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Original Mercury Theatre On the Air header art

The Mercury Theatre Radio Programs

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Mercury Theatre Programs

A floridly prosaic start to the career of the enfant terrible who would soon scare the bejeebers out of America. The announcement of Orson Wells [sic] career in Radio, January 16, 1936
A floridly prosaic start to the career of
the enfant terrible who would soon
scare the bejeebers out of America.
The announcement of Orson Wells [sic] career in Radio, January 16, 1936

The Negro Theatre Unit of The Federal Theatre Project mounted an All-Negro Macbeth set in Haiti, with Welles' direction and quidance.
The Negro Theatre Unit of The Federal Theatre Project mounted an All-Negro Macbeth set in Haiti, with Welles' direction and quidance.

The finale of All-Negro performance of Macbeth as part of the Works Progress Administration
The finale of All-Negro performance of Macbeth as part of the Works Progress Administration.

The Mercury Theatre's interpretation of Julius Caesar, set in contemporary facist Italy
The Mercury Theatre's interpretation of Julius Caesar, set in contemporary facist Italy.

Orson Welles confers with John Houseman. The two founded the Mercury Theatre Repertory Company
'Boy Wonder' Orson Welles confers with John Houseman. The two founded the Mercury Theatre Repertory Company

CBS' First Person Singular announcement in the August 15 1938 edition of Broadcast Magazine
CBS' First Person Singular announcement in the August 15 1938 edition of Broadcast Magazine

Mercury Theatre On The Air mp3 cover art
Mercury Theatre On The Air mp3 cover art

CBS Announces 'First Person Singular', Welles new radio program, from July 10, 1938
CBS Announces 'First Person Singular', Welles new radio program (rom July 10, 1938)

CBS and Welles attempt to explain the concept behind 'First Person, Singular, dated July 10, 1938
CBS and Welles attempt to explain the concept behind 'First Person, Singular, dated July 10, 1938

H.G. Wells' original book, The War of The Worlds, published in1898
H.G. Wells' original book,
The War of The Worlds,
published in1898

Illustration plate from original The War of The Worlds book, 1898
Illustration plate from original The War of The Worlds book, 1898

Orson Welles directs Mercury Theatre of The Air, ca. 1938
Orson Welles directs Mercury Theatre On The Air, ca. 1938

This is what Orson Welles awoke to the morning of October 31, 1938
This is what Orson Welles awoke to the morning of October 31, 1938
(Click image for a .pdf Galley of representative news headlines of the day)

The aftermath. A chastened Orson Welles attempts to defuse the panic his Halloween Eve broadcast had caused
The aftermath. A chastened Orson Welles attempts to defuse the panic his Halloween Eve broadcast had caused.

Orson Welles on the Air for CBS, ca. 1938
Orson Welles on the Air for CBS,
ca. 1938

Campbell's three-color spot ad from Season Two of Campbell Playhouse Program #32, Escape from Oct. 15, 1939
Campbell's three-color spot ad from Season Two of Campbell Playhouse Program #32, Escape, from
Oct. 15, 1939

CBS and Campbell's announce the third season of Campbell Playhouse to be directed by Diana Bourbon and written by Wyllis Cooper and John Houseman, dated Nov. 11, 1942
CBS and Campbell's announce the third season of Campbell Playhouse to be directed by Diana Bourbon and written by Wyllis Cooper and John Houseman, dated Nov. 11, 1942



Lady Esther face powder logo

Mercury Summer Theatre spot ad from June 7, 1946
Mercury Summer Theatre spot ad
from June 7, 1946

Orson Welles and Bernard Herrmann confer over the music score for Mercury Theatre On The Air, ca. 1938
Orson Welles and Bernard Herrmann confer over the music score for Mercury Theatre On The Air, ca. 1938

Mobilgas Spot Ad for Orson Welles Mercuary Radio Almanac from 44-01-26
Mobilgas Spot Ad for Orson Welles Mercury Radio Almanac from 44-01-26

Background

Imagine the panic, disbelief and disorientation that ensued with the horrific 9/11 Attack, then stop and imagine if we lived in a world in which the only source of news for that infamous event was Radio and Newspapers. No CNN--no Television, Satellites, or cell phones for that matter--and only either word of mouth, the radio airwaves or the next print edition of the local newspaper to confirm or deny the attack and its gravity.

That's the level of panic and disorientation that ensued after Orson Welles' 1938 broadcast of Mercury Theatre's radio adaptation of Herbert George Wells' The War of The Worlds over CBS Radio, New York. The broadcast was so realistic, so compelling and so carefully crafted that it was taken for a real attack throughout the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. Given the far slower communications of the day, before it could be revealed as a simple Radio drama the panic had already begun to spread throughout the United States.

That was the power of Radio. That was the power of the gifted band of renegade dramatists, scenarists, actors and technicians that made up Orson Welles and John Houseman's Mercury Theatre repertory company. Founded in August 1937, Houseman and Welles formed a revolutionary troupe of actors and stage technicians who began turning the theories of classical stage drama on their ear. While producing some of history's classic stage dramas, the Mercury Theatre approached each of the productions they mounted with out-of-the-box thinking. They mounted an all-Negro Macbeth set in Haiti, starring The Negro Theatre Unit of the Federal Theatre Project. They successfully produced Marc Blitzstein’s controversial labor union opera, The Cradle Will Rock (1937), also under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project. They mounted Julius Caesar set in fascist Italy in contemporary clothes and almost no sets to speak of. What sets they did employ were stark, spare and little more than a stage upon which to act. The only traditional effect was lighting, which they employed in revolutionary ways for the time.

The critics of the era cried 'heresy', damned the company with the faintest praise, or simply dismissed the young players and their brilliant director, 21 year old Orson Welles, as eccentrics. But through word of mouth alone, tickets for each new production became harder to obtain. Houseman and Welles went out of their way to make the productions accessible to the colleges and universities of the area and the buzz from those early productions spread further and further. Before long the drama critics were forced to take the young upstarts seriously. There was never any doubt as to their acting talent. Despite how horrified the reviewers were with Mercury Theatre's thumb at the nose of convention, they couldn't deny the young troupe's raw talent and innovation.

Independent of the Theatre Company, Orson Welles had been making a name for himself with dramatic poetry readings and readings of the Classics. The young man's booming voice, projection and tempo were rivetting for their time. Welles was no slouch when it came to self-promotion, either. He was aggressive, relentless and equally charming when needed. Before long he'd managed to air a four-a-week, fifteen-minute Radio program, Musical Reveries (1936), comprised of equal parts of Welles' poetry and dramatic readings, songs, and orchestral music. It was a relatively common format for the era, but Welles attacked each of his segments with the gusto and flair of a Flo Ziegfield. Welles' voice was being noticed by the major networks and 1936 also found him appearing in episodes of The March of Time for CBS.

The aggressiveness, charm and persistence paid off. By the Summer of 1937, Welles covinced the Mutual Broadcasting System and WOR to mount a serial production of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. Broadcast in 30-minute increments, one chapter a week for seven weeks, the production captivated a growing summertime audience with each passing week. This in itself was a brilliant stroke. Most serials of the day played out in five daily performances each week, as with the proliferation of Soap-sponsored melodramas of the era, or simply 'Soaps'.

Welles' genius was in producing and directing a classical drama so compellingly mounted that even summertime audiences would return week after week for the next installment. It was easy enough to get children to tune in from week to week for the next cliff-hanger adventure from their favorite female street waif, cowboy, spaceman, super-hero, or jungle adventurer. But it was quite another prospect to instill that kind of loyalty and interest in an adult audience--let alone a vacation-time audience.

This was pretty heady material. And in retrospect it was more like one of today's made for TV mini-series for a Radio audience. Victor Hugo's brilliant tale of class warfare, a seemingly never-ending chase (a la The Fugitive), and the ultimate involvement of a revolution of students was the kind of drama that Welles could very well have stretched over an entire 26-week season if he'd had to. As it was, the seven scripts were brilliant mini-dramas unto themselves and quickly caught the attention of radio programmers from coast-to-coast.

But was it just the material, or Welles' raw, compelling talent that created this interest in a new approach to The Classics? Ever the promoter, Welles' seems to have convinced the news media, reviewers and critics alike that it was Welles and his troupe that were the difference. And showmanship aside, it very much was.

Mercury Theatre spawns an unprecedented canon of Radio Drama

The chronology of the Mercury Theatre productions between 1937 and 1946 was as follows:

  • Les Miserables (1937)
  • Mercury Theatre On The Air (1938) [First-Person, Singular]
  • Campbell Playhouse (1938 - 1941)
  • Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles (1941-1942)
  • Mercury Theatre's Hello, Americans (1942-1943)
  • Mercury Theatre's Orson Welles Radio Almanac (1944)
  • The Mercury Summer Theatre of The Air (Summer of 1946)

Les Miserables [MBS]

Les Miserables (1937) was comprised of most of the players from Welles' and Houseman's Mercury Theatre repertory, but Les Miserables was not specifically referred to as a Mercury Theatre production. As such it was more an Orson Welles vehicle than a Mercury Theatre production per se. But as a matter of historical fact, virtually all of the core Mercury Theatre ensemble made an appearance in one chapter or another of the Les Miserables programs.

  • Ray Collins
  • Gwen Davies [announced as Estelle Levy]
  • Alice Frost
  • Martin Gabel
  • Adelaide Klein
  • Agnes Moorehead
  • Everett Sloane
  • Judy Holliday [as Judy Tuvim]
  • Orson Welles
  • Virginia Welles [Welles' wife at the time]

Mercury Theatre On the Air [CBS]

Mercury Theatre On The Air (1938) was the most innovative and historically significant production of the series. Indeed, though overshadowed in Radio History by the extraordinary result of its notorious The War of The Worlds program, all of the remaining productions were equally radical or innovative for their time. Julius Caesar was presented in much the same format as their radical Stage production, set in contemporary fascist Italy. Welles' Sherlock Holmes characterization was heralded as one of the finest interpretations of the morphine-addicted detective genius as had ever been heard over Radio. And all three of the Charles Dickens productions--A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist and The Pickwick Papers--were very well received. But indeed it was Howard Koch's brilliant adaptation of H.G. Wells' The War of The Worlds that created a stir out of all proportion to any other Radio broadcast during the Golden Age of Radio.

