In 1949 Broadcasters Program Syndicate promoted Frontier Town as ''Radio's first authentic class-A half-hour Western dramatic series. The Cimarron and Red River of radio.''
Frontier Town will forever reside in that twilight of the Western genre of Golden Age Radio--between the highly self-conscious adult Westerns of the mid- to late-1950s and the rock'em, sock'em, shoot-em-up juvenile adventure Westerns of the 1930s and 1940s. It's obvious from this series that Radio westerns were beginning to lean in an adult direction--but not without some kicking and screaming in the process.
Radio's Gunsmoke was already in development and Television was making impressive inroads into Radio's commercial audience. With hundreds of Hopalong Cassidy and other western hero film reruns airing night and day over Television, the race was on to find a more rivetting format for the great American western.
Broadcasters Program Syndicate rolls out Frontier Town
In this iteration of the Radio western, the protagonist is a small town rancher's son who's gone off to college in the big city to get his Law Degree. Believing he'd pursue a large successful practice in one of the major cities, his aspirations are dashed upon learning that his father has been murdered back at the ole homestead. He rushes back to Dos Rios, Texas to get to the bottom of his father's murder. This sets the stage for young Attorney, Chad Remington and his 47-episode quest to impose legal justice onto the frontier anarchy of the wild west.
Jeff Chandler opens the series billed as 'Tex' Chandler, in the role of Chad Remington. He acquires a sidekick in Episode #1: a garrulous quasi-scoundrel by the name of Cherokee O'Bannon, a man of obvious mixed breeding--and morals. Cherokee O'Bannon is portrayed by Wade Crosby in a somewhat over the top rendition of W.C. Fields. The superb mood music is provided by no less than Ivan Ditmars and Bob Mitchell, of Mitchell Boy Choir fame. The sound effects clearly approach the level of what audiences would hear for much of the remainder of the 1950s--hyper-realistic and meticulously timed.
Chandler's characterization of Chad Remington is forceful, dynamic and melodramatic and runs for the first twenty-three episodes. Veteran Film, Television and Radio actor Reed Hadley then assumes the role of Chad Remington for the remaining 24 installments. The contrast between the two characterizations is quite evident, but doesn't interfere with either the continuity of the main character or the flow of the episodes. Both principal actors acquit themselves well in the role. Wade Crosby in the role of Cherokee O'Bannon plays it well over the top, but that's what sidekicks do, after all.
Paul Franklin's scripts are clever and well developed. Principally a comedy writer, it's clear that he's well suited to provide Cherokee O'Bannon's dialogue with great imagination, but he's equally adept at providing interesting story lines throughout the 47-episode run.
Beginning in the Spring of 1949, Broadcasters Program Syndicate bundled Pat O'Brien From Hollywood, Frontier Town, and The Adventures of Frank Race as a package to the members of their syndicate at a cost of as little as $25.00 a week for all three. The cost was geared to a station's advertised quarter-hour rate, which understandably varied based on the station's size, reach and location. Syndicate members as of the Spring of 1949 included approximately 127 independent and network affiliate stations in Canada and throughout the U.S. and its territories. Bundling was a way for Broadcasters Program Syndicate to help launch its syndicated programming operation in 1949, their first year of operation. That bundled package of Frontier Town comprised an initial twenty-six of the eventual estimated fifty-two installments of the transcribed, syndicated canon of Frontier Town. Of the three, both Frontier Town and The Adventures of Frank Race proved to show the most appeal of the bundle.
Frontier Town provides the listener an opportunity to ease into the heady themes and portentious moral and psychological dilemmas of the adult Western era without a jolt. And it bridges that gap very neatly.
Anthology of Golden Age Radio Western Adventure
CBS [KQW - KCBS], along with virtually every imaginable network, large or small throughout the U.S. and at least six territories of Canada.
