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Original The Pursuit of Happiness header art

The Pursuit of Happiness Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Pursuit of Happiness

Norman Corwin in his element
Norman Corwin in his element

Burgess Meredith at CBS mike
Burgess Meredith at CBS mike

Paul Robeson at CBS mike
Paul Robeson at CBS mike

Woody Guthrie at CBS mike
Woody Guthrie at CBS mike

Huddie 'Lead Belly' Ledbetter
Huddie 'Lead Belly' Ledbetter

Ethel Barrymore and Walter Hampden
Ethel Barrymore and Walter Hampden

Diminutive Juanita Hall at Columbia mike
Diminutive Juanita Hall at the mike


Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester
Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester


Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong

Background

With this writing we sadly note the passing of one of American Radio's greatest icons--Norman Lewis Corwin (1910-2011). Widely referred to as the "Poet Laureate of Radio," Norman Corwin had, over a continuing seventy-seven year career, created some of Radio, Television, Stage and Film's most innovative, poignant, thought-provoking dramatizations of American Entertainment history. Beginning with The Columbia Network's series of ground-breaking Radio productions, The Columbia Workshop, Norman Corwin was at the forefront of experimental Radio over the following twenty-year run of CBS' remarkable Columbia Presents' series.

Over the series' run, CBS showcased several distinct Corwin projects--in addition to his numerous contributions to the Columbia Workshop series', proper:

As each new series aired, anticipation of Corwin's next project would become even more eagerly anticipated. Working with a core group of CBS' youngest and brightest--including Deems Taylor, Bernard Rogers, Lyn Murray, Mark Warnow, Bernard Herrmann, and Maurice Goldman--Corwin was basically given his head to develop whichever new production that took his interest. Note the inclusion of three of CBS' finest musical talents--Lyn Murray, Mark Warnow, and Bernard Herrmann. The underlying musical accompaniment to virtually all of Corwin's pieces were key to the atmosphere and gravitas associated with the dramatic--or fanciful--arcs of most of Norman Corwin's scripts.

Throughout his storied life, continued retrospectives of Norman Corwin's most effective dramatizations surfaced during critical junctures of America's cultural evolution--especially so during the key years following the onset of the Atomic Age which dramatically affected the balance of power and ideology throughout the World. Corwin's social dramatizations and commentaries were so effective that verbatim retrospectives of his Radio broadcasts resurfaced again in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Indeed, Corwin's universal appeal is touching even more of an audience as the World enters the 21st Century and finds itself beset with a chillingly reminiscent replay of all too many of the social, economic, religious, and political tragedies that plaqued the first half of the 2oth Century. National Public Radio has undertaken several retrospectives of Corwin's body of work and HBO's brilliant winner of the 2005 Oscar® for Best Documentary Short Subject, A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin, also celebrated the career of America's "poet laureate of radio drama."

CBS affords Norman Corwin a fifth major showcase

"Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness . . . of these we sing."

The Pursuit of Happiness was a one-season showcase combining some of Corwin's adaptations with popular, patriotic variety artists and skits of the era. Typical of the overwhelming majority of Corwin's productions, the series was a patriotic celebration of Americans and their heritage. Aired immediately following CBS' weekly Sunday afternoon New York Philharmonic Concert, CBS employed The Pursuit of Happiness as a bumper of sorts since the Philharmonic concerts often ran a bit long--but what a bumper!.

Hosted by Burgess Meredith, who also performed in most of the episodes, the series tagline (above) nicely captured the sense of the series--a variety of celebrations of "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" as interpreted through America's greatest performers, writers, and authors. A CBS sustaining production, The Pursuit of Happiness managed to shoehorn an extraordinary amount of entertainment into its 25 to 30 minute format. The series also showcased an extraordinary number of America's finest performers of the era:

  • Paul Robeson performing the stirring "Ballad for Americans"
  • Woody Guthrie
  • Huddie 'Lead Belly' Ledbetter
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Ethel Barrymore
  • Walter Hampden
  • The Juanita Hall Singers
  • Robert Benchley
  • Walter Huston
  • Raymond Massey
  • Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester
  • Charlie Ruggles
  • Gertrude Niessen
  • Eddie Greene
  • Minerva Pious
  • Danny Kaye
  • Bert Lahr
  • Henry Hull
  • Rex Ingram
  • Orson Welles
  • Ray Collins
  • Gayle Sondergaard

The series also adapted the works of some of America's greatest authors and composers:

  • Authors:
    • Irving Reis
    • Stephen Vincent Benét
    • James Weldon Johnson
    • Edward Everett Hale
    • Thomas Wolfe
    • Raymond Scott
    • George R. Leighton
    • Jean Latouche
    • John Steinbeck
    • John Drinkwater
    • Kurt Weill
    • Maxwell Anderson
    • Paul Hogan
    • Booth Tarkington
    • Horatio Alger
    • William Shakespeare
    • Irving Graham
    • Joseph Gottlieb
    • Thorton Wilder
    • Stephen Kellogg
    • Mitchell Grayson
    • Ring Lardner
    • Langston Hughes
    • Carl Ewald
    • Norman Corwin
    • Sam Locke
    • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    • William Rose Benét
  • Composers:
    • Earl Robinson
    • George Gershwin
    • Lynn Riggs
    • Raymon Naya
    • Jerome Moross
    • Beatrice Kay
    • Lehman Engel
    • George Kleinsinger

The 'of these we sing' component of The Pursuit of Happiness tagline was equally well supported throughout the series' twenty-nine broadcasts. In addition to Lyn Murray and his Chorus, The Pursuit of Happiness featured the choirs or choruses of Juanita Hall, The Revuers, the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet, the Pins and Needles, Elie Siegmeister, and Lehman Engel.

Series Derivatives:

Columbia Workshop; We Hold These Truths; 26 By Corwin; Columbia Presents Corwin
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Patriotic Variety
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 39-10-22 01 Christopher Columbus - Abe Lincoln in Illinois
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 39-10-22 to 40-05-05; CBS
Syndication: CBS
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s): Norman Corwin, Brewster Morgan
Principal Performers: Burgess Meredith, Franchot Tone, Raymond Massey, Ray Middleton, Virginia Verrill, Eddie Greene, Joe Cook, Carl Carmer, Paul Robeson, Gertrude Niessen, Bob Benchley, Carl Van Doren, The Revuers, Walter Huston, Jimmy Durante, Judith Anderson, Juanita Hall's Negro choir, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lancaster, Jane Froman, Sterling Holloway, Gilbert Seldes, Maxine Sullivan, Louis Armstrong, Beatrice Kay, Joan Edwards, Philip Loeb, Jane Cowl, Charlie Ruggles, Mitchell singers, Ethel Barrymore, Clifton Fadiman, Mrs. Edward MacDowell, Ruth Gordon, Philip Merivale, Lon Chaney, Jr., Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman, Kay Swift, the Golden Gate Jubilee quartet, Lehman Engel's singers, Walter Hampden, Doctor Rockwell, Minerva Pious, Charlie Cantor, Jiminy Cricket, Richard Bennett, Whitford Kane, Dorothy Harrison, Danny Kaye, the Pins and Needles chorus, Irving Reis, Mildred Bailey, Henry Hull, Kingsley Colton, Clyde Barrie, Lionel Stander, Betty Field, Miriam Hopkins, Betty Hutton, Sam Levene, Frank Luther, Zora Layman, Brian Aherne, Elie Siegmeister's ballad singers, Hiram Sherman, Barry Wood , Huddie Ledbetter ("Lead Belly"), Victor Moore, William Gaxton, Donald Cook, Katherine Mattern, Walter Martin, Rex Ingram, Orson Welles, Gale Sondergaard, Woody Guthrie, Ray Collins, Sheila Barrett
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s) and Composer(s): Earl Robinson, Irving Reis, Stephen Vincent Benét, James Weldon Johnson, Edward Everett Hale, George Gershwin, Thomas Wolfe, Lynn Riggs, Raymon Naya, Jerome Moross, Raymond Scott, Beatrice Kay, George R. Leighton, Jean Latouche, John Steinbeck, John Drinkwater, Lehman Engel, Kurt Weill, Maxwell Anderson, Paul Hogan, George Kleinsinger, Booth Tarkington, Horatio Alger, William Shakespeare, Irving Graham, Joseph Gottlieb, Thorton Wilder, Stephen Kellogg, Mitchell Grayson, Ring Lardner, Langston Hughes, Carl Ewald, Norman Corwin, Sam Locke, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Rose Benét
Writer(s) Norman Corwin
Music Direction: Mark Warnow, Lyn Murray and Chorus
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Burgess Meredith [Host]
Carl Carmer [Correspondent]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
31
Episodes in Circulation: 12 [includes eight incomplete recordings]
Total Episodes in Collection: 1
Provenances:

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.

