ziv announced by September 1947.

The Bullocks Show rendition of Favorite Story over originating station KFI, Los Angeles, was apparently structured quite differently than the Ziv-syndicated series in several important respects:

  • Some of them aired under the Lawrence and Lee Productions banner and some of them apparently aired as Ziv Productions. This may have been due to Ziv's licensing agreement with either/both KFI and Lawrence and Lee, or perhaps even with Bullocks as a party to the agreement.
  • As indicated above, at least some--if not all--of the Lawrence and Lee Productions programs aired sans Ronald Colman as the host. The Lawrence and Lee produced episodes employed guest hosts, who, after the commercial intro by the Bullocks' spokesperson, introduced his or her own Favorite Story, then took the lead for that performance of the production script.
  • As is obvious from the majority of the episode descriptions cataloged below for the Ziv-produced episodes, Ronald Colman acted as the host, and the favorite stories for the series were ostensibly selected by famous personalities. And, or course, Colman himself starred in several of the productions, irrrespective of the personality who selected that week's favorite story.

Nor, apparently, do the Lawrence and Lee scripts, dated and preserved at the OSU Library, correlate to the circulating Ziv transcription numbers, or 'continuity order':

  • The Ziv-produced Favorite Story run contained continuity throughout the run, with the exception of one or more unnumbered holiday specials, such as the unnumbered 'A Christmas Carol' Ziv transcription label in the sidebar at left.
  • Every Ziv-produced, Colman-hosted episode--with the exception of the holiday special(s)--announced both the airing script's title and the script title to follow, along with the name of the personality that selected that favorite story for the 'following week.'
  • Given the existing continuity cues that survive in the intact recordings, the OSU Library-cited script dates for Favorite Story correlate somewhat with the Colman run continuity cues, but not in every case.
  • It's apparent that Ziv's program numbering scheme, while ostensibly contiguous with respect to the introduction and closing continuity comments for each episode, bear little chronological correlation to the script dates from Lawrence and Lee's papers.
  • In many cited instances below, the chronological order of the Lawrence and Lee dated scripts were in the reverse order of the believed Ziv Program Numbers and broadcast order imposed by the built-in continuity from episode to episode.

From the above, we can only conjecture as to the following, until more historical information surfaces:

  • Apparently the approximately 120 Lawrence and Lee scripts were employed in at least four known productions over Radio and Television:
    • The Lawrence and Lee-produced Favorite Story run for The Bullocks Show.
    • The Ziv-produced Favorite Story canon hosted by Ronald Colman.
    • The Radio production, The Railroad Hour.
    • The Ziv-produced Television rendition of Favorite Story.
  • In each of the above cited productions, Lawrence and Lee apparently retained the script rights, as evidenced by their papers at OSU's Library.
  • It would appear that, for the Ziv-produced, Colman-hosted run of Favorite Story, that the production performances themselves were recorded separately from Ronald Colman's introductory, expository, and closing comments and were 'wrapped around' the production performance prior to the distribution of any of the Ziv-produced Favorite Story transcription sets intended for syndication.
  • If the above is true, then the selection of a designated 'personality' for a given episode--and the respective scripting for the 'wrappers' for each program--were scripted either separately by Lawrence and Lee or by one of Ziv's other writers for the production.


Sadly, it's also quite apparent that sometime over the past 37 years of 'commercial otr' business, one or more otr vendors have intentionally destroyed the closing continuity provenances for as many as twenty of the key, surviving recordings in circulation. Four or five truncations might be excused as an unintended oversight. Twenty or more, strongly hints at manipulation of the last two-thirds of the surviving run, intended specifically to either deceive their commercial customers, or prop up an inaccurate catalog by destroying any means of substantiating the actual continuity order of the run. It's mischief like this that continues to taint the reputations of the well-meaning, conscientious vintage radio preservationists throughout the hobby.

We can firmly substantiate the first fifty-eight to seventy-eight episodes of the series, but beyond that point, the current catalog loses most of its historical integrity.

This also introduces a discussion of how many Ziv-produced Favorite Story episodes were actually broadcast:

  • We know from Ziv's own advertising that at least 156 half-hours were available for syndication by the Fall of 1947.
  • We know that at least one Radio station--KPO [KNBC], San Francisco--broadcast 131 uninterrupted weeks of Favorite Story episodes, on the same day and at the same time, including Ziv's unnumbered holiday special(s).
  • We know from representations made in the Lawrence and Lee papers at the OSU Library that at least nine or ten Lawrence and Lee scripts initially intended for the Favorite Story canon were never adopted for syndication. But as indicated below, at least one of the Lawrence and Lee scripts cited as not syndicated did, in fact, air under the Ziv-produced canon.
  • The radioGOLDINdex, while normally a sufficiently reliable database of syndicated transcriptions, cites several dates and transcription numbers that simply don't correlate with other known sources.

Given all of the above, we see only three [honest] ways to create a meaningful order to the Favorite Story canon:

  • Employ the hearsay Ziv numbers in current circulation as far as they take us.
  • Employ a script order for the currently circulating Lawrence and Lee exemplars
  • Employ an audible continuity log for at least the known, circulating, intact (e.g. unadulterated) exemplars of the Ziv-produced run.

None of the above suggested ordering suggestions would yield a completely provenanced run, but we feel that the audible continuity method is the most historically and intellectually honest of the three, admittedly poor, choices presently available to any of us.

