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Original The Green Lama header art

The Green Lama Radio Program

Dee-Scription:
Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> The Green Lama

Double Detective Magazine, April 1940

Double Detective Magazine, April 1940

Double Detective Magazine, July 1940
Double Detective Magazine, July 1940

Om-Mani-Padme-Hum [sic] translated in Green Lama Comics, ca. 1942
Om-Mani-Padme-Hum [sic] translated in Green Lama Comics, ca. 1942

Jethro Dumont [The Green Lama] as inked by Mac Raboy, ca. 1943
Jethro Dumont [The Green Lama] as inked by Mac Raboy, ca. 1943

The Green Lama was one of a long series of superheros that greatly added to the existing comic fiction popularized during the World War II years. But The Green Lama first appeared in the popular pulp fiction magazines that spawned The Shadow, Doc Savage and others that made the jump from Pulp to The Comics. The Green Lama's debut in Pulp was in the April 1940 issue of Double Detective. The story was penned by editor Kendell Foster Crossen (under the pen name, "Richard Foster".) Richard Foster penned a total of fourteen novels for the pulps between 1941 and 1943, while concurrently licensing the character to Prize Comics in 1940. Prize Comics published The Green Lama for almost three years, with Foster writing the scripts and Emanuel "Mac" Raboy inking the art.

The Green Lama's elaborate back-story helps to inform the development of the Radio version of the character. While in college, millionaire Jethro Dumont develops an interest in Eastern religion, embarking on a quest to Tibet to learn more firsthand. After ten years of study, he had eventually attained the level of Tibetan priest. As a consequence of his study and training, Jethro Dumont acquires extraordinary powers. The Green Lama's most extraordinary ability was the power to fly, but the Radio rendition of Jethro Dumont's powers are limited to invisibility, the ability to generate electricity, and several other 'convenient' crime-fighting abilities as he faced the enemies of Justice. Dumont returns to America with his manservant Tulku [Tsarong in the Pulps and Comics], taking up residence on New York's Park Avenue. Dumont vows to fight evil and injustice wherever it takes him, and in the Radio version it takes him and Tulku all over the world.

Dumont's mantra, "Om-Mani-Padme-Hom", is a relatively common--and quite peaceful--mantra among practicing Buddhists, but uttered from the lips of Jethro Dumont, it unleashes his super powers. Taken literally, "Om-Mani-Padme-Hom" means, 'Hail, the Jewel in The Lotus Flower', which seems somewhat whimpy on the face of it, but uttered from the booming, cavernous throat of Paul Frees, takes on an appropriately sinister and foreboding air, striking a chill into any self-respecting evil-doer's heart.

Tulku is Dumont's valet, sidekick, private secretary, archivist, and in many cases, his conscience. Legendary Radio, Television, Stage and Screen actor, Ben Wright voices Tulku, having developed an extraordinary talent for portraying oriental dialogue throughout many Golden Age Radio dramas of the era. Wright is heard as an oriental in Have Gun, Will Travel as Hey Boy, and in Frontier Gentleman, among many others.

But there's no question that the dominant talent here is Paul Frees. One can only imagine how Richard Foster must have felt the first time he heard his Jethro Dumont character embodied by Frees, his booming, resonant bass creating a one-man echo chamber for Om-Mani-Padme-Hom. Frees couldn't have been more perfect in the role. Indeed it's difficult to imagine anyone else in Radio, with the possible exception of Orson Welles, Jackson Beck, or William Conrad in the role. But even their extraordinary voices couldn't reach the registers that Frees' could.

The eleven scripts for The Green Lama take Dumont and Tulku to four corners of the world, the better to enable The Green Lama to Strike!--for Justice. Frees and Wright are supported by a solid array of Golden Age Radio's finest, including Herb Vigran, Harry Bartell, Georgia Ellis, Larry Dobkin, Bill Conrad, Gloria Blondell, Edgar Barrier, and Charles Russell. The scripts are the quality one might expect from an award winning pulp fiction author, even though somewhat downsized owing to the Radio Green Lama's limited powers.