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The Pursuit of Happiness Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
39-10-22
1
Christopher Columbus - Abe Lincoln In Illinois
N
39-10-22 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): new series with Burgess Meredith, Raymond Massey, Ray Middleton, Virginia Verrill, Eddie Greene.
39-10-29
2
Title Unknown
N
39-10-29 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Joe Cook and Burgess Meredith head program.

39-10-29 New York Times
4:30--WABC--Variety Show: Burgess Meredith. Director. Warnow Orch.: Joe Cook, Carl Carmer: Others.
39-11-05
3
Ben Franklin - Ballad for Americans
N
39-11-04 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Famous Negro Baritone Will Sing
Paul Robeson, America's most famous Negro Baritone, heading a large Lyn Murray mixed chorus of white and colored voices, is to sing Earl Robinson's inspired folk-oratorio "Ballad For Americans," in its first radio presentation on Columbia network's "Pursuit of Happiness" during the Sunday broadcast, heard over KGLO from 3:30 to 4 p.m.  This presentation of young Robinson's "Ballad For Americans" which Paul Robeson calls "a magnificent work"opens up an entirely new concept of American music with its freshness of spirit.  It is the first of what CBS hopes will be a series of original compositions for "Pursuit of Happiness."

39-11-05 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Paul Robeson, Gertrude Niessen, Bob Benchley, Carl Van Doren, Burgess Meredith.
39-11-12
4
The Devil and Daniel Webster
N
39-11-11 Mason City Globe-Gazette
JIMMY DURANTE ON AIR SUNDAY
American Eagle Will be heard on "Pursuit of Happiness" Show
Two of radio's greatest director's separated by the breadth of America to which the program is dedicated, collaborate Sunday, to present the Columbia network's amazingly successful "The Pursuit of Happiness," heard over KGLO Sunday at 3:30 p. m.  Irving Reis, author of the famous radio play, "Meridian 7-1212," is to direct Walter Huston in a Hollywood portion of this week's production.  Huston, star of stage, screen and radio, is to be heard in a Norman Corwin adaptation of Stephen Vincent Benet's "The Devil and Daniel Webster."  Corwin, regular director of "Pursuit of Happiness," directs the New York section of the program which offers Jimmy Durante, the well-known American eagle, who will tell how he got that way.  Also as a feature, CBS has engaged "The Revuers," a new vocal group which began without fanfare in a Greenwich Village dining spot, and has since become a sensation in song satire.  Carl Carmer, Columbia's American correspondent, again reports on something newsworthy from "somewhere in America."  Music for "The Pursuit of Happiness is conducted by Mark Warnow.

39-11-12 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Walter Houston and Jimmie Durante, guestars. 39-11-12 New York Times - 4:30-5:00--Variety Show: "The Devil and Dan'l Webster," With Walter Huston; Jimmy Durante, Comedian, and Others--WABC.
39-11-19
5
Mary Dyer
N
39-11-18 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Robeson Acclaimed for Performance
Fifth of the special series called the Pursuit of Happiness, "dedicated to the brighter side of the American scene," is scheduled for KGLO via the Columbia hook-up, at 3:30 p.m. approximately on Sunday.  The singing of Paul Robeson on this show two weeks ago, when he did the "Ballad for Americans" by Earl Robinson, drew such a thundering ovation from studio audience and listeners the country over, who voiced their encomiums by telegrams, telephone, and letter, that even CBS chiefs were astonished.  An avalanche of praise like unto that received by the outstanding Negro baritone had never been seen, even in New York.  Judith Anderson, the prominent American actress, will appear in Sunday afternoon's half-hour with a characterization of Mary Dyer, historical figure who was a pioneer in the struggle for religious freedom.  Juanita Hall's Negro choir will also be present to chant in pitched voices "
The Creation," with words by the distinguished colored poet, James Weldon Johnson.  Recruited from the ranks of porters, elevator boys, lawyers, ladies' maids, and teachers, the choir members produce moving effects with their speaking voices, though they are all trained singers.

39-11-19 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Judith Anderson in an original playlet and the Juanita Hall singers present "Voice-Tone" from "God's Trombones."
39-11-26
6
John Brown's Body
N
39-11-26 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Charles Laughton and Elsa Lancaster in Stephen Vincent Benet's "John Brown's Body." Gertrude Niesen, sultry-songstress, features "South American Way."
39-12-03
7
The Man Without A Country
N
39-12-02 Mason City Globe-Gazette
"Man Without Country" to Be Given on Sunday Hour
FRANCHOT TONE WITH MEREDITH
Jane Froman Comes Through With "Of Thee I Sing"
Two of America's great young stars of stage and screen--Franchot Tone and Burgess Meredith--appear in the Columbia Broadcasting system's seventh "Pursuit of Happiness" program to be heard on KGLO Sunday at 3:30 p.m. in a radio version of "The Man Without a Country."  Meredith, permanent master of ceremonies of the program, also introduces Jane Froman, Sterling Holloway, Gilbert Seldes, Maxine Sullivan, Louis Armstrong and Carl Carmer.  Directed by Norman Corwin, the famous story of the young army officer who cursed his country--and was sentenced never to see, hear about or set foot upon her soil again--comes to the microphone with all the vividness for which Columbia's young entrepreneur is noted.  Jane Froman needs little introduction to CBS listeners.  Most recently she was vocal star of the Summer "Musical Playhouse," and her appearances at Lewisohn stadium and Carnegie hall have endeared her to George Gershwin music enthusiasts.  She will offer "Of Thee I Sing."  Sterling Holloway, long a musical comedy and screen favorite, who read "Ferdinand" to radio fame, brings a new beastie to the Dec. 3 "Pursuit of Happiness' production.  This time its Alice M. Coats' "
The Story of Horace," a pet bear who manages to do away with three generations of a family on a "day-by-day-in-every-way" basis.  Gilbert Seldes appears to explain why the new Broadway musical "Swingin' the Dream," has a right to existence.  Being a "swing" version of Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream," it will remain for Seldes to prove his point.  And this he attempts to do with the highly capable assistance of Maxine Sullivan and trumpet-star Louis Armstrong--members of the show's cast in vocal and instrumental selections from the Erik Charell-Jean Rodney production.  Columbia's American correspondent, Carl Carmer, again reports on the week's newsworthy spot--somewhere in America.  Mark Warnow conducts the music for "Pursuit of Happiness.

39-12-03 Wisconsin State Journal
Franchot Tone teams up with Burgess Meredith to present a radio version of Edward Everett Hale's "
The Man Without a Country" today at 3:30 over station WBBM. Other guests on the seventh "Pursuit of Happiness" program include Jane Froman, Sterling Holloway, Gilbert Seldes, Maxine Sullivan, and Louis Armstrong.
39-12-10
8
Hyman Kaplan, Samaritan
N
39-12-09 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Laughtons Return for Sunday Show
Public demand has resulted in a return appearance on Columbia network's "Pursuit of Happiness" for Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester (Mrs. Laughton) to be heard on KGLO Sunday at approximately 3:30 p. m., immediately following the close of Philharmonic Symphony broadcast.  Mr. and Mrs. Laughton are to do excerpts from Thomas Wolfe's "
Look Homeward, Angel," "Of Time and the River," and "Death in the Morning."  Director Norman Corwin also is preparing a "first time anywhere" production from an as yet unproduced musical text by Lynn Riggs and Raymon Naya, with the intriguing title: "A Cow in the Trailer."  The Lyn Murray chorus is to offer the opening scene with some of Jerome Moross' tunes. Beatrice Kay, rapidly rising to international fame as the star soubrette of "Columbia's Gay Nineties Revue," joins the show to sing "In a Subway Far From Ireland," perhaps one of CBS Maestro Raymond Scott's most provocative songs.  Philip Loeb, star of "Room Service" and "My Heart's in tlie Highlands," is to be heard in "Hyman Kaplan, Samaritan"—creating for CBS listeners, the New Yorker magazine character famous for an idiom strictly his own.  "Pursuit of Happiness" Master of Ceremonies Burgess Meredith guides this gay array of stars through their program for Sunday with the assistance of Carl Carmer, Columbia's American correspondent—who appears almost
without warning from somewhere in America.  For Orchestra Conductor Mark Warnow, the Beatrice Kay rendition of the "Subway Sons"
has the added appeal of being his brother's composition.  The Laughtons have selected excerpts from Wolfe's works which will be about America, about European viewpoints of America and Americans in Europe—and their views of America.

