The Clock Radio Program
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William Conrad was the first 'voice' of 'The Clock' for the American Broadcasting Company production
Legendary director William Spier produced and directed at least half of the American Broadcasting Company The Clock productions
Tennessee-born Harp McGuire was the Grace Gibson 'voice' of 'The Clock' for the Australian syndication.
The Clock should have been one of the more popular supernatural dramas of the late 1940s. The production values were reasonably high, the supporting talent was superb, much of the run was produced and directed by William Spier, and the concept was certainly unique enough.
'What if' programs, or dramatic programming dealing with 'fate' and its consequences weren't new to Radio of the 1940s. Indeed, the more common subtexts of most of the supernatural dramatizations throughout the Golden Age of Radio dealt with either the consequences of fate, or both historic and contemporary turning points of either 'conscience' or 'morals.' Nor are such themes particularly unique to the 20th and 21st centuries.
Since the beginning of recorded thought and word, mankind has both cherished and preserved its morality tales, cautionary tales, proverbs, fables and folklore wherein the focus of the tale is mankind's universal dilemma in facing the right and wrong of an issue. Supernatural radio dramas of the era in particular seemed to concentrate on mankind's inherent ability to choose his or her path when faced with moral issues. There was invariably a tradionally more difficult, but morally correct path to take, as opposed to the easier, more attractive path--for almost always the wrong reasons.
Network Radio crime dramas of the era mandated a predictable outcome: "you do the crime you do the time," "crime does not pay," etc. Supernatural dramas, for the most part, focused on the moral options of a plot. Nor were such themes strictly limited to the supernatural drama genre. The recurring popularity of science fiction dramas of the era quite often focused on these same eternal themes, projected in a 'future tense,' as were popularized with both Dimension X and X Minus One during the 1950s.
The ABC Network, entering the competition for Radio network audiences as relatively late as it did, embarked on many attempts to kickstart its own, unique programming initiatives from 1946 forward, especially. Known for its predominantly 'counter-programming' strategies, young ABC was almost continually attempting to unseat--to one degree of success or another--its network competition by creating programming counter to the targeted timeslots and demographics it was attempting to wrestle away from its then three, long-standing network competitors.
Many of ABC's counter-programming efforts were quite deliberately and often successfully mounted against NBC in particular. NBC, for better or worse, was notorious for turning its programming on a dime to counter competing radio programming.
The American Broadcasting Company introduces The Clock
The unique programming wrinkle that ABC was apparently attempting to promote with The Clock was a mix of the traditional crime drama and the supernatural dramas of the previous fifteen years. One or the other of the two genres had been traditionally popular formats throughout the Golden Age of Radio era.
To its credit, ABC gave The Clock all the time it needed to create an audience. It kept the series in pretty much the same timeslot throughout its seventy-eight episode run, maintained reasonably high standards of talent--both in front of and behind, the mike--and simply waited to see what developed. NBC, by contrast was fairly brutal in its approach to new programming: if it didn't attract a sponsor by the magical thirteenth installment, NBC moved it all over the Radio dial on the slightest programming whim, in an effort to find either a home, an audience, or a sponsor for it.
The Clock might well have found a larger audience had ABC had either the budget or resolve to promote it. Neither, as things turned out, ever materialized. After a concerted effort of a week of research, we were unable to uncover a single newspaper spot advertisment or announcement for The Clock during its entire American run. Neither does The Clock, as either an idea or a production, require any rationalization. It may simply have been an idea ahead of its time.
Grace Gibson Productions apparently agreed with our own assessment. When Grace Gibson recycled The Clock almost eight years after it left American airwaves, it apparently met with far more successful acceptance with Australian and South African listeners alike. Employing at least fifty-two of the same scripts as the American run, Grace Gibson simply recast and rerecorded the series for Australian syndication and ended up with a reasonably long-running hit on its hands. And though the key to the comparative success of the Grace Gibson produced series was its wide syndication, it takes nothing away from the comparative quality of either the performances or the productions themselves.
Indeed, some sixty years later, the Grace Gibson run of The Clock has long been intermingled with its surviving American counterparts--often interchangeably. Indeed, many vintage radio recording dealers--and book authors--have attempted to conflate both runs into the same production--even going as far as to invent an imaginary 'history' to support their sales of the recorded series. The scripts were virtually identical, the sound-shaping was at least as good, the acting talent was comparable to the American series, and the direction was equally crisp.