Audition Date(s) and Title(s):
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s):
49-03-05 01 Title Unknown
52-05-06 01 Return to Dos Rios
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s):
49-03-05 to 49-08-27; CBS [KQW-KCBS]; Twenty-six, 30-minutes programs; Saturdays, 6:00 p.m.
52-05-06 to 53-03-24; CBS; Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m.
Broadcasters Program Syndicate [Bruce Eells and Associates]
Paul Franklin; Joel Murcott [Supervisor]; Bruce Eells [Producer]
Jeff Chandler [as 'Tex' Chandler], Reed Hadley, Wade Crosby, Ralph Moody, John Dehner,
Chad Remington, Lawyer, played by 'Tex' Chandler for the first 23 episodes, then Reed Hadley for the remaining 24 episodes; Cherokee O'Bannon, played by Wade Crosby with a W.C.Fields 'knock-off' impression.
Paul Franklin and Joel Murcott
Bob Mitchell, Ivan Ditmars [Composer, Music Direction]
Bob Mitchell Organ Music
Estimated Scripts or
Episodes in Circulation:
Total Episodes in Collection:
Billboard Magazine article from January 22 1949 citing Joel Murcott's work on Frontier Town which was apparently transcribed as early as 1948
Click above to pop up a readable rendition of this April 1949 announcement from Broadcasters Program Syndicate.
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, audio-classics.com, Martin Grams' Radio Drama.
Notes on Provenances: All above cited provenances are in error in one form or another. The most helpful provenance was the log of the radioGOLDINdex.
The radioGOLDINdex notes that the series was transcribed in 1950. Our research supports the radioGOLDINdex assertion but also indicates that the series was transcribed as early as 1948. We found airings of Frontier Town as early as 1949.
Though most 'otr' logs cite Jeff Chandler as the lead for the first half of the episodes, they vary as to when Chandler performed his last episode. In addition it's clear that Chandler is billed as 'Tex' Chandler, not Jeff Chandler. That's completely understandable, since most of the circulating 'otr' logs are simply recycled--passing from logger to logger to logger as a means to promote the commercial interests of the 'otr' sellers they support. This has been going on for some 37 years, so it's not new by any means. Neither is it a coincidence that the logs at old-time.com, Hickerson, audio-classics.com, Martin Grams' Radio Drama, and otrsite.com all cite the exact same recycled, inaccurate misinformation.
Here's the part we don't understand about the previously circulating titles for Frontier Town for the past 37 years. . . .
I believe we're on solid ground here stating flatly that Frontier Town was about a frontier lawyer and many of the more interesting cases he encountered over the course of his practice. A lawyer, not a gunslinger. How is it then, that not one single anecdotal title previously in circulation had the words 'case' or 'contract' in them? Lawyers handle cases, negotiate contracts and file briefs about those cases. No? Forty-seven circulating titles and not a one of them even remotely referring to Chad Remington's legal practice. We don't get it. Even more stupefying, we're almost certain that now, having finally disclosed the actual titles for 80% of the episodes, no one from the 'otr' community will update them accordingly.
The OTRR can't possibly know the titles that aired during the 'WINS' run they cite in their 'log'--or OTTER. None were ever cited in the newspaper listings of that area. Nor, for that matter, can they possibly substantiate a forty-seven episode WINS run of Frontier Town. There wasn't one--period. What they refer to as a 'log' is fiction. We contacted the author of OTRR's fictitious Frontier Town log to point out the misinformation.
Also note that the 'otr' circulating title, "Valley of the Varments" [sic], is actually 'Five Gallons of Poison', recycled as another title. As of this writing we have yet to determine the actual title--or existence--of Episode No. 20 of the 1952 Run. [UPDATE: We've identified the title of Episode No. 20. We're titling it Trouble At Varmint Valley, since that's the precise theme of the episode. Nowhere in the script is the term Valley of Varments [sic] ever mentioned.]
What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here's the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No misrepresentations. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.
We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.
