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Original This Is My Best header art

The This Is My Best Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> This Is My Best

This Is My Best spot ad for CBS line-up promo from October 3 1944
This Is My Best spot ad for CBS line-up promo from October 3 1944
[Click on image for full ad]

Cresta Blanca Logo circa 1943

Pre-Schenley 1940 sales pamphlet for Cresta Blanca distributors
Pre-Schenley 1940 sales pamphlet for Cresta Blanca distributors

1940s promotional tile for Cresta Blanca Wines
1940s promotional tile for Cresta Blanca Wines

Entrance to the original Cresta Blanca Winery in Napa Valley circa 1950
Entrance to the original Cresta Blanca Winery in Napa Valley circa 1950

Background

The Cresta Blanca Winery had a five-year association with the Golden Age of Radio once it was acquired by Schenley Industries in 1941. During the mid-1940s, Schenley's newly acquired Cresta Blanca Wines, Ltd., sponsored several successful variety and drama anthologies, several of them starring or hosted by Orson Welles. Cresta Blanca's first sponsored program was the former Jack Pearl Show, rebranded Cresta Blanca Carnival for its 1942 run over the Mutual Network. Cresta Blanca's This is My Best aired over CBS from 1944 through 1946. Hosted by Orson Welles from Episode 27 to Episode 33, he dropped out of This Is My Best after two months in an effort to launch his own production with Cresta Blanca entitled The Orson Welles Theatre. The Cresta Blanca Orson Welles Theatre aired for only two months. Cresta Blanca launched another derivative of This Is My Best in 1946, entitled The Cresta Blanca Hollywood Players and running for some twenty-six programs.

Cresta Blanca launches This Is My Best

First aired in a crowd of somewhat similar 'prestige player' drama anthologies of the era, Cresta Blanca and CBS distinguished their production with touches from the long-running Lux Radio Theatre formula: before and after performance comments from the players, a wrap-up of the production at the end, the build-up for the following production, and a complete musical close with the CBS network outro. The Cresta Blanca commercial messages were also entertaining, tasteful, and catchy, especially the popular "C-R-E-S-T-A B-L-A-N-C-A" jingle to plucked violin strings. Indeed, during one of the Orson Welles' hosted programs, Orson Welles himself, sang the jingle to great applause. And yes, that's applause. This Is My Best was performed before a live audience for the entire production run. Live audience performances were also a nod to Lux Radio Theatre. A live audience could be a distraction or an enhancement to a production, depending on the quality of the production, its talent, and the studio's experience with live audiences. In this instance, CBS had all three factors down to a science from its ten years of experience with Lux Radio Theatre--and other live audience productions it had aired over the years.

The formula worked. Cresta Blanca's This Is My Best aired for two, thirty-nine program seasons. As indicated above, Cresta Blanca attempted one more dramatic partnership with CBS with their Cresta Blanca Hollywood Players, an even more upscale production in the vein of the Mercury Theatre and Campbells Playhouse drama anthologies of the 1930s and 1940s, but CBS ordered only twenty-six programs for 'Hollywood Players' before cancelling it in February of 1947.

To underscore the quality of the This Is My Best canon, the Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS) incorporated some thirty-plus exemplars from the This Is My Best canon into their own Frontline Theatre/Globe Theatre syndicated transcriptions for service people overseas. For the Globe Theatre run, Jimmy Wallington, Herbert Marshall, Jack Tierny and William Johnstone alternated as hosts of the denatured This Is My Best productions under the Globe Theatre series designated H-5, the fifth such series to enter the growing number of AFRS offerings sent to American and Allied troops throughout World War II, and further, until the AFRS was folded into the Armed Forces Radio and Televistion Service in the 1949-1950 timeframe. It's also worth noting that the denatured This Is My Best productions that were selected for the Globe Theatre run contain completely different introductions and closing comments from the various hosts for the Globe Theatre.

An unfortunate side effect of the commercialization of vintage radio by the 'otr' community in the mid-1970s has been the incorporation of many distinctly different derivatives of programs such as This Is My Best into their respective commercial canons. This not only confuses the historical accuracy of these collections, but demeans the extraordinary efforts of the dedicated military personnel, actors and technicians who devoted countless--often voluntary--thousands of man hours to create the AFRS-denatured versions of great Golden Age Radio programming for the troops. And of course there's the obvious lack of historical accuracy and integrity in simply 'counting' AFRS derivations of commercial programming as actual components of the commercial collection for 'fillers.' The practice is both deplorable and misleading.