Nor does the American Broadcasting Company run of The Clock require any rationalization for its success, or lack thereof. ABC itself was airing Diary of Fate, at approximately the same time as The Clock. Diary of Fate attracted sponsors and was promoted in newspapers across the U.S. The Clock simply didn't enjoy the same promotion, though it represented, arguably, a far more popular format and supporting performers and technicians.
From a network standpoint, imitation was far more than simply "the sincerest form of flattery" when it came to competition between the major networks of the late 1940s. CBS, for its part, felt The Clock's format was compelling enough to mount its own Cabin B-13 series, initially on the strength of a particularly popular episode of Suspense by the same title, and further buttressed by the apparent interest in ABC's own The Clock. But as American Radio history further demonstrated with the somewhat prompt demise of CBS's Cabin B-13, American audiences simply weren't receptive to the format during that relative snapshot in Golden Age Radio time.
Certainly the enduring popularity and collectability of The Clock, in either its Grace Gibson or American Broadcasting Company renditions would seem to be all the justification either effort needed to support its respective belief in their production.
|Australian Syndication [Grace Gibson]
||Anthology of Golden Age Radio Supernatual and Crime Dramas
||ABC Blue Network; ABC [Australian Broacasting Company]
||Audition Date(s) and Title(s):
||American Syndication: Unknown
||Premiere Date(s) and Title(s):
||American Syndication: 46-11-03 to 48-05-23; ABC; seventy-eight, 30-minute programs;
Australian Syndication: 55-09-27 to 56-09-18; ABC; fifty-two, 27-minute programs; Tuesdays.
||Run Dates(s)/ Time(s):
||American Syndication: None
||American Syndication: ABC Transcriptions
Australian Syndication: Grace Gibson
||American Syndication: Sustaining
Australian Syndication: Unknown
||American Syndication: William Spier [Producer/Director], Clark Andrews
Australian Syndication: John Saul
||American Syndication: Elliott Lewis, Cathy Lewis, Jeanette Nolan, Joseph Kearns, Alice Frost, Joe De Santis, Lurene Tuttle, William Conrad, Alice Reinheart, James Monks, Berry Kroeger, King Calder, Peggy Allenby, Leora Thatcher, Lamont Johnson, Hans Conried, Fran Lafferty, Charles Webster
Australian Syndication: Ossie Wenban, Lynn Murphy, Lloyd Berrell, Madge Ryan, Ken Warren, Alan Trevor, Owen Ainley, Albert Garcia, Richard Davies, Coralie Neville, Dorothy Dunckle, Nigel Lovell, Winifred Handle, Rodney Jacobs, Coralie Neville, John Bonney, Ken Hannon, Wendy Playfair, John Mellion, Joe McCormick, Joan Landor, Deryk Barnes, Pat Martin, Georgie Stirling, Ken Wayne, Frank Waters, Grant Taylor, Dinah Shearing, Fifi Banvard, Tom Farley, John Tate, Joan Lord, Leonard Teale, Charles Tingwell, Don Crosby, June Salter, Ken Hannan, June Salter, Howard Craven, Margaret Christiansen, Gordon Glenwright, Leonard Bullen, Owen Weingott, David Nettheim, Gordon Chator, Beryl Marshall, John Bushell, Shiela Sewell, David Butler, Leonard Thiele, Barbara Brunton, Kevin Brennan, Rodney Jacobs, Diana Davidson, Muriel Steinbeck, Wynne Nelson, Leon Peers, Tom Farly, Jerry Wells, Brian James, Neva Carr Glyn, John Bushelle, Harvey Adams, Myme Dodd, Ruth Cracknell, Alan Trevor, Walter Sullivan, Max Obiston, Guy Dolman, Ray Barrett, Margo Lee, Rod Jacobs, Babs Mayhew, Len Bullen, Lyndall Barbour, Melpo Zaracosta, Moira Redmond, Brian James, John Ewart, Wendy Blacklock, Don Pascoe, Margo Lee, Edward Howell, Marie Clarke, June Salter, Carol Taylor, Jocelyn Hernfield
||American Syndication: William Conrad, Charles Webster as 'The Clock'
Australian Syndication: Harp McGuire as 'The Clock'
||Varied from episode to episode
||Varied from episode to episode
||American Syndication: Lucille Fletcher, Lawrence Klee [Creator], Lee Williams, Alan Hartshire
Australian Syndication: Lawrence Klee
||American Syndication: Basil Adlam, Bernie Green, Ralph Normand, Glenn Osser
||American Syndication: Bernie Green
||American Syndication: Bill Crego
Australian Syndication: Harp McGuire
||Estimated Scripts or
|American Syndication: 78
Australian Syndication: 52
||Episodes in Circulation:
||American Syndication: 7
Australian Syndication: 49
||Total Episodes in Collection:
||American Syndication: 6
Australian Syndication: 49
|RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide, Australian OTR website.