CBS Television considered producing a Television version of The Green Lama for the 1950 Television season. The proposal apparently never got the green light.

Series Derivatives:

AFRS H-Series, Mystery Playhouse
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Mystery Dramas
Network(s): CBS [KNX]
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): 49-05-17 Aud The Man Who Never Existed
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 49-06-05 01 The Man Who Never Existed
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 49-06-05 to 49-08-21; Eleven 25-Minute episodes; CBS, Sundays, 2:30 p.m. then 7:30 p.m.
Syndication: AFRS H- Series, Mystery Playhouse
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Norm MacDonnell; James Burton [Producer/Director]
Principal Actors: Paul Frees, Ben Wright, Herb Vigran, Harry Bartell, Georgia Ellis, Jack Kruschen, Paul McVey, Lillian Buyeff, Lawrence Dobkin, Charles Russell, William Conrad, Gloria Blondell, George Fisher, David Young, Frank Gerstle, Jerry Hausner, Yvonne Peattie, David Young, Edgar Barrier, Bud Widom, Clayton Post, Dave Young, Edwin Max
Recurring Character(s): Jethro Dumont [Paul Frees]; Tulku [Ben Wright]; Sgt Whelan [Herb Vigran]
Protagonist(s): Jethro Dumont
Author(s): Richard Foster [Kendell Foster Crossen]
Writer(s) Richard Foster [Kendell Foster Crossen], William Froug ; Gene Levin, Bob Mitchell [Adapters]
Music Direction: Richard Aurandt
Musical Theme(s): Richard Aurandt at the organ
Announcer(s): Larry Thor
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
11
Episodes in Circulation: 5
Total Episodes in Collection: 5
Provenances:


Billboard Magazine announces replacement of Broadway Is My Beat for Green Lama for the summer from May 28 1949
Billboard Magazine announces replacement of Broadway Is My Beat for Green Lama for the summer from May 28 1949

Green Lama Announcement' June 4, 1949 thumb
Green Lama Announcement
June 4, 1949

The Green Lama was one of several programs CBS-TV was contemplating for Televsion--Billboard Magazine October 29 1949
The Green Lama was one of several programs CBS-TV was contemplating for Televsion--Billboard Magazine October 29 1949

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, contributor-at-large Jon Guss, 'The Directory of The Armed Forces Radio Service Series.

Notes on Provenances:

All above cited provenances agree for the most part. The most helpful provenances were the log of the radioGOLDINdex and Southern California newspapers.

The dating of The Green Lama Audition/Rehearsal remains unverified, but the timing would appear to be appropriate.

Contemporaneous newspaper listings invariably abbreviate the titles of most programs listed, but we have provenances for the titles of each program from Paul Frees' exposition at the end of each of the eleven episodes of the adventure to follow.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

The OTRRPedia cites a page full of presently inaccurate references:

  • The Vintage Radio Place Green Lama log
  • The old-time.com Green Lama log
  • The audio-classics.com Green Lama log
  • The Martin Grams' Radio Drama Green Lama log [both the 2000 and 2008 editions]
  • Episode No. 11 is titled, The Adventure of the Perfect Prisoner, not The Case of The Patient Prisoner.

Common to each of the above referenced logs is an apocryphal assertion that CBS-KNX's The Green Lama was broadcast on Sundays, then inexplicably on Thursdays or Saturdays, depending on whose account you wish to believe. The Green Lama was never--ever--broadcast on Thursdays at origination. The Green Lama may very well have aired outside of Southern California on Thursdays, Saturdays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Fridays. But they were never--ever--broadcast from the originating studio, CBS's KNX, on any day but Sunday--with the apparent exception of July 10th 1949. We do find it statistically remarkable that each and every one of the above referenced logs cite the precise, same inaccurate dates.

The ongoing debate about the alleged audition would bear some observation:

  • All of The Green Lama production episodes were either 25-minutes or 30 minutes or less in length, depending on the market.
  • CBS employed the last five minutes for news in many markets.
  • The alleged audition/rehearsal recording runs 30 minutes and 31 seconds, and includes a teaser for a following episode to be titled, The Man Who Stole A Pyramid.
  • The longer recording of the two would seem to be more in the way of a rehearsal than an audition.