The following log (below) represents an audible continuity log of the Ziv-produced Favorite Story canon, with, where verifiable, known Ziv Program Numbers when applicable.

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The Favorite Story Radio Program Log [Transcription Order]

Trans. No. Title Avail. Notes
Jean Valjean and The Bishop

Rockwell Kent, Artist
's Favorite Story, from Victor Hugo's Les Miserables

Announces The Diamond Lens as next
The Diamond Lens
George Antheil, Composer's Favorite Story, from Fitzjames O'Brien's The Diamond Lens

Announces Little Women as next
Little Women
[Date provenanced by script]

Shirley Temple, Actress' Favorite Story, Louisa May Alcott's Little Women

Announces Wuthering Heights as next
Wuthering Heights
[Ending cut]
[Date provenanced by script]

47-04-12 Wisconsin State Journal
10 p. m.—Your Favorite Story (WMAQ): "
Wuthering Heights,' with Honald Colman as narrator

Bennet Cerf, Publisher's Favorite Story, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Announces A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court as next
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
[Date provenanced by script]

47-04-19 Wisconsin State Journal
10 p. m. — Your Favorite Story (WMAQ): Ronald Colman is narrator for "
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's' Court."

Ed Gardner, Actor
's Favorite Story, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court by Mark Twain

Announces Cyrano De Bergerac as next
Cyrano De Bergerac
[Date provenanced by script]

47-04-26 Wisconsin State Journal
10 p. m. — Favorite .Story (WMAQ): Ronald Colman in
"Cyrano de Bergerac."

Ronald Colman, Actor's Favorite Story, Edmund Rostand's Cyrano De Bergerac, Starring Ronald Colman and Janet Waldo

Announces David Copperfield as next
Impressions of David Copperfield
[Date provenanced by script]

47-05-03 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m. — Favorite Story
"David Copperfield."

Alec Templeton, Musician's Favorite Story, Impressions from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Announces The Queen of Spades as next
The Queen of Spades
[Date provenanced by script]

47-05-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m. — Favorite Story
(WMAQ): Ronald Colman, others
in Pushkin's
"The Queen of Spades."

Vilhjalmur Stefansson, Explorer's Favorite Story, Alexander Pushkin's The Queen of Spades

Announces The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as next
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
[Date provenanced by script]

47-05-17 Wisconsin State Journal
10 p. m. — Favorite Story
(WMAQ): Ronnld Colman, Jimmy
Lydon in
"Huckleberry Finn."

Artie Shaw, Clarinetist
's Favorite Story, Mark Twain's, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Announces The Arabian Nights as next
1001 Arabian Nights
[Date provenanced by script]

Lowell Thomas, Commentator
's Favorite Story, 1001 Arabian Nights by Sir Richard Burton

Announces Jane Eyre as next
Jane Eyre
[Date provenanced by script]

47-05-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m. — Favorite Story
(WMAQ): Ronald Colman in
"Jane Eyre."

Brock Pemberton, Producer's, Favorite Story, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre

Announces Vanity Fair as next
Vanity Fair
[Date provenanced by script]

47-05-31 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m. — Favorite Story
(WMAQ): Ronald Colman presents
"Vanity Fair."

Sinclair Lewis, Novelist's Favorite Story, William Thackeray's Vanity Fair

Announces Joan of Arc as next
Joan of Arc

Ziv transcription label for Program 13 'Joan of Arc'

Jennifer Jones, Actress' Favorite Story, Joan of Arc

47-06-14 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m. — Your Favorite Story (WMAQ): Ronald Colman presents
"Joan of Arc."

Announces Frankenstein as next

Ziv transcription label for Program 14 'Frankenstein'

[Date provenanced by script]

48-10-20 Anniston Star
Fred Allen has selected the story to be broadcast on tonight's edition of Favorite Story. The drama will be one of the most popular horror stories of all time, "
Frankenstein," and Ronald Colman, as narrator, will be supported by an all-star cast. Favorite
tory Is heard each Wednesday night at 8:30 o'clock.

Fred Allen, Comedian's Favorite Story, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Announces 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as next
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
[Date provenanced by script]

48-10-27 Anniston Star
Orson Welles has selected the story to be broadcast on tonight's edition of Favorite Story. The drama will be Jules Verne's "
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." with Ronald Colman as narrator and an all-star supporting cast.

Orson Welles, Actor
's Favorite Story, Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Announces The Importance of Being Earnest as next
The Importance of Being Earnest
[Date provenanced by script]

Margaret Webster, Director's Favorite Story, Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest

Announces Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as next
Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
Alfred Hitchcock, Director's Favorite Story, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

Announces The Man Who Sold His Shadow to the Devil as next
The Man Who Sold His Shadow to the Devil
[Date provenanced by script]

Robert Frost, Poet's Favorite Story, Adelbert von Chamisso's The Man Who Sold His Shadow to the Devil

Announces Lodging For A Night as next
Lodging For A Night
[Date provenanced by script]

Frank Sullivan, Author's Favorite Story, Robert Louis Stevenson's Lodging For A Night

47-07-30 Portsmouth Times
RONALD COLMAN, actor of stage and screen,
will be host on the new Mutual Series "Favorite Story" which makes its debut at 9:30 p.m. tonight. This dramatic series presesnts the favorite stories of well known personalities. The first production of the season is Robert Louis Stevenson's story "A Lodging for the Night", the favorite story of columnist and author Frank Sullivan. Colman will star in the presentation in the role of the French vagabond poet, Francois Villon.

