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Original The Croupier header art

The Croupier Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> The Croupier

November 30th 1949 spot ad for The Croupier
November 30th 1949 spot ad for The Croupier





Background

Throughout The Golden Age of Radio era, supernatural suspense thrillers, as a dramatic genre, were a popular staple over Radio--indeed, over early Television as well. While several were originated and produced by independent programming syndicators, the majority of the more enduring supernatural thrillers and suspense dramas originated from key stations of one of the larger networks--occasionally larger affiliate stations within a network's chain. Some of the more popular of the genre were as follows:

Though not all-inclusive, the list reflects a representative mix of affiliate origination, key station origination and independent syndicator programming. Independent Radio programming syndicators launched several of the more successful suspense-thriller and supernatural dramas during the 1940s.

ABC launches another supernatural drama

The still comparatively young ABC, and its earlier The Haunting Hour, Diary of Fate, The Clock and The Unexpected, had enjoyed reasonable success. Extending its run of supernatural dramas seemed like an equally reasonable gamble for ABC's Fall 1949 Season roll-out. The Croupier, a supernatural drama employing an equally supernatural croupier to 'spin the wheel of Fate' for its protagonists was, by 1949, a familiar device to radio audiences of the era. Another persuasive guarantee of success was Milton Geiger both penning and directing all of The Croupier's scripts. Geiger was at the height of his considerable talents by 1949 and would find even greater success over Television during the 1950s and 1960s of its Golden Age.

ABC rolled out its 1949 Fall Season premieres the week of September 18th 1949. Included among its new offerings were Starring Boris Karloff, new seasons of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Amazing Mr. Malone, and The Croupier, all presented on Wednesday evenings in ABC's Wednesday night 'Mystery Block' lineup. ABC also broadcast a television version of Starring Boris Karloff on Thursday evenings. But as usual, given ABC's penchant for counter-programming, Starring Boris Karloff's radio opposition was the ever-popular Bing Crosby Show or You Bet Your Life, depending on the region; and The Croupier's opposition was either The Bing Crosby Show, Family Theater, or Mr. District Attorney, again depending on the region.

Given the stiff competition, it was apparently ABC's calculus that listeners would opt for a block of Mystery programs over the individually popular long-running programs that opposed ABC's individual Wednesday night components.

"Gripping stories of Man's eternal conflict with Fate"

To expand on the premise mentioned above, The Croupier was presented as dramatizations of the effect of Fate on its protagonists. It formally announced itself as "Gripping stories of Man's eternal conflict with Fate." and employed the following introduction:

"I am The Croupier. I spin The Wheel of Life. You, the players, make your fortune--your future--what you will. It is for you to choose a path: Jealousy, Envy, Hatred, Fear, Happiness, Love, Peace. These are the dark and the bright colors of the soul. So, mesdames et monsieurs, place your bets!"

Needless to say, with the above introduction Milton Geiger opened up a world of dramatic possibilities for his directorial and writing talents to exploit over the course of the series. Unfortunately, The Billboard's Jerry Franken was less than fully impressed in his review of the premiere of The Croupier and its presentation of "The Roman," starring Vincent Price. Franken gave the debut effort a "B plus for effort" in his October 1st review. Franken appeared to suggest that given Milton Geiger's already legendary writing talent, the reviewer had every reason to expect something a bit more polished and less contrived than the series' opening salvo. Perhaps it was simply a case of overly optimistic expectations on the reviewer's part. Though in the end, he allowed that, given the series' premise, Geiger had left himself plenty movement toward better dramatic vehicles--and dialogue.

Our own experience of auditioning the single circulating exemplar of The Croupier seems to buttress Mr. Franken's observations. The premise was certainly novel, the performances well above adequate to the material, and the resolution reasonably intriguing. But we'd have to agree with Franken's observation regarding Geiger's unnecessarily elaborate reach far exceeding his grasp. Many of the lines did seem overly contrived and prosaic for the underlying plot. But of course, given Gieger's track record, there's every reason to believe that the series improved in later episodes. One of the entertainment industry's most prolific and versatile writers, Geiger could write for any dramatic genre with demonstrated, consummate skill.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Supernatural Dramas
Network(s): ABC
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 49-09-21 01 The Roman
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 49-09-21 to 49-12-28; ABC [KECA]; Fifteen, 30-minute programs; Wednesday nights
Syndication: ABC
Sponsors: ABC-sustaining
Director(s): Milton Geiger [Director]
Dwight Hausner [Producer]
Principal Actors: Vincent Price, Dan O'Herlihy, Margaret Brayton, Paul Frees, Howard Culver,
Recurring Character(s): "The Croupier"
Protagonist(s):
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Milton Geiger
Music Direction: George Honniger [Organ]
Musical Theme(s):
Announcer(s):
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
15
Episodes in Circulation: 1
Total Episodes in Collection: 1
Provenances:

The Billboard reviewed the ABC premiere of The Croupier in its October 10th 1949 issue.
The Billboard reviewed the ABC premiere of The Croupier in its October 10th 1949 issue.