We're currently more inclined to cite the circulating 31-minute rendition as a rehearsal until we learn more.

UPDATES: Martin Grams, Jr. 'Debunks' His Own 'Bunk'
The redoubtable Martin Grams. Jr., arguably one of the people most responsible--by way of his Radio Drama: American Programs,1932-1962 (c. 2000)--for much of the long-standing misinformation regarding the broadcast history of The Green Lama, has alleged in his new blog that he's debunking several myths long in circulation regarding The Green Lama:

1. He states that it's the Internet that's "flooded with misinformation" regarding Radio Program Broadcasting History. While we take no exception whatsoever with that statement, what Grams conveniently omits stating, is that his own Radio Drama book has flooded the Radio Collecting world with hundreds of bits of misinformation regarding Radio Programming history for over twelve years now, not the least of which was/is its misinformation regarding The Green Lama--revisionist history at its best.

2. He states that "Another claims that The Green Lama was pre-empted on July 10 due to a special "Citizen of the World" radio broadcast." We're not particularly flattered that Martin Grams, Jr. trolls our pages as often as he does, but his continual inattention to detail is clearly obvious in this misstatement. As we repeatedly point out on the vast majority of our pages, our findings coded in red are generally unsubstatiated, presently unknown to us, or at issue--especially preemption questions, anomalies or ambiguities. We don't CLAIM ANYTHING like Grams does. We assiduously AVOID claiming anything--and we state so on every single one of our pages. We simply report the findings of our research efforts--and hope that others will build on them, for better or worse.

In point of fact, the only question regarding any West Coast preemption was the dearth of newspaper radio listings for that date on the West Coast only--which is the very reason we haven't cited an episode at July 10th of 1947--yet. The Green Lama had always aired on Sundays on the West Coast--where it originated--so that was no change whatsoever--except according to Grams. It was the Midwest and East Coast runs that were out of step beginning with Episode No. 6, not the West Coast run.

What Grams conveniently omits addressing is the fact that the only Sunday that The Green Lama appears not to have aired was July 10th 1949--on the West Coast only. His obfuscation, citing the change from "Saturday to Sunday" [sic] airings--outside California--only muddies the issue. The series always aired on Sundays in its orginating market except--possibly--on July 10th 1949. And in fact, The Green Lama didn't move from Saturday to Sunday from July 10th forward; it moved from Sunday to Saturday--in some markets--from July 16th forward, if at all. It continued airing--as always--on Sundays on the West Coast. As indicated below, an episode of The Green Lama was in fact airing--or scheduled to be aired--in countless markets across the U.S. on July 10th, 1949, a Sunday--including a lone entry from the
Los Angeles Times of July 10th 1949.

3. It was Grams' own Radio Drama tome--in our opinion the single most inaccurate such reference in modern publishing history--that misstated the titles [by his own account] for :

  • Episode 8 - "The African Diamond Affair (7/30/49)"
  • Episode 10 - "The Case of the Dangerous Dog (8/13/49)"
  • Episode 11 - "The Case of the Patient Prisoner (8/20/49)"

4. While Grams authoritatively cites the latest, up to date, absolutely definitive script draft of Episode No. 11 as "The Case of the Perfect Prisoner," that too appears to be inaccurate; either that or Paul Frees was using an older script draft for his last broadcast. For in the recorded West Coast broadcast of August 21st 1949 Frees clearly enunciates: "There were one hundred such men in The Adventure of the Perfect Prisoner," . . . all of them with guns." How Grams knows the precise draft of the last episode of The Green Lama that Frees was holding at the time the episode was recorded is anyone's guess--because that's all it is absent a first person account of which script Frees was holding when he uttered those words.