We continue to provide honest research into these wonderful Golden Age Radio programs simply because we love to do it. If you feel that we've provided you with useful information or saved you some valuable time regarding this log--and you'd like to help us even further--you can help us keep going. Please consider a small donation here:
We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.
All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.
52-06-03 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler in "Five Gallons of Poison."
The $10,000 Foreclosure
52-06-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler in "The 10,000 Foreclosure."
Trouble On the Seminole Strip
52-06-17 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler in "Trouble on the Seminole Strip."
The Case of The Chavez Family
52-06-24 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler as lawyer investigating mysterious shots.
The Case Of the Homesteaders and the Forest Reserve
52-07-01 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler solves "The Case of the Homesteaders and the Forest Reserve."
The Case Of the Tax Collectors At Medicine Creek
52-07-08 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of the Tax Collectors at Medicine Creek."
Justice At Roaring River
52-07-15 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler in "Justice at Roaring Creek."
The Case Of Felipe Gomez
52-07-22 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of Philip Gomez."
The Case Of the Freighter's Wagons
52-07-29 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WFOW): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of the Freighter's Wagons."
The Case Of the Wells-Fargo Robbery
52-08-05 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of the Wells-Fargo Robbery."
The Case Of Bourbon Kate
52-08-12 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of Bourbon Kate."
The Case Of the Water Shortage
52-08-19 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of the Water Shortage."
The Trouble At Pat Antrim's
52-08-26 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Trouble at Pat Antran's."
The Crime Wave At Los Alamos
52-09-02 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Crime Wave at Los Alamos."
The Ride To Dobe City
52-06-09 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Ride to Dobe City."
Trouble in Varmint Valley
52-09-16 Wisconsin State Journal
WMFM 8:30 Frontier Town
The Case Of the Beef Contract
52-09-23 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of the Beef Contract."
The Case Of the Deer Shooters
52-09-30 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of the Deer Shooters."
The Case Of Mr Knudsen
[Last 'Tex' Chandler Episode]
52-10-07 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of Mr. Newson."
Mystery At Burnside Falls
[First Reed Hadley Episode]
52-10-14 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "Mystery at Burnside Falls."
The Case Of Oliver Baldwin
52-10-21 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of Oliver Baldwin."
The Case Of the Packing House Combine
52-10-28 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): Jeff Chandler in "The Case of the Packing House Combine."
The Case Of the Maverick Town Mystery
52-11-04 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Case of the Maverick Town Mystery."
The Case Of the Delayed Stage
52-11-11 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Case of the Delayed Stage."
The Case Of Trouble With the Homesteaders
52-11-18 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Case of Trouble with the Homesteaders."
The Case Of Oil Trouble
52-11-25 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Case of Oil Trouble."
The Case Of Water Troubles
52-12-02 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Case of Water Troubles."
The Range Detective and the Case Of Angels Draw
52-12-09 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Range Detective and the Case of Angels Draw."
Trouble On the Work Train
52-12-16 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Trouble on the Work Train."
52-12-24 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Open Range."
52-12-30 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Chase."
Bullets For Boot Hill
53-01-06 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Bullets for Boot Hill."
On the Prod
53-01-13 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "On the Prod."
53-01-20 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Fort Disaster."
The Trail Drive
53-01-27 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "The Trial Drive."
End Of the Trail
53-02-03 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "End of the Trial."
Canyon Of Wanted Men
53-02-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Canyon of Wanted Men."
Days Of the Road Agent
53-02-17 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Days of the Road Agent."
53-02-24 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Stampede."
53-03-03 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Bad Lands."
53-03-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Boom Town."
Where Men Are Men
53-03-17 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Where Men are Men."
53-03-24 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Frontier Town (WMFM): "Lady Luck."