Notes on Provenances:
The most helpful provenances were the log of the radioGOLDINdex, Australian OTR website and newspaper listings.
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The Clock Radio Program Biographies
Stage, Screen, Radio, and Television Actor, Director, Producer, and Writer
New York City, New York, USA
1937 The Cinnamon Bear
1939 The Silver Theatre
1939-1941 The Jello Program
1941 Miss Pinkerton, Inc.
1941 The Orson Welles Theatre
1941 We Hold These Truths
1942-1946 The Cavalcade of America
1942 The Gulf Screen Guild Theatre
1942 Lights Out!
1944 Command Performance
1945 The Theatre of Famous Radio Players
1945-1948 The Whistler
1945 On A Note of Triumph
1945 Arch Oboler's Plays
1945 Columbia Presents Corwin
1945 Twelve Players
1945 The Life of Riley
1945 The Amazing Nero Wolfe
1946 Lux Radio Theatre
1946 Encore Theatre
1946 The Casebook of Gregory Hood
1946 Columbia Workshop
1946-1951 The Lucky Strike Program
1947 The Adventures of Sam Spade
1947 The Voyage of The Scarlet Queen
1947 Hawk Larrabee
1948 Maxwell House Coffee Time
1948 The Sweeney and March Show
1948-1952 The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show
1949 The Kraft Music Hall
1949 Broadway Is My Beat
1950 The Line-Up
1952-1954 Crime Classics
1953 Onstage with Cathy and Elliott Lewis
1957 The CBS Radio Workshop
1973 The Hollywood Radio Theatre [Zero Hour]
1979 Sear Radio Theatre
1980 Mutual Radio Theatre
Elliott Lewis' comparatively sparse entry from the October 1940 edition of Lew Lauria's Radio Artists Directory
Elliott Lewis c. 1944
Elliott Lewis c. 1948
|It's safe to say that Elliott Lewis was the most prolific, versatile Renaissance Man of both Radio and Television throughout the Golden Ages of both media. Quite simply, he did it all--and superlatively. Elliott Lewis first made his mark as an actor, writer, producer and director on radio in the late 1930's. Indeed his first recorded radio appearances were in 1937's The Cinnamon Bear.
During World War II, Lewis was responsible for many of the finest Armed Forces Radio Service productions of the War years, working in conjunction with Gower Gulch fellow enlistee, Howard Duff. Indeed, being the ingenious and resourceful non-Coms that they were, they are reported to have often substituted for each other on air. Apparently each had the other's air voice down so pat that they were indistiguishable from each other when they wanted--or needed--to be. Dedicated fans of AFRS' Mystery Playhouse have been tricked without knowing it, through the personae of Sgt. X, who, in reality was often Elliott Lewis subbing for his buddy, Duff.
Lewis' guest appearances on The Adventures of Sam Spade are some of the more memorable episodes of that series for the magical, on-air interplay between Lewis, Duff, and Lurene Tuttle.
In contrast to his extraordinary radio career, in which he worked either alone or in tandem with his first wife Cathy Lewis, and/or his second wife, Mary Jane Croft, his movie career, like those of most radio actors of the period, wasn't nearly as prolific, with only three films to his credit. His voice was also heard on Gordon Jenkins' classic recording of "Manhattan Tower" on Decca Records in 1945.
During the 1950s, he began to concentrate on writing, producing and directing in earnest. During that period, Lewis produced (1950-1956) and directed (1951-1954) CBS's long running, highly collectible Suspense program. He also produced and directed Broadway Is My Beat from 1949-1954. CBS Radio also tapped him to produce and direct Crime Classics from 1953 to 1954.
After the Golden Age of Radio effectively ended, Lewis moved to Television as a producer of such shows as The Lucille Ball Show (1962) and The Mothers-In-Law (1967), and directed all but one episode of the final season of Petticoat Junction (1963). But it was Radio that remained his first love and he continued to direct the occasional radio play well into the 1970s, culminating with Mutual's critically acclaimed Zero Hour (Hollywood Radio Theatre) in 1973, Sears Radio Theatre in 1979, and Mutual Radio Theatre in 1980 as both director and producer. These Golden Age Radio Revival dramas were some of the finest productions of the 1970s, and despite the dominance of Television, represented an enduring, sophisticated tribute to The Golden Age of Radio that Elliott Lewis had loved so very much.
