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Original Island Venture header art

The Island Venture Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Island Venture

CBS-owned WBBM--We Broadcast Better Music, Chicago originated the Island Venture series
CBS-owned WBBM
--We Broadcast Better Music, Chicago originated the Island Venture series

WBBM (CBS) was housed within The Wrigley Building (left). Competitor WGN was housed within the Chicago Tribune Tower (right)
WBBM (CBS) was housed within The Wrigley Building (left). Competitor WGN was housed within the Chicago Tribune Tower (right)

1918 ad for Wrigley's Spearmint Gum
1918 ad for Wrigley's Spearmint Gum

1945 Wrigley Spearmint Gum

Premiere spot ad for Island Venture from November 15th 1945
Premiere spot ad for Island Venture from November 15th 1945


Background

Chicago's CBS-owned and operated WBBM was one of the three major network-owned and operated Chicago radio stations to originate quality programming throughout Chicago and surrounding states. WMAQ, Chicago's NBC affiliate also orginated a great deal of local and regional programming throughout the area. WGN, Chicago's Mutual Broadcasting System affilate also orginated a great many Radio features that went national in time. WENR was the newcomer O&O, the Chicago Key Station for The Blue Network (ABC). Among WBBM's many locally originated programs were:

  • 1933 Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy
  • 1938 Manhattan Mother
  • 1939 Knickerbocker Playhouse
  • 1939 Manhattan Mother
  • 1938 Wayside Theater
  • 1940 A Brighter World
  • 1942 The First Line
  • 1945 Those Websters
  • 1945 America In the Air
  • 1945 Five After the Hour
  • 1945 Island Venture
  • 1945 American Family News
  • 1950 Cloud Nine

Founded in 1923 by Harry Leslie 'Les' Atlass, WBBM first broadcast local election returns as the second licensed amateur radio station in Lincoln, Illionois--designated '9FDC. ' Quickly expanding from his initial transmitting power of 10 watts to 200 watts, Les Atlass acquired permission to use the call letters 'WBBM' for his 200 watt broadcasting station; the initials reportedly representing "We Broadcast Better Music." Though 200 watts may seem relatively small power, it was enough in 1923 and 1924 to be picked up from coast to coast.

After selling his produce company to Armour & Company, Atlass subsequently dismantled the broadcasting equipment on his property in Lincoln, Illinois in preparation for a move to Chicago. Atlass simply broadcast out of his basement in Chicago for the following two years.

WBBM returned to the air in Chicago for the first time on February 24, 1925, broadcasting from the Broadmoor Hotel on Chicago's North Side. WBBM began broadcasting three days a week with mostly jazz. By the late 1920s WBBM had become the first Chicago station to accept commercial advertising. CBS acquired the station in 1928 as a CBS O&O station. WBBM added a 5,000 Watt FM frequency in 1941 and a Television station in 1953.

During WBBM's programming development heyday of the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s WBBM originated numerous public service, drama, variety and soap opera programs for airing throughout the Midwest, many of which were picked up by CBS for national broadcasts.

WBBM and Wrigley bring Island Venture to CBS airwaves

WBBM, Chicago, had aired a popular regional favorite, The First Line, throughout the World War II years. The First Line was a patriotic informational and variety program which celebrated the efforts of the U. S. Navy in prosecuting World War II at home and abroad. The First Line aired between January 1942 and November 1945. The Great Lakes region of the American Midwest remained a significant contributor to World War II efforts throughout the era--especially Navy efforts and training. Wrigley sponsored The First Line throughout its three-year run.

With the welcomed arrival of V-J Day, August 9th 1945, WBBM and Wrigley felt that The First Line had honorably served its intended purpose and began casting around for another late evening vehicle to replace The First Line.

First conceived as simply "Adventure," the new series was to be an action-adventure drama involving two ex-Naval Aviation veterans and their attempts to establish an air freight service in the Central Pacific Ocean area. The two featured 'stars' of the series were identified as only "two ex-servicemen," one of which has been identified as Jerry Walter in the role of Gil Perry.

By the time the series got the green light it was renamed "Island Venture" and deemed worthy of airing over the full CBS Network of the era. Premiering late Thursday evening, November 15th 1945, the series aired nationally between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. over most CBS affiliates.

The premise of the series was certainly worthy of commercial sponsorship to a national audience:

Former Naval Aviation pilot, Gilbert 'Gil' Perry was the driving force in establishing the Inter-Island Air Service based on the Central Pacific island of Ilopan. Perry's sidekick and business partner was ex-Naval Aviation engineer and gunner 'Trigger' Brett. The partners had also acquired the services of local 'fixer' and owner of Ilopan's Empire Hotel, Roland Luis Fernando Tomas 'Pop' Mendoza and his daughter Polly to assist with the maintenance and administration of the ambitious island-hopping air service. The backstory of the evolving premise disclosed an ongoing romantic relationship between Polly Mendoza and Trigger Brett.

