The Presenting Charles Boyer Radio Program
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Charles Boyer as Pepe le Moko in 1938's Algiers
Poster for Algiers (1938) in which Charles Boyer portrayed Pepe le Moko
KTSM spot ad for Presenting Charles Boyer from October 19 1950
Billboard review of Presenting Charles Boyer from July 1 1950
By the late 1940s international scoundrels had become almost formulaic anti-heros in Radio drama. Beginning with Raffles, The Amateur Cracksman (1934), and progressing through to Orson Welles' characterizations of 'the third man', Harry Lime (1951)--and well beyond, Radio listeners have been treated to all manner of charming, duplicitous, unrepentant rogues throughout the Golden Age of Radio:
- 1934 Raffles, The Amateur Cracksman
- 1940 The Saint
- 1942 Raffles
- 1944 Boston Blackie
- 1948 The Lone Wolf
- 1951 Bold Venture's Slate Shannon
- 1951 The Lives of Harry Lime
All of these sympathetic rogues came to Radio from Film, in one form or another. Those rogues that didn't make it to Radio series' of their own, such as Arsène Lupin and Pepe le Moko were frequently brought to Radio via individual episodes in other drama and mystery anthologies of the era.
The uniting characteristic of most of these anti-heros was their Robin Hood-like propensity for fleecing the rich to the advantage of the poor, disadvantaged or weak. The formula worked. Indeed, many of the popular mystery, crime and foreign intrigue programs of the era also provided a popular anti-hero foil or sidekick for the series' hero: Pegon Zeldschmidt of The Man Called 'X' and 'Eugor' of Rogue's Gallery spring to mind. They worked because they were entertaining. Their duplicity was, for the most part, kept to an immoral minimum for the era. They were the type of character you'd love to have a beer with, while at the same time keeping your hand on your wallet--or your gal--the entire time.
NBC tests the anti-hero formula as The Adventures of Marcel
In retrospect, Charles Boyer should have been an inspired choice for a popular Radio anti-hero. He'd already portrayed the notorious Pepe le Moko in Algiers (1938) and several other Film scoundrels and intrigue artists of the era. A summer replacement for Johnson Wax's Fibber McGee and Molly, the series was originally scheduled for a 13-week summer run only.
The series was auditioned as The Adventures of Marcel. 'Marcel' was to be the archetypal suave international rogue. On the pretext of a wager, Marcel (Charles Boyer) cajoles a well-known writer, Mr. Ramsey (Raymond Burr), into gambling the viability of one of Marcel's yarns against $200 and the price of their meal together. In addition to Raymond Burr, the audition is wonderfully supported with Lurene Tuttle, Peter Leeds and Stacy Harris.
Characterized as a mystery-comedy drama, by the time the series reached NBC's Summer premiere on June 20, 1950, 'Marcel' had become 'Michel' and Mr. Ramsey the writer had become Bart Conway (Hanley Stafford) the writer. Bart Conway was scripted to become Michel's erstwhile biographer.
The framing premise for the audition script was retained, but the plot changed from a frame-up for murder and the theft of $150,000 worth of pearls aboard the ocean liner "The Queen of Sheba," to an elaborate scheme to steal a famous painting. The dynamics between Michel and his 'biographer' were preserved in the production run. The premise held up well, providing a flash-back type of script, much in the fashion of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, The Case Book of Gregory Hood, or The Adventures of Sam Spade.
And so the series of flash-backs proceeded, powered only by Michel's insatiable hunger for the good life, and Bart Conway's success in selling Michel's stories to magazines and newspapers back in the U.S.. The tab for these adventures was always the same: $200 per yarn and the price of the meal at an expensive restaurant. Thus, as long as Conway's editors remained pleased with Michel's yarns, Michel could keep spinning them--unless of course, Presenting Charles Boyer failed to obtain a sponsor.
Decision time came and passed for NBC. As indicated in the clip below, NBC was commited to continue to air both Tales of the Texas Rangers and Presenting Charles Boyer--sustained--if necessary. When Fibber McGee and Molly and Johnson's Wax returned to reclaim their spot in NBC's Tuesday night line up, NBC moved Presenting Charles Boyer to a Thursday evening spot.