Announces Alice in Wonderland as next
Alice in Wonderland
[Date provenanced by script]

Irving Berlin, Composer's Favorite Story, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's [Lewis Carrol] Alice in Wonderland

Announces Rappaccini's Daughter as next
Rappaccini's Daughter
Sydney Greenstreet, Actor's Favorite Story, Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter

Announces Moby Dick as next
Moby Dick
[Date provenanced by script]

Howard Lindsay, Author
's Favorite Story, Herman Melville's Moby Dick starring Howard Duff, Frank Lovejoy and William Conrad

Announces Great Expectations as next
Great Expectations
[Date provenanced by script]

Walter Hampden, Actor
's Favorite Story, Charles Dickens' Great Expectations

Announces The Phantom Rickshaw as next
The Phantom Rickshaw
Deems Taylor, Critic's Favorite Story, Rudyard Kipling's The Phantom Rickshaw

Announces Sire De Maletroit's Door as next
Sire De Maletroit's Door
[Date provenanced by script]

Henry Seidel Canby, Author
's Favorite Story, Robert Louis Stevenson's Sire De Maletroit's Door

Announces God Sees the Truth But Waits as next

God Sees the Truth, But Waits

[Date provenanced by script]

Eddie Dowling, Author
's Favorite Story, Leo Tolstoi's God Sees the Truth But Waits

Announces The Debt Collector as next
The Debt Collector
[Date provenanced by script]

Van Johnson, Actor
's Favorite Story, Maurice Level's The Debt Collector

Announces Gulliver's Travels as next
Gulliver's Travels
[Date provenanced by script]

Ray Milland, Actor
's Favorite Story, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels

Announces Mayerling as next
[Date provenanced by script]

Gregory Peck, Actor
's Favorite Story, Claude Anet's Mayerling

Announces Mister Shakespeare as next
Mister Shakespeare
47-10-08 Portsmouth Times
10:30 p.m.--WGN (Mutual): Vincent Price will star as "
Mr. Shakespeare" in the favorite story chosen by Spencer Tracy and presented by Ronald Colman.

Spencer Tracy, Actor
's Favorite Story, Lawrence and Lee's Mister Shakespeare starring Vincent Price

Announces Casey At the Bat as next
Casey At the Bat
[Date provenanced by script]

Tris Speaker, Baseball Player
's Favorite Story, Ernest Thayer's Casey At the Bat starring Lionel Stander

Announces The Light That Failed as next
The Light That Failed
[Date provenanced by script]

George Palmer Putnam
's Favorite Story, Rudyard Kipling's The Light That Failed starring Ronald Colman

Announces The Man Without A Country as next
The Man Without A Country
[Date provenanced by script]

Theresa Helburn, Theatre Manager
's Favorite Story, Edward Everett Hale's The Man Without A Country starring John Beal

Announces Mary, Queen of Scots as next
Mary, Queen of Scots
[Date provenanced by script]

49-03-16 Anniston-Star
The intriguing story of "
Mary, Queen of Scots" will be the dramatic highlight on Favorite Story, the Ronald Colman Show this evening at 8:30 o.clock. This is one of the great stories of all time and every man, woman and child will wish to hear the presentation by this superb cast on Favorite Story tonight at 8:30 o'clock.

Bing Crosby, Actor's Favorite Story, Antonia Fraser's Mary, Queen of Scots starring Benita Hume

Announces Doctor Heidegger's Experiment as next
Doctor Heidegger's Experiment
[Date provenanced by script]

Robert Walker, Actor
's Favorite Story, Nathaniel Hawthorne's Doctor Heidegger's Experiment

Announces Oliver Twist as next
Oliver Twist
Irene Dunne, Actress' Favorite Story, Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist

Also cited as Father Edward Flanagan, Founder of Boys' Town's Favorite Story

Announces The Legend of Sleep Hollow as next

The Legend of Sleep Hollow

[Date provenanced by script]

Walter Huston, Actor
's Favorite Story, Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleep Hollow

Announces The Three Musketeers as next
The Three Musketeers
[Date provenanced by script]

Gene Tunney, Boxer
's Favorite Story, Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers

Announces The Mystery of Room 323 as next
The Mystery of Room 323
[Date provenanced by script]

George Burns and Gracie Allen
's Favorite Story, Lawrence and Lee's The Mystery of Room 323

Announces Tom Sawyer as next
Tom Sawyer
[Date provenanced by script]

Ruth Gordon, Actress
' Favorite Story, Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer

Announces Peter Ibbetson as next
Peter Ibbetson
[Date provenanced by script]

47-09-16 Los Angeles Times
9:00 p.m.--KFI--Favorite Story [Season Premiere]

Merle Oberon, Actress
' Favorite Story, George du Maurier's Peter Ibbetson

Announces The Necklace as next
The Necklace
[End clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Greer Garson, Actress
' Favorite Story, Guy De Maupassant's The Necklace

Announces Jamie Freel as next
Jamie Freel
[Date provenanced by script]