39-12-10 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, Beatrice Kay, "
Hyman Kaplan."

39-12-10 San Antonio Express
Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester
will make another appearance at the Pursuit of Happiness show (KTSA—3:30 p. m.), doing excerpts from Thomas Wolfe's "Look Homeward Angel" and other Wolfe books.
39-12-17
9
J. Smith and Wife
N
39-12-17 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Gertrude Lawrence, Burgess Meredith, Joan Edwards, Philip Loeb as
Hyman Kaplan, Juanita Hall singers, Carl Carner.

4:30--WABC--Variety: Play.
J. Smith and Wife--Gertrude Lawrence. Burgess Meridith: Joan Edwards. Songs: Philip Loeb, Juanita Hall Singers.
39-12-24
10
Mary Dyer
N
39-12-23 Mason City Globe-Gazette
3:30-4 p.m.--"Pursuit of Happiness," Columbia's own radiantly-starful program in the spirit of the inspiring words of the Declaration of Independence, presents Jane Cowl at the head of a holiday festival throng of bright names.

39-12-24 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Jane Cowl in "
Mary Dyer;" Charlie Ruggles, Mitchell singers, a Calypso singer.
39-12-31
11
Command Performance of Ballad for Americans
N
39-12-30 Mason City Globe-Gazette
"HAPPY" HOUR REPEATS GEM
Ethel Barrymore and "Information Please" Star on Sunday Hour
Eight weeks ago, on the CBS Pursuit of Happiness" program, heard over KGLO Sundays at 3:30 p.m. Paul Robeson, backed by a Lyn Murray chorus, brought a tudio audience in New York to its feet cheering his rendition of "Ballad for Americans" by Earl Robinson and John Latouche.  Monday's mail brought hundreds of laudatory messages and demands for a repeat performance.  This Sunday "Pursuit of Happiness" repeats this stirring production and, in addition, stars Ethel Barrymore and Clifton "Information Please" Fadiman in a scene from George R. Leighton's book "America's Growing Pains."  Burgess Meredith continues as master of ceremonies.

39-12-31 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Paul Robeson sings Earl Robinson-John Latouche's "
Ballad for Americans" and Clifton Fadiman teams up with Ethel Barrymore in a skit on George R. Leighton's book, "America's Growing Pains."

39-12-31 Washington Post
Paul Robson returns to the Pursuit of Happiness to sing "Ballad for Americans," of which his first rendition two months ago brought an audience to its feet. Ethel Barrymore and Clifton Fadiman dramatize a scene from George R. Leighton's book "
America's Growing Pains"--WJSV, 4:30 p.m.
40-01-07
12
Title Unknown
N
40-01-06 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Pursuit of Happiness Dedicated to Brighter Side of American Life
Columbia network's starful earful, "The Pursuit of Happiness" brings another array of big names to the microphone for its 12th broadcast dedicated to the brighter side of the American scene when it is heard over KGLO Sunday beginning at approximately 3:30 p.m. immediately following the close of the
Philharmonic Symphony broadcast.  "Pursuit of Happiness is directed by Norman Corwin, with music conducted by Mark Warnow.  Burgess Meredith is master of ceremonies.

40-01-07 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30--Pursuit of Happiness--WBBM.

40-01-07 New York Times
4:30-5:00--Variety: Mrs. Edward MacDowell, Piano; Sketch, With Ruth Gordon and Philip Merivale--WABC.
40-01-14
13
Of Mice and Men
N
40-01-13 Mason City Globe-Gazette
"Of Mice and Men" Scene on Sunday "Happy" Hour
LON CHANEY, JR. TO TAKE PART
Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman Will Aid Meredith on All-Star Performance Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr., Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman, Kay Swift, the Golden Gate Jubilee quartet and Carl Carmer all join the CBS "Pursuit of
Happiness" on KGLO Sunday at 3:30 p. m., to provide an all-star half hour for coast-to-coast listeners.  Directed by Norman Corwin with music conducted by Mark Warnow, this new, nationally popular program offers a scene from an as yet unreleascd motion picture sensation, a skit from one of Broadway's biggest musical hits, a new vocal group, a vest-pocket redition comic operetta and a newsworthy note from "somewhere in America."  Meredith, who during his tenure as permanent masterof-ceremonies in the last four months on "Pursuit of Happiness" has won nationwide acclaim, is co-star with Lon Chaney, Jr.. in Hal Roach's production of John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."
Chaney is flying in from the west coast to give CBS listeners an ear-witness version of a scene from the film which soon is to be released.
Roman Bohnen, also in the cinema cast, has been added to the program.
Previewers already have acclaimed the picture as one of the greatest screen documents of the age.  Meredith has the role of George," Chaney is "Lennie" and Bohnen plays "Candy."  The enthusiastic notices which attended Bert Lahr's and Ethel Merman's bow to Broadway in the new musicomcidy mirthquake, "Du Barry Was a Lady" have spread through the land. So Columbia network listeners are to be given a fillip from this smash hit as only Lahr and Merman can deliver it.  Kay Swift offers an original comic operetta entitled, "Back Page News."  This relates the doings of two men who prospect for gold in, of all places, the Hollywood Bowl.  Things are further complicated by their method--which includes a divining-rod doo-jigger.  The Golden Gale Jubilee quartet is one of the newest vocal group-finds.  Wherever these choristers have been heard they have stopped the show.  Columbia network has signed them for a "Pursuit of Happiness" debut in their own version of "Noah."  Carl Carmer, in his now familiar role as Columbia's American correspondent, reports again with something newsworthy from somewhere in America."

40-01-14 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Burgess Meredith, Lon Chaney, Jr., Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman, Kay Swift.

40-01-14 San Antonio Light
A group of famed stage and
screen stars will take part in the
Pursuit of Happiness" program on
C. B. S. today (KTSA—3:30 p. m.).
Burgess Meredith and Lon Chaney
Jr. will present & scene from the
stage drama, "
Of Mice and Men,"
and Bert Lahr and Ethel Merman
star in a sketch from "
DuBarry Was a Lady"
40-01-21
14
Robert E. Lee
N
40-01-20 Mason City Globe-Gazette
GLORY BE!  WHAT A WOW OF A SHOW FOR SUNDAY!
Walter Hampden, famous American tragedian, is heard in a scene from John Drinkwater's "Robert E. Lee" . . . Lehman Engel's singers offer "Americana" . . . Major Bowes' champion harmonica band proves why it won the listener poll . . .The famous comedian, Doctor Rockwell, assisted by Minerva Pious and Charlie Cantor, will furnish the comedy relief. . . .That's the Columbia Broadcasting system's "Pursuit of Happiness" star line-up for Sunday, to be heard on KGLO from 3:30 to 4 p.m., with Burgess Meredith as master of ceremonies, Norman Corwin as director, Mark Warnow as music conductor and Carl Carmer as Columbia's correspondent reporting from "somewhere in America."  The prominent actor, Walter Hampden has become a national figure-particularly as "Cyrano de Bergerac"-in hundreds of dramatic road show productions seen in every "town, village and hamlet" in America, including Mason City, where he appeared last spring on the Cecil stage as Ethan Frome.in the play of the same name.  Hampden is to portray Robert E. Lee, who was born on Jan. 19.  Lehman Engel, noted modern American composer, brings his singers to "Pursuit of Happiness" in a vocalization of "Americana," words from the American Mercury and music by Randall Thompson, director of the Curtis Institute of Music.  Major Bowes' harmonica champions arrive at "Pursuit of Happiness" by dint of one of the largest network voting campaigns.  On Jan. 11 Major Bowes placed three harmonica bands before his regular "Amateur Hour" audiences and announced that the orchestra receiving the largest vote would be heard on "Pursuit of Happiness."  Doctor Rockwell, whose comedy portraits furnish the right touch at the right time wherever he may be called, needs no introduction to stage and screen audiences in the United States, England and other parts of the world.  The addition of Charlie Cantor and Minerva Pious, two hecklers of the first water, to his act makes it a cinch for the light, funny touch which the "Pursuit of Happiness" program is designed to give to CBS listeners who are bored with the news of war, crime, politics and weather.  Burgess Meredith, whose performance with Lon Chaney, Jr., in a scene from "Of Mice and Men" won him coast-to-coast acclaim from Columbia listeners, carries the continuity of the program with music by Mark Warnow's orchestra.