Billboard magazine announcement of Presenting Charles Boyer carrying forward to the Fall Season of 1950
From the September 14th, 1950 edition of The Clearfield Progress:
By GENE HANDSAKER
HOLLYWOOD -- It bores Charles Boyer to be classified as a great lover. He always has resented it. "There is a connotation of pretense, vanity, and good looks that the male audience, including myself, resents," he says.
Yet is is not correct to say that Boyer is through with love stories.
"I'm always being wrongly quoted," he complained. "Certainly, as you grow older, there is a type of love story that you have to eliminate from your slate. Some, the boy-meets-girl stories, the ga-ga love stories with kisses and clinches, should be played by the younger actors.
"But when the word 'love' is pronounced in connection with a film, I won't say, 'It's not for me.' It will have to suit a man of my age--51 this Aug. 28. "It must be an adult, solid, real type of love story. I think people should play their age.
"There can be love stories for all ages. There is a type of love that after 20 years of marriage is deeper and stronger than puppy love between a boy of 18 and a girl of 16."
The French-born star played a Jesuit priest in his latest film, the unreleased "The First Legion." Since then he has taken to the airwaves in a weekly drama (NBC Tuesdays) called "Presenting Charles Boyer." He stars as a Frenchman "who has loved a lot" and tells his experiences to an American writer (Hanley Stafford.)
"After the stage, radio is the most satisfying medium," Boyer declared. "There is a chance to sustain a characterization. And yet"--he shrugged-"after it is off the air it is over for good." He wants to do television on film, not live, when there are too many chances for mistakes and too little time to rehearse.
Boyer wants to be "a character actor to the best of my ability." He played Napoleon with Garbo in "Conquest," a madman who sought to drive his wife (Bergman) insane, to get her jewels, in "Gaslight," and a wife-killer in "All This and Heaven, Too."
And I had a feeling that my questions about lover-roles were, to Boyer, a considerable bore.
From the October 5th, 1950 edition of the Boston Herald:
Stories of Damsels in Distress
Provide Grist for Boyer Mill
By JOHN CROSBY
I approach the Charles Boyer show with considerable nervousness because I suspect that it is not aimed in my direction, that it is aimed at the feminine side of my household and everyone else's household. Criticizing Charles Boyer is a good deal like expressing opinions on a lady's hat. I have no special talent for it and, even if I had, no woman would give it credence.
Bear that in mind, will you, while I wrestle with this unlikely task. "Presenting Charles Boyer" is on the N.B.C. radio network at 10:30 P.M. E.S.T. Thursdays. Ask your father what that word in black face type means, junior. It used to be fairly common usage. The special distinction of the Boyer show is that its hero behaves toward women with preposterous gallantry. As any fool who knows his way around the kilocycles is well aware, the proper behavior for a radio hero toward a woman is to belt her one in the kisser and, if she gets too far out of hand, strangle her.
In that regard at least, Mr. Boyer is refreshingly different, if only as an example to the kiddies. Mr. Boyer kisses the ladies' hands, bows from the waist, buys them violets and talks of a species of rich, complimentary prose that few other actors could get out of their mouths without suffering acute embarrassment. His role is that of a boulevardier down on his luck.
He manages to support himself rather handsomely by the telling they story of his life in small chunks to one of those writer fellows who then garnishes the tale with adverbs and sells it to American magazines as fiction. For each story, Mr. Boyer collects 200 clams. In some cases, I feel that he is wildly over-paid. But in others--well, he knows some pretty good stories in each of which, we are told, he played the leading role.
I haven't heard all of Mr. Boyer's yarns but each one I have heard has conspicuously featured a damsel in distress. Right there you can see how different the Boyer show is. The damsel-in-distress gambit has been seriously neglected in recent fiction--certainly in radio fiction--because damsels don't get in distress very often any more. Your modern damsel is not easily distressed even when the biggest hoodlum in town has a gun in her ribs and is propelling her in the general direction of eternity. At least that's how things are on the radio, and all I know about life I've learned from the radio.