CBS Radio Publicity once dubbed Elliott Lewis "Mr. Radio" because of his contributions to the medium as a writer, producer, director, and actor. Lewis was involved in more than 1,2o0 network radio programs in those various capacities.
Stage, Screen, Radio, and Television Actress
Birthplace: Spokane, Washington, U.S.A.
1942 Lights OUt
1944 Lux Radio Theatre
1944 Four For the Fifth
1944 The Rudy Vallee Show
1945 Theater Of Famous Radio Players
1945 Wonderful World
1945 The Whistler
1945 The Eddie Bracken Show
1945 Arch Oboler Plays
1945 Twelve Players
1945 Rogue's Gallery
1945 Pacific Story
1945 Theatre Of Romance
1946 Marcus O'Connor, Detective First Class
1946 Hollywood Star Time
1946 Encore Theatre
1946 Songs By Sinatra
1946 Michael Shayne, Private Detective
1946 Columbia Workshop
1947 Your Movietown Radio Theatre
1947 Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 My Friend Irma
1947 The Man Called X
1948 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1948 Two Lines
1949 Philip Morris Playhouse
1949 This Is Your FBI
1949 The Great Gildersleeve
1950 The Harold Pery Show
1950 Broadway Is My Beat
1950 The New Adventures Of Nero Wolfe
1951 Make Believe Town
1952 On Stage
1954 Saturday Theatre
1955 The Bob Hope Show
1958 Whispering Streets
Hollywood Star Playhouse
Here's To Veterans
The Cases Of Mr Ace
Cathy Lewis entry from the October 1940 edition of Lew Lauria's Radio Artists Directory
Marie Wilson and Cathy Lewis as Irma and Jane from My Friend Irma (1948)
Inset of Cathy Lewis Jane from My Friend Irma (1948)
Cathy Lewis as Deirdre Thompson in Hazel from 1965
From the Galveston Daily News, March 22, 1953:
Versatile Thespian Cathy Lewis Reached Star Level as Jane of 'My Friend Irma'
Cathy Lewis has been a successful vaudeville performer, a band singer, a motion picture, stage and radio actress. But not until television did the versatile thespian attain the "star" level she had been seeking since her theatrical debut as the "Jazz Baby" of 1924.
Cathy's rich, throaty voice that for years made her one of radio's most popular personalities combined with her undisputed ability as a stage actress to make her a "big timer," as sarcastic Jane Stacey on CBS Television Network's "My Friend Irma."
It's fun to step into a cab," Cathy says, "and get that raised eye-brow of recognition from the driver. It happens in restaurants, on the street, in theatres. I love it--but of course all hams do."
Cathy, who was born in Spokane, Wash., on Dec. 27, 1917, got what she calls a "late start in the entertainment biz." She was seven when she was hired by the Jensen Von Herberg chain of theatres as the "Jazz Baby," singer and dancer.
According to Cathy, the sight of her on stage in long curls, ruffles and patent leather slippers, singing the praises of Barney Google and his goo-goo-googly eyes, put her family on the move. The move took them to St. Paul, Minn., where the erstwhile "Jazz Baby" was enrolled in the Nativity Parochial School.
Here, and later at St. Joseph's Academy, her dramatic talent qualified her for leads in student productions and appearances with the St. Paul Civic Repertory Group.
Before she had finished school, Cathy had appeared as guest vocalist with Ben Pollack, Herb Stern, Red Nichols, Johnny Davis and Glenn Gray. After doing a guest spot with Kay Kyser in Chicago, Cathy decided to try her luck in Hollywood.
She came to the West Coast in 1935, sang with Ray Noble's band, landed a leading role with the Ben Bard Players. She appeared in Pasadena Playhouse productions, free-lanced at Warner Brothers and Universal, then joined the West Coast company of "The Man Who Came To Dinner," hoping to troupe her way to New York City. Instead, after six months, the company disbanded in San Francisco when Alexander Woolcott died.