Frontier Town Biographies
Jeff Chandler [Ira Grossel]
Radio, Television, Film and Stage Actor, Singer
Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY
Education: Erasmus Hall High School, Brooklyn, NY
1946 Academy Award 1946 Suspense
1946 Cavalcade of America
1946 The Casebook of Gregory Hood
1947 The New Adventures of Michael Shayne
1947 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1947 Lux Radio Theatre
1947 Mr President
1947 Family Theatre
1947 Stars Over Hollywood
1947 The Private Practice of Dr Dana
1948 Damon Runyon Theatre
1948 Voyage of the Scarlet Queen
1948 Ellery Queen
1948 Our Miss Brooks
1948 Let George Do It
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 Hallmark Playhouse
1948 The Whistler
1948 Sealtest Variety Theatre
1948 Duffy's Tavern
1949 Proudly We Hail
1949 The Railroad Hour
1949 The Adventures of Philip Marlowe
1949 The Anacin Hollywood Star Theatre
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1950 Frontier Town
1950 Adventure Is Your Heritage
1950 Hedda Hopper's Hollywood
1951 Guest Star
1952 The Martin and Lewis Show
1954 Bud's Bandwagon
1954 San Francisco Final
1959 Hollywood Salutes the National Guard
Here's To Veterans
Voice of the Army
The New National Guard Show
Stand By For Music
The Cases Of Mr Ace
Jeff Chandler, ca. 1944
Jeff Chandler as Mike Shayne
Jeff Chandler, ca. 1950
Jeff Chandler had been visibly scarred in an automobile accident in the early 1940s, almost losing an eye.
Jeff Chandler at the mike with Talullah Bankhead for Screen Director's Playhouse on NBC, Nov. 16, 1950
Esther Williams with Jeff Chandler, ca. 1958
From the January 4, 1953 Ogden Standard-Examiner:
Behind Scenes at Hollywood
by Alice West
"I don't like to work too hard," is what Jeff Chandler told me on Universal - International location set, where he was making "Sioux Uprising." "I like to take things easy."
And that's just the way he impresses you as you talk to him. The handsome six-foot-four New Yorker obviously lacks that highstrung, nervous temperament that is so apparent with most movie actors. He is very soothing.
He was in Western regalia for this picture.
"I'm not in an Indian rig-out this time," he said smiling, "and everyone asks me why. It seems good to get in some real clothes for a change." His eyes seem to envelope you in a warmth of friendliness as he talks. "You know, I've been playing the same guy in most of my pictures all along, although they have been different characters in different stories."
Likes Role With Loretta
He especially liked the one he had just finished with Loretta Young "Because of You." (It will be in Ogden soon).
"That was a wonderful part for me," he said. "I loved it. It gave me my first chance to do a parlor play and then I enjoy acting with Loretta Young so much. She's magnificent!
He said he had always wanted to be an actor, since he was big enough to set his stakes. Even while in high school he was disappointed because he could never take the parts that were offered him, because he had to help at his mother's small candy and stationery store.
For a year after finishing school, Jeff worked as a cashier In several different restaurants in which his father had interests. It cost $500 to enroll in a dramatic school and it seemed he could never get that much together.
Later he asked for a scholarship at the Feagin School of Dramatic Art in New York for doing a certain amount of work around the school which culminated in his getting a job with a Long Island Stock Co., as a stage hand. He was graduated into acting for his first role in Christopher Morley's "Trojan Horse."
Advises Stock Acting
"One of the best ways for a young actor to get recognition is to get in stock companies," he said. "An actor friend and I started our own company and were going fine until the war came along and we enlisted. I always feel as if I got a good deal out of that venture," he continued, grinning broadly, "I met my wife. She was the former Marjorie Hoshelle and was appearing in another company in the same neighborhood. I've never regretted that move."
They have two sons, Jamie and Dana.