Always in Distress
Mr. Boyer's girls, on the other hand, are almost constantly in distress. They are supporting their sick mothers. Or their husbands are in jail and they are endeavoring to preserve the illusions of their small sons who are dying of scrofula. Just as they are on the brink of despair or jail or death or whatever, Mr. Boyer happens along and rescues them to the accompaniment of rich Gallic gallantries of speech. If all this sounds a little over-ripe in sentiment for your tastes, then the Boyer show is not for you.
In that case, you are probably one of those sour individuals like me who consider Charles Boyer a state of mind (or lack of it) that women get into. It's rather a pity, too. Charles Boyer is a very fine actor. He has almost never been given an opportunity to demonstrate his capabilities because of this myth perpetuated by some Hollywood press agent.
At one point, Mr. B. got himself tangled with an apparition, supposedly the ghost of Marie Antoinette. Even Marie was not proof against the potency of Hollywood press-agentry. "You are a most uncommon commoner," she murmured, fingering him. That's the best example I have, both of the sort of thing that goes on on the Boyer show and of the prose style in which it is encased.
For the Fall 1950 broadcasts of Presenting Charles Boyer, Herb Butterfield assumed the role of Bart Conway. The premise remained the same in all other respects, while NBC impatiently continued to seek a sponsor to bankroll the pricey 30-minute feature. As it transpired, NBC's patience ran out sometime around the 5th of October, at which point NBC announced that October 26th would be Presenting Charles Boyer's last episode.
Cancellation of the Radio feature certainly had little effect on Charles Boyer's spectacular career. As it is, he probably breathed a quiet sigh of relief that he could move on to other projects.
Having listened to all of the circulating episodes, it's regrettable that Presenting Charles Boyer couldn't find a sponsor. The scripts were clever, compelling, well paced and very well performed. The only discernable shortcoming of the series was a lack of the rock'em-sock'em type of action that mystery fans of the era had become accustomed to hearing. Even though the broadcasters and sponsors of the era had agreed to keep blood and guts thrillers of the era on a low boil, the more successful action thrillers of the era continued to sneak a great deal of mayhem past the network censors--even if that relegated the programs to a late night curfew spot in the network's line up.
Though we were unable to determine the talent costs for Presenting Charles Boyer, we'd guesstimate that it would have been between $4000 and $5000 per episode--or perhaps even a bit higher. That was a pretty stiff tab for 1950 Radio, during the peak of the turning point at which sponsors and networks alike had agreed to cut back on production costs over Radio. That may have been the ultimate reason NBC decided to cut its losses at twenty installments. Though it wasn't uncommon for networks to foot the tab for as many as twenty-six installments of an otherwise promising production, the overwhelming number of network sustained programming rarely endured beyond thirteen installments.
What remains of the series are twenty fascinating international mysteries with a decidedly humourous bent, starring Charles Boyer in his only dramatic lead in a Radio series. That would have been historically noteworthy in itself. But in fact, the series was wonderfully well written, crisply directed and brilliantly performed. All in all, a wonderful, often overlooked gem from The Golden Age of Radio.
We could undoubtedly say more, but that would be another story
. . . and another $200.