Scripts are always an invaluable resource for tracing the broadcast history of a radio series, but they're not the only resource to be weighed in unraveling history. Those of us who consult scripts as part of our research know all too well how often the recorded broadcasts ultimately differed from their 'final draft' or 'as-broadcast annotated' scripts. Things changed--often at the very last minute prior to a broadcast or recording session, or even during a broadcast. That was the nature of the performances of the era. Some productions employed a continuity editor to annotate the 'as-broadcast' scripts as they were performed--some didn't. Most commercially sponsored productions required 'as performed' annotations of their scripts, for legal purposes--but some didn't. As always, absolute accounts regarding the historical minutia of any broadcast or recorded performance will always be subject to question--they were human endeavors.

Of course, applying Grams' logic from Part Two of his article--regarding "The Gumbo Man" title--he'd almost certainly apply that same grammatical stretch to "The Adventure of The Perfect Prisoner," no?

But if that was the case, then how is it that Grams arrived at "The Case of The Perfect Prisoner"? Would not the accurate title--using Grams' own logic as applied to "The Gumbo Man" --be simply "The Perfect Prisoner"? Take your pick in mixing and matching Grams' flip-flopping logic to prop up his 'debunking.'

We don't necessarily fault Grams if he doesn't actually listen to the various Radio canons for which he writes so authoritatively. That regrettable practice is so pervasive thoughout the Radio Collecting hobby that it's apparently become the norm--more so among self-appointed experts. But to seriously set out to 'debunk myths' circulating about The Green Lama, does it seem too much to expect one to actually listen to the only five circulating exemplars? That's how we caught the apparent discrepancy, anyway--over three years ago.

Rather than simply owning up to the fact that it was Grams himself who misstated the titles for the above episodes that he published in his $90 Radio Drama book, he deflects the issue to the late, widely-respected Radio Historian Ray Stanich, stating that: "This was no fault of Stanich, who at the time had no other reliable information from which [sic] to base his findings. It is hoped that the broadcast log featured in this chapter will help correct the many errors found on the Internet." Would not a simple 'mea culpa' or acknowledgement of an errata to Radio Drama have sufficed?

Ray Stanich, God rest his soul, is in no way attributed in Grams' Radio Drama as the log source of Grams' The Green Lama log in Radio Drama. Therefore if the log was accurate, Grams proudly took the credit--and if it was wrong, just use Ray Stanich as the excuse. A win-win, no?

And how was Ray Stanich's quite understandable inability to accurately log the ultimate as-broadcast titles for the above three episodes in the 1980s one bit different than any other radio historians' similar efforts on The Green Lama to date? You'll have to ask Grams on his blog page.

We'd reprint his The Green Lama page from our own two copies of Grams' Radio Drama as proof of the above, but Grams aggressively threatens litigation with every attempt to question his hundreds of erroneous citations in his books--just as many of which end up circulating throughout the Internet as facts rather than the misinformation they are--for those who don't do their own homework . . . or listen. And indeed, when Grams reissued Radio Drama in 2008, the exact same above errors were contained in that edition as well! That speaks for itself, in our opinion.

It is hoped that our citations of the numerous errors circulating around the Internet--often sourced from the above-mentioned author's authoritative books and blog entries--will help set the historical broadcast record straight; or did that sound too 'Grams-like.' Grams' snarkiness appears to be somewhat infectious. We'll work on building up a resistance to it.

Irrespective of all of the above, the question as to which The Green Lama episode actually aired over Los Angeles' KNX Radio--and the countless other nationwide stations that aired it--on July 10th 1949 remains a mystery . . . for now.


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.







Green Lama Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
49-06-xx
Aud/Reh
The Man Who Never Existed
Y
New York City/Mexico City
[Possible Rehearsal or Audition]
49-06-05
1
The Man Who Never Existed
Y
[ Premiere Episode ]
New York City/Mexico City

49-06-04 The Daily Mail
For Sunday, all on CBS—5:30 p.m. Green Lama, detective mystery replacing another Who-Dun-It, Broadway's My Beat

49-06-05 Oakland Tribune
2:30 p.m. Green Lama (KCBS)
49-06-12
2
The Man Who Stole A Pyramid
N
[Cairo, Egypt]

49-06-12 Oakland Tribune
2:30 p.m. Green Lama (KCBS)

49-06-12 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p. m. — The Green Lama (WBBM): "
The Man Who Stole a Pyramid."