The series hit all the right notes for the era: two ex-GIs undertaking a much-needed air service for the area, the encroachments of competitors--both fair and criminal, and a series of encounters with the aboriginal natives and French colonialists inhabiting the islands surrounding Ilopan. Gil Perry found his own romantic interest by February 1946 in the form of Nancy Goodwin, the erstwhile owner of a competing air service--Central Pacific Air Service. The romantic elements didn't generally distract from the action-adventure aspects of the series. Rather they generally provided either occasional light comedy relief or an opportunity for a 'damsel in distress' plot of one kind or another.

The sniping byplay between 'Pop' Mendoza and Trigger Brett made for some of the lighter aspects of the series, but the usually fast-paced adventures that underscored each plot kept each episode moving along quite crisply. Fans of the later Bold Venture series starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall will find many similarities between Island Venture and Bold Venture. The themes and interstitial underscore were quite reminiscent of the later Bold Venture, as well as the format of the series. Naturally, with Bold Venture set in the Caribbean and Island Venture set in the South Pacific, the geographical similarities don't exist, but many of the situations, plots, character dynamics and interactions compare very closely indeed.


Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Adventure Drama
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 45-11-15 01 Title Unknown
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 45-11-15 to 46-06-20; CBS [WBBM]; Thirty-two, 30-minute programs; Thursday evenings
Syndication: CBS
Sponsors: Wrigley's Spearmint Gum
Director(s):
Principal Actors: Jerry Walter
Recurring Character(s): Gilbert 'Gil' Perry, ex-Navy pilot, co-owner of Inter-Island Air Service on the Pacific Island of Ilopan [Jerry Walter] ; 'Trigger' Brett, ex-Navy aircraft engineer, co-owner of Inter-Island Air Service; Polly Mendoza, Trigger's girl friend; Roland Luis Fernando Tomas 'Pop' Mendoza, Polly Mendoza's father and owner of Ilopan's Empire Hotel; Nancy Goodwin, owner of Central Pacific Air Service
Protagonist(s): Gil Perry ; Trigger Brett
Author(s): None
Writer(s)
Music Direction:
Musical Theme(s):
Announcer(s):
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
32
Episodes in Circulation: 10
Total Episodes in Collection: 10
Provenances:
Mason City Globe-Gazette, Wisconsin State Journal.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]







The Island Venture Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
45-11-08
--
--
45-11-08 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 First Line WCCO WBBM

45-11-08 Chicago Tribune
9--WBBM--The First Line [C]
45-11-15
1
Title Unknown
N
[Replaces the long-running "The First Line"]

45-11-14 Hammond Times
A replacement series for "First Line" navy show was first announced as "Adventure" but later corrected to "Island Venture." Same thing except more isolationist and Dotty Lamourish.

45-11-15 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil Perry and Trigger Brett, founders of inter island air freight service, expose voodoo mysteries.

45-11-15 Chicago Tribune
9--WBBM--Island Venture [C]
45-11-22
2
Title Unknown
N
45-11-22 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
unfriendly native gang and poison darts threaten Gil Perry and Trigger.
45-11-29
3
Title Unknown
N
45-11-29 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 Island Venture--WBBM
45-12-06
4
The Death of The Drum
Y
45-12-06 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Island of Kavangi spells mystery and treachery for Gil and Trigger.

Teases an attempt to scuttle a Navy supply ship as next
45-12-13
5
An Attempt to Scuttle The Liberty Belle
Y
45-12-13 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 Island Venture--WBBM
45-12-20
6
Title Unknown
N
45-12-20 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 Island Venture--WBBM
45-12-27
7
Title Unknown
N
45-12-27 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 Island Venture--WBBM
46-01-03
8
Title Unknown
--
[Preempted in Chicago for President Truman address]

46-01-10 Chicago Daily Tribune
9:00--W-G-N, WMAQ, WBBM, WENR, WCFL, WIND--President Truman.

46-01-03 Mason City Globe-Gazette
THE EXCITING experiences of ex -navy pilot "Gil Perry" and his
buddy "Trigger" are depicted on KGLO-CBS' "Island Venture" Thursday at 9 p. m. Locale of the dramas is the islands of the South Pacific where the 2 central characters are attempting to build a postwar airline. The roles of Gil and Trigger are portrayed by 2 ex-servicemen.

46-01-03 Evening Independent
WKBN--10:00--Island Venture


46-01-03 Cumberland EveningTimes
10:00--Island Venture Drama series, cbs

46-01-03 Abilene Reporter News
KRBC (ABC)--9:00--President Truman
KWFT (CBS)--9:00--Island Venture

46-01-03 Manitowoc Herald Times
9 p.m.--Island Venture, WBBM

46-01-03 Joplin Globe
9 p.m.--Island Venture, cbs

46-01-03 Charleston Gazette
WCHS (CBS)--10:00--Island Venture
46-01-10
9
Joe Standish--Friend or Foe
Y
46-01-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
new perils assail Inter-Island Air Freight Service when ex-navy mechanic comes to Ilopan.