|The Adventures of Marcel
||Anthology of Golden Age Radio Mystery-Comedy Dramas
||Audition Date(s) and Title(s):
||50-06-xx 00 The Adventure of The Queen of Sheba
||Premiere Date(s) and Title(s):
||50-06-20 01 Mr Smith's Painting
||Run Dates(s)/ Time(s):
||50-06-20 to 50-10-26; NBC;
||Johnson Wax; Sustaining
||Nat Wolff [Producer/Director/Writer]
Donald J. Wilson
Ernest Vajda, Clement Scott Gilbert [Character Creators]
William J. Locke [Character Creator]
||Charles Boyer, Eileen Prince, Raymond Burr, Stacy Harris, Peter Leeds, Rolfe Sedan, Donald Morrison, Hanley Stafford, Veola Vonn, Alma Lawton, Joseph Kearns, John Stevenson, Fritz Feld, Alec Harford, Lurene Tuttle, Sheldon Leonard, Lou Merrill, Stanley Waxman, Betty Moran, Herb Butterfield, Jane Morgan, Jeffrey Silver, Theodore Von Eltz, Joan Banks, Wilms Herbert, Don Diamond, Ken Peters, Willard Waterman, Mary Jane Croft, Lucille Alex, Jeanne Bates, Hy Averback, Tudor Owen, Betty Warren, Lucille Alex, Marna Kineely, Gloria Gordon, Sarah Selby, William Conrad, Ken Peters, Kay Stewart, Margo Powers, Paul Frees, Irene Tedrow, Dorothy Larson, Victor Rodman, Joan Lorring, Larry Dobkin, Jeanette Scott, Paul Frees, Stacey Harris, Barney Phillips, Norma Jean Nielsen, Anne Whitfield, Jeffrey Silver, Vivi Janis, Peter Leeds, Herb Vigran
||Michel Bonet . . . or simply 'Michel' [Charles Boyer]; Mr. Ramsey [Raymond Burr]; Bart Conway [Hanley Stafford and Herb Butterfield]
||'Michel' Bonet, an international adventurer, raconteur, and scoundrel; Bart Conway, an American writer.
||Nat Wolff, Milton Merlin, Leonard St. Clair, Barbara Merlin, True Boardman, Jerome Lawrence, Robert E. Lee, David Lee Robeson
||Frank Barton, Doug Gourlay, Don Stanley
||Estimated Scripts or
||Episodes in Circulation:
||Total Episodes in Collection:
|RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide and Billboard magazine.
Notes on Provenances:
The most helpful provenances were the log of the radioGOLDINdex, Billboard magazine, and newspaper listings.
All of the Usual OTR Suspects have visited themselves on the circulating canon of Presenting Charles Boyer:
- Several circulating exemplars are circulating with intentionly incorrect file names and tags.
- Almost all of the circulating exemplars are incorrectly titled.
- Virtually all of the circulating recordings showing an encode rate of 32 kpbs or less are actually fake stereoized. That is, they were encoded as stereo from two identical 16 bit/16khz monaural recording tracks. There was almost no fidelity left in the recordings to work with.
- They were 'pegged out' resulting in clipping off as much as 50% of the original fidelity of the source recording.
- Half were arbitrarily upencoded to 128 bit encodes, simply amplifying the poor fidelity.
- Several of the butchered, stereoized circulating recordings were also slowed down due apparently to tape stretch. We speed corrected them.
- All of the archive.org recordings show these regrettable characteristics
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The Presenting Charles Boyer Radio Program Biographies
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor
Birthplace: Figeac, Lot, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Education: London University
1940 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1940 Woodbury's Hollywood Playhouse
1941 Kraft Music Hall
1941 Lux Radio Theatre
1941 The Treasury Hour
1942 Cavalcade Of America
1942 The Pepsodent Show
1942 Towards the Century Of the Common Man
1943 Lady Esther screen Guild Theatre
1943 The Charley McCarthy Show
1943 Cavalcade For Victory
1943 Silver Theater
1943 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show
1944 The Amos 'n' Andy Show
1944 Mail Call
1944 Democratic National Committee Program
1944 Radio Hall Of Fame
1945 Command Performance
1945 The Eddie Cantor Show
1945 Hollywood Victory Show
1945 V-E Day Special
1946 Maxwell House Coffee Time
1946 This Is Hollywood
1947 Family Theater
1947 United Nations Charter Anniversary Messages
1947 Hollywood Fights Back
1947 Kraft Music Hall
1947 The Jimmy Durante Show
1949 Theatre Guild On the Air
1949 The World's Greatest Mother
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 The Hotpoint Holiday Hour
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 Hallmark Playhouse
1950 Document A/777
1950 The Big Show
1950 The United Nations Today
1951 Hedda Hopper's Hollywood
1955 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
Charles Boyer circa 1930
Players Cigarettes' Charles Boyer card
|From the August 29, 1978-08-29 Galveston Daily News:
Charles Boyer Committed
Suicide, Examiner Says
PHOENIX, Ariz. (UPI) -- Actor Charles Boyer, apparently despondent over the death of his wife and his own declining health, committed suicide with an overdose of barbiturates, medical examiners said Monday.