49-06-12 San Diego Union
The Green Lama--Paul Frees, in the title role, meets "
The Man Who Stole a Pyramid" on this afternoon's episode, KCBQ at 2:30.
49-06-19
3
The Girl with No Name
N
[New York City]

49-06-19 Oakland Tribune
2:30 p.m. Green Lama (KCBS)

49-06-19 San Diego Union
The Green Lama--Paul Frees, in the title role, comes face to face with "The Girl With No Name," 2:30 p.m. via KCBQ.
49-06-26
4
The Story of The Million Dollar Chopsticks
Y
[Hong Kong]

49-06-26 Oakland Tribune
2:30 p.m. Green Lama (KCBS)
49-07-03
5
The Story of The Last Dinosaur
Y
[Hollywood]

49-07-03 Oakland Tribune
2:30 p.m. Green Lama (KCBS)

49-07-03 Chicago Daily Tribune
4:30-WBBM--The Green Lama.

49-07-03 Washington Post
WTOP 5:30 Green Lama

49-07-03 Los Angeles Times
2:30 P.M. KNX-Green Lama.

49-07-03 New York Times
5:30--WCBS--The Green Lama--Play.
49-07-10
--
The Return of Madame Pompadour

The CBS Documentary Unit's Citizen of the World--written, produced and directed by Norman Corwin--began airing on the evening of July 9th 1949 and for several days after in high-demand rebroadcasts for those who'd missed it.
The CBS Documentary Unit's Citizen of the World--written and directed by Norman Corwin--began airing on the evening of July 9th 1949 and for several days after in high-demand rebroadcasts for those who'd missed it.

--
[Preempted for Network-wide "Citizen of The World" broadcast?; The Citizen of The World special initially aired on the evenings of July 9th and July 10th 1949, so it's doubtful that it preempted any afternoon airings of The Green Lama, but . . .]

49-07-10 San Diego Union
Green Lama--Paul Frees, in the title role of Jethro Dumont,
goes to Paris to attend a wax museum opening and finds a statue come to life and a suicide that is murder. KCBQ, 2:30.

47-07-09 Saint Joseph Herald Press
On the Air Waves Tonight
4:30—The Green Lama. WBBM

47-07-09 The Frederick News Post
Sunday July 10
Afternoon

5:30—The Green Lama — cbs

47-07-09 El Paso Herald Post
SUNDAY AFTERNOON
KROD--3:30--The Green Lama

49-07-10 Hutchinson News Herald
4:30--KFH The Green Lama

49-07-09 Kokomo Tribune
SUNDAY
WIOU 1150 CBS
4:30 -- The Green Lama

49-07-09 Winona Republican Herald
WCCO (CBS)
SUNDAY AFTERNOON
4:30--The Green Lama

49-07-10 Coshocton Tribune
CBS
SUNDAY AFTERNOON
5:30--Green Lama

49-07-10 Chicago Daily Tribune
4:30-WBBM--Symphonette

49-07-10 Huronite and Plainsman
4:30--The Green Lama, cbs

49-07-10 Washington Post
WTOP 5:30 Symphonette

49-07-10 New York Times
5:30--WCBS--The Symphonette

49-07-10 Kingsport Times News
5:30--The Green Lama, cbs

49-07-10 Los Angeles Times
2:30 p.m. KNX-Green Lama
7:00 p.m. KNX-Citizen of the World

49-07-10Long Beach Press-Telegram
2:30-KNX--Symphonette

49-07-10Long Beach Press-Telegram
7:00-KNX-
The CBS Documentary Unit presents an hour program titled "Citizen of the World".
This wonderful script written by Norman Corwin will feature "name talent" throughout the airing.