She was signed to an MGM contract, screen-tested with Stuart Erwin, taken to lunch with Robert Taylor, played one brief scene with Spencer Tracy in "Fury," and then sat by waiting for her next part. When weeks had ticked by and nothing happened, she asked for her release and got it. Free lancing, she was more successful. She worked with Laraine Day in five "Dr. Kildare" pictures, did "Escape" for Mervyn LeRoy, appeared with Dick Powell in "Model Wife," with Van Heflin in "Kid Glove Killer," and with Ann Sheridan and Dennis Morgan in "Shadow of Their Wings."
"About this time," Cathy said, "I heard about the great opportunities in radio. I went into it and loved every minute of it--and now, the monster video, which I love even more."
She is married to CBS Radio producer-director Elliott Lewis. They met in 1941 when they worked a radio show together and were married on April 30, 1943, a union which required no name change for Cathy since her maiden name was also Lewis.
The Lewises have often collaborated at the microphone. Together they have written several outstanding radio shows and have written and recorded two Columbia albums, "Happy Anniversary" and "Happy Holiday," in which they narrate a story and Cathy sings.
Born in Spokane, Wash., Cathy is 5 feet 4 1/2 inches and weighs 125 pounds. She has auburn hair and brown eyes.
|From the March 5, 1951 edition of the Portsmouth Herald:
by Erskine Johnson
HOLLYWOOD (NEA)--It pains me to tattle-tale, but I'm letting all movie queens know that some of their leading men are faithless, sniping low-lifes behind their backs.
Give them a microphone, an air version of last year's movie and a radio actress who's pinch-hitting for a Hedy or Greer and, the skunk pattern down their spines lights up like a pinball machine.
Oooh, what those profile boys say about their celluloid co-stars!
Cathy Lewis, the CBS Bernhardt, unzipped the bag and let the cat out for me.
The minute the studio audience files out, Cathy gets this from the boys:
"Don't breathe this to a soul honey, but I wish you had been in the movie with me instead of that silly, hammy dame who calls herself an actress. Maybe the picture wouldn't have laid such an egg."
It's embarrassing as all get-out, to Cathy and sometimes she's right glad that she's not a movie doll.
She came close to it once when MGM put her under contract and she sat around for months with another discouraged Actress named Greer Carson waiting for a role.
CATHY'S THE RED-HAlRED, big-eyed queen bee in the American Federation of Radio Artists hive and when Loretta Young breaks a leg or the budget won't allow for Ida Lupino, she's right there to wham over the lines that Loretta and Ida once spoke.
The mike's nothing but a metal contraption to Cathy, but she let me know that most movie stars get the jitters, when they see the "On the Air" sign.
Here's how they look, fearless or jittery, to Cathy:
Gregory Peck: "He's fine, but he's very nervous."
Joan Crawford: "She's sure of her talent in radio, but audiences terrify her."
June Havoc: "On her first 'Suspense' show, she was so scared that she had to leave the studio."
Humphrey Bogart: "During rehearsals, he doesn't give a thing. But once you're on the air with him, Bogey's just fine."
Joseph Cotten: "He kept saying, 'Why am I here? What am I doing here? This is murder."
CLARK CABLE IS CATHY'S IDEA of a movie giant who shrinks to midget size when his moustache is level with a microphone instead of Ava Gardner's lips.
"He won't appear before a radio audience," she said. "My husband, Elliott Lewis, worked with him when Clark did 'Command Decision' on the air. Know how it was done? It was taped one night, with Clark reading his lines and Elliot reading his lines and Elliot reading the lines of every other character.
"The next night, Elliot taped another version, but this time he read Gable's lines and the AFRA actors gave the lines he had done the night before. Then Gable's voice was spliced in place of Elliot's and that's how it went over the air."
Cathy's the Jane Stacy of CBS' "My Friend Irma" with Marie Wilson. But nobody even said "Come on over for a screen test" when Hal Walls began to film the "Irma" series.
But does Cathy give a hoot?
"I used to have feelings about it," she told me. "Then I saw Diana Lynn in the picture. She was cute, refreshing and youngtoo young. I'm glad I didn't play the part."
Then Cathy added:
"Jane, as we do her in radio, is really the show's director and producer, the guy who dreamed up IrmaCy Howard. It's just that Cy wrote a woman's part for himself. He's Jane Stacy, inside, I mean. Everything that Jane says or thinks reflects the real Cy.
From the 52-03-02 Oakland Tribune:
Irma's Girl Friend Scores Smash Hit--and Doesn't Like It
By HAL HUMPHREY
HOLLYWOOD, March 1.