Mercury Theatre On The Air had intended from the outset to mount H.G. Wells' The War of The Worlds on October 30, 1938 as a Halloween presentation. They'd already opened their season with Dracula in any case, and Howard Koch and John Houseman had written a hyper-realistic adaptation of Wells' brilliant science-fiction novel. The production was by no means a secret. Nor, by extension was The War of The Worlds a secret. First published in 1898, H.G. Wells' most famous book had already been published throughout the world in a commensurate number of languages fully forty years before Mercury Theatre adapted it for Radio.

For a more thorough review of the aftermath of the broadcast, please consult the .pdf Galley of newspaper headlines in the sidebar to the left. Or feel free to click the hot-link to the a narrative about The War of the Worlds broadcast--including its original recording--from its log entry below.

The program opened with Welles' narration describing a series of fictional events which ensued during the evening of October 30, 1938 ("the 39th year of the twentieth century"). In Welles' deep baritone, melodramatically filled with import and foreboding, Welles' matter of factly introduced the series of very realistic radio script elements that followed: radio engineers cutting back and forth during the broadcast from the 'music of Ramon Raquelo' to an astronomer at the Princeton Observatory in New Jersey, then to 'reporters in the field' observing first-hand the slow unscrewing of the hatch of an extra-terrestrial meteorite that had landed near Grover's Mill, New Jersey. From that point forward, the script cut back and forth from accounts of the astronomer tracking uncommon activity on the surface of Mars, accounts from the farmers and reporters at Grover's Mill, and the news studios, authorities and observers of the phenomena that ensued.

It was the very documentary style of the broadcast that was the most compelling. The 'first-hand' accounts were wonderfully similar to the kind of man-in-the-street fare that had already become the rage in Radio (e.g., Vox Pop, et al). Howard Koch's genius in orchestrating the various initially unrelated events slowly and subtlely--and wonderfully realistically--into a tapestry of a growing extra-terrestrial threat was one of Radio's most brilliant dramatic strokes.

Unfortunately, the thousands of listeners that tuned in after Orson Welles' very explicit disclaimer found themselve caught up in what can only be described as a mass suspension of disbelief. For those listeners, hearing only the brilliantly realistic radio snippets coming over their radio sets, the scenario was developing into situation so realistic that by twenty-three minutes into the hour-long broadcast phones were ringing off the hook in radio stations, police precincts, and fire departments up and down the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. Within hours, as the broadcast aired throughout the country, the same phenomena occured throughout radio-listening America. What with announcements of road blocks in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, declarations of martial law, and even an address by 'F.D.R.' himself, the entire nation soon became caught up in the mass hysteria to one degree or another.

The aftermath was predictable for a mid-term election year. Officials great and small were calling for Orson Welles' head on a pike. Within twelve hours of the broadcast, the FCC was demanding a review of the Columbia Chain's (CBS's) broadcast license. Within eighteen hours of the broadcast H.G. Wells himself had been contacted for comment, expressing outrage that Mercury Theatre had changed the location of his story from London, England to New Jersey, New York and Eastern Pennsylvania. But more importantly to Mercury Theatre--and Orson Welles himself--within forty-eight hours, the entire Western World was abuzz about the twenty-three year old upstart and his Mercury Players.

That first series of Mercury Theatre broadcasts was a concept Welles had pitched as a 9-week Summer series of 'First-person, Singular' hour-long productions. CBS released this announcement for the press:

"June 12, 1938
BRIGHT SPOTS TODAY. (Time is Eastern Standard) NEW YORK—More summer drama for the radio will be forthcoming The latest is a series In which 23-year-old Orson Welles of the Broadway stage and microphone is to be the feature Together with the Mercury theater of New York, he has been engaged to present nine one-hour broadcasts for CBS on Monday nights at 8 beginning July 11 after the Radio theater goes on vacation The general title will be First Person Singular and Welles is to choose his own medium and subject he to [sic] write, cast, direct and produce the series with the coordination of Davidson Taylor of the CBS staff."

"First-Person Singular," referred to Welles' anticipated role as narrator for each production, acting in the first-person, singular as he framed each production. But 'First Person, Singular' didn't exactly roll off the toungue and CBS wasn't quite as hep as Welles was, so cooler heads prevailed and the program ultimately aired as Mercury Theatre On The Air, which in itself was quite controversial enough for CBS executives at the time.

And yet, by the end of that initial run of nine, hour-long presentations, it became apparent that CBS had something very special in their fold. A signature element of most of Welles' narrations was the background he would provide for either the author of the work they were adapting or many of the characters themselves. Welles seems to have prided himself on the instructional aspects of each presentation as much as for the technical and performance aspects of each production. So it was that Mercury Theatre extended its run for another thirteen programs for a total of twenty-two original Mercury Theatre radioplays. And indeed, the eighth of those additional programs was the notorious The War of The Worlds.

As a sustaining production, CBS got a lot of bang for their buck, but it had always been Welles and Houseman's hope that they'd find a commercial sponsor for their productions--and the increased budget, advertising, and promotion that would come with it. Indeed during Program #18, Orson Welles announced the Campbell's sponsorship that would begin in December of 1938.

The Campbell Playhouse [CBS]

The Campbell Playhouse production of Mercury Theatre arrived with the fanfare one might expect from one of Radio's most prolific sponsors. Both parties benefited, although one has to wonder if the deal had already been inked before The War of The Worlds aired. And with Campbell's sponsorship, magazines and newspapers began printing Campbell's spot ads promoting the series. The program's audience increased and with all the attendant notoriety in the aftermath of The War of The Worlds, all three parties--CBS, Campbell's and Mercury Theatre--had every reason to celebrate the program's success.

The Campbell Playhouse ran for three seasons. Seasons One and Two were produced by Orson Welles himself. Season Three was produced by the Mercury Theatre's John Houseman. Welles had departed to pursue his two seminal Films, Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942). With much of the Mercury Theatre ensemble busy with Welles' film projects, Campbell's employed many of Hollywood's most famous names to star in the third season of Campbell Playhouse's productions. Indeed the array of major Film Stars performing in the Playhouse's third season was arguably as impressive for its short run as any assemblage of talent short of The Screen Guild series.

The Campbell Playhouse's third season was delayed for a week over some CBS/Campbell kerfuffle about the alleged fifth column theme of the proposed original script penned by John Houseman and Wyllis Cooper. Apparently the infamous, headline-grabbing Texas Representative Martin Dies and the earliest House of Representative misadventures that eventually evolved into the House Un-American Activities Committee had something to do with the season's postponement. So it was that the third season began with the second production, Air Mail to Red Riding Hood, on November 29, 1940, starring Miriam Hopkins and Humphrey Bogart. The remaining programs were heavily promoted up through Program 25, after which Campbell's detailed spot ads tailed off and few if any of the subsequent programs were announced by either title or stars. The remaining twenty-six we've been able to identify are as follows:

  • Kind Lady with Grace George and Herbert Marshall
  • Doctor In The House with Frederic March and Florence Eldridge
  • A Christmas Carol with Lionel Barrymore [for real this time]
  • Pygmalion with Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh
  • Personal Appearance with Rosalind Russell
  • The Go-Getter with Helen Twelvetrees, Randolph Scott, and Frank Morgan
  • A Free Soul with Frances Farmer and George Raft
  • Golden Boy with Sylvia Syndey and Luther Adler
  • Mrs. Fane Comes of Age with Mary Astor and William Gargan
  • Option On San Felipe with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.
  • Master Mariner with Walter Huston
  • Wreck On Deliverance with Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond
  • Crime Syndicate with Paul Muni
  • You and I with Walter Huston
  • Purple and Fine Linen with John Beal and Gale Page
  • Excess Baggage with Dick Powell and Wendy Barrie
  • Let Us Be Gay with Madeline Carroll
  • The Second Man with Noel Coward
  • My Client Curley with Fred Allen and Beatrice Kay
  • The Talley Method with Tallulah Bankhead and Philip Merivale
  • Do Not Disturb with Edmund Lowe
  • One-Way Passage with William Powell
  • Springtime For Henry with Diana Lewis and Alan Mowbray
  • Alien Corn with Ruth Chatterton
  • Young Woodley with Judith Anderson
  • The Hero with Henry Hull
  • Tarnish with Margaret Lindsay
  • Green Grow the Lilacs with Burgess Meredith

It's a shame that Campbell's couldn't have taken the production further, but they were sponsoring seven other productions at the same time, and the production costs for the Playhouse were far higher than most of their other sponsored programs. And so it was that Campbells' sponsorship of Mercury Theatre ended June 27, 1941 with only thirty-one of the originally projected thirty-two programs.

Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles [CBS]

That might have been the end of Mercury Theatre of The Air, but for Orson Welles' return to participate in a House of Lady Esther sponsored season of Mercury Theatre, this time presented in a Drama/Variety format. Called variously, Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles, The Orson Welles Theatre, The Lady Esther Mercury Theatre, or some combination of the three, the mixed format also introduced none other than Walt Disney's Jiminy Cricket in a recurring 'role'. Jiminy Cricket was purportedly Orson Welles' 'conscience' throughout the series. In practice the gimmick seemed a bit overdrawn (no pun intended). But the variety/drama format wasn't new to Welles. That's how he got his start in Radio. Despite several noteworthy performances and guest stars, the Jiminy Cricket/Orson Welles formula never really jelled and the Lady Esther run pretty much spelled the end of the Mercury Theatre series of productions. In any case, the format folded by February 1942, to mixed reviews and public acceptance.

Hello, Americans [CBS]

The Mercury Theatre's next production appeared in November of 1942 as Hello, Americans. Funded by CBS and U.S. Government's Coordinator for Latin-American Affairs (the CIA). Welles had announced his impending trip to South America during the last episode of Mercury Theatre of The Air, and true to his word, he spent the following year touring South America and working on a Film project in Brazil and a Film project in Mexico. So it was a busman's holiday of sorts. Welles was apparently approached by the CIA with the concept and when Welles wasn't working on the Film projects he gathered sound bites, recordings and background for the Hello, Americans project. Hello, Americans wasn't as jingoistic as such propaganda pieces tend to go. One gets the impression that Welles was genuinely affected by what he saw during his tour and it was equally important to wrest back our influence in South America from the in-roads the Axis powers had made there.