California State University at Northridge: Oviatt Library Special Collections; The Papers of Milton Geiger (1938 - 1973).

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

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[Date, title, and episode column annotations in
red refer to either details we have yet to fully provenance or other unverifiable information as of this writing. Red highlights in the text of the 'Notes' columns refer to information upon which we relied in citing dates, date or time changes, or titles.]







The Croupier Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
49-09-14
--
--
49-09-14 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:00 Boxing
49-09-21
1
The Roman
Y
49-09-21 Wisconsin State Journal
8:30 p.m.--The Croupier (WISC):
new series by Milton Geiger, starring Vincent Price.
49-09-28
2
Title Unknown
N
49-09-28 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 The Croupier
49-10-05
3
Title Unknown
N
49-10-05 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 The Croupier
49-10-12
4
Title Unknown
N
49-10-12 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 The Croupier
49-10-19
5
Title Unknown
N
49-10-19 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 The Croupier
49-10-26
6
Title Unknown
N
49-10-26 Long Beach Press-Telegram
7:30 KECA--This is mystery night on ABC . . . . Listen to "The Amazing Mr. Malone" at this time; "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" at 8:00 . . . "Boris Karloff" at 8:30, and
"The Croupier" at 9:00.
49-11-02
7
Title Unknown
N
49-11-02 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 The Croupier
49-11-09
8
Title Unknown
N
49-11-09 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 The Croupier
49-11-16
9
Title Unknown
N
49-11-16 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 The Croupier

49-11-16 Chicago Daily Tribune
8:30-WENR--The Croupier

49-11-16 Long Beach Press-Telegram
9 P.M. KECA--The Croupier
49-11-23
10
Title Unknown
N
49-11-23 Wisconsin State Journal
WISC 8:30 Buzz Adlam Playroom

49-11-23
Portsmouth Times
American WJZ (770)--9:30 The Croupier

49-11-30 New York Times
9:30-WJZ--Buzz Adlam Playroom

49-11-23 Chicago Daily Tribune
8:30-WENR--Buzz Adlam Playroom

49-11-23 Long Beach Press-Telegram
9 P.M. KECA--Buzz Adlam
49-11-30
11
Title Unknown
N
49-11-30 Portsmouth Times
American WJZ (770)--9:30 The Croupier

49-11-30 New York Times
9:30-WJZ--Buzz Adlam Playroom
49-12-07
12
Title Unknown
N
49-12-07 Portsmouth Times
American WJZ (770)--9:30 The Croupier
49-12-14
13
Title Unknown
N
49-12-14 Portsmouth Times
American WJZ (770)--9:30 The Croupier
49-12-21
14
Title Unknown
N
49-12-21 Portsmouth Times
American WJZ (770)--9:30 The Croupier

49-12-28
15
Title Unknown
N
49-12-27 Democrate and Leader
Wed. Dec. 28
8:30 O'CLOCK.
The Croupier-WENR
50-01-04
--
--






The Croupier Radio Program Biographies




Milton Geiger
(Director/Writer)

(1907-1971)

Birthplace:
New York City, New York, U.S.A.

Education:
Western Reserve University College of Pharmacy (1929)

Radiography:

1938 Royal Desserts Hour
1938 The Story of Terry Reagan, Attorney At Law
1938 Good News
1938 The Rudy Vallee Hour
1938 County Seat
1938 Texaco Star Theatre
1939 The Circle
1940 Columbia Workshop
1941 Knickerbocker Playhouse
1941 Inner Sanctum
1942 Keep 'Em Rolling
1942 Cavalcade Of America
1942 Over Here
1943 Treasury Star Parade
1944 What's New
1944 Philco Radio Hall Of Fame
1944 Men At Sea
1944 Behind the Jew
1945 This Is My Best
1945 The Doctor Fights
1946 Hollywood Star Time
1946 Encore Theatre
1947 The Adventures of Philip Marlowe
1948 Hallmark Playhouse
1948 Sealtest Variety Theater
1948 We Care
1949 Radio City Playhouse
1949 Screen Directors Playhouse
1949 Four Star Playhouse
1949 The Croupier
1950 Hollywood Star Playhouse
1951 The Line-Up
1952 The Jeffersonian Heritage
1953 Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1654 Lux Radio Theatre
1954 Guest Star
1956 Tomorrow
1960 Suspense

Frederick W. Ziv. ca. 1957
Milton Geiger
From the October 7th, 1971 edition of the Van Nuys Valley News:

GEIGER, Milton, of Northridge, passed away September 29, 1971. Survived by his wife Dorothy Geiger, daughters, Katie Nadler, Bunny Geiger, Carolyn Nadell; brother, Wilson Geiger; grandchildren, Alaina Nadler.
Milton Geiger, author of Broadway play "Edwin Booth." While in Smithsonian Institute he wrote many speeches for government and theatrical personalities.
Services were held Sunday, October 3, 1971 at Groman Eden, Mission Hills. Interment at Eden Memorial Park.





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