40-01-21 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Doctor Rockwell, Minerva Pious, Charlie Cantor, Walter Hampden (in scene from
"Robert E. Lee"), harmonica champions.
40-01-28
15
Pinnochio - Tom Walker and the Devil
N
40-01-27 Mason City Globe-Gazette
JIMINY CRICKET ON HAPPY HOUR
"Pins and Needles" Chorus Joins Stars on Sunday Show
Columbia's "Pursuit of Happiness" goes on a coast-to-coast jaunt Sunday, when New York and Hollywood bring Richard Bennett, Whitford Kane, Walt Disney's "Jiminy Cricket," Dorothy Harrison, the "Pins and Needles" chorus and Danny Kaye to the nation's listeners.  The show will come in on KGLO at approximately 3:30 p, m., immediately following the close of the New York Philharmonic symphony program.  This program marks the issuance by the United Slates post office of the famous Americans stamp series.  Irving's likeness appears on the first of these new stamps which are to be issued Jan. 20 at Tarryloun, N. Y.  Danny Kaye, remembered for his hilarious portrayal of the pestiferous waiter, returns to "Pursuit of Happiness" with more of the same.  Dorothy Harrison and chorus from "Pins and Needles" sing Harold Rome's famous song, "Mene Mene Tekel" with Mark Warnow's orchestra accompanying.  Director Norman Corwin and master of ceremonies Burgess Meredith then turn matters over to CBS Director Irving Reis in Hollywood where "Jiminy Cricket" is presented by the Walt Disney "Pinocchio" creators.

40-01-28 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Richard Bennett, Whitford Kane, "
Jimminy Cricket," Dorothy Harrison, "Pins and Needles" chorus, Danny Kaye.





40-01-31
Aud
Title Unknown
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[Alleged Sponsorship presentation, never broadcast]





40-02-04
16
The Grapes of Wrath
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40-02-03 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Radio Takes Dare; Will Offer "Grapes of Wrath"
IS BOOKED ON "HAPPY" HOUR
To Dramatize Part of Explosive Book Sunday Afternoon

The critics ventured a guess that radio would never dare the explosive
"Grapes of Wrath."  But Norman Corwin, director of Columbia's "Pursuit of Happiness," announced this week that a dramatized portion of John Steinbeck's novel, which has just been made into a motion picture would be a feature of the program on CBS and KGLO Sunday, beginning at approximately 3:30 p.m. immediately following the Philharmonic  concert.  On the same "Pursuit of Happiness" program will be presentation of "Magna Charta," epic ballad history by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson who were especially commissioned to compose the work.  With the powerful effect of his impressionistic style of writing, Corwin has conveyed Steinbeck's revelatory chapter VII--the chapter dealing with the unscrupulous used-car dealer-into vivid radio drama.  The voice of Clifton Fadiman is heard in a commentary that parallels all the trading action in the Corwin scene from Steinbeck.  Corwin and Fadiman both conceived the idea of bringing parts of "
Grapes of Wrath" to radio shortly after the novel was published.  Multiple voices, unusual sound effects-all of radio's technic is used to heighten the dramatic starkness of the Corwin scene which lays bare the inhumanity of greed.  Just as Steinbeck's impact is not aimed at sharp practice alone, Corwin's treatment strikes at the degradation brought on by it.  Corwin explained that he chose the seventh chapter in "Grapes of Wrath" because it seemed to him a composite of the ideas which Steinbeck crowded info his widely-discussed book.  The Weill-Anderson production of "Magna Charta" ranges in music forms from recitative to choral as composer and lyricist act under the inspiration
of recent news stories on the transfer of an original copy of the Magna Charta to the Library of Congress for safe-keeping besides the Declaration of Independence.  Burgess Meredith, "Pursuit of Happiness" master of ceremonies joins in the "
Magna Charta" presentation with Julius Huhn of the Metropolitan opera.  The Lyn Murray chorus and Mark Warnow's orchestra with Mildred Bailey, the singer, also participate in the program, all of which is under
direction of Corwin.

40-02-04 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): a portion of "Grapes of Wrath" dramatized.
40-02-11
17
Mr President - The Stuff Abe Lincoln Was Made Of
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40-02-10 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Happy Hour to Honor "Abe"
Drama, Song Humor Will Be Offered
The Columbia Broadcasting system's "Pursuit ol Happiness" program for Sunday pays tribute to the birthday of the great emancipator in two noteworthy presentations, beginning on KGLO at approximately 3:30 p. m., following the close or the Philharmonic Symphony broadcast.
Henry Hull, recognized as one of Americas greatest character actors, joins the brilliant boy radio star, Kingsley Colton, in an excerpt from Paul Horgan's as yet unnroduced "Mr. President."  Clyde Barrie, noted Negro baritone, is to be heard in a ballad written in tribute to Abraham Lincoln
by George Kleinsinger, and Master of Ceremonies Burgess Meredith introduces radio's famous "Rockin' Chair Lady," Mildred Bailey, whose listening fans are legion.  Director Norman Corwin has brought Danny Kaye back again-this time to work as a clerk in a book store.  Danny, who seems to be a one-man "Americans at Work program will take Columbia network listeners into a book store to show them how not to sell a best seller.  Mark Warnow conducts the orchestra.

40-02-11 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): The "Pursuit of Happiness" program pays tribute to the Great Emancipator this afternoon in two noteworthy presentations on station WBBM at 3:30. Henry Hull, of stage fame, and Kingsley Colton, boy air star, will present excerpts from Paul Hogan's as yet unproduced, "Mr. President." The second portion of the tribute will be George Kleinsinger's "The Stuff Abe Lincoln Was Made Of." Clyde Barrie, Negro baritone, will put rhythm into the poets words.
40-02-18
18
Seventeen
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40-02-17 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Excerpt From Film Play of "Seventeen" on Air Sunday
Betty Field, New Screen Hit, to Be Joined by Lionel Stander Betty Field, newest screen sensation to rise in the Hollywood firmament; Lionel Stander, whose fans are legion, Mildred Bailey, and the Revuers, who are back by popular demand, join in Columbia's "Pursuit of Happiness," to be heard over KGLO Sunday at approximately 3:30 p.m., immediately following the Philharmonic.  The program is directed by Columbia's brilliant young Norman Corwin with versatile Burgess Meredith dividing his time between acting and presiding as master of ceremonies.  Miss Field is to be heard in an excerpt from Paramount's new film version of Booth Tarkington's "Seventeen."  Her appearance in "Pursuit of Happiness" marks a reunion with Meredith since they both are winning movie plaudits for their work in "Of Mice and Men."
Lionel Stander, also a cinema celebrity, has been burning the midnight oil to prepare a brief in behalf of infant prodigies of America--which is to be delivered in the well-known Stander oratorical style.  The Rebuers, who stirred a fan mail torrent with their vocal representation of the baritone who tried to escape from "Shortenin' Bread," have been brought back to "Pursuit of Happiness"--this time with a song about "The Two Left Feet." Mark Warnow conducts the music for the program.

40-02-18 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Betty Fields and Lionel Stander of the screen, guests.
40-02-25
19
Title Unknown
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40-02-24 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Miriam Hopkins Heads Star Cast on "Happiness" Hour
Music, Drama, Comedy on Sunday Afternoon Colulmbia Production
Screen-star Miriam Hopkins; "Two for the Show"-star Betty Hutton;'"Margin for Error"-star Sam Levene, and folk music stars Frank Luther and Zora Layman join master of ceremonies-star Burgess Meredith and star-director Norman Corwin in "Pursuit of Happiness" on Columbia and KGLO Sunday from 3:30 to 4 p. m.  Miss Hopkins is to be heard in an American historical dramatization.  Miss Hutton, who has made something of a national anthem of her singing of "Little Miss Muffet" in the new Broadway revue, is to spread the ditty throughout the 48 states and adjoining terrain.  Sam Levene, already Broadway's favorite (if theatrical) policeman, is to be heard in a comedy skit which more or less gently lampoons the popular idea, of a newspaper editor.  Frank Luther and Zora Layman present two American folk songs out of their repertoire of several hundred.  For "Pursuit of Happiness," they have chosen two old California favorites, "Abalone" and "Betsy from Pike."  Maestro Mark Warnow conducts the "Pursuit of Happiness" orchestra for Miss Hutton's song and furnishes the background music for the entire program.