49-07-10 Long Beach Independent
2:30 P.M. KNX-Symphonette

49-07-10 Long Beach Independent
7:00 P.M.--KNX—
Citizen of World

49-07-10 Jacksonville Daily Journal
5:30—The Green Lama—cbs

49-07-09 Daily Independent Journal
SUNDAY
2:30 -- KCBS--Green Lama

49-07-10 Oakland Tribune
2:30 -- KCBS--Symphonette
7:00 -- KCBS--Citizen of the World

49-07-17
6
The Return of Madame Pompadour
N
[Paris; Some markets move The Green Lama to Saturdays; Moves to 7:30 p.m. on the West Coast, which may explain other CBS regions' airings of The Green Lama on Saturdays from that point forward]

49-07-16 New York Times
7:00-WCBS--Drama: The Green Lama

49-07-16 Chicago Daily Tribune
6:00-WBBM--The Green Lama.

49-07-17 Long Beach Independent
7:30 p.m. Green Lama (KNX)

49-07-17 Los Angeles Times
7:30 P.M.
KNX-Green Lama.
49-07-24
7
Tapestry in Purple
N
[New York City]

49-07-24 Oakland Tribune
8:00 p.m. Green Lama (KCBS)

49-07-24 San Diego Union
Green Lama--Jethro Dumont, in the title role, seeks answer to murder which he believes may be hidden in the "
Tapestry In Purple," 8 p.m., KCBQ.
49-07-31
8
The African Diamond Affair
N
[Johannesburg, South Africa]

49-07-31 Long Beach Independent
7:30 p.m. Green Lama (KNX)

49-07-31 San Diego Union
The Green Lama--When Jethro Dumont, in the title role, is summoned to Johannesburg, South Africa, by an old friend, a Dutch gem-cutter, he finds himself involved in "
The African Diamond Affair," KCBQ at 7:30 p.m.
49-08-07
9
The Gumbo Man
N
[New Orleans, Louisiana]

49-08-07 Long Beach Independent
7:30 p.m. Green Lama (KNX)

49-08-07 San Diego Union
The Green Lama--Jethro Dumont, in the title role, arrives in New Orleans and is off on a search for a missing secretary and "
The Gumbo Man," KCBQ at 7:30 p.m.
49-08-14
10
The Case of the Dangerous Dog
N
[Havana, Cuba]

49-08-14 Long Beach Independent
7:30 p.m. Green Lama (KNX)

49-08-14 San Diego Union
The Green Lama--When Jethro Dumont, in the title role, and his friend Tulka visit Havana they find themvels involved in "
The Case of the Dangerous Dog," KNX at 7:30 p.m.
49-08-21
11
The Adventure of The Perfect Prisoner
Y
[ Last Episode ]
A Prison


49-08-21 Long Beach Independent
7:30 p.m. Green Lama (KNX)

[Replaced by 'Syncopation Piece' ]





AFRS Mystery Playhouse Green Lama Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
49-06-05
1
The Man Who Never Existed
Y
New York City/Mexico City
49-07-03
5
The Last Dinosaur
Y
Hollywood






Green Lama Biographies




Paul Frees [Solomon Hersh Frees]
(Jethro Dumont)

Stage, Screen, Television, and Radio Actor, Composer, Songwriter, Voiceover Artist, Director, and Author
(1920-1986)

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

Education:

Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, CA

Radiography:

1945 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 Maxwell House coffee Time
1946 Rogue's Gallery
1946 The Whistler
1946 The Casebook Of Gregory Hood
1946 The Alan Young Show
1946 Suspense
1947 Escape
1947 The Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 Ellery Queen
1948 Studio X
1948 The Player
1948 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1948 The First Nighter Program
1948 Family Theatre
1948 Let George Do It
1948 The Eternal Light
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 NBC University Theatre
1948 The Railroad Hour
1949 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1949 Prowl Car
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 The Prudential Family Hour Of Stars
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Special Care Program
1949 Box 13
1949 The Adventures Of Frank Race
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Croupier
1949 California Caravan
1949 Crime Correspondent
1950 T-Man
1950 A Day In the Life Of Dennis Day
1950 Dangerous Assignment
1950 The Line-Up
1950 Tales Of the Texas Rangers
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 This Is Your F.B.I.
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1950 The Adventures Of the Saint
1951 Short Story
1951 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1951 Night Beat
1951 The Whisperer
1951 Romance
1951 Wild Bill Hickok
1951 Mr Aladdin
1951 Broadway Is My Beat
1951 This Is the story
1951 The Silent Men
1952 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1952 The Black Book
1952 The Pendleton Story
1952 I Confess
1953 Gunsmoke
1953 On Stage
1953 Confession
1953 Crime Classics
1953 Mr President
1954 That's Rich
1954 The Edgar Bergen Show
1954 Rocky Fortune
1954 Fibber McGee and Molly
1954 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1956 NBC Radio Theatre
1956 You Were There
1956 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1956 Those Young Bryans
1957 CBS Radio Workshop
1957 Heartbeat Theatre