Though twelve episodes were advertised as planned, only ten of them were broadcast. During two separate Orson Welles illnesses, CBS Hollywood jumped in to fill the scheduled void with two special 'Ritmos de las Americas' (Rhythms of The Americas) variety format presentations. The first aired following Episode #7 and the second after Episode #9. The ten episodes that were actually broadcast were Mercury Theatre-caliber productions, cast from both the Mercury Theatre Players and Hollywood's finest voice talent.

Orson Welles Radio Almanac [CBS]

Mercury Theatre's next airing was another departure--Mercury Theatre's Orson Welles Radio Almanac for 1944. It was a combination of interview and commentary, sketch, and variety. The thirty-nine episode series featured some of the biggest stars of Radio, Screen, and Stage in a uncharacteristically laid back type of format. Welles took the opportunity to stage several dramatic and patriotic presentations over the course of the run as well. The series was equal parts poignant, humorous, stirring and refreshingly candid on occasion.

The Mercury Summer Theatre of The Air [CBS]

The Mercury Theatre players were by no means idle for the intervening year, but it wasn't until the Summer of 1946 that the Mercury Theatre returned to Radio as The Mercury Summer Theatre of The Air. The final season of Mercury Theatre was short, but sweet. The troupe reprised four of their productions from years past, while introducing several spendidly mounted new productions. The Mercury Theatre magic was still present for fifteen programs more. For CBS, the prospect of obtaining Welles and his Mercury Theatre players for even a summer run was a major coup. Welles was as much in demand as ever and the Mercury Theatre troupe had scored innumerable successes both together and in their own individual careers. For one last Summer the heyday of the Mercury Theatre could be relived again, but without Jiminy Cricket, thank you very much.

It wasn't just the Mercury Theatre players that made this wonderful series of productions work for almost ten years. The behind-the-mike staff was consistently top-notch from Les Miserables to the Mercury Summer Theatre. Of particular note is the contribution of Bernard Herrmann and his magnificent music scoring, direction and compositions. The sheer breadth of the dramatic works the Theatre tackled over the years would normally have called for any number of Music directors with a specialty in one area or another. But Bernard Herrmann, already a legend for his time, added his brilliance to the already brilliant cast, writers and sound engineers. This is one series of productions for which Bernard Herrmann had every right to be considered one of the Mercury Theatre Players. His contribution was an integral element of every Mercury Theatre production they mounted. Herrmann also scored Welles' Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), although he requested that his name be removed from The Magnificent Ambersons credits over artistic differences.

Series Derivatives:

Les Miserables; Mercury Theatre On The Air [First-Person, Singular]; Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles; Campbell Playhouse; Mercury Summer Theatre; AFRS H- Series Your Radio Theatre; AFRS H- Series Armed Forces Theatre; Campbell Playhouse (Television); Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac; The Mercury Wonder Show
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Dramas (and Variety)
Network(s): MBS, CBS, The CBC [Canada], The AFRS.; La Cadena de las Americas [CBS for South America]
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): Les Miserables:
37-07-23 01 Chapter 1 - The Bishop

Mercury Theatre On The Air:
38-07-11 01 Dracula

Campbell Playhouse:
38-12-09 01 Rebecca

Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles:
41-09-17 01 Shrendi Vashtar - An Irishman and a Jew

Hello, Americans
42-11-15 01 Introduction to Brazil [Carmen Miranda]

Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac
44--0-26 01 Groucho Marx

The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air:
46-06-07 01 Around The World In Eighty Days

Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): Les Miserables:
37-07-23 to 37-09-03; MBS; Seven, 30-minute programs; Fridays, 10:00 p.m.
Mercury Theatre On The Air:
38-07-11 to 38-12-04; CBS; Twenty-two, hour-long programs; Mondays, 9:00 p.m.
Campbell Playhouse, Season 1:
38-12-09 to 39-06-02; CBS; Twenty-six, one-hour programs; Fridays, 10:00 p.m.
Campbell Playhouse, Season 2:
39-09-10 to 40-03-31; CBS; Thirty, hour-long programs; Sundays, 8:30 p.m.
Campbell Playhouse, Season 3:
40-11-22 to 41-06-27; CBS; Thirty-two, 30-minute programs; Fridays, 9:30 p.m.
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles:
41-09-15 to 42-02-02; CBS; Nineteen, 30-minute programs; Mondays, 9:00 p.m.
Hello, Americans:
42-11-15 to 43-01-31; CBS; Ten, 30-minute programs, plus two Special programs; Fridays, 8:00 p.m.
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac
44-01-26 to 44-11-15; CBS; Forty-three, 30-minute programs; Wednesday evening
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air:
46-06-07 to 46-09-13; CBS; Fifteen, 30-minute programs; Fridays, 8:00 p.m.
Syndication: AFRS; World Broadcasting System syndication
Sponsors: Les Miserables: Sustaining
Mercury Theatre On The Air: Sustaining
Campbell Playhouse: Campbell's Soups
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles: The House of Lady Esther Cosmetics
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac: Mobil Oil
Hello, Americans: The Coordinator for Latin-American Affairs
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air: Blended, Splendid Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer
Director(s): Les Miserables: Orson Welles
Mercury Theatre On The Air: Orson Welles
Campbell Playhouse: Orson Welles, Diana Bourbon and George Zachary
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles: Orson Welles
Hello, Americans: Orson Welles
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac: Orson Welles; Jack Johnstone [Producer]
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air: Orson Welles
Principal Actors: Les Miserables: Martin Gabel, Agnes Moorehead, Orson Welles, Alice Frost, Ray Collins, Adelaide Klein, Gwen Davies, Frank Readick, Virginia Welles, Everett Sloane, William Johnstone, Hiram Sherman
Mercury Theatre On The Air:
Campbell Playhouse Season 1:
Campbell Playhouse Season 2:
Campbell Playhouse Season 3: Grace George, Herbert Marshall, Frederic March, Florence Eldridge, Lionel Barrymore, Laurence Olivier, Vivian Leigh, Rosalind Russell, Helen Twelvetrees, Randolph Scott, Frank Morgan, Frances Farmer, George Raft, Sylvia Syndey, Luther Adler, Mary Astor, William Gargan, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Walter Huston, Jeanette MacDonald, Gene Raymond, Paul Muni, Noel Coward, Fred Allen, Beatrice Kay, Edmund Lowe, William Powell, Ruth Chatterton, Alan Mowbray, Diana Lewis, Henry Hull
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles:
Hello, Americans: Ray Collins, Agnes Moorehead, Ted Reid, Norman Field, Gerald Mohr, Pedro De Cordoba, John Tucker Battle, Hans Conreid, Laird Cregar, Lou Merril,
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac:
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air:
Recurring Character(s): Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles: Jiminy Cricket
Protagonist(s): Varied from program to program
Author(s): Victor Hugo, Norman Corwin
Writer(s) Les Miserables: John Houseman and Orson Welles
Mercury Theatre On The Air: John Houseman, Orson Welles, Howard Koch
Campbell Playhouse Season 1:
Campbell Playhouse Season 2:
Campbell Playhouse Season 3: John Houseman and Wyllis Cooper
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles:
Hello, Americans: Orson Welles, John Tucker Battle
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac:
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air:
Music Direction: Les Miserables:
Mercury Theatre On The Air: Bernard Herrmann
Campbell Playhouse: Bernard Herrmann
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles: Bernard Herrmann
Hello, Americans: Lud Gluskin; Lucien Moraweck [Composer]; Miguelito Valdez [incidental vocals]; Sir Lancelot [composer, incidental vocals]; Tito Guizar [vocals]; Diana Gayle, Miguelito Valdez and Carlos Ramirez [vocals]
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac: Lud Gluskin
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air: Bernard Herrmann
Musical Theme(s): Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's Concerto No. 1 in E Flat Minor
Announcer(s): Les Miserables:
Mercury Theatre On The Air:
Campbell Playhouse:
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles:
Hello, Americans: Dick Joy and Truman Bradley; Orson Welles [Host]; Tito Guizar [Host]
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac:
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air:
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
Les Miserables: 7
Mercury Theatre On The Air: 22
Campbell Playhouse: 88
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles: 19
Hello, Americans: 12
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac: 26
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air: 15
Episodes in Circulation: Les Miserables: 7
Mercury Theatre On The Air: 20
Campbell Playhouse: 48
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles: 7
Hello, Americans: 12
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac: 20
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air: 15
Total Episodes in Collection: Les Miserables: 7
Mercury Theatre On The Air: 18
Campbell Playhouse: 47
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles: 5
Hello, Americans: 12
Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac: 21
The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air: 15
Provenances:




First Spot Ad for Campbell Playhouse under John Houseman, dated 41-11-29
First Spot Ad for Campbell Playhouse under John Houseman, dated 41-11-29

Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles announcement, September 15, 1941
Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles announcement, September 15, 1941


RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, 'The Directory of The Armed Forces Radio Service Series', Martin Grams' Radio Drama.

Notes on Provenances:

All above cited provenances are in error to one degree or another. The RadioGOLDINDex was the most helpful provenance apart from the newspaper articles and listings.

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

There's something of a cottage industry that has sprung up over the past 15 years in the 'otr world.' It's an industry of history revisionists and outright wishful thinking. The OTR community seems to hold a very parochial view about the founders of Mercury Theatre, taking the position that Mercury Theatre was Orson Welles, Orson Welles and Orson Welles. But indeed, John Houseman was even more instrumental in establishing, organizing and continuing to manage the Mercury Theatre over the years. Orson Welles moved on to Citizen Kane and The Magnificent Ambersons, leaving the day-to-day management and productions of Mercury Theatre to John Houseman.