40-02-25 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Miriam Hopkins, Sam Levene, Betty Hutton, Frank Luther, Zora Layman.
40-03-03
20
Title Unknown
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40-03-02 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Drama, Song, Fun on "Happy Hour"
BRIAN AHERNE TO TAKE PART
Star Lineup Is Announced for Sunday Afternoon Brian Aherne in an historical drama sketch; Elie Siegmeister's ballad singers; Burgess Meredith presenting a preview of a song from a forthcoming Columbia Workshop production, and Hiram Sherman delving into Horatio Alger's heroic language.  That's the star line-up for Columbia Broadcasting system's "Pursuit of Happiness'' for Sunday, going on KGLO at approximately 3:30 p. m., immediately following close of New York Philharmonic Symphony broadcast.  Maestro Mark Warnow's orchestra weaves a melodic accompaniment to Master of Ceremonies Burgess Meredith's busy afternoon with the pick of America's exponents of music and mirth-all under the skillful eye of Columbia's brilliant young director, Norman Corwin.
Sherman, recently seen on Broadway in "Very Warm for May," is to bring back a fond memory or two for the oldsters with a chuckle or guffaw for the youngsters who may or may not know of the literature in which "Strive and Succeed" was a best seller.  Elio Siegmeister's American Ballad Singers, fresh from Town Hall triumphs, are to present "American Street Cries" and "In Colony Times."  Meredith is to sing "I'm the Happiest Man on Earth" from a modernized version of "Taming of the Shrew" by Irving Graham and Joseph Gottlieb.  This is a projected "Workshop" production.

40-03-03 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Brian Aherne in a historical drama; the Siegmeister Ballad singers.
40-03-10
21
Pullman Car Hiawatha
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40-03-09 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Wilder's Work on Happy Hour
COMEDY, SONG ALSO ON KGLO
Drama aPortrait of Midwestern America Booked for Sunday
"Your Hit Parade" Baritone Barry Wood and the Lyn Murray chorus . . . Danny Kaye in another comedy skit . . . Huddie Ledbetter ("Lead Belly") famous Negro folkmusician . . . Thornton Wilder's drama-portrait of midwestern America, "
A Pullman Car Hiawatha" . . . Master of Ceremonies Burgess Meredith . . . and Maestro Mark Warnow's music. . . .That's the "Pursuit of Happiness" line-up for CBS-KGLO listeners Sunday, beginning at approximately 3:30 p. m., immediately following close of Philharmonic Symphony broadcast.  Barry Wood needs no introduction to Columbia network fans for whom he has sung "Hit Parade" hits for more than four months.  With the Lyn Murray chorus, he will sing "Get Happy."  Danny Kaye-he's already convulsed "Pursuit of Happiness" listeners with his radiosyncracies as a busy-body waiter and as a pestiferous book-store clerk-now explains how to make out an income tax report.  Huddie Ledbetter, the Negro folk-musician who is known far and wide as "Lead Belly," is to give some specimens of the songs which attracted honorary Curator John A. Lomax of the Library of Congress to the plight of the ex-chain-gang minstrel.  He will be supported by the famous Golden Gate quartet.  "Pursuit of Happiness" is directed by Norman Corwin.

40-03-10 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Thornton Wilder's "
Pullman Car Hiawatha" plus the Lynn Murray chorus.
40-03-17
22
Johnny Appleseed
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40-03-17 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Walter Huston narrating "Johnny Appleseed" and Danny Kay in a play about a 2-cents-a-word magazine writer head program.
40-03-24
23
Of Thee I Sing
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40-03-23 Mason City Globe-Gazette
"OF THEE I SING" ON HAPPY HOUR
Theme of CBS Show Brought Out in Comedy, History
The theme of Columbia network's "The Pursuit of Happiness" will be reiterated in comedy and history Sunday when Victor Moore and William Gaxton bring their famous co-starring hit, "
Of Thee I Sing," to the constantly-growing audience of this popular Sunday program, heard over KGLO from 3:30 to 4 p. m.  Donald Cook, co-starred with Gertrude Lawrence in the current Broadway hit, "Skylark," also apears on this program as President James Madison in a script by Mitchell Grayson.
Director Norman Corwin has the able assistance of Master-of-ceremonies Burgess Meredith and conductor Mark Warnow in weavng together these hilarious and serious sides of the political picure.
Timely as the subject is at present, "The Pursuit ol Happiness" as planned to give CBS listeners those unforgettable scenes from the 1931-32 Broadway musical hit which wowed even the highest statesmen and won it the Pulitzer Prize.  There will be the "Wintergreen for President" scene with Lyn Murray's chorus; the election reurns scene; the Wintergreen and Throttlebottom talk on the duties of the president; the senate roll  call: "Love Is Sweeping the Country."  On the serious side, Donald Cook will present the picture of James Madison's struggle to get the bill of rights into the constitution while congress stalled by occupying its time with "appropriations."

40-03-24 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Victor Moore, William Gaxton, Donald Cook.

40-03-24 New York Times
4:30-5:00-Variety, William Gaston, Victor Moore and Others-WABC.
40-03-31
24
Let's Go to Mexico
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40-03-31 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WBBM): Elliott Nugent in a Ring Lardner skit and "
Let's Go to Mexico," a new tune.

40-03-31 New York Times
4:30-5:00-Variety: Play, "
Let's Go to Mexico," with Katherine Mattern
and Walter Martin-WABC
40-04-07
25
Booker T. Washington
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40-04-06 Mason City Globe-Gazette
To Honor Negro on "Happy Hour"
"Up From Slavery" Is Theme
Langston Hughes, famous American Negro poet, has been commissioned by the Columbia Broadcasting system to write a drama based on the classic Booker T. Washington autobiography, "Up From Slavery."  The finished work is to star Rex Ingram in an especially prepared program for Columbia's "Pursuit of Happiness" to be heard over KGLO Sunday from 3:30 to 4 p. m.  This date has several important "Booker T. Washington" relationships, according to "Pursuit of Happiness" director, Norman Corwin.  Dr. F. D. Patterson, president of Tuskegee institute, Alabama, has announced April 7 as "Founder's Day at Tuskegee Institute."  Booker T. Washington, who established the famous Negro educational institution in 1881, is to be honored by the United States postoffice department by the issuance on that day of a 10-cent stamp in the "Famous Americans" series.  Because there is no post office at Hale Ford, Va., Washington's birthplace, the stamps are to be issued at Tuskegee on Sunday.  Selection by CBS of Rex Ingram to portray the famous Negro educator is based on his world fame as a representative dramatist-who, among many other great roles, was seen by millions as "De Lawd" in the motion picture 'Green Pastures."  He has just returned from England, where he was featured in a re-make of "The Thief of Bagdad."

40-04-06 Wisconsin State Journal
Sunday 3:30 Pursuit of Happiness--WBBM.

40-04-07 New York Times - 4:30-5:00--Variety: Drama: "
Booker T. Washington," With Rex Ingram, Burgess Meredith and Others--WABC.
40-04-14
26
My Little Boy
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40-04-13 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Orson Welles on Sunday Program
Will Appear in Play on Happy Hour
Orson Welles , in Carl Ewald's "My Little Boy" . . .the Frank Luther-Zora Layman Singers in an old New York song . . . the laughing scene from Broadway's "Reunion in New York," with Katherine Mattern and Walter Martin . . . and a repeat performance of the Jerome Moross-Lynn Riggs opening chorus from "A Cow in the Trailer!"  That's Director Brewster Morgan's lineup of stars and story for the Columbia network's "Pursuit of Happiness" Sunday, heard over KGLO at 3:30 p. m., with Burgess Meredith as master of ceremonies and Mark Warnow conducting a brilliant musical organization.  Morgan is directing during the illness of Norman Corwin.  Orson Welles introduced the Danish writer's play to CBS listeners nearly two years ago as one of his Mercury Theater of the Air productions.  He is directing this Sunday's performance from Hollywood.
Frank Luther and Zora Layman bring their quartet to CBS listeners in a middle 19th Century "hit song yclept "New York What a Charming City."  The Mattern-Martin laughing scene, scheduled previously, and crowded out because of time limitations, offers one of Broadway gayest bits to network audiences.  The opening chorus of "A Cow in the Trailer" won such favorable comment when it was presented several broadcasts ago that it is being repeated.