--Despite her current success on the TV version of "My Friend Irma," Cathy Lewis is fed up with being just Jane Stacy.
"Don't get me wrong," says Irma's girl friend on both the radio and TV "Irma" shows. "I am amazed and very happy over the marvelous public acceptance I have had since the TV show began. Nothing like this has ever happened to me before.
"But why did it have to be as Jane Stacy? I don't want to be Jane. I want to be Cathy Lewis, actress," says pert, auburn-haired Cathy.
To understand the irony in Cathy's attitude, it's necessary to know that she's been "doing"
Jane on the "Irma" radio show for five years, and doesn't believe that the part is worth what
she has put into it.
Fans of the new TV show undoubtedly would disagree with her on this point, because Cathy
in many respects has emerged as the star of CBS video "Irma."
But while this success came as a surprise to the viewers, it meant only one thing to Cathy--she is still just Jane Stacy. And for her, this seems a hollow victory after more than 15 years of acting.
Cathy hit Hollywood in 1935 as a singer with Ray Noble's band. Soon after that she got a screen contract at M-G-M, and between this and some free-lance roles at other studios, Cathy played in more than 20 feature
Later, she joined the road company of "The Man Who Came to Dinner," but the company was disbanded in San Francisco upon the death of the star, the late Alexander Woollcott.
Cathy came back to Hollywood and took up radio acting, and in 1943 married Elliott Lewis, producer-director of CBS' "Suspense" and "Broadway's My Beat" programs. This was one time when a gal didn't have to change her maiden name after marriage.
Her problem now is what to do about being identified as Jane Stacy. Cathy's ambition is to become an honest-to-goodness actress and have dramatic roles on such TV shows as "Studio One."
In other words, she wants to prove that she is an actress and not just Irma's roommate. "When they first started talking about putting Marie Wilson and me on an 'Irma' TV show, there were big plans to make us a couple of real gals living in a brownstone-front flat," Cathy recalls.
"But after a few conferences with the sponsor, it was decided that what was needed was some sure-fire gags and situations, and to h___ with the slice-of- life stuff.
"I don't have to tell you what followed. You've seen the old, broken-down couch, and the time we put pots on our head. I told anyone who would listen that the day they put a pie in my face, I'm through. This isn't acting, it's markmanship."
However, with all of these drawbacks, Cathy is thrilled that she is building a whole new set of fans. And her success has caused no strain between her and Marie, with whom she has worked all these years on the radio "Irma."
"If Marie is concerned about the TV show, she has never said so, or used it against me," emphatically states Cathy.
"Marie is a real nice dame, and nobody could have a problem with her."
Copyright, 1952, for The Tribune
Catherine Lewis was born and raised in Spokane, Washington. After appearing in a couple of local dramatic productions and outings as a local band singer, Cathy Lewis struck out on her own, landing first with Ray Noble's Orchestra in 1935, then with Kay Kyser and Herbie Kay.
Cathy had first migrated to Chicago while pursuing work in the entertainment industry. Between singing gigs, Cathy Lewis did a bit of Radio acting, which eventually persuaded her to emigrate to Hollywood and all the opportunities the area presented. Not long after moving to Hollywood, M-G-M signed Lewis to a two-year contract, introducing her to short features in its Crime Does Not Pay series. As she indicates in her Lew Lauria listing to the left, she'd already appeared in eight M-G-M pictures in 1940 alone.
It soon became apparent to Cathy Lewis that her talents were far better utilized in Radio. She continued to appear in an occasional feature film but by the mid-1940s Cathy Lewis' star was rising rapidly in the Radio industry.
Identified as something of an item with Laird Kregar for several years, Cathy Lewis ultimately married Elliott Lewis (no blood relation) in 1943 and the couple were soon appearing together in hundreds of Radio's most successful programs. By 1944, Cathy Lewis began co-starring with character actor Wally Maher in the first incarnation of Private Detective Michael Shayne, as Mike Shayne's secretary and love interest, Phyllis Knight.
A popular west coast Don Lee-Mutual production for two years, the Private Detective Michael Shayne program went national in October 1946 as Michael Shayne: Private Detective. The program aired nationally for another fifteen episodes before ending in January 1947. Both Maher and Lewis were gaining numerous obligations in West Coast Radio by then and the move proved the right one for both of them.
After Elliott Lewis' return to civilian life [he'd worked for the Armed Forces Radio Service for three years during World War II], he and his wife Cathy undertook an ambitious array of Radio projects--both separately and as a couple.