The disconnect arises with the third season of Campbell Playhouse, which 'OTR' collectors seem to dismiss as a departure from Mercury Theatre while never citing the proof for their dismissal (not that they ever cite their proof or show their work in the first place). But it was in fact John Houseman that continued to produce and write (with Lights Out! writer Wyllis Cooper) the third and last season of The Campbell Playhouse while still under the aegis of Mercury Theatre. Most of the newspaper listings and articles of the day continue to refer to the third season of Campbell Playhouse as a Mercury Theatre production--because of the John Houseman connection. And despite Campbell bringing Diana Bourbon onboard to direct, John Houseman very much shaped the Season Three program lineup. This is simply another example of the very parochial, un-provenanced citations from the 'OTR' community. What they can't explain, they either dismiss--or obfuscate. Given the utter commercial corruption of Wikipedia by the same OTR community, the same nonsense has now become commonplace there as well. But as an historical point of fact, the third season of The Campbell Playhouse was indeed a continuing Mercury Theatre production, Q.E.D.

If any of the Mercury Theatre derivatives should be questioned, it should be the Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles production. While not necessarily a radical departure from Orson Welles' Radio productions of the past, the very Variety nature of the Lady Esther Presents season, with its Jiminy Cricket hook, is the season that should be least associated with Mercury Theatre. But we're reminded that Orson Welles' very first radio appearance was in just such a mixed Variety/Dramatic Readings format. As such the Lady Esther season is more reminiscent of Musical Reveries (1936) than Mercury Theatre On The Air. Be that as it may, we've included Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles in this collection for continuity's sake, but we reserve our doubts as to its proper inclusion with Mercury Theatre's other productions.

Campbell Playhouse Program #27, dated 39-09-10 should be titled Peter Ibbetson, not Peter Ibbertson, nor Peter Ibertsen. The second two titles exist only in the OTR world, as any Google search will disclose.

Campbell Playhouse Program #45, dated 40-01-14, should be Theodora Goes Wild, not Theadora Goes Wild. Again, only in the OTR world. Search it with quotes in Google and you will receive only OTR hits.

Hello, Americans was particularly poorly supported by the commercial OTR community. The OTRR's Certified Complete and Accurate Hello, Americans is completely inaccurate rubbish:

  • The titles posted at Internet Archive bear no resemblance whatsoever to the content or themes of the ten actual episodes and two specials.
  • The OTRR maintain there were twelve episodes of Hello, Americans broadcast. There were only ten--broadcast. Two of the scheduled episodes were either delayed or unaired, citing two separate 'illnesses' of Orson Welles. In their place, CBS aired two separate 'Ritmos de las Americas' variety programs with completely different casts and announcers. They were neither Mercury Theatre casts, nor Mercury Theatre productions.
  • A reviewer at Internet Archive pointed this out to the OTRR over 15 months ago, to no avail.
  • The ID3 V1 and V2 tags of the Internet Archive-posted OTRR Certified Complete and Accurate series are the same rubbish as the titles listed on the page.
  • The two special presentations were both titled 'Ritmos de las Americas'. The first hosted by Tito Guizar and announced by Dick Joy and the second announced and hosted by Truman Bradley and featuring Diana Gayle, Miguelito Valdez and Carlos Ramirez.

Had anyone at the OTRR 'certifying' this series actually listened to any of it, they'd have heard Dick Joy announce both Tales of Mexico as Episode #8 and Feeding The World as Episode #9. As is too often the case, the OTRR apparently didn't use their own research in the first place. They simply 'phoned it in' from another website they cite--which was equally inaccurate.

Since every currently circulating title for Hello Americans is in error, we simply refer you to the titles listed in the log below. The series aired in rural America well past the last cited air date of January 31, 1943, but there is no mention in those listings of the titles or themes of those broadcast listings. They may well have been rebroadcasts.

And finally, The Alphabet of The Islands wasn't a two-part arc, it was a three-part arc, from Episode #4 through Episode #6. There's no mistaking it, since Welles takes great pains to pound the point home in the last broadcast before Christmas. The episode erroneously titled The Story of Abednego the Slave, is actually The Alphabet of The Islands -- The Slave, Abednego to 'Z', a point Orson Welles punctuates himself in the last minute of the broadcast.

[
Update: We're given to understand that a noted OTR author is passing around more of his 'otr lore' yet again. This time it's his utterly unsupported assertion that the first nine episodes of the Mercury Theatre On The Air were actually called "First Person Singular" in a canon unto themselves. As noted in the fully supported article above, First Person, Singular was a concept and theme, not a title. And yes a couple of advance announcements by CBS via the newspapers and magazines of the era teased First Person, Singular as the proposed name or concept for the program. But the title ultimately conferred on it was The Mercury Theatre On The Air by its first broadcast date. That's The Mercury Theatre ON THE AIR, not FIRST PERSON SINGULAR.]

The Mercury Theatre of the air in its various incarnations over the years has acquired an extremely loyal following throughout the Vintage Radio Collecting hobby. It's also acquired a great deal of 'otr lore' in the process, such as the nonsense 'revelation' above regarding the 'first nine episodes of Mercury Theatre On the Air being actually named "First Person Singular." This revisionist lore persists just as all 'big lies' start and persist--by repetition. If anyone in the 'otr-credentialed community of scholars' can cite even one Mercury Theatre On the Air broadcast announcing itself as "First Person Singular," there are hundreds of thousands of genuine Radio Preservationists around the world that would love to hear it. Whoever actually possesses those alleged nine episodes needs to step forward and begin circulating even one of them. Orson Welles' concept of a Mercury Theatre of the Air ran the gamut of dramatic productions from start to finish, beginning with Mercury Theatre On the Air and ending with its last hurrah, The Mercury Summer Theatre Of the Air. Welles, Houseman and company more than made their point: a Mercury Theatre of the air could bring the same innovation, vitality and creativity to Radio as it had during their Federal Theatre Project years and their years of Stage productions. Alpha and Omega--the Mercurty Theatre began with a Mercury Theatre of the air and ended with a Mercury Theatre of the air; pefect symmetry for one of Radio's most historic, ground-breaking and influential productions.


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.


Mercury Theatre Radio Program Logs






Les Miserables Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
37-07-23
1
Chapter 1 - The Bishop

Original Les Miserables transcription label 37-07-23

Y
Premiere Program; MBS [WOR]; Fridays, 10:00 p.m.

37-07-23 New York Times
10:00--WOR--
First Part of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables
37-07-30
2
Chapter 2 - Javert
Y
37-07-30 New York Times
10:00--WOR--Second Part of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables
37-08-06
3
Chapter 3 - The Trial
Y
37-08-06 New York Times
10:00--WOR--Third Part of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables
37-08-13
4
Chapter 4 - Cosette
Y
37-08-13 New York Times
10:00--WOR--Fourth Part of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables with Orson Welles
37-08-20
5
Chapter 5 - The Grave
Y
37-08-20 New York Times
10:00--WOR--Fifth Part of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables with Orson Welles
37-08-27
6
Chapter 6 - The Barricade
Y
37-08-27 New York Times
9:30--WOR--Sixth Part of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables with Orson Welles
37-09-03
7
Chapter 7 - The Final Episode
Y
[Last Program]

37-09-03 New York Times
9:30--WOR--Seventh Part of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables with Orson Welles





The Mercury Theatre On The Air Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
38-07-11
1
Dracula

Y
[Premiere Program; CBS; Mondays, 9:00 p.m.]
Treasure Island
was originally announced as the first production.

38-07-11 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.-Play: "
Dracula," With Orson Welles-WABC
38-07-18
2
Treasure Island
Y
38-07-18 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P.M.--Play, "Treasure Island," With Orson Welles-WABC.
38-07-25
3
A Tale of Two Cities
Y
38-07-25 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.Play, Dickens's "A Tale of Two Cities," with Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre Players--WABC

38-08-01
4
Thirty Nine Steps

Y
38-08-01 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.--Play, John Buchan's "Thirty-nine Steps," With Orson ,Welles and Mercury Theatre Players--WABC.
38-08-08
5
I'm a Fool, My Little Boy, Open Window
Y
38-08-08 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.--Plays: Ewald's "My Little Boy"; Anderson's "I'm a Fool"; Munro's "The Open Window," by Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre Players--WABC.
38-08-15
6
Abraham Lincoln
Y
38-08-15 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.-Play: John Breakwater's "Abraham Lincoln," With Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre Players-WABC
38-08-22
7
The Affairs of Anatole
Y
38-08-22 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.-Play: "Affairs of Anatol," With Orson Welles, and Mercury Theatre Players-WABC
38-08-29
8
The Count of Monte Cristo
Y
38-08-29 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.-Play: Dumas's "Count of Monte Cristo," With Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre Players-WABC
38-09-05
9
The Man Who Was Thursday
Y
38-09-05 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.-Play, G. K. Chesterton's "The Man Who Was Thursday," With Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre Players-WABC





38-09-11 ?
10R
Julius Caesar
Y
[Rehearsal]
38-09-11
10
Julius Caesar
N
[CBS orders thirteen more Mercury Theatre On the Air; Julius Caesar begins the new cycle; Moves to Sundays at 8:00 p.m.]

38-09-11 New York Times
8:00-9:00-Play, "
Caesar," With Orson Welles-WABC,
38-09-18
11
Jane Eyre
Y
38-09-18 New York Times
8:00-9:00-
Play, "Jane Eyre," With Orson Welles-WABC,
38-09-25
12
The Immortal Sherlock Holmes
Y
38-09-25 New York Times
8:00-9:00-
Play, "Sherlock Holmes," With Orson Welles-WABC.
38-10-02
13
Oliver Twist
N
38-10-02 New York Times
8:00-9:00-
Play, Dickens's "Oliver Twist," with Orson Welles-WABC
38-10-09
14
Hell on Ice
Y
38-10-09 New York Times
8:00-9:00-
Play: Commander Edward Ellsberg's "Hell on Ice"-WABC
38-10-16
15
Seventeen
Y
38-10-16 New York Times
8:00-9:00-
Play: "Seventeen," With Orson Welles and Others-WABC
38-10-23
16
Around the World in 80 Days
Y
38-10-23 New York Times
8:00-9:00-
Play: Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days"-WABC
38-10-30
17
War of the Worlds

Y
"Dramatize Wells' Novel. Orson Welles and his Mercury Theater of the Air turns the spotlight on H. G. Wells tonight when they dramatize his famous book, "War of the Worlds." This is one of the first stories about the Martians, and how they lay waste to the world. Welles will be the narrator. The show is heard via KFAB and CBS at 7 p. m."
38-11-06
18
The Heart of Darkness, Life With Father
Y
[Two short stories. Welles announces Campbells' sponsorship beginning in December]
38-11-13
19
A Passenger to Bali
Y
38-11-20
20
The Pickwick Papers
Y
38-11-27
21
Clarence
N
38-12-04
22
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
N
[ Last Program ]





The Campbell Playhouse Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
38-12-09
1
Rebecca
Y
Premiere Program; CBS; Fridays, 10:00 p.m.

