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Original Medicine U.S.A. header art

The Medicine U.S.A. Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Medicine U.S.A.

Charles Laughton served as the Host and Narrator for Medicine U.S.A.'s first season
Charles Laughton served as the Host and Narrator for Medicine U.S.A.'s first season

Dr. W. W. Bauer served as the American Medical Association's spokesman during Medicine U.S.A.
Dr. W. W. Bauer served as the American Medical Association's spokesman during Medicine U.S.A.


Background

The public service announcements (PSAs) and public service programming during the post-World War II years addressed most of the more pressing issues of the era; and there were many of them, indeed. The Atomic Age, the Korean War, the beginning of the Cold War era, Mental Health, Traffic Safety, Crime, International Affairs and the Economy were all fodder for programming in the public interest during the 1950s.

The American Medical Association (AMA) participated in several joint public information programs for radio of the era. The AMA's Director of Health Education, Dr. W.W. Bauer, had been actively promoting a favored cause of his own at the time--Alcoholism. Initially envisioning a radio series anchored around the--then--growing epidemic of alcoholism, that nucleus of a concept soon became an initial series of six special presentations spanning medical issues in popular discussion during the early 1950s.

Dr. Bauer found a receptive partner in the National Broadcasting Company. He also found a willing host for the series in Charles Laughton. Having reached even greater fame during the 1950s, Charles Laughton brought even greater gravitas and credibility to the short series.

Medicine U.S.A. premiered on Sunday afternoon, March 30th 1952, airing for six episodes during its 1952 run and left the air on May 4th 1952. The first season of Medicine U.S.A covered the following topics: Alcoholism, Psychiatry, The Span of Life, New Ideas In Communicable Diseases, New Perspectives In the Role of Exercise In Health, and the Impact of Medicine On Life Patterns of Americans. The format for the 1952 run called for introducing the topic of the afternoon, provided a fifteen to twenty-minute dramatization of the topic, then closed with comments from an AMA expert on the afternoon's topic.

The 1952 Season close of Medicine U.S.A. coincided with the 105th Anniversary of the American Medical Association. The series was so well received that the AMA lauched a second Medicine U.S.A season in 1953.

With Charles Laughton having moved on to other projects, NBC and the AMA utilized prominent Radio, Television and Film celebrities of the era to dramatize and host the six episodes of the 1953 Season:

"Grow Old Along With Me," featuring Pat O'Brien
"Our Hidden Wealth
," featuring Claude Raines
"Rural Health
," featuring H.V. Kaltenborn
"The Closing World
," featuring Kim Hunter
"Arthritis
," featuring Robert Preston
"Man's Fight Against Pain
," featuring Helen Hayes

Premiering on Saturday evening, March 21st 1953, the 1953 Season ran for six episodes until April 25th. The 1953 format leaned far more on the episodes' featured guest stars to dramatize the health topic at issue. The 1953 Season topics covered by Medicine U.S.A. were Geriatrics, Gifted Children, Rural Health, Hearing Loss, Arthritis, and the Fight Against Pain.


Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Medical Docudramas
Network(s): NBC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 52-03-30 01 Alcoholism
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 52-03-30 to 52-05-04; NBC; Six, 30-minute programs; Sunday afternoons.