By 1947, Cathy Lewis was again co-starring in a major network hit, My Friend Irma with Marie Wilson as Irma and Cathy Lewis in the role of Jane Stacey, Irma's long-suffering roommate. Having built a highly successful Radio career through the 1940s, she made the jump to Television with the transition of her Jane Stacey character on Radio to the small screen for a season of My Friend Irma (1952) for TV.
1953 found her again co-starring in Radio with her husband, Elliott Lewis in their critically acclaimed tour de force, On Stage with Cathy and Elliott Lewis (1953-54), which ran for a year and a half for CBS. Elliott Lewis and Cathy Lewis separated during the mid-1950s and eventually divorced in 1958.
By then moving comfortably between Radio and Television, 1959 found Cathy Lewis again co-starring in yet another Radio export to Television, as Molly McGee in Television's Fibber McGee and Molly (1959). 1961 brought several recurring appearances in Television's popular Hazel (1961-1966), as Deirdre Thompson.
Throughout the 1960s, Cathy Lewis continued her work in Television, both as a voice talent and as an actress, in Film, overdubbing for several prominent actresses of the era, and occasional return appearances over Radio.
Cathy Lewis was stricken with cancer during her recurring appearances in Hazel and eventually succumbed to cancer in 1968 at the age of only 52, still one of Radio's most successful character actresses to make a successful transition to Television.
With well over 3,000 Radio appearances to her credit, some twenty feature and short films, and at least 100 appearances in Television, it's safe to say that Cathy Lewis remains one of the most distinguished performers from The Golden Age of Radio. Often portraying as many as three to five characters in a single Radio production, Cathy Lewis is considered one of Radio's finest, most versatile actresses in History.
|William Conrad [William Cann]
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor, Director, Producer, Narrator
Birthplace: Louisville, Kentucky
1940 The Hermit's Cave
1944 The Whistler
1945 Destination Tomorrow
1946 Dark Venture
1946 Strange Wills
1946 I Deal In Crime
1946 Favorite Story
1946 Cavalcade Of America
1946 Meet Miss Sherlock
1947 Voyage Of the Scarlet Queen
1947 The Adventures Of Philip Marlowe
1947 Johnny Madero, Pier 23
1947 Mr President
1947 Lux Radio Theatre
1947 Shorty Bell, Cub Reporter
1948 The New Adventures Of Michael Shayne
1948 Damon Runyon Theatre
1948 The First Nighter Program
1948 Ellery Queen
1948 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1948 Let George Do It
1948 Jeff Regan, Investigator
1948 Hallmark Playhouse
1948 Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar
1948 Prudential Family Hour Of Stars
1948 Command Performance
1948 Hawk Larabee
1949 Pat Novak For Hire
1949 Our Miss Brooks
1949 This Is Your FBI
1949 Hollywood Mystery Playhouse
1949 Rocky Jordan
1949 Screen Director's Playhouse
1949 Box Thirteen
1949 The Green Lama
1949 Dangerous Assignment
1949 Richard Diamond, Private Detective
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Adventures Of the Saint
1949 The Count Of Monte Cristo
1950 The Halls Of Ivy
1950 The Adventures Of Frank Race
1950 Night Beat
1950 Rocky Jordan
1950 Philip Morris Playhouse
1950 The Adventures Of Sam Spade
1950 The Story Of Dr Kildare
1950 Broadway Is My Beat
1950 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1951 Hedda Hopper's Hollywood
1951 The Man Called X
1951 Tales Of the Texas Rangers
1951 Pete Kelly's Blues
1951 Mr I.A. Moto
1951 The Silent Men
1951 The Railroad Hour
1952 Stars Over Hollywood
1952 The Line-Up
1952 Jason and the Golden Fleece
1952 Tums Hollywood Theatre
1953 Bakers' Theatre Of Stars
1953 The Six-Shooter
1953 Crime Classics
1953 On Stage
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1953 Fibber McGee and Molly
1954 High Adventure
1955 The Adventures Of Captain Courage
1955 I Was A Communist For the FBI
1955 Mystery Theatre
1956 The Key
1956 CBS Radio Workshop
1958 Heartbeat Theatre
The Roy Rogers Show
The Pendleton Story
The Adventures Of Maisie
William Conrad, ca. 1943
William Conrad in Killers (1947)
William Conrad as Matt Dillon, ca. 1953 (Courtesy of Harry Bartell)
William Conrad, for ABC, ca. 1957
William Conrad and Jack Webb, in Webb's Film, --30-- (1959)
Conrad in Cannon publicity still, ca 1971
Bill Conrad, ca. 1972
|William Conrad was born William Cann in Louisville, Kentucky. He started work in radio in the late 1930s in California. During World War II, Conrad served as a fighter pilot. He returned to the airwaves after the war, going on to accumulate over 7,000 roles in radio-by his own estimate. We can attest to at least 2,000--Conrad had been a fighter pilot, after all.