Friday December 9, 1938 The Daily Gleaner, Jamaica
Campbell Playhouse'
Orson Welles, brilliant director and actor, will head a new series of "Campbell Playhouse" programmes featuring famous guest stars in dramatizations of popular plays, motion pictures and novels to be inaugurated over the Columbia network to-night, (WABC-CBS, 9.00 to 10.00 EST).
With the beginning of this new series, the "Campbell Playhouse", widely acclaimed feature of the "Hollywood Hotel" programme assumes full-hour proportions, occupy ing the entire period of the popular Friday evening Campbell broadcasts. Orson Welles, the guiding genius of the "Mercury Theatre" productions—both the stage and air presentations— has had an unprecedented rise to fame in the theatrical world. Although Welle, has
been- heard on the air in various capacities, in Shakespearean roles both here and abroad, and as a leading light in the Federal Theatre project, it was not until November 11, 1937. that the versatile player gained widespread attention.
38-12-16
2
Call It A Day
N
38-12-16 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Beatrice Lillie in "
Call It a Day."
38-12-23
3
A Christmas Carol
Y
[Widely promoted as starring Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge, Orson Welles stepped in at the last minute to fulfill Barrymore''s obligation to Campbells and CBS]

38-12-23 New York Times
9:00--10:00 P. M.-Drama Dickens's "Christmas Carol"; Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre Players-WABC.

38-12-23 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): "
A Christmas Carol" with Orson Welles as "Scrooge."
38-12-30
4
A Farewell to Arms
N
38-12-30 New York Times
9:00-10:00 P. M.Play: "Farewell to Arms," With Katherine Hepburn, Orson Welles and Others--WABC.

38-12-30 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Katharine Hepburn, Orson Welles in "
Farewell to Arms."
39-01-06
5
Counsellor at Law
Y
39-01-06 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p. m.—Playhouse (WBBM): Gertrude Berg. Aline MacMahon in "
Counsellor at Law."
39-01-13
6
Mutiny on the Bounty
Y
39-01-13 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p. m.—Playhouse (WBBM): Orson Welles in "Mutiny on the Bounty."
39-01-20
7
Chicken Wagon Family
N
39-01-20 Wisconsin State Journal
8 00 p m —Playhouse, -with Burgess Meredith and Orson Welles in "The Chicken Wagon Family."
39-01-27
8
I Lost My Girlish Laughter
Y
39-01-27 Wisconsin State Journal
. . Ilka Chase, brilliant stage star, and Tamara Geva, dancer, head an all-New York cast of performers who will take a good-natured jibe at Hollywood when they appear in a dramatization of Jane Allen's story
I Lost My Girlish Laughter, during the Orson Welles' Plavhouse broadcast at 8 p.m. (CBS-CKY).Jane Allen, the pseudonym taken by the secretary of a Hollywood producer who wrote this expose of fantastic foibles of cinema celebrities, will be interviewed by Orson Welles as a highlight of the hour.

39-01-27 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Ilke Chase, Tamara Geva, Orson Welles in "
I Lost Girlish Laughter."
39-02-03
9
Arrowsmith
Y
39-02-03 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Helen Hayes, Orson Welles in "Arrowsmith."
39-02-10
10
The Green Goddess
Y
39-02-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): presents Madeleine Carroll and Orson Welles in"
The Green Goddess."
39-02-17
11
Burlesque
N
39-02-17 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Orson Welles and Sam Levene in "
Burlesque."
39-02-24
12
State Fair
N
39-02-24 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Orson Welles presents Author Phil Stong in "
State Fair;" Amos 'n' Andy describe their Harlem fair.
39-03-03
13
Royal Regiment
N
39-03-03 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): "
Royal Regiment," starring Mary Astor and Orson Welles.
39-03-10
14
The Glass Key
Y
39-03-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): "
The Glass Key."
39-03-17
15
Beau Geste
Y
[Partial Only]

39-03-17 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Noah Beery, Orson Welles, Laurence Olivier in "
Beau Geste".
39-03-24
16
Twentieth Century
Y
39-03-24 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Elissa Landi, Sam Levene, Orson Welles in "
Twentieth Century," by Hecht and MacArthur.
39-03-31
17
Show Boat
Y
39-03-31 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Edna Ferber's "
Show Boat," with Miss Ferber as Parthy Ann, Margaret Sullavan as Magnolia, Helen Morgan as Julie, and Orson Welles as Ravenal.
39-04-07
18
Les Miserables
N
39-04-07 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Walter Huston as Jean Valjean in "
Les Miserables."
39-04-14
19
The Patriot
Y
39-04-14 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Anna May Wong in Pear Buck's "
The Patriot."
39-04-21
20
Private Lives
Y
39-04-21 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Hollywood Playhouse (WBBM): Gertrude Lawrence, English actress, in Noel Coward's "
Private Lives."
39-04-28
21
Black Daniel
N
39-04-28 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Joan Bennett in "
Black Daniel."
39-05-05
22
Ordeal at Wickford Point
Y
39-05-05 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): John P. Marquand's "
Wickford Point."
39-05-12
23
Our Town
Y
39-05-12 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): presents
"Our Town," with John Craven, others of original New York cast.
39-05-19
24
The Bad Man
Y
39-05-19 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Ida Lupino in "
The Bad Man," Holbrook Blinn's 1921 hit.
39-05-26
25
An American Cavalcade - The Things We Have
Y
39-05-26 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Cornelia Otis Skinner in "
An American Cavalcade."
39-06-02
26
Victoria Regina
Y
Break for Summer

39-06-02 Wisconsin State Journal
Orson Welles CBS Playhouse will climax its current season at 7 tonight with a radio version of "
Victoria Regina," in which Helen Hayes appeared here. Miss Hayes will play Victoria, with Welles as the prince consort. Several scenes in the Houseman play which were omitted from the stage version will be included in tonight's broadcast through WBBM.

The Daily Gleaner Jun 18, 1939
MEET ORSON WELLES!
"God knows what wonders he will have accomplished by the time he's middle aged!" Orson Welles' secretary, who looks remarkably like Elaine Barrie, was doing her best to convince a gushing fan that her boss was only 24 and we couldn't help overhear as we waited to interview the radio dramatist backstage at the Palace. You'd like Orson Welles. He's a swell guy, a huge, massive fellow with a warm, friendly voice—the same deep voice you heard telling you that he remains "obediently yours" on Friday nights. Wliat with his bushy black beard and his oriental makeup, the producer of the Campbell Playhouse appeared sinister indeed as he greeted us following a performance of "The Green Goddess," a play which he describes as a "silly thing," but his choice for vaudeville because it packs potent melodramatic hokum into a few short minutes. But believe us, Orson Welles is anything but sinister.
"It's unfortunate that I must always be associated with great globs of blood," chuckled Orson when Rosemary Wayne, WJJD's movie reporter with whom we shared the interview, asked him if he had ever written Lights Out. He comforted Miss Wayne by telling her that many people had the same mistaken impression, probably because lie played the Shadow on Mutual at one time.
"My Mars broadcast seemed like a good idea at the time. I didn't mean to scare quite so MANY people," was all that "the man who scared the world and then charmed it" would say about his H. G. Wells play that had people committing suicide and dropping dead from shock,





39-09-10
27
Peter Ibbetson
Y
[Season Two Begins; Sundays, 8:30 p.m.]

39-09-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles' Playhouse (WBBM): Welles and Helen Hayses in "
Peter Ibgetson."

Stars
Helen Hayes
39-09-17
28
Ah, Wilderness
Y
39-09-17 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles Playhouse--(WBBM): "
Ah Wilderness!" by Eugene O'Neill, with George Jean Nathan as guest speaker.
39-09-24
29
What Every Woman Knows
Y
39-09-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles--(WBBM): and Helen Hayes in "
What Every Woman Knows."
39-10-01
30
The Count Of Monte Cristo
Y
39-10-01 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles--(WBBM): "
The Count of Monte Cristo."
39-10-08
31
Algiers
Y
39-10-08 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Paulette Goddard in "
Algiers."
39-10-15
32
Escape
Y
39-10-15 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Wendy Barrie in Galsworthy's "
Escape."
39-10-22
33
Liliom
Y
39-10-22 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Helen Hayes in "Liliom."
39-10-29
34
The Magnificent Ambersons
Y
39-10-29 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Walter Huston in "
The Magnificent Ambersons."
39-11-05
35
The Hurricane
Y
39-11-05 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): and Mary Astor in "
Hurricane."
39-11-12
36
The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd
Y
39-11-12 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): "
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd," the concealment of the culprit.
39-11-19
37
The Garden Of Allah
Y
39-10-19 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Claudette Colbert share lead with Orson Welles in an adaptation of Hichens' novel "
The Garden of Allah."
39-11-26
38
Dodsworth
Y
[Partial Only]

39-10-26 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Fay Bainter, Nan Sunderland and Orson Welles in "
Dodsworth."
39-12-03
39
Lost Horizon
Y
39-12-03 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Sigrid GUrie with Orson Welles in "
Lost Horizon."
39-12-10
40
Vanessa
Y
[Only 44 minutes of this broadcast in current circulation]

39-12-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Helen Hayes in "
Vanessa."
39-12-17
41
There's Always A Woman
Y
39-12-17 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Marie Wilson in "
There's Always a Woman."
39-12-24
42
A Christmas Carol
Y
39-12-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p. m. — Welles Playhouse (WBBM);
Lionel Barrymore in Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."
39-12-31
43
Come and Get It
Y
39-12-31 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): Edna Ferber's "
Come and Get It" with Orson Welles.
40-01-07
44
Vanity Fair
Y
[Only 44 minutes of this broadcast in current circulation]