Paul Frees, ca. 1952
Paul Frees, ca. 1952

Paul Frees, ca. 1949
Paul Frees, ca. 1949

Paul Frees with one of thousands of alter egos, Ludwig Von Drake, ca. 1953
Paul Frees with one of thousands of alter egos, Ludwig Von Drake, ca. 1953

Paul Frees as Etienne in The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1957)
Paul Frees as Etienne in The Adventures of Jim Bowie (1957)

Paul Frees, ca. 1975
Paul Frees, ca. 1975

Bust of Paul Frees ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' circa 1978
Bust of Paul Frees ''The Man of A Thousand Voices'' circa 1978

Paul Frees in The Shaggy Dog (1978)
Paul Frees in The Shaggy Dog (1978)

Count the ways to measure Multimedia genius, then double it, and you have Paul Frees. Several famous voice artists have been tagged "The Man of A Thousand Voices." During his ambitious, but brief career, Frank Graham was dubbed the same before his suicide death in 1950. Mel Blanc held that moniker for years. The late, great Don La Fontaine was another worthy recipient. But with all due respect to those other great voice artists, I'm sure all would agree that Paul Frees remains rightful recipient of the tribute. Paul Frees is one of the top ten most memorable, often heard, and hardest working voice talents of the 20th Century.

Chicago-born Frees [birth name, Solomon Hersh Frees], was drafted into the Army during World War II, participating in the D-Day Invasion at Normandy. He was wounded in action and returned stateside for rest and recovery for just over a year. Upon obtaining his discharge, he began taking classes at The Chouinard Art Institute in downtown Los Angeles under his G.I. Bill. But his studies were curtailed when his first wife's failing health forced him to drop out and try his hand at Radio work.

He appeared frequently on the A-List Radio programs of the 1940s, including Lux Radio Theatre, Rogue's Gallery, The Whistler, Suspense, Escape radio series, including Escape, Ellery Queen, The First Nighter, Family Theatre, and NBC University Theatre. His first solo outing was as The Player (1948) with Frees both narrating and playing all of the parts. He alternated with William Conrad as the 'voice' of Suspense. His second solo outing was as Jethro Dumont in The Green Lama (1949), a summer replacement program. He followed that with a starring role in Crime Correspondent (1949). He also starred in The Croupier (1949).

Frees' contribution to radio noir was a perfect match for his range of voices. He appeared regularly in most of the detective genre dramas of the 1940s. Throughout the 1950s he was heard voicing regular or recurring roles in Gunsmoke (1953), Crime Classics (1953), This Is Your FBI (1950), and two prestigious network classics, Hallmark Hall of Fame (1954) and CBS Radio Workshop (1957). Frees' radiography in the RadioGOLDIndex is one of the longest in its database. But Radio was only the tip of the iceberg in Frees' storied career.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDB) cites over 370 entries for him, in Film, Television, and Animation. A college study once determined that so ubiquitous was Paul Frees voicework during the 1960s and 1970s, that there was literally not one day of Television or Radio during that period in which Paul Frees' voice was not heard.

Frees spent much of the second half of his career working with an unprecedented nine of the major animation production companies of the 20th century: Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz Studios, UPA, Hanna-Barbera, Filmation, MGM Studios, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, Jay Ward Productions and Rankin/Bass. His work with the Walt Disney Studios led to a long collaboration with them, from voicing animated characters to recordings that brought some of the most compelling attractions at both Disneyland and Disney World to life.