Boyer, who would have been 79 Monday, died Saturday after being found unconscious at the home of a friend in nearby Scottsdale. His wife, Patricia, died two days earlier of cancer at the age of 68.
Private graveside rites for the French-born Boyer were slated Monday at Inglewood, Calif.
An autopsy performed by Dr. Thomas Jarvis, assistant county medical examiner, revealed a high level of Seconal in Boyer's blood.
Eloy Ysasi, an investigator for Jarvis' office, said there was an "extremely high level ... three times the lethal amount."
Ysasi said that the death was termed a suicide because of the barbiturates, the fact that Boyer decided not to attend his wife's funeral Saturday and because Boyer had health problems himself.
Boyer was married in February 1934. The couple's only child, Michael, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in 1965 at the age of 22.
|Hanley Stafford [Alfred John Austin]
Birthplace: Hanley, Staffordshire, U.K.
1930 The Count Of Monte Cristo
1932 The World Adventurer's Club
1932 Strange Adventures In Strange Lands
1932 Last Of the Mohicans
1932 Police Headquarters
1932 Tarzan Of the Apes
1932 The Origin Of Superstition
1933 Chandu the Magician
1933 Lives Of the Great
1934 Tarzan and the Diamond of A'Sher
1934 Calling All Cars
1935 That Was the Year
1935 Palmolive Players
1935 Front Page Drama
1935 The Further Interplanetary Adventures Of Flash Gordon
1936 Goodrich Silvertown Time
1936 The Dodge Program
1936 Speed Gibson Of the International Secret Police
1937 John Barrymore Theater
1937 Amos 'n' Andy
1937 Big Town
1937 Special Assignment
1937 The Cinnamon Bear
1938 Frontier Fighters
1938 Good News of 1938
1938 Captains Of Industry
1938 Log Cabin Jamboree
1938 Daredevils Of Hollywood
1938 Town Hall Tonight
1939 Good News Of 1939
1939 Your Hit Parade
1939 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1939 The Shadow Of Fu Manchu
1940 Good News Of 1940
1940 Woodbury's Hollywood Playhouse
1940 Maxwell House Coffee Time
1941 Miss Pinkerson, Inc.
1941 Barrell Of Fun
1942 Command Performance
1942 It's Post Toasties Time
1943 It's Time To Smile
1943 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1943 Treasury Star Parade
1943 Mail Call
1944 The Fanny Brice-Frank Morgan Show
1944 Radio Hall Of Fame
1944 Three Of A Kind
1945 The Eddie Cantor Show
1946 The Baby Snooks Show
1946 Stars In the Afternoon
1947 National Air Travel Club
1947 Here's To Veterans
1947 The Right To Live
1947 Operation Nightmare
1948 Just Outside Hollywood (Audition)
1948 Guest Star
1948 America Calling
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 The American Challenge
1950 The Halls Of Ivy
1950 The Big Show
1953 The Railroad Hour
1957 The Ruggles
To the Rear, March
The Loan Ranger
Makers Of History
Guest Critic Series
Arm Chair Romance
Yarns For Yanks
A Woman's World
Hanley Stafford as Lancelot 'Daddy' Higgins with Fanny Brice from Baby Snooks
Fanny Brice with Hanley Stafford
Hanley Stafford as J.C. Dithers on Blondie circa 1941
|Hanley Stafford was involved in American network Radio from it's very inception as a viable commercial medium. From 1928 until his death in 1969, Hanley Stafford lived breathed and slept American Radio in one form or another. Indeed, long after the Golden Age of Radio had all but waned permanently, Hanley Stafford kept his hand in Radio in one fashion or another, in spite of his increasing success in Film and Television.