40-01-07 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): Helen Hayes in "
Becky Sharp."
40-01-14
45
Theodora Goes Wild
Y
40-01-14 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Loretta Young in "
Theodora Goes Wild."
40-01-21
46
The Citadel

Y
40-01-21 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Geraldine Fitzgerald in "
The Citadel."
40-01-28
47
It Happened One Night
Y
40-01-28 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): presents William Powell and Mimiam Hopkins in "
It Happened One Night."
40-02-04
48
Broome Stages
Y
40-02-04 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Helen Hayes with Orson Welles in Clemence Dane's "
Broome Stages."
40-02-11
49
Mr Deeds Goes to Town
Y
40-02-11 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Joan Blondell in "
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town" with Orson Welles.
40-02-18
50
Dinner at Eight
Y
40-02-18 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Hedda Hopper, Lucille Ball, and Marjorie Rambeau in "
Dinner at Eight," with Orson Welles.
40-02-25
51
Only Angels Have Wings
Y
40-02-25 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): with Joan Blondell in "
Only Angels Have Wings."
40-03-03
52
Rabble in Arms
Y
40-03-03 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Frances Dee in "
Rabble in Arms" with Orson Welles as Benedict Arnold.
40-03-10
53
Craig's Wife
Y
[Partial Only]

40-03-10 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Fay Bainter with Orson Welles in "
Craig's Wife," a satire on human nature.
40-03-17
54
Huckleberry Finn
Y
40-03-17 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Jackie Cooper in title role of "
Huckleberry Finn."
40-03-24
55
June Moon
Y
40-03-24 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Orson Welles (WBBM): and Jack Benny in "
June Moon."
40-03-31
56
Jane Eyre
Y
40-03-31 Wisconsin State Journal
9 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Madeleine Carroll with Orson Welles in "
Jane Eyre."





The Campbell Playhouse Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
40-11-22
1
[Cancelled]
N
[Season Three Begins
CBS; Fridays, 9:30 p.m.
Postponed]

40-11-29
2
Air Mail to Red Riding Hood
N
"Because CBS tabooed the Fifth Column theme of the first script, the opening of the Campbell "Playhouse" was postponed from Nov. 22 to Nov. 29"

40-11-29 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Miriam Hopkins and Humphrey Bogart opens new series with "
Air Mail to Red Riding Hood."
40-12-06
3
Kind Lady
N
40-12-06 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Herbert Marshall and Grace George in a spine-chiller, "Kind Lady."
40-12-13
4
Doctor In The House
N
40-12-13 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Fredric March and Florence Eldridge in "Doctor in the House."
40-12-20
5
A Christmas Carol
N
"The Christmas Carol, with Lionel Barrymore as Scrooge, is on the Campbell Playhouse Friday at 8:30 p. m. over CBS."

40-12-15 Wisconsin State Journal
The real "must" in drama, is Lionel Barrymore in Dickens' "
A Christmas Carol." This has become a radio tradition. There is a possibility that Lionel will not be physically fit, but even if he should broadcast from a wheelchair, you'll hear an incomparable Scrooge. He may not try to do it again.

40-12-20 Capital Times
8:30-9:00 WBBM (Dec 20) Lionel Barrymore in Dickens' "
A Christmas Carol."

40-12-20 Wisconsin State Journal
Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" will be heard again tonight, but this time with Lionel Barrymore in the traditional role as "Ebenezer Scrooge," on the Playhouse broadcast at 8:30 over WBBM. This will be his sixth presentation.
40-12-27
6
Pygmalion
N
40-12-27 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh in G.B. Shaw's "Pygmalion."
41-01-03
7
Personal Appearance
N
41-01-03 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Rosalind Russess and Donald Cook in "Personal Appearance" in which Gladys George appeared in Madison.
41-01-10
8
The Go-Getter
N
41-01-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Ralph Morgan and Randolph Scott in "The Go-Getter," a Cappy Ricks story.
41-01-17
9
A Free Soul
N
41-01-17 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): George Raft and Frances Farmer in "A Free Soul," by Adela Rogers St. John.
41-01-24
10
Golden Boy
N
41-01-24 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Luther Adler and Sylvia Sidney in Clifford Odel's "Golden Boy."
41-01-31
11
Mrs. Fane Comes of Age
N
41-01-31 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Mary Astor and William Gargan in "Mrs. Fane Comes of Age," by Libby Block.
41-02-07
12
Option On San Felipe
N
41-02-07 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., in "Option on San Felipe," land in "The Caribbean for Sale."
41-02-14
13
Master Mariner
N
41-02-14 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Walter Huston in "Master Mariner," the sea-loving Swede.
41-02-21
14
Wreck On Deliverance
N
41-02-21 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Jeanette MacDonald and Gene Raymond in "Wreck on Deliverance," story of love and shipwreck.
41-02-28
15
Crime Syndicate
N
41-02-28 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Paul Muni in "Crime Syndicate."
41-03-07
16
You and I
N
41-03-07 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Walter Huston in "You and I," a suppressed desire breaks through.
41-03-14
17
Purple and Fine Linen
N
41-03-14 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): John Beal and Gale Page in "Purple and Fine Linen."
41-03-21
18
Excess Baggage
N
41-03-21 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Dick Powell and Wendy Barrie in "Excess Baggage," life of a trapeze artist.
41-03-28
19
Let Us Be Gay
N
41-03-28 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Madeleine Carroll in "Let Us Be Gay," a wife in the midst of her husband's flirtation.
41-04-04
20
The Second Man
N
41-04-04 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Eddie Cantor substitutes for Noel Coward, starring in "The Nervous Wreck."
41-04-11
21
My Client, Curley
N
41-04-11 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Fred Allen with Beatrice Kaye in "My Client Curley," the growth of an entertainment idol.
41-04-18
22
The Talley Method
N
41-04-18 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Tallulah Bankhead and Philip Merivale in "
The Tulley Method," a doctor and his two problem children.
41-04-25
23
Do Not Disturb
N
41-04-25 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Edmund Lowe in an Ellery Queen mystery, "
Do Not Disturb."
41-05-02
24
One-Way Passage
N
41-05-02 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): William Powell in "
One Way Passage."
41-05-09
25
Springtime For Henry
N
41-05-09 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Diana Lewis and Alan Mowbray in "
Springtime for Henry," a secretary in spring.
41-05-16
26
Alien Corn
N
41-05-16 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Playhouse WCCO WBBM KMOX

41-05-16
New York Times
"Alien Corn," Play, With Ruth Chatterton-WABC, 9:30
41-05-23
27
Young Woodley
N
41-05-23 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Judith Anderson in "
Young Woodley," John Van Druten's tale of a boy in love with his schoolmaster's wife.
41-05-30
28
The Hero
N
41-05-30 New York Times
9:30-WABC-Play-
The Hero, with Henry Hull
41-06-06
29
Tarnish
N
41-06-06 Wisconsin State Journal - 7:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Margaret Lindsay in "Tarnish."
41-06-13
30
Green Grow the Lilacs
N
[Last Campbell Playhouse]

41-06-13 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Playhouse (WBBM): Burgess Meredith in "
Green Grows the Lilacs," a story of early Oklahoma.
41-06-20
--
Title Unknown
--
41-06-20 Wisconsin State Journal - 7:30 Hollywood Premiere--WBBM





Lady Esther Presents Orson Welles and His Mercury Theatre Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
41-09-15
1
Shrendi Vashtar
An Irishman and a Jew
Y
Premiere Program; CBS; Mondays, 9:00 p.m.
A Drama/Variety format
41-09-22
2
Golden Honeymoon
Murder In The Bank
The Right Side
The Sexes
N
41-09-29
3
The Interlopers
The Song Of Solomon
I'm A Fool
Y
41-10-06
4
The Black Pearl
Annabelle Lee
There's A Full Moon Tonight
N
41-10-13
5
If In Years To Come
Noah Webster's Library
Dorothy Parker's Poetry
N
"MERCURY THEATRE. The Cricket and guest star with Jimmy presents the fifth in the series of broadcasts. Music bv Bernard Herrmann orchestra."
41-10-20
6
Romance
Kubila Khan
The Prisoner Of Assiut
N
41-11-03
7
Wild Oranges
N
41-11-10
8
That's Why I Left You
The Maysville Minstrel
N
41-11-17
9
The Hitchhiker
A Sonnet From The Portugese
N
41-11-24
10
A Farewell To Arms
N
41-12-01
11
Wilber Brown
Habitat Brooklyn
Something's Going To Happen To Henry
N
41-12-08
12
Symptoms Of Being 35
Leaves Of Grass
N


41-12-22
13
The Happy Prince

Y
[Christmas Program]
41-12-29
14
There Are Frenchmen And Frenchmen
N
"9:00 p.m.—MERCURY THEATER. Rita Hayworlh with Orson Welles in an original comedy entitled "There Are Frenchmen and Frenchmen.""
42-01-05
15
The Garden Of Allah
N
42-01-12
16
The Apple Tree
Y
42-01-19
17
My Little Boy
Y
42-01-26
18
The Happy Hypocrite
N
"John Barrymore of the profile, the Front Page and the great acting talent and the beauteous Maureen O'Sullivan join the Mercury Theater Players Monday to perform 'The Happy Hypocrite" (KTSA—8 p. m.). "The Happy Hypocrite," presents Barryrmore as Sir George Hall, a wealthy reprobate, living In England. Affianced to a Russian dancer, he encounters and falls In love with Miss O'Sullivan"
42-02-02
19
Between Americans
N