Barry Fitzgerald, Actor
's Favorite Story, Lawrence and Lee's Jamie Freel

Announces The Strange Mr. Bartleby as next
The Strange Mr. Bartleby
Robert Montgomery, Actor's Favorite Story, Herman Melville's The Strange Mr. Bartleby

Announces Lost Horizon as next
Lost Horizon
[Date provenanced by script]

Mary Pickford, Actress
' Favorite Story, James Hilton's Lost Horizon starring Ronald Colman

Announces The Lady of The Lamp as next
The Lady of The Lamp
[Date provenanced by script]

Robert Young, Actor
's Favorite Story, Lawrence and Lee's The Lady of The Lamp

Announces The Moonstone as next
The Moonstone
[Poor recording, End Clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Russel Crouse, Writer
's Favorite Story, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone
Pride and Prejudice
Oliver Smith, Artist's Favorite Story, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Announces The Bottle Imp as next
The Bottle Imp
[Date provenanced by script]

Ed Wynn, Actor
's Favorite Story, Robert Louis Stevenson's The Bottle Imp

Announces Cashel Byron's Profession as next
Cashel Byron's Profession
[Date provenanced by script]

Henry Fonda, Actor
's Favorite Story, George Bernard Shaw's Cashel Byron's Profession

Announces Ben Hur as next
Ben Hur
[Date provenanced by script]

Clyde Beatty, Animal Trainer
's Favorite Story, Lew Wallace's Ben Hur

Announces Mutineers of The Bounty as next
Mutineers Of The Bounty
[End clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Walter Wanger, Director
's Favorite Story, Lawrence and Lee's Mutineers of The Bounty
The Man Who Made Gold
[Date provenanced by script]

Lauritz Melchior, Opera Star
's Favorite Story, Fitzjames O'Brien's The Man Who Made Gold

Announces Washington Square as next
Washington Square
[Date provenanced by script]

Susan Hayward, Actress
' Favorite Story, Henry James' Washington Square

Announces The Casting Away of Mrs Lecks and Mrs Aleshine as next
The Casting Away of Mrs Lecks and Mrs Aleshine
[Date provenanced by script]

Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliards
' Favorite Story, Frank Stockton's The Casting Away of Mrs Lecks and Mrs Aleshine

Announces The Travels of Marco Polo as next
The Travels of Marco Polo
Eva LeGalliene, Actress' Favorite Story, Frank Stockton's The Travels of Marco Polo

Announces The Man from Yesterday as next
The Man From Yesterday
[Date provenanced by script]

Frank Sinatra, Actor
's Favorite Story, Maurice Level's The Man from Yesterday

Announces A Tale of Two Cities as next
A Tale of Two Cities
[Date provenanced by script]

Cecil B. DeMille, Director
's Favorite Story, Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities starring Ronald Colman
Aladdin's Lamp
48-10-11 Gettysburg Times
4:30 p.m.--WJZ--Favorite Story: '
Aladdin's Lamp'
The Suicide Club
[Date provenanced by script]

Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club
Inside A Kid's Head

[Date provenanced by script]

Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Actor
's Favorite Story, Lawrence and Lee's Inside A Kid's Head

Announces A Doll's House as next
A Doll's House

[Date provenanced by script]

Alfred Wallenstein, Conductor
's Favorite Story, Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House

Announces The Crime of Silvestre Bonnard as next
The Crime of Silvestre Bonnard
Risë Stevens , Opera Star's Favorite Story, Anatole France's The Crime of Silvestre Bonnard

Title Unknown
The Tell-Tale Heart
Edgar Allan Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart
The Brownings
Garson Kanin's The Brownings
The Window
The Glass Eye
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Jerome Robbins, Choreographer
's Favorite Story, John Keir Cross' The Glass Eye
The Sunken City
The Aspern Papers
The Man Who Married A Dumb Wife
Helen Traubel, Soprano's Favorite Story, Anatole France's The Man Who Married A Dumb Wife

Announces The Young Years as next
The Young Years
[Date provenanced by script]

Ethel Barrymore, Actress
' Favorite Story, Lawrence and Lee's The Young Years

Announces Green Mansions as next
Green Mansions
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Dinah Shore, Actress
' Favorite Story, W.H. Hudson's Green Mansions
The Vendetta
Guy deMaupassant's The Vendetta
The Son's Veto
48-05-11 Los Angeles Times
9:00 p.m.--KFI--"Favorite Story"
The Bet
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

48-05-18 Los Angeles Times
9:00 p.m.--KFI--The Bullocks Show "Favorite Story" tonight "The Bet"

Charles Boyer, Actor
's Favorite Story, Anton Chekov's The Bet
The Valiant
48-05-25 Los Angeles Times
9:00 p.m.--KFI--"Favorite Story"

Holworthy Hall's The Valiant
The Maniac
John Lawson's The Maniac
Samuel Ullman's Youth
The Blue Danube
49-10-21 Waterloo Daily Courier
9:30 p.m.--WMT--Favorite Story presents '
The Blue Danube', favorite story of Jeanette MacDonald

Jeanette MacDonald, Actress' Favorite Story, Ludwig Bemelmans' The Blue Danube
The Jest of Hahalaba
Lord Dunsany's The Jest of Hahalaba
A Piece of String
[Date provenanced by script]

Jean Hersholt, Actor
's Favorite Story, Guy deMaupassant's A Piece of String

Announces Strange Valley as next
Strange Valley
[Date provenanced by script as titled Country of The Blind]