Teases unwilling bridegrooms as next
46-01-17
10
Unwilling Bridegrooms
Y
46-01-17 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Trigger and Pop Mendoza find themselves stranded on the lonely isle of Lapango--and on the brink of matrimony.

Teases "missing ambergris and a strange kind of thief" as next
46-01-24
11
Yankee Doodle and Black Magic
Y
46-01-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
crocodiles and misguided natives provide new threats to success of Inter-Island Air Service.

Teases "missing ambergris and a strange kind of thief" as next
46-01-31
12
The Missing Ambergris Mystery
Y
46-01-31 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 Island Venture--WBBM

46-01-31 Mason City Globe-Gazette
GIL PERRY, ex-navy pilot, and his buddy "Trigger" run into trying situations in their efforts to establish an inter-island air freight line in the South Pacific, on KGLO-CBS' "Island Venture" Thursday, at 9 p. m.

Teases a rival airline and a girl in Gil Perry's life as next
46-02-07
13
The Beachcomber Spy
Y
46-02-07 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 Island Venture--WBBM

46-02-07 Mason City Globe-Gazette
EXCITING experiences of Gil Perry, ex-navy pilot, are depicted over KGLO-CBS on "Island Venture" Thursday, at 9 p.m. Locale of the drama is in the South Pacific islands. Two ex-servicemen portray Perry and his buddy, Trigger.
46-02-14
14
Title Unknown
N
46-02-14 Wisconsin State Journal
9:00 Island Venture--WBBM

46-02-14 Mason City Globe-Gazette
EPISODES in the setting up of an Inter-island air freight line in the post-war South Pacific are presented on KGLO-CBS' "Island Venture" Thursday at 9 p. m. Gil Perry and his pal, Trigger, chief characters in the show, are played by 2 ex-servicemen
46-02-21
15
The Sacred Relics of Urago
Y
[Cracked master]

46-02-21 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil and Trigger help an archaeologist search for pre-Polynesian relics.

Teases swimming through a shark-filled lagoon as next
46-02-28
16
Title Unknown
N
46-02-28 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
native laws and sharks provide excitement for Gil and Trigger, founders of Inter Island Air Freight Service in the South Pacific.
46-03-07
17
Title Unknown
N
46-03-07 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
a displaced native fisherman threatens revenge.
46-03-14
18
Title Unknown
N
46-03-14 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
beautiful, but poisonous woman, provides excitement for Gil and Trigger.
46-03-21
19
Title Unknown
N
46-03-21 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
hijackers and cut-throats further complicate the plans of Gil and his friends.
46-03-28
20
Title Unknown
N
46-03-28 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM): a
trip to the South sea island of Malikia creates new thrills and perils for Gil and Trigger.
46-04-04
21
Title Unknown
N
46-04-04 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
a woman's vanity and a phenomenon of nature combine to provide thrills for two ex-navy men.
46-04-11
22
Title Unknown
N
46-04-11 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
has a jungle fire for climax.
46-04-18
23
Title Unknown
N
46-04-18 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil and Trigger begin transporting wild animals with their Inter-Island Air Service.
46-04-25
24
Monsieur le Comte and The Sleep of The Guilty
Y
46-04-25 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil and Trigger encounter voodoo rites.

Teases police search for a escaped convict as next
46-05-02
25
The Log of the Susan Richards
Y
46-05-02 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
almost-forgotten strip of land in South Pacific flares with intrigue.

Teases risking slow death and returning an ancient king to his people as next
46-05-09
26
Marooned
N
46-05-09 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil and Trigger are nearly marooned on a desert island when they interfere with a plot to raid a native temple.
46-05-16
27
Title Unknown
N
46-05-16 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
a band of pirates provide adventure for Gil and Trigger.
46-05-23
28
Title Unknown
N
46-05-23 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil and Trigger are ordered to give up their Inter-Island Air Service.
46-05-30
29
A Fortune in Pearls
N
46-05-30 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
revolves around a fortune in hidden pearls.
46-06-06
30
Title Unknown
N
46-06-06 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
smugglers and murderers make an exciting trip for Gil's young brother.
46-06-13
31
Revolution on Malikia
N
46-06-13 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil and Trigger help the governor of Malikia uncover a plot for revolution.
46-06-20
32
The Witch Doctor
N
46-06-20 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Island Venture (WBBM):
Gil and Trigger compete with a witch doctor.
46-06-27
--
--
46-06-27 Wisconsin State Journal
8:00 That's Life--WBBM









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