Hello Americans promotion from CBS' 1942 Annual Report

Mercury Theatre's Hello, Americans Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
42-11-15
1
Introduction to Brazil [Carmen Miranda]
Y
42-11-15 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p. m. — Hello Americans (WBBM): Orson Welles' "Introduction to Brazil," opens new series.
42-11-22
2
The Andes
Y
42-11-21 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Welles Covers
Andes in Second
Show of Series
"By special dramatic license," says Orson Welles, "we'll fly the Andes." The vast mountain range that stretches more than 4,000 miles from Tierre del Fuego to the Isthmus of Panama is the subject of his second "Hello Americans" broadcast Sunday on KGLO CBS from 7 to 7:30 p. m. Producer Welles is to take listeners on a verbal and musical voyage to Cochabamba in Bolivia and then on to La Paz and Lake Titicaca on the Alto Piano. Next, the imaginary flight covers the northwest, with stops at Cuzco in ?eru—former capital of an ancient Inca empire: Quito in Ecuador and Bogota in Colombia. Welles himself visited all the countries of South America recently and paints a colorful picture of our neighbors.
42-11-29
3
The Carribean Islands - Santo Domingo
Y
42-12-06
4
The Alphabet of the Islands - Antilles to Cuba
Y
42-12-05 Mason City Globe-Gazette
OrsonWelles Tells
Tales of Mexico on
"Hello Americans" Spot
Tales of Mexico—the land of gay fiestas, of -romance legends, and of such famous mountain peaks as Popocatepetl, inspiration of a recently popular tune—-provide Orson Welles with his "Hello Americans" subject Sunday on KGLO-CBS from 1 to 7:30 p. m. "Mexico is essentially a region of transition through which one passes gradually from North America info Central America," says the encyclopedia, and Producer Welles captures that spirit of transition for his radio listeners.
42-12-13
5
The Alphabet of the Islands - Calypso to Slavery
Y
42-12-20
6
The Alphabet of the Islands - The Slave, Abednego to Z

Y





42-12-27
7
The 'Bad Will' Ambassador

Y
Christmas Broadcast
43-01-03
SPCL
Ritmos de las Americas No. 1
Y
Tito Guizar substitutes as Host for Orson Welles
43-01-10
8
Tales of Mexico
Y
Dick Joy announces the broadcast as the 8th in the series.
43-01-17
9
The Americas - Feeding The World
Y
43-01-16 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Welles Show
From Hollywood — it's Orson Welles! No further invitation is needed for those seeking good entertainment, Welles' current KGLO CBS show is "Hello, Americans," heard Sunday evening at 7. The masterful young author-producer-actor has once again hit the bull's-eye with this colorful series. "Hello, Americans" is a
salute to our South and Central American neighbors. Music and customs of the several republics are included in Welles' shows. It's no ordinary travelog, however. The inimitable touch of Orson is there, rendering new the old, striking the radio ear with sudden quirks. Welles bases "Hello, Americans" on actual experience. He has traveled South and Central America with his eyes and ears open.
43-01-24
SPCL
Ritmos de las Americas Number 2
Y
Second Special Program with Truman Bradley as announcer and different cast.
43-01-31
10
Pan-Americanism [Simon Bolivar]
Y
[Concluding Program]

43-01-30 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Welles Resumes Salute
Orson Welles, back to the microphone
after being ill a few days, resumes his "Hello, Americans" series on KGLO-CBS Sunday evening at 7 o'clock. The programs salute various of the American republics





Orson Welles' Mercury Radio Almanac Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
44-01-26
1
Guest Groucho Marx
Y
44--1-06 San Mateo Times
Orson Welles has been in the hospital recently with a touch of jaundice . . . Welles, incidentally,
will return to radio on January 13 in his own weekly half-hour variety show, which Standard Oil will sponsor . . .

44-01-06 Soda Springs Sun
All of the casualties on "Suspense," the CBS thriller, aren't confined to the script.
When Orson Welles guest-starred recently, he broke his ankle as he entered the echo chamber, a box-like compartment used to give voices a ghostly quality.

44-01-26 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW--
Orson Welles Show
44-02-02
2
Guest Lionel Barrymore
Y
44-02-02 Tucson Daily Citizen
9:30--Orson Welles--KTUC
44-02-09
3
Guest Ann Sothern
N
44-02-09 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-02-16
4
Guest Robert Benchley
N
44-02-16 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles

44-02-17 Salamanca Republican
Orson Welles Returns
Orson Welles, who recently returned to Hollywood, after recovering from an Illness in New York, to start a Pacific coast program, makes his first appearance in some time on CBS Saturday night. He will be guest of Groucho Marx
44-02-23
5
Guest Hedda Hopper
Y
44-02-23 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-03-01
6
Guest Victor Moore
Y
44-02-29 Reno Evening Gazette
Wednesday--KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-03-08
7
Guest Lucille Ball
Y
44-03-08 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-03-15
8
Guest Charles Laughton
Y
44-03-15 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-03-22
9
Guest Betty Hutton
Y
44-03-22 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-03-29
10
Guest Mary Boland
Y
44-03-29 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-04-05
11
Guest Dennis Day
Y
44-04-05 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-04-12
12
Guest Monty Woolley
Y
44-04-12 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-04-19
13
Guest George Jessel
N
44-04-19 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-04-26
14
Guest Carol Landis
N
44-04-26 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-05-03
15
Guest Lucille Ball
Y
44-05-03 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-05-10
16
Guest Jimmy Durante, Aurora Miranda
N
44-05-10 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-05-17
17
Guest Ann Sothern
Y
44-05-17 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-05-24
18
Guest Lee and Lyn Wilde, Lois Collier
Y
44-05-24 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-05-31
19
Guest Marjorie Reynolds
Y
44-05-31 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-06-07
20
Special D-Day Program
Y
44-06-07 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-06-14
21
Texarkana 5th War Loan Drive Program
Y
44-06-14 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-06-21
22
Guest Martha O'Driscoll
Y
44-06-21 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-06-28
23
Guest Lynn Bari
Y
44-06-28 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-07-05
24
Guest Lana Turner
Y
44-07-05 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-07-12
25
Guest Susan Hayward

Y
44-07-12 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-07-19
26
Guest Ruth Terry
Y
44-07-19 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-07-26
27
Title Unknown
N
44-07-26 Oakland Tribune
9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-08-02
28
Title Unknown
N
44-08-01 Oakland Tribune
Wednesday--9:30--KQW
Orson Welles Show
44-08-09
29
Title Unknown
N
44-08-09 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-08-16
30
Title Unknown
N
44-08-16 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-08-23
31
Title Unknown
N
44-08-23 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-08-30
32
Title Unknown
N
44-08-30 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-09-06
33
Title Unknown
N
44-09-06 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-09-13
34
Title Unknown
N
44-09-13 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-09-20
35
Title Unknown
N
44-09-19 Reno Evening Gazette
Wednesday--KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-09-27
36
Title Unknown
N
44-09-27 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-10-04
37
Title Unknown
N
44-10-04 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-10-11
38
Title Unknown
N
44-10-10 Reno Evening Gazette
Wednesday--KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-10-18
39
Title Unknown
N
44-10-18 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles
44-10-25
40
Title Unknown
N
44-10-25 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles

44-10-25 Reno Evening Gazette
WELLES BETTER
NEW YORK, Oct. 25. (UP)—Actor-Producer Orson Welles, ill at his hotel with a throat infection, has "passed all danger, and now it is just a matter of convalescence," Jack Leighter, his manager announced.
44-11-01
41
Title Unknown
N
44-11-01 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles

44-11-08
42
Title Unknown
N
44-11-08 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles

44-11-15
43
Title Unknown
N
44-11-15 Reno Evening Gazette
KNX--9:30
Orson Welles

44-11-22
--
--






The Mercury Summer Theatre Of The Air Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
46-06-07
1
Around The World In Eighty Days
Y
Premiere Program; CBS; Fridays, 8:00 p.m.
(8 pm) . . . Orson Welles' "Mercury Summer Theater" premieres with the current Broadway extravaganza "Around the World," as the first
presentation (8-8:30 p.m.).
46-06-14
2
The Count Of Monte Cristo
Y
"Orson Welles presents an adaptation of Alexander Dumas' novel of intrigue and adventure, "The Count of Monte Cristo," on the "Mercury Summer Theater" at 8 p. m. Welles plays the title role of the classic tale, Edmund Dantes, the French sailor who is falsely imprisoned, escapes after 20 years, finds a fabulous fortune, and lives to attain great power and complete vengeance for his early sufferings."
46-06-21
3
The Hitchhiker
Y
Announced as Les Miserables in some listings and Hitchhiker in others.
Lucille Fletcher's Hitchhiker is actually broadcast.
46-06-28
4
Jane Eyre
Y
"Orson Welles star of the Mercury Summer Theater, appears in a radio adaptation of "Jane Eyre," classic novel of 19th century England, at 8 p. m. "Jane Eyre" is the story-of an overpowering love. Jane, an orphan, obtains a position as a governess and falls in love with her employer, an arrogant and wealthy aristocrat named Rochester. They are about to be married when Jane discovers he already has a wife, who is insane. Jane runs away. Several months later she is awakened one night by a cry for help, and although he is hundreds of miles away, she recognizes the voice as that of Rochester. She returns to find that Rochester's wife has been killed in a fire that has crippled and blinded him. Despite these tragic events, Jane marries him and they find happiness '"
46-07-05
5
A Passenger To Bali
Y
46-07-12
6
The Search For Henri Lefevre
Y
"Mercury Summer Theater: Orson Welles and the Mercury Summer Theater present "The Search for Henri Le Fevre," by Lucille Fletcher, at 8 p.m. Welles is actor-producer-director of the Mercury Summer Theater. Bernard Hermann's concert orchestra provides the musical interludes."
46-07-19
7
Life With Adam
Y
46-07-26
8
The Moat Farm Murder
Y
46-08-02
9
The Golden Honeymoon
Y
46-08-09
10
Hell On Ice
Y
46-08-16
11
Abednego, The Slave
Y
46-08-23
12
I'm A Fool
The Tell-Tale Heart
Y
Two stories
46-08-30
13
Moby Dick
Y
46-09-06
14
The Apple Tree
Y
46-09-13
15
King Lear
Y






Mercury Theatre Biographies




George Orson Welles
(Director, Scenarist, Actor, Producer, Narrator)
Stage, Screen, Radio and Television Actor, Author, Poet, Artist, Magician, Pianist, Producer, Director
(1915-1985)

Birthplace: Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Education: The Todd School, Chicago, IL, U.S.A.

