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Original Tales of The Foreign Service header art

The Tales of The Foreign Service Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Tales of The Foreign Service
United States Department of State seal
United States Department of State seal

Ten years prior to the turn of the 18th century there were only two diplomatic missions, one in London and one in Paris--and 10 consular posts. By 1800 the number of early diplomatic missions had tripled. By 1900 there were 41 diplomatic missions and 318 consular posts. It was in 1924 that the two Foreign Service systems were finally merged. As of the year 2000 there were some 250 posts abroad, staffed by Foreign Service officers and specialists representing four United States government agencies – the Department of State, the Agency for International Development, the Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Foreign Commercial Service. And of course the Central Intelligence agency and military contingents attached to each mission.


Foreign Agricultural Service symbol from 1957
Foreign Agricultural Service symbol from 1957
Agency for International Development seal
Agency for International Development seal


U.S. Commercial Service logo

Tales of The Foreign Service began as a summer replacement for the second season of NBC University of The Air's The World's Great Novels program. Beginning with the productions of 1946, NBC University of The Air embarked on a series of productions emphasizing the importance of The United Nations and international diplomacy. Tales of The Foreign Service was a logical extension of this emphasis which added both educational and adventure elements to the NBC University of The Air programming.

Initially planned as a run of some seventeen weeks, the programming was eventually extended to twenty-seven weeks. In the end, the series actually ran only twenty-one weeks, ultimately supplanted by the Third Season of NBC University of The Air's The World's Great Novels. At least one known episode never aired-- "Islands of Home"--though there may well have been at least four other episodes that were never broadcast.

Written and produced with the cooperation of The State Department, NBC University of The Air began production for the Tales of The Foreign Service in March of 1946. Billed as actual exploits of the Foreign Service in one capacity or another spanning the time of the American Revolution to the mid-1940s, the series was teased as based upon "incidents previously classified as secret." This lent both an element of suspense and intrigue to the more historical docudrama nature of the underlying scripts.

All of the circulating exemplars of the series are well-mounted productions, comprising equal parts of education and adventure. Given the inherently exotic nature of work in the diplomatic corps, the series, for its day revealed aspects of America's international relations that had never been either explored or revealed to the public at large. In this respect alone, The Tales of The Foreign Service marked an historic turn in mass communication of the era, providing insights into the work of the diplomatic corps often heard for the very first time.

It was clearly a boon to the morale of the diplomatic corps in general, but its timeslot somewhat limited its exposure. Many of the NBC University of The Air programs of the era were incorporated into the curricula of colleges and universities throughout North America, but it's as yet unclear whether Tales of The Foreign Service was ever employed in this manner. Certainly it would have provided a marvelous rudimentary education into both the history and day-to-day operations of the diplomatic corps.

American patriotism was at an all-time high throughout the Golden Age of Radio. That patriotism spanned every ideology and philosphy, but the common, uniting sense of the American public throughout this historic period was that the American way of life was a gift and a privilege. The period also represented the last vestiges of what had been the healthiest mix in American history of popular discourse, newspapers, archetypal government balance, and of course, Radio diversity--tens of thousands of independent, small market Radio stations with tens of thousands of points of view.

What remains of the surviving episodes of Tales of The Foreign Service is a fairly straightforward, honest and mildly patriotic history of the diplomatic corps and its growing importance as a pivotal element of America's place in the world. But as a time-capsule of America's burgeoning and exponentially expanding foreign relations initiatives, the series remains highly illustrative of post-World War II diplomatic culture and perhaps even naivete. International relations, in spite of the turmoil of the most recent World War, was still a far more "civilized" and idealistic diplomatic environment than it's become during the ensuing seventy years.

Listening to Tales of The Foreign Service, one can't help reflecting on how relatively simple international initiatives and civilities remained after World War II. But as history would soon reveal, the post-Atomic Age of world history would soon make all manner of international relations a far more precipitous and duplicitous environment than ever before.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Foreign Adventure Dramas
Network(s): NBC, ABC Blue Network [West], The AFRS, and several other local affiliates and networks while in syndication.
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): None
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 46-06-07 01 Walter W. Orebaugh, American Consul in Italy
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 46-06-07 to 46-10-25; NBC; Twenty-one, 30-minute programs; Fridays, 11:30 p.m.
Syndication: NBC Orthacoustic for Federal Radio Education Committee
Sponsors: Sustaining
Director(s):
Principal Actors:
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s)
Music Direction:
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s):
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
26
Episodes in Circulation: 18
Total Episodes in Collection: 17
Provenances:
RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

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

Digital Deli Too RadioLogIc


OTRisms:

We invite you to compare our fully provenanced research with the Tales of the Foreign Service log from the '1,500 expert researchers' at the OTRR.

Quite simply, the OTRR's Tales of the Foreign Service log is a work of utter fiction. We've also provided a screen shot of their current log for comparison, HERE, to protect our own further due diligence. As the self-styled 'most authoritative and accurate vintage Radio authority in the world' one might have expected the OTRR to have at least attempted an explanation of their utter absence of verifiable provenances, dates, titles and episode order.


What you see here, is what you get. Complete transparency. We have no 'credentials' whatsoever--in any way, shape, or form--in the 'otr community'--none. But here's how we did it--for better or worse. Here's how you can build on it yourselves--hopefully for the better. Here's the breadcrumbs--just follow the trail a bit further if you wish. No hobbled downloads. No misdirection. No posturing about our 'credentials.' No misrepresentations. No strings attached. We point you in the right direction and you're free to expand on it, extend it, use it however it best advances your efforts.