53-03-21 to 53-04-25; NBC; Six, 30-minute programs; Saturday evenings.
Syndication: Marshall Hesker Productions; NBC
Sponsors: American Medical Association
Director(s): Marshall Hester [Producer]
John Becker, Martin Andrews, Joes O'Brien, George Voutsas, Fred Weihe, Ed King, Kenneth MacGregor, Martin Wodner, Harry Frazee [Directors]
Principal Actors: William Quinn, Kermit Murdock, Julie Stevens, Peggy Stanley, Judith Parrish, Will Hare, Humphrey Davis, Joe DeSantis, Edward Collin, Robert Donlevy, Betty Kane, Nat Polen, Allen Shea, Ivan Curry, Vinton Hayworth, Bill Lipoton, Ethel Everett, William Snow, Nora Marlowe, Gertrude Warner, Janet Alexander, Wendell Holmes, David Anderson, Ethel Owen, Anne Sargent, Lynn Loring, Butch Cavell, Bill Smith, Charme Allen, Sylvia Davis, Cameron Prud'Homme, William Griffis, Jane Webb, Wendell Holmes, Scott Tennyson, Agnes Young, Lynn Loring Jim Boles, Karl Weber, Leon Janney, Ben Grauer, Bartlett Robinson, Jane Webb, Butch Cavell, Ivor Francis, Arthur Kohl, Joseph Bell, Norman Rose, Ralph Comargo, Abbe Lewis, Vicki Vola, Athana Lorde, Bobby Nicks, Everett Clark, Hope Summers, Paul Barnes, Charles Flynn, Dean Olmquist, Russ Reid, Geraldine Kaye, Clare Baum, Sidney Breeze
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s):
Author(s): Ray Barrett, Jack Costello, Mel Brandt, Arthur Gary, Vic Roby, Fred Collins [Announcers]
W.W. Bauer [A.M.A. Spokesman]
Writer(s) Peter Lyon, Howard Rothman, Bud Fishell, Ira Marion, Mortmer Frankel, Paul Peters, Harriet Hester, Edgar Marvin, Mitchell Grayson, R.N. Brent
Music Direction: George Lesner , Charles Paul
Musical Theme(s):
Announcer(s): Hosts/Narrators:
Charles Laughton, Ben Grauer, Pat O'Brien, Claude Raines, H.V. Kaltenborn, Kim Hunter, Robert Preston, Helen Hayes

Ben Grauer, Ray Barrett [Narrator/Announcer]
Dr. W. W. Bauer [A.M.A. Spokesman]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
12
Episodes in Circulation: 12
Total Episodes in Collection: 12
Provenances:
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

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 Medicine U.S.A. Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
52-03-23
--
--
52-03-23 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--The Turning Wheel
52-03-30
1
Alcoholism
Y
52-03-30 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--Medicine USA:
Alcoholism; Charles Laughton, narrator (premiere)
52-04-06
2
Psychiatry
Y
52-04-06 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--Medicine USA:
Psychiatry; Charles Laughton, narrator
52-04-13
3
The Span of Life
Y
52-04-13 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--Medicine USA:
Span of Life; Charles Laughton, Narrator
52-04-20
4
New Ideas In Communicable Diseases
Y
52-04-20 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--Medicine USA:
New Ideas In Communicable Diseases; Charles Laughton, Narrator
54-04-27
5
New Perspectives In the Role of Exercises and Athletics In Health
Y
52-04-27 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--Medicine USA:
New Perspectives In the Role of Exercises and Athletics In Health; Charles Laughton, Narrator
52-05-04
6
Impact of Medicine On Life Pattern of Americans
Y
52-05-04 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--Medicine USA:
Impact of Medicine on Life Pattern of Americans; Charles Laughton, Narrator
52-05-11
--
--
52-05-11 New York Times
1:30-WNBC--Drama: Case History, With Agnes Moorehead; Dr. Robert Felix, Speaker





53-03-14
--
--
53-03-14 New York Times
8:30-WNBC--National Negro Press Week Program
53-03-21
1
Grow Old Along With Me
Y
53-03-21 New York Times
8:30-WNBC--Medicine--U.S.A.:
Grow Old Along With Me, With Pat O'Brien
53-03-28
2
Our Hidden Wealth
Y
53-03-28 New York Times
8:30-WNBC--Medicine, U.S.A.:
Our Hidden Wealth, with Claude Raines
53-04-04
3
Rural Health
Y
53-04-04 New York Times
8:30-WNBC--Medicine, U.S.A.:
Rural Health, With H.V. Kaltenborn
53-04-11
4
The Closing World
Y
53-04-11 New York Times
8:30-WNBC--Medicine, U.S.A.:
The Closing World, With Kim Hunter
53-04-18
5
Arthritis
Y
53-04-18 New York Times
8:30-WNBC--Medicine, U.S.A.:
Arthritis, With Robert Preston
53-04-25
6
Man's Fight Against Pain
Y
53-04-25 New York Times
8:30-WNBC--Medicine, U.S.A.:
Man's Fight Against Pain, With Helen Hayes

53-04-25 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Medicine U.S.A. (WIBA): Helen Hayes in "
Man's Fight Against Pain," story of anesthesiology.
53-05-02
--
--
53-05-02 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--"The Long Journey Home" (WIBA): Vanessa Brown in story of young polio victim.










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