As soon as Jeff got out of the army, he took his savings of $3,000 and bought $1,000 worth of clothing and lived on the rest for the six months it took him to get a job in a radio show. This really started his career and he was called upon steadily from then on. He appeared on one of Dick Powell's radio shows and Dick liked him and asked for him to be in his picture, "Johnny O'clock." Then came weekly radio features, including 26 shows of "Michael Shayne, Detective," and later Eve Arden's boy friend in "Our Miss Brooks" program which he still does. Of course the movies eventually put him under contract and he has made 14 pictures since.
Jeff's ambition is to play Moses.
"They are looking for a good Biblical film for me and I think Moses can't be beat," he said.
Enjoys Indian Films
In speaking of his Indian films, Jeff said: "It's interesting working with Indians. Some tribes are very well educated and others are not. Now, in the picture we made before this last one, the Indians spoke no pigeon English at all and yet with the one before that, a number of them spoke it. Many have college educations."
He went on to explain that many of them will not live in the homes provided for them by the Government.
"They put the cattle in the homes and live in the tents," he said. "They stay to themselves quite a bit and don't like to mingle with the whites. Then, of course, there are other tribes who get along fine with the whites."
Jeff has a strange philosophy. "I think the smartest thing for a person to do is to find the difference in what he needs and what he wants," he says. "You can go on wanting things all your life maybe, and become terribly frustrated about something you find you have never needed anyway."
Likes To Make Furniture
He spends his spare time making things for the house. Tables, chairs and other articles.
"I'm afraid I'll never get caught up on the things my wife has ordered," he said, laughing.
He feels that baseball is still good material for many pictures yet to come and thinks it is excellent for the public. He used to play baseball at school and would like to do it before the camera some day.
Born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, Chandler attended Erasmus Hall High School, alma mater to many stage and film personalities of the era. A childhood friend and next door neighbor was Susan Hayward. Young Susan Hayward appeared with young Master Grossel in an elementary school production of 'Cinderella in Flowerland'. Ira took some drama courses and worked in stock companies to sharpen his skills, then spent two years in stock companies before serving in World War II as an officer.
Upon his discharge from the Army, he returned to Drama, undertaking a busy career in Radio over a wide range of genre. He was as easily adept at straight dramatic roles, as in comedy, radio noir, and westerns such as Frontier Town. Indeed, in Frontier Town he was credited as 'Tex' Chandler, rather than Jeff Chandler. Two of his most popular roles were as Professor Boynton in Our Miss Brooks, and as Michael Shayne in the New Adventures of Michael Shayne.
In the 15-minute weekly radio show That's a Good Idea, Jeff played as many as eight parts in one show, receiving excellent training in versatility. He possessed a highly adaptable voice and a knack for mimicry. Indeed, he could do spot-on impressions of many prominent voices, among them, Clark Gable, James Stewart, and James Cagney. With over 600 radio credits and a highly respected--and popular--radiography it's safe to say that Jeff Chandler fans will be listening to his work in Radio for generations to come.
His debut in Film was Johnny O'Clock (1947). Throughout the 1950s, Chandler became a star in western and action movies. His first important role was in Sword In The Desert (1948), as an Israeli freedom fighter. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Cochise in Broken Arrow (1950). The first of three screen appearances as the legendary Apache chief, Chandler repeated the role in The Battle Of Apache Pass (1952) and Taza, Son Of Cochise (1954).
During the latter part of the 1950s until his untimely death, Chandler became a top leading man. His sex appeal, prematurely gray hair, and tanned, rugged features got him into several drama and costume movies. His films during this period were Foxfire (1955), Away All Boats (1956), Toy Tiger (1956), Durango (1957), The Tattered Dress (1957), Man In The Shadow (1957), A Stranger In My Arms (1959), The Jayhawkers! (1959), Thunder In The Sun (1959), and Return to Peyton Place (1961).
Jeff Chandler's leading ladies included June Allyson, Joan Crawford, Rhonda Fleming, Maureen O'Hara, Jane Russell, Esther Williams, and his Brooklyn friend Susan Hayward. When his friend Sammy Davis Jr. lost an eye in an accident and was in danger of losing the other, Chandler offered to give Davis one of his own eyes. Chandler himself had nearly lost an eye and had been visibly scarred in an auto accident years earlier.