40-04-14 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WCCO, KNOX): Orson Welles, Luther-Layman singers, others.

40-04-14 New York Times - 4:30-5:00--Variety: Drama, "
My Little Boy," with Orson Welles; Shirley Ross, Songs, and Others--WABC.
40-04-21
27
The Oracle of Philadelphia
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40-04-20 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Want to Buy a Play?
THAT'S TITLE OF RADIO SHOW
"Happy Hour" for Sunday Announces Star Lineup
Screen star Gale Sondergaard and Master-of-Ceremonies Burgess Meredith in Director Norman Corwin's first original for the CBS "Pursuit of Happiness" program . . . Woody Guthrie, a real "okie" singing one of his own guitar-songs . . . Danny Kaye in a Sam Locke skit yclept: "So You Want to Buy a Play?" . . , and the Modernaires!  That's the "Pursuit of Happiness" line-up for Sunday at 3:30 p. m. over KGLO-CBS. Mark Warnow conducts the orchestra.  Corwin's work is by way of evening the score because last week an attack of flu kept him from his first "Pursuit of Happiness" since the popular Sunday program took the air six months ago.  So this week the brilliant young director serves as author of "The Oracle of Philadelphi" in addition to guiding the "Pursuit of Happiness" through its other entertaining facets.  There is a touch of "Faust" and a dash of "quiz program" in the Corwin work with Meredith consulting the "oracle" in the person of Gale Sondergaard.  Fans who remember Corwin's "They Fly Through the Air" and "Seems Radio Is Here to Stay" have reason to expect another attention-commanding contribution to radio drama.  Woody Guthrie, a "balladeer of the Okies, or migratory workers" (who recently have come into public notice), sings his own "Talking Blues."

40-04-21 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WCCO): Gale Sondergaard and Burgess Meredith in an original drama.
40-04-28
28
Paul Revere's Ride
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40-04-27 Mason City Globe-Gazette
PAUL REVERE RIDES AGAIN
New Treatment of Famous Trip Planned for "Happy Hour"
Columbia network's popular "Pursuit of Happiness" features a new treatment of Longfellow's famous "
Paul Revere's Ride"-set to music by Paul Belanger and starring Ray Collins, for the Sunday airing on KGLO at the new hour of 2:30 p. m.  In addition Director Norman Corwin has prepared for CBS listeners the work of a group known as "The Martins" who sing an original song, "It Must Be Spring."  Master of Ceremonies Burgess Meredith introduces a Saroyan sketch from "Reunion in New York" entitled "A Character in Search of a Character." Mark Warnow conducts the orchestra.

40-04-28 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WCCO): "
Paul Revere's Ride" set to music.
40-05-05
29
The Ballad of Jesse James

Y
40-05-04 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Members of Drama's Top Drawer on
"Pursuit of Happiness"
Three of the greatest stars on Broadway, representing the top-drawer of drama - and one of the entertainment world's most famous mimics - are the "big names" for the Columbia network's final "Pursuit of Happiness" program to be heard on Sunday at 2:30 p. m. following close of the Philharmonic-Symphony broadcast.  The three Broadway stars, Walter Huston, Burgess Meredith and Franchot Tone, are to appear in Director Norman Corwin's adaptation of William Rose Benet's "The Ballad of Jesse James." This epic poem is subtitled:  "A Design in Red and Yellow for a Nickel Library."  Musical background is by Ralph Wilkinson.
Sheila Barrett has some new characterizations up her sleeve for her guest appearances.  Third number of the program is another star-production in which nn eight-voice Lyn Murray chorus sings "The Smiths, the Browns, the Johnsons and the Cohens" by Irving Graham.  The title is almost self-explanatory and the song keynotes democracy in America.
Mark Warnow conducts the orchestra.  On Broadway, Franchot Tone currently is in "The Fifth Column," Burgess Meredith is in "Liliom," and Walter Huston opens in William Saroyan's "Love's Old Sweet Song."

40-05-05 Wisconsin State Journal
3:30 p.m.--Pursuit of Happiness (WCCO): Walter Huston, Burgess Meredith, and Franchot Tone in "
The Ballad Of Jesse James." On WBBM at 3:30 p.m.





41-07-02
Spcl
Zenger's Fight For Freedom of the Press
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The Pursuit of Happiness Radio Program Biographies




Norman Lewis Corwin
(Creator, Director, Writer)

Newspaperman, Journalist, Poet, Writer, Screenwriter, Playwright, Producer, Director, Political Activist, Professor
(1910 - 2011 )

Birthplace: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Radiography:

1929 Rhymes and Cadences
1938 Columbia Workshop
1938 County Seat
1939 Words Without Music
1939 The Pursuit Of Happiness
1939 So This Is Radio
1940 We Take Your Word
1940 Forecast
1940 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1940 Cavalcade Of America
1941 The Free Company
1941 We Hold These Truths
1942 This Is War
1942 An American In England
1942 The Victory Front
1943 The Cresta Blanca Carnival
1943 Norman Corwin (Audition)
1943 Long Name None Could Spell
1943 Passport For Adams
1944 Silver Theatre
1944 Columbia Presents Corwin
1944 Texaco Star Theatre
1944 This Is My Best
1944 The American School Of the Air
1945 On A Note Of Triumph
1946 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1946 Mercury Summer Theatre
1946 Stars In the Afternoon
1947 One World Flight
1947 Hollywood Fights Back
1949 Author Meets the Critics
1949 What's the Word
1949 The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
1950 Document A/777
1950 Faith In Our Time
1952 Lux Radio Theatre
1979 Sears Radio Theatre
1983 Six By Corwin (NPR)


Norman Corwin at his creative best, ca. 1944




Norman Corwin in NBC Studio with Peggy Burt, ca. 1937




Norman Corwin camps it up during a rare in-costume moment during RCA's Magic Key, ca. 1937




The Maestro, in his element, ca. 1942



Norman Corwin in control booth for 1945's Untitled for Columbia Presents Corwin
Norman Corwin in control booth for 1945's Untitled for Columbia Presents Corwin




Corwin's Lair, looking down from the control booth, directing Season One of Columbia Presents Corwin, ca. 1944
Corwin's Lair, looking down from the control booth, directing Season One of Columbia Presents Corwin, ca. 1944




Corwin, flanked by Regina Reynic to his right and Deems Taylor to his left, with Bernard Rogers at the piano, ca. 1947
Corwin, flanked by Regina Reynic to his right and Deems Taylor to his left, with Bernard Rogers at the piano, ca. 1947




Norman Corwin, directing live radio program, ca. 1944




Corwin discusses We Hold These Truths script with Jimmy Stewart, ca. 1941
Corwin discusses We Hold These Truths script with Jimmy Stewart, ca. 1941




On A Note of Triumph 78 RPM Record, ca. 1944
On A Note of Triumph 78 RPM Record Label, ca. 1944



Two great Radio Normans--Lear, left and Corwin, right, ca. 2005
Two great Radio Normans--Lear, left and Corwin, right, ca. 2005







Orson Welles, left and Norman Corwin, right, going over Fourteen August script, August 14, 1945
Orson Welles, left and Norman Corwin, right, going over Fourteen August script, August 14, 1945








Norman Corwin, ca. 2005





Corwin examines his first, well-deserved Oscar, ca. 2005

Norman Corwin is approaching one hundred years of age as we prepare this biography. Corwin's father Samuel lived to the age of 112. We can only hope that Samuel's sons will be as long-lived as the father. Norman Corwin's continuing legacy of thought-provoking, insightful, brilliantly crafted and prosaic commentary on the human condition have fashioned Norman Corwin into one of American History's greatest writers, visionaries, dramatists and philosophers.

Born and raised in East Boston, Corwin was transfixed by Radio as a medium from its initial broad casts. A child prodigy, Corwin was reciting poetry at the age of five, writing full-length stories at the age of seven, was a voracious reader, and an avid classical music proponent since the time he was a child. Reportedly first listening to a makeshift crystal set assembled by his older brother Al, from a cylindrical Quaker Oats box, both brothers soon became avid Radio enthusiasts.