Gladys Swarthout, Opera Star
's Favorite Story, H.G. Wells' Strange Valley

Announces A Work of Art as next
A Work of Art
Dorothy Kirsten, Opera Star's Favorite Story, Chekov's A Work of Art
All My Children
[Date provenanced by script]

The Assignation
Edgar Allan Poe's The Assignation
Long Ago
The Time Machine
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Kay Kyser, Band Leader
's Favorite Story, H.G. Wells' The Time Machine
The Monkey's Paw
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Oscar Hammerstein II, Composer
's Favorite Story, W.W. Jacobs' The Monkey's Paw
The Copper Penny
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Michael Curtiz, Director
's Favorite Story, Arthur Wooster May's The Copper Penny starring Jack Webb
The Roll Call of The Reef
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

McKinley Cantor, Author
's Favorite Story, Arthur T. Quiller-Couch's The Roll Call of The Reef
The Gambler
[Date provenanced by script]

George Abbott, Producer
's Favorite Story, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Gambler
Title Unknown
The Judgement of Paris
[Hosted by Alan Reed for Bullock's. Announced as a "Lawrence and Lee Production"]
[Date provenanced by script]

Cornelia Otis Skinner, Author
's Favorite Story, Leonard Merrick's The Judgement of Paris with Alan Reed and Hans Conreid
The Flying Dutchman
Around the World in Eighty Days
[Date provenanced by script]

Eddie Rickenbacker, Pilot
's Favorite Story, Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days
The Dynamiter
[Beginning and End intentionally clipped. Only the story remains]

Robert Louis Stevenson's The Dynamiter starring Jeff Chandler and Janet Waldo
The Magic Shop
H.G. Wells' The Magic Shop
Enoch Soames
[End intentionally clipped]
[Date provenanced by script]

Donald Ogden Stewart, Humorist
's Favorite Story, Sir Max Beerbohm's Enoch Soames
Title Unknown
When the Door Opened
James Oliver Curwood's When the Door Opened
Change of Face
Thomas Cobb's A Change of Face
The Young Man Who Stroked Cats
Morley Roberts' The Young Man Who Stroked Cats
The Turn of The Screw
[Date provenanced by script]

Edgar Bergen, Ventriloquist
's Favorite Story, Henry James' The Turn of The Screw starring Ronald Colman and Edna Best
The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg
Dennis Day, Tenor's Favorite Story, Mark Twain's The Man Who Corrupted Hadleyburg

Announces Pacific Crossing as next
Pacific Crossing
Paul Whiteman, Conductor's Favorite Story, Pacific Crossing
The Substitute
Francois Coppee's The Substitute
Billy The Kid
Billy The Kid
The Gift of Laughter
The Passing of The 3rd Floor Back
Jerome K. Jerome's The Passing of The 3rd Floor Back
Title Unknown
The Magnificent Lie
Leonard Merrick's The Magnificent Lie
The Brushwood Boy
Rudyard Kipling's The Brushwood Boy
In The Time of The Terror
[Date provenanced by script]

Jack Dempsey, Boxer
's Favorite Story, Honore de Balzac's In The Time of The Terror

Announces The Doll In the Pink Silk Dress as next
The Doll in The Pink Silk Dress
[Date provenanced by script]

Art Linkletter, Entertainment Personality
's Favorite Story, Leonard Merrick's The Doll In the Pink Silk Dress

Announces The Little Minister as next
The Little Minister
James M. Barrie's The Little Minister
Journey to Bethlehem
A Christmas Carol

Ziv transcription label for unnumbered Christmas Special 'A Christmas Carol'

[Christmas Special]

's Favorite Story, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol starring Ronald Colman, John Beal, Lurene Tuttle, Jimmy Lydon, Joe Kearns, Jerry Farber
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown
Title Unknown

The Favorite Story Radio Program Log [Unaired Lawrence and Lee Scripts]

Trans. No. Title Avail. Notes
46-09-03 The Luck Of Roaring Camp
46-09-10 Meridian 7-1212
[OSU Library lists this script as "not included in the syndicated release," but Goldin shows it having aired on 46-09-10 during the KFI, Bullocks' sponsored run]
46-10-22 The Count Of Monte Cristo
46-11-05 From the Earth To the Moon
46-11-26 The Prince and the Pauper
46-12-17 Journey To Bethlehem
46-12-21 Blessed Are They
47-05-06 A Window In Thurms
48-02-03 Escape To Nowhere
48-03-23 Our Lives Have Just Begun

The Favorite Story Radio Program Log [Date Ordered Lawrence and Lee Scripts]