Radiography:

1936 Musical Reveries
1936 The March Of Time
1936 Columbia Workshop
1937 Les Miserables
1937 Shakespeare Festival
1937 The Shadow
1938 The Mercury Theatre On The Air
1938 The Silver Theatre
1938 Campbell Playhouse
1939 Columbia Masterworks' The Merchant Of Venice
1940 This Is Radio (for New York World's Fair)
1940 A Discussion Between H. G. Wells and Orson Welles
1940 The Rudy Vallee Sealtest Show
1941 Front Page Drama
1941 Forecast
1941 The Orson Welles Theatre
1941 We Hold These Truths
1941 The Cavalcade Of America
1942 Treasury Star Parade
1942 Ceiling Unlimited
1942 Suspense
1942 Information Please
1942 The Texaco Star Theatre
1942 Hello Americans
1942 The Radio Reader's Digest
1943 The Jack Benny Program
1943 Reading Out Loud
1943 The Pepsodent Show
1943 The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
1944 Radio Almanac
1944 The Dinah Shore Program
1944 The Lux Radio Theatre
1944 Fifth War Loan Drive
1944 The Radio Hall Of Fame
1944 The Charlie McCarthy Show
1944 Now Is The Time
1944 This Is My Best
1944 Stop Or Go
1944 G. I. Journal
1945 Command Performance
1945 Fourteen August, A Message For The Day Of Victory
1945 Armed Forces V-J Program
1945 The Victory Chest Program
1946 The Danny Kaye Show
1946 The Fred Allen Show
1946 The Mercury Summer Theatre
1946 The Bill Stern Colgate Sports Newsreel
1946 The Orson Welles Program [ABC]
1947 The Esquire Jazz Concert
1950 This Is The U. N.
1951 The Lives Of Harry Lime
1952 The Black Museum
1954 Anthology
1954 The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1955 The Ed Sullivan Show
1956 Tomorrow
1956 Biography In Sound
1972 The Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1974 The Dick Cavett Show
1975 The Tom Snyder Show
1976 NBC: The First Fifty Years
1983 Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Story Of The Juggler Of Our Lady
Adventures Of A Quarter

Orson Welles, ca. 1938
Orson Welles, ca. 1937

Welles publicity photo, ca. 1939
Welles publicity photo, ca. 1939

Welles rehearses with Mercury Theatre Players, ca. 1938
Welles rehearses with Mercury Theatre Players, ca. 1938

Welles and wife Virginia Nicholson, ca. 1938
Welles and wife Virginia Nicholson, ca. 1938

Welles' second book with collaborator Roger Hill, ca 194
Welles' second book with collaborator Roger Hill, ca 1941

Welles' The Mercury Shakespeare book inside plate from 1941
Welles' The Mercury Shakespeare book inside plate from 1941

A Welles sketch for The Mercury Shakespeare book
A Welles sketch for The Mercury Shakespeare book.

Welles rehearses Mercury Theatre for its next play the day after The War of The Worlds broadcast, Oct. 31, 1938
Welles rehearses Mercury Theatre for its next play the day after The War of The Worlds broadcast, Oct. 31, 1938

Welles is quizzed by reporters after The War of the Worlds broadcast
Welles is quizzed by reporters after The War of the Worlds broadcast.
Tall, husky Welles, taking a meeting with a collaborator, ca. 1942
Tall, husky Welles, taking a meeting with a collaborator, ca. 1942

Welles as Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, ca. 1937
Welles as Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, ca. 1937

Orson Welles, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson record a BBC broadcast of Sherlock Holmes, ca. 1948
Orson Welles, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson record a BBC broadcast of Sherlock Holmes, ca. 1948

Welles assesses a set for a Stage production, ca. 1972
Welles assesses a set for a Stage production, ca. 1972

Welles as The Third Man, walks into the mist, ca. 1949
Welles as The Third Man, walks into the mist, ca. 1949

"I started at the top and worked down."
--Orson Welles (1981)

Frank, prophetic, revealing words from a man most experts consider one of the great artistic geniuses of the 20th Century. There's no disputing his genius--at every endeavor he ever set his hand or mind to. George Orson Welles was born to a very successful inventor and a gifted, beautiful concert pianist. It's no wonder he was equipped as well as he was to excel at every Performing Arts challenge he ever attempted.

Already a child prodigy in multiple disciplines -- art, the piano, and magic -- he lost his mother at the age of nine. Welles' father took him on a world tour for the next six years. Then his father died when Welles was fifteen. He became the ward of a family friend, Dr. Maurice Bernstein, in Chicago.

Upon graduating from The Todd School in 1931, Welles decided to foregoe College for the present and instead take a sketching tour of Ireland, his ancestral home. Once in the U.K., Welles attempted to enter the London Stage, then returned to the U.S. to attempt to enter the Broadway Stage. Unsuccessful in both Drama centers, Welles' wanderlust took him to Morroco and Spain. It's reported that he even attempted bull-fighting while in Spain.

Coaxed back from Europe, friends Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woolcott got him a tryout with Katherine Cornell's road company. It was while with Katherine Cornell that Welles made his Broadway Stage debut as Tybalt in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1934). Also in 1934, Welles directed his first short film, The Hearts of Age, and married his first wife, Virginia Nicholson, who later acted with him in Mercury Theatre.

While on tour with Katherine Cornell and then William Kane he collaborated with fellow Todd School alumnus and Headmaster, Roger Hill to write Everybody's Shakespeare, a book containing acting treatments of The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night. Welles and Hill collaborated on another book in 1941. But it was Katherine Cornell's influence on Welles that eventually led to the dramatically novel approaches he took to the Classics. Cornell's updated treatments of both Romeo and Juliet and The Barretts of Wimpole Street were considered quite avant garde for their day. Indeed it was his impatience with Cornell in helping further his career that led him to work with William Kane back in Chicago.

In Chicago, Welles teamed with other Todd School alumni to mount a drama festival of his own with local actors, Dublin's Gate Theatre actors Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards, and several Broadway stage artists he'd met during his first abortive attempt to break into the New York Stage. The festival was an unexpected success and caught the attention of John Houseman who was then working with the Federal Theatre Project under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration.

Houseman's current project was working with the Negro Theatre Unit of the Federal Theatre Project in mounting an all-Negro production of Macbeth, set in Haiti. The players of the Negro Theatre Unit were primarily comprised of actors and technicians from Harlem's American Negro Theatre. The production was heralded by the public and critics alike and toured the U.S. under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project. Still only 20, Welles was finally being hailed as a Theatre prodigy.

Though having already performed in Radio during 1935, Welles' first lead in Radio came with 1936's Musical Reveries, a fifteen-minute variety-drama format wherein Welles' segment comprised drama and poetry readings. Welles and John Houseman formed the Mercury Theatre in 1937, mounting one of Broadway's most controversial treatments of Julius Caesar. Drawing on his experience with Katherine Cornell, Welles made the Shakespeare classic into a contemporary exploration of Mussolini's fascist Italy, with the sparsest of sets, fascist military costuming, and only dramatic lighting and sound to add to the atmosphere. Both heralded and despised by traditional Stage critics, the notoriety got Welles and Houseman an opportunity to air a serial presentation of Les Miserables (1937) over The Mutual Broadcasting System. Running for seven weeks of installments during the Summer of 1937, the program was a resounding success and introduced the Mercury Theatre repertory ensemble to the nation.

The success of both Les Miserables and Welles' performances in The Shadow (1937) got Welles and Houseman a shot at a prime time CBS commitment to nine, hour-long Mercury Theatre productions of Welles' chosing, conceptually titled, "First Person, Singular." The concept envisioned Welles narrating a series of productions in his own words and from his own perspective (e.g. in the first person, singular, or 'I'). The first nine broadcasts met with broad acceptance and critical acclaim, resulting in CBS extending the commitment for thirteen more installments.

It was with that second set of programs that Welles broadcast the Mercury Theatre's most famous and remarkable production, The War of The Worlds, a novel by H.G. Wells that had been brilliantly adapted for Halloween Eve by Howard Koch, one of the Mercury Theatre writers. The production and aftermath of the production are chronicled in detail above, but The War of the Worlds catapulted Orson Welles into the realm of Performing Arts legend within forty-eight hours of that historic broadcast.

While Welles did go on to even further accomplishments in the Performing Arts, it goes without saying that Orson Welles will always be equally viewed as both a Radio and Film Legend. Anyone with an even passing awarness of The Golden Age of Radio will undoubtedly mention Orson Welles in any discussion of Radio from the 1930s to the 1950s. Welles' imprint on the history of that era is part of the very fiber of Radio History--and not simply for his Shadow (1938) appearances, his various Mercury Theatre productions over the years, or his The Lives of Harry Lime (1951) performances.

Radio is an aural medium. Welles' genius was in shaping every phrase he uttered over Radio with an ear to what ultimately came out of the radio set or speaker at the other end. Welles knew radio technology and knew how to best employ it for maximum effect. He accomplished the same in Film. Studying both the available technology--and techniques--then maximizing their results at the receiving end, whether that was simply ears and imagination or eyes, ears and imagination. It was one's imagination that Welles sought to connect with. From the elaborate dramatic tempo and framing of a suspenseful spoken phrase, to the most elaborate crane shot in Film, Welles played and tinkered with the medium at hand until he acheived his desired effect.

There's no disputing Welles' genius, nor that he possessed the archetypal temperament of a genius. He demanded perfection--from himself and from those he worked with. And his demands were often both quixotic and onerous. But irrespective of the egos he bent and the frustration he engendered in his collaborators, Welles produced Art. Brilliant Art. In every medium he undertook.

There's no room on this page for an exhaustive biography of Orson Welles. And even if we chose to undertake such a biography the warts and missteps of Welles' career would invariably distract attention from a fair assessment of Welles' enduring impact. We're neither intellectually equipped nor at a level from which to judge Orson Welles' life. We determined that, frank and realistic to the end, Welles alone, was best equipped to make those kinds of judgements.

We opened with Welles' own assessment of his performing life. It's both brutal and honest. Welles' life after Mercury Theatre and both Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) wasn't idle in the least, but beset with personal and financial distractions, Welles never quite recaptured the consistent brilliance and genius of his first twenty years on the public stage.

Welles never seemed to find the time for all the projects he wanted to pursue, but he made the time to leave the world in awe of his extraordinary talent. More importantly, he left a legacy of excellence and innovation in every endeavor he did undertake, inspiring hundreds of thousands of younger performing artists to reach for the unattainable and--occasionally--actually grasp it, as George Orson Welles had.




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