Conrad's deep, resonant voice led to a number of noteworthy roles in radio drama, most prominently his role as the original Marshal Matt Dillon on the Western program Gunsmoke (19521961). For the Gunsmoke purists, we'd remind them that the two actors that technically preceded Conrad in the role--Rye Billsbury and Howard Culver--auditioned as Mark Dillon, not Matt Dillon.
He was considered for the Television role of Matt Dillon when the series was brought to the small screen in 1955, but increasing obesity led to the casting of James Arness instead. As it turned out, relatively few of the other cast members were cast in the TV version.
Other radio programs to which Conrad contributed his talents included The Whistler, Strange Wills, The Adventures of Philip Marlowe, Johnny Madero, Pier 23, The New Adventures of Michael Shayne, Ellery Queen, The Adventures of Sam Spade, Jeff Regan, Investigator, Let George Do It, Pat Novak for Hire, Escape!, Suspense and The Damon Runyon Theater. One particularly memorable radio role was his breathtaking performance in "Leinengen Vs. The Ants" first heard in the January 14, 1948 broadcast of Escape!, and in a later rendition in the August 25, 1957 Suspense broadcast of "Leinengen Vs. The Ants." Conrad, of course was also memorable as the 'voice' of Escape!.
Conrad's long association with Jack Webb produced some of radio noir's most memorable moments as well. Conrad was heard in every Jack Webb production he ever mounted, and the chemistry between the two of them is one of radio's greatest pairings. From Johnny Madero, Pier 23, to Dragnet--and beyond, the verbal interplay between Conrad and Webb always made for fascinating radio--and Film.
Conrad's possessed an amazing gift for creating bone-chilling Radio characterizations of a seemingly endless array of toughs, gangsters, hard-boiled cops, corporate magnates, and hundreds of other commanding, self-assured, scoundrels and heroes alike. Those roles created a Radio following for him rarely equalled in Radio History. He was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997.
Among Conrad's various film roles, where he was usually cast as threatening figures, perhaps his most notable role was his first credited one, as one of the gunmen sent to eliminate Burt Lancaster in the 1946 film The Killers. He also appeared in Body and Soul (1947), Sorry, Wrong Number and Joan of Arc (1948), and The Naked Jungle (1954). And again, his characterizations of tough guys, aided by his amazing deep baritone and chillingly authoritative presence made for some of Film Noir's most enduring depictions.
Conrad moved to television in the 1960s, first guest-starring in NBC's science fiction series The Man and the Challenge. Conrad guest-starred--and directed-episodes of ABC's crime drama Target: The Corruptors! (1962). Indeed, both Conrad and the legendary Sam Peckinpah directed episodes of NBC's Klondike (19601961). He returned to voice work, most notably as narrator of The Fugitive (19631967) and as the director of Brainstorm (1965).
Conrad is as fondly remembered for his voice work in Animation. He narrated the animated Rocky and Bullwinkle series from 195964 (as "Bill Conrad"), and later performed the role of Denethor in the animated Television version of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Return of the King (1980).
The 1970s brought him further small-screen success with leading roles in Cannon (1971-1976), Nero Wolfe (1981) and Jake and The Fat Man (1987-1990). Conrad was also the on-camera spokesman for First Alert fire prevention products for many years, as well as Hai Karate men's cologne.
Conrad's credits as a director include episodes of The Rifleman, Bat Masterson, Route 66, Have Gun, Will Travel, and 77 Sunset Strip, among others, and feature films such as Two on a Guillotine.
Conrad had one son, Christopher, with his first wife, Susie. When Susie died after thirty years of marriage, Conrad married Tippy Stringer Huntley, a graduate of the University of Maryland at College Park and widow of famed former NBC newscaster Chet Huntley.
Conrad died from congestive heart failure on February 11, 1994, in Los Angeles, California. He is interred at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Lincoln Terrace.
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