One of Radio's most versatile--and ubiquitous--voices, there were precious few genuinely popular Radio programs during the entire thirty year span of The Golden Age of Radio that didn't feature Hanley Stafford's voice talent in some fashion or another. Indeed, though most often cited for his long association with Baby Snooks, Hanley Stafford was even more regularly involved with many of the action/adventure programs from the earliest days of network Radio.
Programs such as The Count of Monte Cristo, The World Adventurers' Club, The Last of The Mohicans, Tarzan, The Origin of Superstition, Chandu the Magician, Calling All Cars, Flash Gordon, and Speed Gibson, all featured Hanley Stafford's voice in lead and recurring supporting roles for a full ten years before his notable success in both Baby Snooks and Blondie. From Lord Tennington in Tarzan (1933) t0 heart-tugging characterizations in The Court of Human Relations (1936) to classical Shakespearan roles opposite John Barrymore in Barrymore's Streamlined Shakespeare (1937) to his signature roles in both Baby Snooks and Blondie, Hanley Stafford was never an actor that could be pinned down, nor typecast. That was his genius.
Stafford was also a member of the famous cast of The Cinnamon Bear (1937), virtually all of whom went onto extraordinary individual successes in their own careers. Stafford portrayed as many as five different characters in The Cinnamon Bear, in yet another display of his extraordinaty versatility. Stafford would often portray as many as five or six different characters in a radioplay, while either uncredited or taking credit for only one character.
From comedy to action to adventure to who-dun-its to classic drama, Hanley Stafford became one of Radio's most time-tested, reliable, and ubiquitous voices in Radio. Indeed, Hanley Stafford's Radio career alone shows a versatility and breadth of character roles unmatched by all but a handful of Radio--and Film--history's most versatile talents.
But Stafford later built on that extrordinary Radio success with infrequent, though memorable, performances in Television and Film.
Credited with an estimated 7,000+ appearances over Radio, it goes without saying that Hanley Stafford was one of The Golden Age of Radio's giants. Some might say Stafford stayed too long in Radio. He was clearly attractive enough to pursue Television even further than he had. But one must also consider what it often meant to a true Radioman to be a Radioman throughout the Golden Age of Radio.
And Hanley Stafford was unquestionably a Radioman, from virtually the moment he gained his United States citizenship, until the moment he passed away from a heart attack. Stafford put his heart and soul into Radio and it showed. Indeed, with literally thousands of surviving representative recordings of his appearances, he might arguably be acquiring new Radio fans in greater numbers today than he ever had during The Golden Age of Radio. A more than fitting epitaph to a life devoted to versatile, quality family entertainment.
From the Hayward Daily Review of September 11, 1968:
Dies At 69
HOLLYWOOD (AP) - Baby
Snooks' Daddy is dead.
Hanley Stafford, a veteran character actor in radio and films, died at his home Monday at 69.
For a decade he played Daddy to Fanny Brice as Baby Snooks on radio. Stafford also carried the role of Mr. Dithers Dagwood's boss, on the Blondie radio show.
Born Alfred John Austin, the actor adopted the name of his birthplace Hanley, Staffordshire, England. He became a naturalized American in 1926.
When the two radio shows ended after World War II, Stafford acted in motion pictures. Survivors include his widow, former radio singer and actress Viola Vonn; a son Graham and a sister.
Private funeral services are planned.
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor; Radio Director
Birthplace: Rhode Island, U.S.A.