Trans. No. Script ID Avail. Notes
46-06-18 Connecticut Yankee's Court
46-06-25 Cyrano De Bergerac
46-07-02 Legend Of Sleepy Hollow The
46-07-09 Little Women
46-07-23 Great Expectations
46-07-30 20,000 Leagues Under
46-08-06 Jane Eyre
46-08-13 Huck Finn
46-09-03 Luck Of Roaring Camp, The
46-09-10 Meridian 7-1212
46-09-17 Gulliver's Travels
46-09-24 Sire De Maletroit's Door
46-10-15 Arabian Nights
46-10-22 Count Of Monte Cristo
46-10-29 Phantom Ricksha, The
46-11-05 Earth To The Moon
46-11-05 From The Earth To The Moon
46-11-12 Vanity Fair
46-11-19 Man Who Sold His Shadow/Devil
46-11-26 Prince And The Pauper, The,
46-12-03 Wuthering Heights
46-12-10 God Sees The Truth, But Waits,
46-12-17 Journey To Bethlehem
46-12-24 Blessed Are They
46-12-31 Three Musqueteers, The
47-01-07 Queen Of Spades, The
47-01-11 Paolo And Francesca
47-01-14 David Copperfield
47-01-28 Casting Away Lecks/Aleshire
47-02-04 Moby Dick
47-02-11 Importance Of Being Earnest
47-02-25 Alice In Wonderland
47-03-11 Jamie Freel
47-03-18 Dr Heidegger's Experiment
47-03-25 Lodging For A Night
47-04-01 Ben Hur: A Tale Of The Christ
47-04-15 Moonstone, The
47-04-22 Mayerling
47-05-06 Window In Thurms, A
47-05-13 Debt-Collector, The
47-05-20 Glass Eye, The
47-05-27 Man Without A Country, The,
47-06-03 Casey At The Bat
47-06-10 Mary Queen Of Scots
47-09-16 Peter Ibbetson
47-09-23 Tom Sawyer
47-09-30 Mystery Of Room 323, The
47-10-07 Necklace, The
47-10-21 Lady Of The Lamp, The
47-10-28 Bottle Imp, The
47-10-29 Oliver Twist
47-11-04 Cashel Byron's Profession
47-11-11 Mutineers Of The Bounty
47-11-18 Golden Ingot, The
47-12-02 Inside A Kid's Head
47-12-02 Washington Square
47-12-16 Man From Yesterday, The
47-12-30 Suicide Club
48-01-06 Lost Horizon
48-01-20 Light That Failed, The
48-01-27 Aspern Papers, The
48-01-27 Around The World In 80 Days
48-02-03 Escape To Nowhere
48-02-10 Brownings, The
48-02-24 Young Years, The
48-03-02 Window, The
48-03-06 Green Mansions
48-03-09 Tale Of Two Cities, A
48-03-16 Doll's House, A
48-03-23 Our Lives Have Just Begun
48-04-13 Rhythm
48-04-27 Treasure Island
48-05-04 Sons's Veto, The
48-05-18 Bet, The
48-06-08 Blue Danube, The
48-09-14 Country Of The Blind, The
48-09-21 Piece Of String, A
48-09-28 Youth
48-10-05 Valiant, The
48-10-10 All My Children
48-10-12 Maniac, The
48-10-26 Jest Of Hahalaba, The
48-11-16 Assignation, The
48-11-23 Long Ago
48-11-30 Time Machine, The
48-12-28 Copper Penny, The
49-01-04 Gambler, The
49-01-18 Roll-Call Of The Reef
49-01-25 Judgement Of Paris, The
49-02-08 Magic Shop, The
49-02-15 Flying Dutchman, The
49-03-01 Enoch Soames
49-03-08 When The Door Opened
49-03-15 Young Man Who Stroked Cats,The
49-03-22 Change Of Face
49-03-29 Passing Of The 3rd Floor Back
49-08-05 Substitute, The
49-08-09 Turn Of The Screw, The
49-08-10 Billy The Kid
49-08-11 Gift Of Laughter, The
49-10-25 Brushwood Boy, The
49-10-25 Magnificent Lie, The
49-11-08 In The Time Of The Terror
49-11-08 Doll In The Pink Silk Dress
49-11-15 Little Minister, The

The Favorite Story Radio Program Biographies

Ronald Charles Colman
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor

Birthplace: Richmond, Surrey, England, U.K.

Education: London University

Military Service: Served with London Scottish during World War I; decorated Mons Medal

1939 The Circle
1939 Lux Radio Theatre
1939 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1940 Good News
1940 Arch Oboler's Plays
1940 Canadian Red Cross Emergency Appeal
1941 America Calling
1942 Towards the Century Of the Common Man
1942 Over Here
1942 Radio Reader's Digest
1942 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1943 The Charlie McCarthy Show
1943 Command Performance
1943 Cavalcade For Victory
1944 Everything For the Boys
1944 Radio Hall Of Fame
1945 D-Day
1945 A Tribute To...
1945 Suspense
1945 The Doctor Fights
1945 Columbia Presents Corwin
1945 Request Performance
1945 Theatre Of Romance
1945 The Lucky Strike Program
1946 Academy Award
1946 Encore Theatre
1946 Favorite Story
1946 Theatre Guild On the Air
1948 Hallmark Playhouse
1948 Sealtest Variety Theater
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1950 The Halls Of Ivy
1950 Document A/777
1950 The Miracle Of America
1950 Screen Guild Theatre
1950 Hedda Hopper's Hollywood
1951 A Salute To...
1954 Anthology
1972 Same Time, Same Station
A Program Of Canada
Ronald Colman circa 1917
Ronald Colman circa 1917

Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky circa 1928
Ronald Colman and Vilma Banky circa 1928

Ronald Colman fan card circa 1932
Ronald Colman fan card circa 1932

Ronald Colman in The Masquerader (1933)
Ronald Colman in The Masquerader (1933)

Ronald Colman in Clive of India circa 1935
Ronald Colman in Clive of India circa 1935

Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt in Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (1937. Poster illustration by James Montgomery Flagg of 'Uncle Sam' illustration fame
Ronald Colman and Jane Wyatt in Frank Capra's Lost Horizon (1937. Poster illustration by James Montgomery Flagg of 'Uncle Sam' illustration fame.