Mentored by a devoted high school English teacher, Corwin acquired a life-long interest in poetry, especially that of Keats, Shelley and The Brownings. Upon early graduation from high school, Corwin began working as a journalist at the age of 17, with Massachusetts' Greenfield Recorder, then the Springfield Republican. Covering a variety of local community interest stories, Corwin's efforts covered sporting events--written in iambic pentameter no less, local color activities, movie reviews, and human interest stories.

His first exposure to professional Radio broadcasting came with an opportunity to air an interview regarding one of the human interest stories he'd written about. Station WBZA soon needed a newsreader and sought to have the position filled with someone from the local newspaper. Corwin fit the bill perfectly. By 1929 Corwin had fashioned his own broadcast over WBZA, a combination of piano interludes interwoven with Corwin's orginal poetry readings. He called the program Rhymes and Cadences. If this sounds a reminiscent chord, it's instructive to remember that this is how the legendary Orson Welles embarked on his own Radio career, airing a similar format entitled Musical Reveries in 1936.

Indeed, the similarities between these two great Radio visionaries is entirely appropriate. We've chronicled Orson Welles' extraordinary career elsewhere, but it's instructive to point out the fascinating series of parallels in the Radio careers of both Radio legends. You may recall that Orson Welles undertook his own wanderlust through the United Kingdom and Europe as a young man. Norman Corwin's exposure to The Continent came in 1931, as he traveled to Europe with his older brother, Emil. The fomenting fascism, social and religious unrest, and political turmoil he witnessed first-hand throughout Europe very much shaped the path Corwin's broadcasting career would take from that point forward.

Corwin returned to the U.S. and in 1935 began working as a full-fledged newsman for Radio WLW in Cinncinati, Ohio. Almost immediately encountering one of the Post-Great Depression sore spots first-hand, Corwin learned that any on air reportage of collective bargaining efforts--even organizing for collective bargaining--were grounds for immediate dismissal. He objected to the policy and soon found himself fired after only two weeks on the job. He ultimately took up the issue with the ACLU's backing and eventually got the policy changed--long after he'd departed Cincinnati.

The next stop for Corwin was The Big Apple, where he found work as an entry level publicist for 2oth Century-Fox. He soon leveraged his contacts there to yet another proposal for a local poetry/musicale format program to Radio station WQXR. He was soon airing another program similar in format to Rhymes and Cadences, this one cleverly named Poetic License. First airing in 1936, Poetic License showcased some of New York's early poetry luminaries, among them Louis Ginsberg, father of legendary Beat poet Allen Ginsberg.

The first major network to take an interest in Corwin was NBC, who invited Corwin to appear on RCA's Magic Key, beginning in 1937. NBC was less than impressed and in a moment of fortuitous serendipity for Corwin, released him from his obligation to NBC. Fortuitous, because within a year, a CBS executive would hear one of Corwin's Poetic License broadcasts and offer Corwin a position as Radio Director for $125 a week. Needless to say, that was astounding pay for a young man of that era.

So it was that a few days shy of his 28th birthday, Corwin began directing CBS' on-air engineering, writing, and production efforts for the first time. Within a few months he was tapped to direct his first Columbia Workshop experimental drama, The Red Badge of Courage, airing July 9, 1938.

In yet another ironic crossed path with Orson Welles, the night of October 31, 1938 found Corwin rehearsing the pilot for a newly proposed poetry program he was developing, tentatively titled Norman Corwin's Words Without Music. In the studio just below Corwin, none other than Orson Welles and Mercury Theatre of The Air were broadcasting their infamous War of The Worlds broadcast. Oblivious to what was taking place, Corwin reportedly only learned of it once CBS' switchboards began lighting up on every floor.

Produced by no less than legendary William N. Robson, Norman Corwin's Words Without Music ultimately aired in production a month later, with Corwin agonizing over the slightest nuance of each broadcast. It was during Corwin's Words Without Musc broadcast of December 25, 1938 that he introduced his famous "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas" to a listening audience, a program that would be repeated over and over again throughout CBS' history.

Within a year, Corwin had written, directed, produced and broadcast two of his most enduring masterpieces: The Plot to Overthrow Christmas [Words Without Music] and They Fly Through the Air with The Greatest of Ease [Columbia Workshop]. By then helping others develop their own experimental Radio dramas, Corwin found himself directing Earl Robinson's stirring Ballad for Americans, and Lucille Fletcher's biting satire, My Client, Curley. Earl Robinson would go on to collaborate with Corwin on several of his Columbia Presents Corwin productions.

Mr. Corwin took most of 1940 to work as a screenwriter for RKO Studios. Unimpressed, Corwin soon realized that he'd had far more artistic freedom back at CBS. So it was that upon returning to CBS, he was offered control of fully six months worth of Columbia Workshop programming. The resulting 26 By Corwin was Norman Corwin's first unbridled artistic opportunity in Broadcast Radio.

What followed were 26 weeks worth of Norman Corwin's dramatic passion. Corwin's creativity could be fully unleashed and fully explored for the following 26-week marathon of writing, directing, producing and agonizing over the result. But the agony couldn't last long, since from moments after each broadcast's sign-off, the process would begin anew, with carte blanche and all that a blank piece of paper means to a creative person--both the pros and the cons.

In the end, he pulled it off--in spades. 1941 became one of the most triumphant years of Corwin's creative work experience to date. Indeed to this day, several of those twenty-six Corwin efforts have become standalone classics of the Golden Age of Radio. Corwin wrapped up the year in extraordinary fashion with one of Radio History's most stirring paeans to American Democracy ever aired--We Hold These Truths. We Hold These Truths was a multimedia celebration of America's Bill of Rights. The broadcast was heard by the largest single audience in Radio History up to that point. Its timing was absolutely exquisite--indeed, almost prescient, given the life-altering developments of the morning of December 7, 1941. The project wasn't developed as a response to the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Indeed it was still under development and being written by Corwin the afternoon that he first heard the news about the attack.

Starring no less than Jimmy Stewart, Edward G. Robinson, Orson Welles, Edward Arnold, Lionel Barrymore, Walter Brennan, Walter Huston, Marjorie Main, Rudy Vallee and Bob Burns, the score was written by legendary composer Bernard Herrmann. And almost as a footnote to this remarkable production, FDR himself addressed the country during the production. The Star Spangled Banner was performed by the full New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by no less than Leopold Stokowski himself. The mind reels to imagine a Radio broadcast with that much prestigious talent during one airing today. Call it 1941's version of 'We Are The Children'. That's about what it amounted to. The costs alone today would be astronomical.

We Hold These Truths holds up just as well today. I have yet to share an airing of my recording of We Hold These Truths with anyone without evoking a remarkable reaction from them--young, old, and every age in between. It's quite simply one of the most stirring, patriotic, genuinely moving reminders of what this country has fought to defend for almost 240 years as of this writing.

Needless to say, by 1942 Norman Corwin's work was rapidly approaching legendary status. Nor did he shirk from the challenge to pursue even greater triumphs. His broadcasting excellence surmounted even commercial network rivalries. He was commissioned by the Office of War Information to develop the stirring This Is War series which was mandated to air simultaneously over all four major networks.

During 1943, Norman Corwin was dispatched to England to cover the War effort from their perspective. A unique joint effort of The BBC and U.S. broadcasters, the amazing recordings Corwin returned with resulted in the wonderfully inspirational An American in England series, showcasing the indomitable spirit of Wartime Great Britain. The resulting series was quite understandably one of the War effort's most inspirational series to that date.

As hard as it is to imagine, Corwin's penultimate masterpiece had yet to be produced. I say penultimate, for good reason, as you'll soon discover. . .

With the end of the War in Europe in sight, Corwin undertook to develop an hour-long, live studio observance of the end of War in Europe. The resulting On A Note of Triumph became Corwin's crowning masterpiece. Again scored by Bernard Herrmann, not only did it set another record for largest simultaneous listening audience, it was pressed as a 78 RPM record for further distribution. The first pressing sold out almost overnight, as did a hardcover print of the script, which became an overnight best-seller in its own right. Both the records and scripts were pressed and published again and again to keep up with the unprecedented demand.