His long association with Jay Ward Productions is most remembered for his narration of the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, with William Conrad, and performing the voice of Boris Badenov, and multiple other characters. Accompanied by famous female voice talent, June Foray, their voices formed the very core of most of the Rocky and Bullwinkle episodes.

There is simply not enough space in this format to adequately recount Frees' body of work. Fortunately the vast majority of his work is still available through Golden Age Radio and Television recordings. Frees passed away unexpectedly in 1986, at his palacial Tiburon home overlooking San Francisco--from a massive heart failure. He requested that his ashes be scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

Anyone knowledgeable of 20th Century mass communications would unquestionably cite Paul Frees as one of the top ten voices over any medium from the era, perhaps even one of the top five. We'd certainly have to concur with either assessment.



Ben Wright
(Tulku)

Radio, Television, Film, Documentary, Animation and Stage Actor
(1915-1989)
Birthplace: London, England, UK

Radiography:

1939 Lux Radio Theatre
1945 The Adventures of Maisie 1946 Encore Theatre
1947 Holiday Wilde
1947 The Story Of Holiday Wilde
1947 The New Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1947 Mystery In the Air
1947 Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 Suspense
1947 The Whistler
1948 Escape
1948 Steve Canyon
1948 NBC University Theatre
1948 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1949 Our American Heritage
1949 Chandu the Magician
1949 Tell It Again
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Family Theatre
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 The Adventures Of Maisie
1950 T-Man
1950 Let George Do It
1950 Hallmark Playhouse
1950 The Adventures Of Christopher London
1950 The Halls Of Ivy
1950 Night Beat
1950 Pursuit
1950 The Log Of the Black Parrot
1950 Dangerous Assignment
1950 Romance
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1951 The Pendleton Story
1951 The Silent Men
1951 Stars Over Hollywood
1952 The Modern Adventures Of Casanova
1952 Screen Guild Theatre
1952 Short Story
1952 Broadway Is My Beat
1952 Crime Classics
1952 The Cisco Kid
1953 On Stage
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1953 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1953 General Electric Theatre
1954 Inheritance
1954 I Love A Mystery
1954 The Six-Shooter
1955 The Adventures Of Captain Courage
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1956 O'Hara
1957 Gunsmoke
1958 Frontier Gentleman
1958 Have Gun, Will Travel
1959 Heartbeat Theatre
1964 Arch Oboler's Plays
1973 Hollywood Radio Theatre
1979 Sears Radio Theatre
The Pendleton Story
Horizons West

Ben Wright, ca. 1955
Ben Wright, ca. 1955

Ben Wright from the Jim Bowie Television series, ca. 1958
Ben Wright from the Jim Bowie Television series, ca. 1958

Ben Wright was born May 15, 1915, to an English mother and an American father in London, England, UK. At 16, he entered the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts where classmates included such future stars as Ida Lupino.

Upon graduating, he acted in several West End stage productions. When WWII broke out, he enlisted and served in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1946 to attend a cousin's wedding, eventually settling in Hollywood. He embarked on his American acting career in Radio, quickly establishing himself as a master of dialects with such roles as Hey Boy, the Chinese servant, on "Have Gun, Will Travel" with John Dehner, and another John Dehner vehicle, 'Frontier Gentleman." Indeed, Wright was to be given the lead, but got edged out by John Dehner. The last minute change didn't make the deadline for the newspapers of the era, almost all of which announced Ben Wright in the lead role of J.B. Kendall, Field Reporter for the London Times. Oops!

His talent for dialects also kept him busy in the many WWII-related films and TV shows of the 1950s and '60s wherein he played innumerable Germans and Frenchmen as well as a variety of both low brow and high brow Englishmen--for which he always took pains to ensure the dialects were accurate depending on which part of England they were from.

After years of radio, TV, stage and film work, he entered semi-retirement in the late 1970s, accepting occasional voice work and small guest appearances on TV. On June 16, 1989, after completing his last role, providing the voice of Grimsby in Disney's The Little Mermaid (1989), he entered St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank for quadruple bypass surgery from which he never recovered. He died of heart failure July 2, 1989.



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