Ronald Colman in If I Were King (1938)
Ronald Colman in If I Were King (1938)

Colman's split-personalities in A Double Life (1947)
Colman's split-personalities in A Double Life (1947)

Ronald Colman in Champagne for Caesar with Celeste Holm and Vincent Price (1950)
Ronald Colman in Champagne for Caesar with Celeste Holm and Vincent Price (1950)

Ronald Colman and Benita Hume publicity photo for Television's The Halls of Ivy (1954)
Ronald Colman and Benita Hume publicity photo for Television's The Halls of Ivy (1954)

Ronald Colman's last film appearance headlining The Story of Mankind (1957) as The Spirit of Man
Ronald Colman's last film appearance headlining The Story of Mankind (1957) as The Spirit of Man

Vincent Price and Ronald Colman reunite in 1957's The Story of Mankind
Vincent Price and Ronald Colman reunite in 1957's The Story of Mankind

The Colmans -- Ronald and Benita Hume -- roughing it with Jimmy Weldon circa 1957
The Colmans -- Ronald and Benita Hume -- roughing it with Jimmy Weldon circa 1957

Ronald Colman in Life Magazine circa 1957
Ronald Colman in Life Magazine circa 1957

Ronald Colman in Life Magazine spread circa 1957
Ronald Colman in Life Magazine spread circa 1957
Ambitious young Ronald Charles Colman was serving as an office boy in 1908 with the British Steamship Company while performing with the Bancroft Amateur Dramatic Society. In 1916 he debuted on the London Stage. In 1919 he enjoyed his Film debut in The Toilers.

And in 1920 he emigrated to America, soon after appearing in various stage roles, including a small part with George Arliss in The Green Goddess. He was chosen by Lillian Gish as leading man in the films The White Sister (1923) and Romola (1924).

In 1924 he was invited to Hollywood by Samuel Goldwyn. By the early 1930s, Colman's star status is virtually assured when Samuel Goldwyn permits Colman the luxury of appearing in only one film per year. Jealously protective of his own image and reputation, Colman felt compelled to sue the Goldwyn Studios in 1933 over false rumors of Colman drinking on set during the making of The Masquerader.

The 1940s marked the beginning of Colman's work on Radio, including numerous repeating guest spots with wife Benita Hume on Jack Benny's program, several drama anthologies, numerous patriotic appeals both in America and abroad, several retrospectives of his own Film triumphs and innumerable appearances as himself, or as a couple with his wife, Benita Hume.

Colman also had several of his own Radio programs, among them, Everything For The Boys (1944) for Autolite and The Halls of Ivy (1950-52) with his wife Benita Hume. The Radio version of The Halls of Ivy was a Peabody Award winner. The Halls of Ivy was also chosen the Best New Radio Show for 1950. The Colmans spun the Radio version into a Television series that ran for two years from 1954 to 1955 and also garnered honors as Best New Television Show for 1954 .

According to director George Cukor, "Colman knew more about acting for the camera than any actor" he'd ever worked with. For Colman fans, this does not come as a revelation. From Ronald Colman's earliest film triumphs you can see that it's not the camera that loves him. It's Colman's native, effortless ability to place himself in the optimal position before the camera that delivers his characterizations most effectively.

For three generations of Film fans, Colman's suave, debonair sophistication served as a pattern of behaviour, carriage and dress they could quite comfortably and confidently emulate to great effect--and the women of America couldn't have been more grateful.

Throughout Colman's entire life, his quiet, soft-spoken delivery set an entire new standard for the roles in which he was cast. As counter-intuitive as it seems, that very soft - spokenness made Colman's patented delivery all the more effective. Why? Look at the lessons of early Radio. Both before and after the circuitry innovations that dramatically cleared the airwaves of the pops and spits and rasps that had made radio listening such a challenge, the art of listening to Radio became an acquired skill.

And yet once that skill was acquired, the art of listening to anything -- Radio included -- became a valuable skill indeed. Colman's secret was understanding the natural tendency to listen even more intently to quieter or more subtle aural passages to grasp their full nuance or meaning. That's precisely the technique that Ronald Colman employed to make his own softer-spoken deliveries even more subtle and effective to the observer or listener alike. Some might say there's a lesson there to be learned as it might apply in the business world as well.

It wasn't simply Colman's beautifully modulated voice, either. As Cukor pointed out, Colman could accomplish a great deal more by forcing the viewer to follow Colman's most subtle movements, just as he forced them to follow and listen to his voice. Colman wasn't limited to specific roles by any means. He played swashbucklers and rogues and lovers and heroes and thinkers and 'everymen' with equal effectiveness. Even when cast in a role which requires the viewer to suspend disbelief even more than usual, it was never that much of a stretch. Everyone was pulling for Ronald Colman. Everyone was willing for Ronald Colman to be anyone he chose to be in Film.

That's far more than sympathy or empathy. Colman's singular gift was his almost effortless ability to convince his severest critics that he could be and would ultimately become anything or anyone he was set to portray.