Chandler had a concurrent career as a singer and recording artist, releasing several albums and playing nightclubs. Jeff Chandler had a superb singing voice, recording several successful albums for Liberty Records. He wrote music, played violin and owned Chandler Music, a publishing company.
Shortly after completing his role in Merrill's Marauders in 1961, he injured his back while playing baseball with U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers serving as extras. Chandler entered a Culver City hospital and had surgery for a spinal disc herniation on May 13, 1961. There were severe complications, an artery was damaged and Chandler hemorrhaged. In a seven and a half hour emergency operation over and above the original surgery, he was given 55 pints of blood. Another operation followed, date unknown, where he received an additional 20 pints of blood. He expired June 17, 1961, at the age of 42 and nearing the pinnacle of his acting career.
His death was deemed malpractice, resulting in in a large lawsuit and settlement for his two children. Tony Curtis and Gerald Mohr were among the pallbearers at Chandler's funeral. He was interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Reed Hadley [Reed Herring]
Radio, Television, Film, Documentary and Stage Actor
(1911-1974) Birthplace: Petrolia, Texas
1941 Silver Theatre
1942 The Adventures Of Red Ryder
1943 Cavalcade Of America
1944 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1946 Hollywood Star Time
1947 Family Theatre
1952 Frontier Town
1950 Screen Guild Theatre
1950 Tales Of the Texas Rangers
Reed Hadley, ca. 1940
Reed Hadley as Zorro in 1939's Zorro's Fighting Legion Serial
Reed Hadley narrated 'Operation Ivy' in 1952, one of several top secret films he narrated for The Defense Department.
6 foot 4 inch tall Reed Hadley (christened Reed Herring) was born in Petrolia, Texas to Bert Herring, a wildcatter, and his wife Minnie. Reed had one sister, Bess Brenner, and grew up in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from Bennett High School in Buffalo he got involved in local theater with the Studio Arena Theater. Reed Hadley married his wife, Helen and they had one son--Dale. Before moving to Hollywood he had performed Hamlet on stage in New York City.
During his thirty-five-year career in film, he appeared in over 150 feature movies and serials. Hadley was cast almost equally as villain and hero. And his remarkably resonant, crystal clear, bass voice afforded him years of voice over work in both documentaries and Television.
A personal favorite film was his very first, The Hollywood Stadium Mystery (1938) portraying an archetypal high-maintenance movie star of the 1940s by the name of Ralph Mortimer. It was clearly a role designed to allow Hadley to really ham it up, and he did so, stealing every scene he was in. Equally obvious in that first film is what a stunningly handsome man he truly was, accompanied with an imposing 6'4" presence to back it up. And indeed, though handsome enough to be cast as Zorro in the 1939 Serial, Zorro's Fighting Legion, it's obvious that his height created some hurdles for his fellow actors throughout all 12 episodes. He acquitted himself well with both foil and whip as well.
Though his first Radio appearances were in The Silver Theatre, it was his role as 1942's Red Ryder that brought him instant acclaim in Radio. His deep resonant voice was the perfect, authoritative, confidence-inspiring counterpoint to the other members of the cast. The Red Ryder became an instant hit and gained him an entire generation of young fans. He also picked up from Jeff Chandler in the lead role of Chad Remington in 1952's Frontier Town. His characterization was quite distinct as contrasted with Jeff Chandler's--a bit lighter, kinder and more humorous.
He starred as the lead in in two television shows: Racket Squad (1950-1953) and Public Defender (1953-1954), but he is probably most remembered in his supporting role as the Watch Commander in the Dragnet series. He is immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his television work.