1934 The Story of Mary Marlin
1938 Wayside Theatre
1939 Kitty Keene, Inc.
1942 Author's Playhouse
1944 Screen Director's Playhouse
1946 The Human Adventure
1946 Grand Marquee
1946 Lights Out
1946 Cavalcade Of America
1946 The Cat (Audition)
1946 Lux Radio Theatre
1946 Dark Venture
1947 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1947 The City
1947 The Whistler
1947 Johnny Madero, Pier 23
1947 Mystery In the Air
1947 All-Str Western Theatre
1947 Ellery Queen
1948 Favorite Story
1948 The First Nighter Program
1948 Let George Do It
1948 The Adventures Of Ellery Queen
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1949 Pat Novak, For Hire
1949 Family Theatre
1949 This Is Your FBI
1949 Night Beat
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1949 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1949 The Halls Of Ivy
1949 Young Love
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Adventures Of Frank Race
1949 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1949 The Railroad Hour
1949 Broadway Is My Beat
1950 Dangerous Assignment
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1950 Hallmark Playhosue
1950 The Line-Up
1950 Presenting Charles Boyer
1950 Tales Of the Texas Rangaers
1950 Mr President
1950 The New Adventures Of Nero Wolfe
1950 The Adventures Of Nero Wolfe
1951 The Amazing Nero Wolfe
1951 The Great Gildersleeve
1951 The Man From Homicide
1951 Wild Bill Hickok
1951 The Roy ROgers Show
1951 The Silent Men
1952 Guest Star
1952 The Pendleton Story
1952 I Was A Communist For the FBI
1952 This Is O'Shea (Audition)
1952 On Stage
1952 Crime Classics
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1953 General Electric Theatre
1953 The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show
1953 Father Knows Best
1954 That's Rich
1954 Stars Over Hollywood
1954 The Freedom Story
1954 You Were There
1954 Life With Luigi
1954 My Little Margie
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1957 Heartbeat Theatre
The Private Practice Of Dr Dana
This Fabulous World
Skippy Hollywood Theatre
Raleigh's Radio Rally
Herb Butterfield directed The Story of Mary Marlin over Chicago's WMAQ (1936)
Herb Butterfield ca. 1957
Herb Butterfield in character as Preacher Jim (upper left) is showcased in a newspaper teaser for 1939's Kitty Keene, Inc. serial melodrama.
|Born in 1895 in Rhode Island, Herbert Butterfield first entered Radio in 1926, appearing in several east coast serial melodramas and revues. His first credited roles came in the late 1930s with frequent appearances as a character actor in most of the more popular dramas of the era. Herb Butterfield also directed the Chicago NBC Key Station's productions of The Story of Mary Marlin (1934). Butterfield's early recurring role as Preacher Jim in the serial drama Kitty Keene, Inc. (1939) first established him as an attractive and reliable co-star.
Upon relocating to California, Butterfield soon proved himself one of the West Coast's finest, most reliable and durable performers, Herb Butterfield became a fixture in most of the early detective and suspense dramas of the Golden Age of Radio. A Mutual-Don Lee player for many years, Herb Butterfield was a regular performer in many of the network's earliest syndicated West Coast productions.
Indeed, Herb Butterfield's very recognizable voice was most associated with virtually every radio noir detective and crime drama aired over Radio. A favorite of Jack Webb, Herb Butterfield appeared in virtually every Jack Webb Radio and Television vehicle he ever produced, invariably playing either a crusty detective or a world-wisened, sympathetic tough. In Ellery Queen's eighth season, Herb Butterfield appeared as Inspector Queen.
A regular on Radio's popular Halls of Ivy, Butterfield portrayed Ivy College Chairman of the Board Clarence Wellman for twenty episodes with the series' stars Ronald Colman and Benita Hume. By then a frequent CBS player, Herb Butterfield appeared in seven of the CBS Radio Workshop (1956-1957) experimental radio broadcasts in a wide variety of roles.
During his career in Radio, Herb Butterfield appeared in over 4,000 episodes. He compiled another forty appearances on Television during a career cut short by his death in 1959 at the age of 64. His last appearance in Television was in the Colgate Theatre comedy production starring Claudette Colbert, September 28, 1958.
One of Radio's more ubiquitous performers, Herb Butterfield's distinctive voice lives on through the thousands of Radio episodes that have survived from the Golden Age or Radio. Consistently endearing, no matter what roles he appeared in, the characteristic fatherly tone of most of his performances hearken back to a time when American society was far more basic, forthright and genuine. Herb Butterfield fit that description to a tee.
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