Ronald Colman had no problem transitioning to talkies. Indeed, Colman's first sound film, Bulldog Drummond (1929), garnered him an Academy Award nomination. Watching Colman as Drummond begs the question of why he didn't go on to an entire series of Bulldog Drummond adventures. He was a natural in the role. But then he was also a natural in Raffles (1930).

Bulldog Drummond was instructive on several levels. The Bulldog Drummond characterization is predictably madcap and frenetic, yet Colman adapted well to it. Colman's athleticism in the role seems quite natural and more reminiscent of Douglas Fairbanks, the senior. The snappy dialogue is delivered just as crisply and effectively as any actor of the genre, including George Sanders, Warren William, William Powell, or Basil Rathbone. In short, one wonders if a Colman-acted Bulldog Drummond franchise might not have been the early equal of Sean Connery's triumph as James Bond.

Be that as it may, Colman chose what were the best roles for his career quite wisely indeed. Had he reeled off a series of Bulldog Drummonds we might have been robbed of his marvelous performances in Raffles (1930), Arrowsmith (1931), Clive of India (1935), A Tale of Two Cities (1935), a reprise of Bulldog Drummond in Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934), Lost Horizon (1937), or The Prisoner of Zenda (1937).

Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Colman's sympathetic--and romantic--appeal continued to arc. Random Harvest (1942) in particular, was one of the World War II era's most popular films. Colman's appearance with Greer Garson was pure magic.

A Double Life (1947), the film for which Colman received an Academy Award, is an intriguing commentary on Colman, the movie actor par excellence, who in this film plays a legitimate stage actor who becomes so immersed in the role of Othello that he is driven to murder. Colman, as the dashing romantic lead, is measured against one of the great tragic roles in the Shakespeare tradition. Colman taking a run at Shakespeare is tested twice in the film: on opening night, when his style is conventional (e.g., theatrical), and near the end, when Colman replays the scene in rhythms and tones that are far more cinematic--Colman's forte.

The film's underlying conceit is the suggestion that Colman and other actors like him depend on their charm, wit, grace, but that they labor, sometimes even to their own detriment to be good actors. The film not only underscores Colman's star image, but provides a chance for us to see an actor at the very height of his craft; Colman's meticulous preparation and execution is apparent in even his smallest scenes. Early in the script, as Anthony John recalls how he had already come a long way with his ambition, Colman perfectly caricatures the juvenile in tennis shorts 'he' used to be, then performs a remembered scene with 'his father,' then comes back to himself as he remembers having to teach himself how to talk, how to move, and how to think. Pure Colman. Pure Genius.

In the 1950s, Colman turned in a marvelously sympathetic portrayal of a television quiz show sensation in Champagne for Caesar. Ronald Colman's swan song in Film was--so very appropriately--as 'The Spirit of Man' in 1957's The Story of Mankind.

From the Santa Barbara Daily Review, April 19, 1958:

Actor Ronald Colman
Dies of Pneumonia

SANTA BARBARA (INS)--Academy Award winner Ronald Colman, 67, debonair leading man of scores of the screen's most famous films, died today of pneumonia.
Colman, who was one of movies' top stars for three decades, succumbed at 5 a.m. at St. Francis Hospital in Santa Barbara, 100 miles north of Hollywood on the California coast.
His actress-wife, the former Benita Hume, was at his bedside when death came to end a career highlighted by such well-loved pictures as "Lost Horizon," "A Double Life" and "Under Two Flags."

A friend of the family, Robert Sinclair, said the British-born actor suffered from fibrosis of the lungs, which turned into pneumonia.
Sinclair said Colman had experienced trouble wtih a "low grade infection" for many years. It actually began while he was serving with the British Expeditionary forces in France in World War I.
A Hollywood associate said that after the Colmans' "Halls of Ivy" television program went off the air, the actor, his wife and their daughter, Juliet, went to Europe, where his lung condition became worse.

The Colmans had been planning a trip to the south of France next August.

Comedian Jack Benny, with whom Colman frequently appeared on radio and television, said when informed of the actor's death:
"I am deeply saddened at the news. He was a great actor, a great gentleman and a great friend."
His most recent film was "The Story of Mankind." Before that, he and his wife starred for several years in the "Halls of Ivy" radio and television serials.

Sinclair said Colman became ill Saturday night and was taken to St. Francis Hospital yesterday. He apparently made a full recovery, but he died this morning.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at the All Saints By the Sea Episcopal Church in Santa barbara, followed by cremation.
Colman was born at Richmond, Surrey, England, on Feb. 9, 1891, and began his acting career on the London stage in 1916. He came to America four years later to tour with stage comopanies and appear in New York in "La Tendresse" and "The Nightcap."

His "Halls of Ivy" radio show won the George Foster Peabody award and other accolades, and he was voted the film personality who had proven most effective in radio in Motion Picture Daily's 1951 poll.

Ronald Colman lived with episodic lung pain most of his adult life. It never affected his performances. Stiff-upper-lip Brit that he was at heart, he simply soldiered on for an entire career after being afflicted with lung damage while in the service of his country during World War I. The infamous mustard gas attacks of World War I killed or maimed hundreds of thousands of soldiers on both sides of World War I.

A few--the strongest in both will and character--managed to outlive their disease's inevitable--and terminal--prognosis. We're blessed that Ronald Colman was one of them.

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