Corwin, aided by Orson Welles, rose to the occasion yet again, with even less preparation, as V.J. Day finally--and quite unexpectedly--arrived on 14 August 1945. L'Affaire Gumpert was the Columbia Presents Corwin program that had been scheduled for airing on August 14th. Never one to shirk a challenge, Norman Corwin, with less than eleven hours' notice, threw together the final epitaph on World War II, with a minimal sound track, a single sound effect and only Orson Welles' magnificent voice as his primary artistic tool. And yet, irrespective of the absurd limitations placed on this single, 15-minute program of the run, you see the effort of Radio's two giants, converging to produce a miraculous post-script to the most bloody, expensive, gut-wrenching five years our young Nation had ever experienced. And quite frankly who else could possibly have ever pulled it off but these two geniuses?

To this day, one needs to pinch oneself to be reminded of the extraordinary constraints imposed on both Welles and Corwin to pull off Fourteen August at all. And yet they did it. And they could only have done it over Radio. In the final analysis, they did what both their extraordinary backgrounds had prepared them to do--and at the time that their country needed their special individual talents the most. It's beyond prosaic. It was fated. It was beyond Kismet. It was their destiny from the moment each of them separately undertook their first independent Radio broadcasts, each in their own rendition of a mixed poetry/musicale format. The ironies and coincidences are beyond serendipity. They're cosmic.

As announced, L'Affaire Gumpert was indeed Corwin's last Columbia Presents Corwin. Anything else would have been post-climactic. What could possibly have topped Fourteen August? The entire nation was sharing a combination of mass delerium and a combined, cathartic sigh of immense relief. It was time to move on. The machinery of War was destined to be scrapped and fashioned back into the plowshares that many of those same machines of War had been manufactured from.

And so it was with the two giants of Radio. Each ultimately going their own way again. Each having shared a cosmic moment of catharsis with an entire Nation. What could possibly have topped the emotion of that singular moment of 14 August?

There's no question that Norman Corwin, despite his amazing professional triumphs of the World War II years, went on to even greater triumphs for the remander of his storied career. As recently as 2005, he worked tirelessly to help produce and promote 2005's Ocscar winning Documentary Short Subject, On A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin. How fitting a tribute, but some might well ask, what took them so long?

We love our heroes. And we need our heroes even more today, as we engage in an economic battle for our financial survival. Much the same survival effort Norman Corwin's own parents had to endure while Norman was still in high school. And so we come full circle. Asking even more from our heroes. Hoping they'll remind us why we fight, why we endure, why we never give in to adversity. And why we vainly expect our heroes to always be there for us at the very instant in history when we need them the most.

Thank God Norman Corwin isn't going anywhere, anytime soon, bless his heart.

[Update: Norman Corwin passed away in his sleep on October 18, 2011 at the age of 101. ]



Oliver Burgess 'Buzz' Meredith
(Host, Performer)

Radio, Television, Film and Stage Actor;Singer; Producer; Director; Screenwriter
(1907-1997)

Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.

Education: Hoosac School; Amherst College

Radiography:
1932 Red Adams
1937 Columbia Workshop
1937 Shakespeare Cycle
1939 Campbell Playhouse
1939 The Pursuit Of Happiness
1939 Texaco Star Theatre
1940 Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1941 Lux Radio Theatre
1941 The Free Company
1941 We the People
1941 Forecast
1941 The Spirit Of '41
1941 Cavalcade Of America
1941 Inner Sanctum
1944 The Kate Smith Hour
1944 Freedom Never Dies
1945 The Harold Lloyd Comedy Theatre
1945 Arch Oboler's Plays
1945 Command Performance
1945 Theatre Guild On the Air
1945 Radio Hall Of Fame
1947 Radio Reader's Digest
1948 Studio One
1950 Hands Across the Sea
1950 Hallmark Playhouse
1950 Friday Is A Big Day
1952 Best Plays
1953 End Of An Era
1954 Stagestruck
1960 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1960 Bob and Ray Present the CBS Radio Network
1960 Have Gun, Will Travel
1972 Same Time, Same Station
1976 Goodnight and Good Luck
Burgess Meredith circa 1939
Burgess Meredith circa 1939

Burgess Meredith at the CBS Mike circa 1940
Burgess Meredith at the CBS Mike circa 1940

Burgess Meredith with wife Paulette Goddard circa 1948
Burgess Meredith with wife Paulette Goddard circa 1948

Burgess Meredith with Ingrid Bergman at the Forty-Fourth Street Theatre
Burgess Meredith with Ingrid Bergman at the Forty-Fourth Street Theatre

Burgess Meredith with Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, and Artie Shaw
Burgess Meredith with Fred Astaire, Paulette Goddard, and Artie Shaw

Burgess Meredith goes over script for The Story of G.I. Joe with Ernie Pyle
Captain Burgess Meredith goes over script for The Story of G.I. Joe with Ernie Pyle

Burgess Meredith in Street of Chance 1942
Burgess Meredith in Street of Chance 1942

Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis from the famous Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last from 1959
Burgess Meredith as Henry Bemis from the famous Twilight Zone episode Time Enough at Last from 1959

Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel in a Hirshfeld caricature from Waiting for Godot circa 1961
Burgess Meredith and Zero Mostel in a Hirschfeld caricature from Waiting for Godot circa 1961

Burgess Meredith at Oscar ceremony 1994
Burgess Meredith at Oscar ceremony 1994
Burgess Meredith was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Ida Beth (née Burgess) and Canadian-born doctor, William George Meredith. Speaking of his childhood, he poignantly observed:

"All my life, to this day, the memory of my childhood remains grim and incoherent. If I close my eyes and think back, I see little except violence and fear...In those early years I somehow came to understand I would have to draw from within myself whatever emotional resources I needed to go wherever I was headed. As a result, for years I became a boy who lived almost totally within himself."

He graduated from Hoosac School in 1926, then attended Amherst College as a member of the Class of 1931. In 1933, he joined Eva Le Gallienne's Theatre Company in New York.He became a favored protege of dramatist Maxwell Anderson, premiering in Film in Anderson's Winterset (1936).

He garnered generous criticism playing George in a 1939 adaptation of Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and later as war correspondent Ernie Pyle in The Story of G.I. Joe (1945). Having served in the U.S. Army Air Forces in World War II as a Captain, Meredith's first-hand experience served him well in the Ernie Pyle role.

Meredith enjoyed a very successful Film and Radio career throughout the 1940s, featured in a wide range of both comedic and dramatic roles. He was featured in three films with his wife, Paulette Goddard, in Second Chorus (1940), Diary of a Chambermaid (1946) and On Our Merry Way (1948). He also starred with Lana Turner in Madame X (1966).

Just as his career and both critical and popular fame were arcing, he was named as an unfriendly witness by the House Un-American Activities Committee for his proudly avowed liberal views, at which point his Studio work predictably vanished.

With influential help from Otto Preminger, he soon began to restore his Film career, while continuing to appear on Radio and Television. Meredith had a moment of just retribution 15 years later when he portrayed Joseph Welch, the man who humbled and humiliated McCarthy before the full Committee, in 1977's Tail Gunner Joe Television drama.

Meredith's liberal causes and views continued unabated. An avowed opponent of the Vietnam War, he was also an evironmentalist. Indeed, a fascinating anecdote regarding Meredith's encounter with a dolphin speaks volumes as to his humanity:

"He was fascinated by the subject of non-human intelligence, particularly dolphins. He once believed that a dolphin somehow called to him for help in the middle of the night while he was staying at a friend's home on the beach. He ran out and found the dolphin, caught in a net under a dock down the beach, although there was no way he should have been able to know it was there. He released it, saving its life. He believed it had made some sort of connection with him, perhaps telepathic, to call for help."

Younger audiences know Burgess Meredith best for either the Rocky (1976) or Grumpy Old Men (1993) films, and of course as The Penguin in both the Batman Movie of 1966 and the wildly successful Batman (1967-1968) Television series.

Meredith also did a large amount of commercial work, serving as the voice for Skippy Peanut Butter and United Air Lines, among many others.

Suffering from bouts of melanoma, and deteriorating Alzheimer's Disease, his last years as an actor found him often resorting to cue cards for the first time in his extraordinary career, but trooper that he remained, he continued on for the love of his craft.

The Alzheimer's disease and a host of other complicating ailments ulitimately took him at the age of 89, after a forty year career in Radio, a thirty year career in Television, a sixty year career in Film and a seventy year career on the public stage. He was survived by his fourth wife, Kaja, and son Jonathon, a musician, and daughter Tala, a painter.

"I was born a character actor. I was never really a leading man type."

"Like the seasons of the year, life changes frequently and drastically. You enjoy it or endure it as it comes and goes, as it ebbs and flows."

Burgess Meredith says goodbye




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