He was the narrator of several Department of Defense films: "Operation Ivy", about the first hydrogen bomb test, Ivy Mike, "Military Participation on Tumbler/Snapper"; "Military Participation on Buster Jangle"; and "Operation Upshot-Knothole" all of which were produced by Lookout Mountain studios. The films were obviously intended for internal military use, but have since been "sanitized", edited, and de-classified, and are now available to the public.
Reed Hadley died on December 11, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, of a heart attack. He was aged 63 at the time of his death.
Bob Mitchell (Music Director, Organist, Choir Director)
Radio, Television, Film and Stage performer
(1912 -) Birthplace: Sierra Madre, CA
Thirty Minutes In Hollywood
The Betty Jane Rhodes Show
Words With Music
A Child's Wish
The Wizard Of Odds
The Play's The Thing
Stairway To The Stars
The Mary Worth Show [Audition]
The Play's The Thing
Stairway To The Stars
Jump-Jump of Holiday House
Jump-Jump and The Ice Queen
One Night Stand
The Children's Hour, But Not For Children
The Hour Of St. Francis
Trouble Is My Business
A Joy Forever
Robert Mitchell at his Hammond Organ, directing one of his early Boy Choirs, c. 1938
[photo credited to the famous Southern California photographer, Joe Hinojos]
Bob Mitchell at the Wurlitzer, c. 1941
Bob Mitchell and St. Brendan's Choir at The Hollywood Bowl, c. 1945
Bob Mitchell with Bing Crosby, c. 1954
Mr. Mitchell at the Orpheum, c. 2001
Click image once to load 'Forty Boys and a Song' from 1941 (Takes 1:15 to 3:00 minutes to load on most DSL or Cable connections)
Robert Mitchell's mother sat him down at the piano at the age of 4. By age 10, Mitchell’s mother decided it was time for him to learn the organ so as to study traditional Episcopal Church music. As it was, the only organ in his home town, Sierra Madre, CA was at the local Episcopal parish. He and his mother met the pastor to inquire if young Master Mitchell could practice on the church’s organ.
“No, no, no. No one may play the organ in the church, but our own organist,” Mitchell is reported to have mimicked in the English Pastor's condescending accent. He goes on to relate that his mother’s reply was sharp and quick “Well, any man of the cloth that would not allow a child to learn an instrument needs to praise almighty God!” The pastor abruptly reversed his position. "Well I suppose we must make an exception in this case,” Mitchell mimicked the pastor again, “but without setting any precedents”
Quickly mastering the organ, he soon discovered the movies--and to his further delight, the integral part that the organ played in the fascinating new medium. Mitchell relates, “I told my mother, there’s a pipe organ and I really want to play it!.” And despite her natural aversion to the vulgarity of movies, his mother transported now 12-year-old Robert down to The Strand Theatre on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, CA where he was soon employed.
After talkies arrived en masse, Mitchell nimbly transitioned to the other exploding medium of the era--Radio. During the 1930s he was staff organist at variously, KMTR, KEME, KHJ and ultimately, from 1940 to 1965, famous Earl Anthony's KFI radio. Robert Mitchell's 25 years at KFI were a match made in Radio heaven. Working out of its famous Studio 'A', Mr. Mitchell set a Music standard for affiliate radio rarely equalled at the largest Network flagship stations.
But it was his early passion for choral music that propelled him into his signature contribution to Radio, Television and Film. He formed The Mitchell Boys Choir, which quickly gained the well-deserved reputation that catapulted The Choir into a string of appearances in dozens of high profile films including Angels with Dirty Faces with James Cagney, the Christmas classic, The Bishop’s Wife with Cary Grant and Loretta Young, and the other Christmas staple, White Christmas with Bing Crosby. The Mitchell Boys Choir became a tradional holiday treasure over every medium--Radio, Television and Film.
Bob Mitchell returned to work in the 1990s as part-time organist at "Silent Movie," a Fairfax area Los Angeles theatre which shows only silent films. He was still performing there in 2004--at the age of 92. Mr. Mitchell is considered to be the last remaining silent movie organist.