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We don't pronounce our Golden Age Radio research as 'certified' anything. By the very definition, research is imperfect. We simply tell the truth. As is our continuing practice, we provide our fully provenanced research results--to the extent possible--right here on the page, for any of our peers to review--or refute--as the case may be. If you take issue with any of our findings, you're welcome to cite any better verifiable source(s) and we'll immediately review them and update our findings accordingly. As more verifiable provenances surface, we'll continue to update the following series log, as appropriate.

All rights reserved by their respective sources. Article and log copyright 2009 The Digital Deli Online--all rights reserved. Any failure to attribute the results of this copywritten work will be rigorously pursued.







The Tales of The Foreign Service Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
46-06-07
1
Walter W. Orebaugh, American Consul in Italy
Y
[Premiere as summer replacement for World's Great Novels]

46-03-06 Sandusky Register Star News
Tales of the Foreign Service, a dramatized broadcast to run 27 weeks on NBC. Through the co-operation of the State Department, the scripts are to be based on incidents revealed in files heretofore classified as secret. They are to cover activities from Washington's time to the present. While the opening date is not until June 7, preliminary work on the program is already underway.

46-03-13 San Antonio Light
Incidents taken from the files of the U.S. diplomatic corps will be incorporated into a 27 week dramatic series called "Tales of the Foreign Service" and will begin on NBC June 7.

46-06-07 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: Wilms Herbert, Narrator WEAF (Premiere).

46-06-07 The Morning Herald
On NBC at 10:30 opens a 17 weeks series under the title of Tales of the Foreign Service. The first one will dramatize the adventures of
Walter W. Orebaugh, American consul in Italy in World War II. The scripts are based on files of the foreign service of the Department of State
46-06-14
2
The Story of the Blacklist of Nazi Firms
Y
46-06-14 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Story of the Blacklist of Nazi Firms" WEAF.
46-06-21
3
Our State Department Courier Service
Y
46-06-14 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Our State Department Courier Service"--WEAF.
46-06-28
4
Foreign Service Wives
Y
[Poor recording]

46-06-28 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Foreign Service Wives"--WEAF.
46-07-05
5
The Philippines Are Independent
Y
46-07-05 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "
The Philippines Are Independent"--WEAF.
46-07-12
6
Disaster at Sea
Y
46-07-12 New York Times
11:30-12-Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Disaster at Sea"--WEAF.
46-07-19
7
The Secret War for Wolfram
Y
46-07-19 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "
The War for Wolfram"--WEAF.
46-07-26
8
Protection of American Life and Property in China
Y
46-07-26 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "Protection of American Life and Property in China"--WEAF.
46-08-02
9
The Waiting Game
Y
46-08-02 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service; "
The Waiting Game"--WEAF,
46-08-09
10
Death and Rebirth of an American Embassy
Y
46-08-09 New York Times
11:30-12-Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Death and Rebirth of an American Embassy"-WEAF.

46-08-09 Morning Herald
Mrs. J. Borden Harriman's adventures as one of the few women diplomats in State Department service, will be dramatized in "
Non-Career Diplomat" on "Tales of the Foreign Service" on NBC at 10:30 Friday night.
46-08-16
11
Non-Career Diplomat
Y
46-08-16 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Non-Career Diplomat"--WEAF.
46-08-23
12
Unsung Heroes
N
46-08-23 New York Times
11:30-12-Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Unsung Heroes"-WEAF.
46-08-30
13
Government in Limbo-Yugoslavia, 1941
Y
46-08-30 New York Times
11:30-12-Tales of the Foreign Service': "
Government in Limbo-Yugoslavia, 1941"-WEAF.
46-09-06
14
The Story of George Messersmith
Y
46-09-06 New York Times
11:30-WEAF--Tales of The Foreign Service: "
The Story of George Messersmith"
46-09-13
15
The Gripsholm
N
46-09-13 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of Foreign Service: "
The Gripsholm"--WEAF.
46-09-20
16
Foreign Service Clerks
N
46-09-20 New York Times
11:30-WEAFTales of the Foreign Service: "
Foreign Service Clerks"
46-09-27
17
A Study of The Making of An Ambassador
Y
46-09-27 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "
Making an Ambassador"--WEAF.

46-09-27 Morning Herald
Tales of the Foreign Service on NBC at 10:30 is to do "
The Making of an Ambassador."
46-10-04
18
Officer Thomas Estes
Y
46-10-04 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of Foreign Service: "Officer Thomas Estes"--WEAF.
46-10-11
19
Good Neighbors to the North
N
46-10-11 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "Good Neighbors to the North," John Holtman, Narrator--WEAF.
46-10-18
20
Special Assignment: North Africa
Y
46-10-18 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "Special Assignment: North
Africa
"--WEAF.
46-10-25
21
Elihu Root
Y
46-10-25 New York Times
11:30-12--Tales of the Foreign Service: "Elihu Root"--WEAF.
--
--
--
--
46-11-01 New York Times
11:30-12--World's Great Novels: "Anna Karenina," Part 1, With Geraldine Day--WEAF
--
--
Islands of Home
Y
[Not Broadcast]









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