Thankfully, the AFRS Globe Theatre exemplars from the This Is My Best commercially broadcast productions now comprise almost a third of the representative exemplars of This Is My Best. There are undoubtedly at least fifteen to twenty more This Is My Best exemplars among the Globe Theatre transcriptions yet to be found and digitally encoded for circulation. We're also convinced that as many as twenty to thirty more commercial transcriptions or 'from-Air' recordings of This Is My Best may yet entire circulation as well. The combination of the yet to be rediscovered Globe Theatre exemplars and commercial recordings of This Is My Best may one day restore as much as sixty to seventy-five percent of the orginal This Is My Best canon. We've identified three of our own yet-to-be digitally encoded Globe Theatre transcriptions that appear to be from the This Is My Best canon. As soon as we get to them, if salvageable, we'll update our log below and post them here.

This Is My Best captured some of the finest performances of the era from America's finest Stage, Screen and Radio actors. It's also one of the later Radio exemplars of many of the fine actors from The Mercury Theatre Players. On sum, Cresta Blanca's This Is My Best remains one of the finer drama anthologies to emerge during the World War II era and merits a place in the collection of any serious collector of Golden Age Radio recordings.

Series Derivatives:

AFRS Globe Theatre
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Dramas
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 44-09-05 01 Hollywood Program Preview
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 44-09-05 to 46-05-28; CBS; Seventy-five, 30-minute programs; Tuesdays, 8:30 p.m.
Syndication: CBS
Sponsors: Schenley [Cresta Blanca Wines]
Director(s): Orson Welles [Producer]
Principal Actors: Lee Bowman, Nancy Kelly, Agnes Moorehead, Walter Brennan, Signe Hasso, Ralph Bellamy, Akim Tamiroff, Mildred Natwick, Paulette Goddard, Van Johnson, Ida Lupino, Louis Hayward, Verree Teasdale, Allan Jones, Orson Welles, Robert Cummings, Charley Cantor, Alan Reed, Eddie Marr, Lurene Tuttle, Bea Benadaret, Dorothy McGuire, Robert Bailey, RObert Benchley, Jack Carson, Stuart Erwin, Virginia Bruce, John Hodick, Burgess Meredith, Gregory Peck, Thomas Mitchell, Rosalind Russell, Barry Sullivan, Ella Raines, Ed Gardner, Sandra Gould, Jane Powell, Ray Collins, Rita Hayworth, Herbert Marshall, Frank Morgan, Monty Wooley, Gloria Blondell, Jack Benny, Keenan Wynn, Rosemary DeCamp, George Murphy, Gail Page, Joe E. Brown, Sylvia Sidney, Donald Meek, Lenore Aubert, Brenda Joyce, Allyn Joslyn, Charles Laughton, Peggy Ann Garner, Gail Patrick, Jimmy Dunn, Robert Young, Louise Allbritton, Bill Goodwin, Nancy Coleman, Dick Powell, Michael Chekhov, Clair Trevor, Virginia Mayo, Ann Rutherford, Dick Foran, Robert Alda, Hedda Hopper, Chester Morris, Garry Moore, June Lockhart, William Bendix, Joan Caulfield, Lee Bowman, William Eythe, Alexis Smith, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Conrad Nagel, Marguerite Chapman, Eddie Albert, Barbara Jo Allen, Marjorie Main, Joan Blondell, Richard Whorf, John Lund, William Franklin, Warren Coleman, Edward Matthews, Avon Long, Georgette Harvey, Harriet Jackson, Alma Millie Hubbard, Wally Maher, Joseph Kearns, Eric Snowden, Walter Tetley, JOhn Brown, Ann Sothern, Francis X Bushman, Bill Days, Jeanette Nolan, Shiela Ryan, Ernest Whitman, Joan Lorring, Norma Jean Nilsson, Tom Conway, Howard Duff
Recurring Character(s): None
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): Jules Verne, Mckinley Cantor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Scott Rorick, Steven Morehouse Avery, Paul Gallico, John Steinbeck, Robert Nathan, Mildred Natwick, Dorothy McCleary, Thornton Wilder, Graham Greene, James M. Cain, Damon Runyan, James Thurber, Stephen Vincent Benet, Kay Boyle, George R. Stewart, A.J. Cronin, Vardis Fisher, S.N. Behrman, Barry Benefield, Nunnally Johnson, Joseph Conrad, John Dos Passos, Helen Papashvily, John Collier, Ring Lardner, Mark Hellinger, Ben Hecht, Jeff Raleigh, Dana Burnet, Ludwig Bemelman, Kay Boyle, Theodore Pratt
Writer(s) [Adapters] Robert Tallman, Dick Carroll, True Boardman, Betty Hopkins
[Writers] Norman Corwin, Milton Geiger, W.A. Krauss, Robert Riley Crutcher
Music Direction: Dubose Heyward, George Gershwin, The Eva Jessie Choir, Percy Faith and His Orchestra
Bernard Katz [Composer/Conductor]
Musical Theme(s): Unknown
Announcer(s): Owen James, Verne Smith. James Wallington
John McIntire, Orson Welles [Hosts]
Jimmy Wallington [AFRS Announcer]
Herbert Marshall, William Johnstone, Jack Tierney [AFRS Hosts]
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
75
Episodes in Circulation: 18
Total Episodes in Collection: 21 (includes 5 Globe Theatre programs)
Provenances:


Provenance for resumption of This Is My Best over CBS in The Doctor Fights timeslot from September 14 1945
Provenance for resumption of This Is My Best over CBS in The Doctor Fights timeslot from September 14 1945

Orson Welles appears in a This Is My Best rendition of Norman Corwin's The Plot to Overthrow Christmas on December 19 1945
Orson Welles appears in a This Is My Best rendition of Norman Corwin's The Plot to Overthrow Christmas on December 19 1945


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've updated the Program titles below to reflect their correct spelling and order. Other currently circulating logs err in several key elements of the series, as follows:

  • Episode No. 27 from March 13, 1945 should be titled Heart of Darkness, the title of the novel by Joseph Conrad. The newspapers got it wrong, titling it Hearts In Darkness. Other circulating logs title it Heart in Darkness, The Hearts In Darkness or The Hearts Of Darkness, all of which are incorrect.
  • Episode No. 30, from April 3, 1945 should be titled The Diamond As Big As the Ritz, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It was a last minute substitution for the scheduled program Number One by John Dos Passos.
  • Episode No. 32, from April 17, 1945 should be titled I Will Not Go Back. It was a last minute change from the scheduled program Don't Catch Me to star Rita Hayworth. Milton Geiger's stirring I Will Not Go Back was inserted as a special broadcast out of respect to the unexpected death of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
  • Episode No. 41, from October 2, 1945 should be titled Hurry Kane, the same title as the story by Ring Lardner, not Here's the Pitch as widely logged throughout the 'otr' community.
  • A widely circulating alleged second broadcast of The Plot to Overthrow Christmas, dated December 25, 1945 is not from the This Is My Best canon, but rather from a previous, seventh annual airing of The Plot to Overthrow Christmas. Norman Corwin's Christmas tribute, The Plot to Overthrow Christmas first aired on December 25, 1938, so the announcement of its seventh performance was indeed accurate. It wasn't a rebroadcast, but rather a repeat performance by the original cast, with the substitution of Henry Morgan as the narrator. The Christmas Special reairing was actually broadcast on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1945 at 11:30 p.m. and was reaired the following week in some markets on December 30, 1945 at 11:30 p.m. The correct entry for Episode No. 53 for the December 25, 1945 broadcast of This Is My Best is Twenty-Two Years To Christmas, starring Virginia Bruce.

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We ask one thing and one thing only--if you employ what we publish, attribute it, before we cite you on it.

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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 This Is My Best Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
44-09-05
1
Hollywood Program Preview
N
44-09-05 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): new series of programs offering America's greatest stories chosen by the authors as their best. Edward Arnold is guest emcee in program debut, with dramatized portions of Paul Gallico
44-09-12
2
Tell Me A Love Story
N
44-09-12 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Paul Gallico's "Tell Me a Love Story," with Lee Bowman and Nancy Kelly.
44-09-19
3
Porgy and Bess
N
44-09-19 Lima News - "This Is My Best," which features the finest works of America's greatest writers and composers, has selected George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" for its Tuesday broadcast at 8:20 p .m., over Station WABC. The music, considered the greatest in America's folk operas, will be sung by members of the original all-negro cast, currently on a west coast tour with the show.
44-09-26
4
The Leader Of the People
Y
44-09-26 Lima News - A pair of award winners for outstanding performances, Agnes Moorehead and Walter Brennan, will be heard in the leading roles, when John Steinbeck's "The Leader of the People" is dramatized on "This is My Best," on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., over Station WABC. Brennan has three Academy Awards, while Miss Moorehead is a winner of the New York drama Critics Award. "The Leader of the People" is the story of a boy and his grandfather, the grandfather still living in his reroic past.
44-10-03
5
The Sea-Gull Cry
N
44-10-03 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Signe Hasso and Ralph Bellamy in Robert Nathan's "The Sea-Gull Cry."
44-10-10
6
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep
N
44-10-10 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Akim Tamiroff and Mildred Natwick in Ludwig Bemelman's "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep."
44-10-17
7
This Is the One
N
44-10-17 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Paulette Goddard in Dorothy McCleary's short novel, "This Is the One."
44-10-24
8
Heaven's My Destination
N
44-10-24 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Van Johnson in Thorton Wilder's "Heaven's My Destination."
44-10-31
9
Brighton Rock
N
44-10-31 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Ida Lupino and Louis Hayward in Graham Greene's novel, "Brighton Rock."
44-11-07
--
Pre-Empted
N
Election Night Coverage
44-11-14
10
Career In C-Major
N
44-11-14 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Verree Teasdale and Allan Jones in James M. Cain's psychological melodrama, "Career in C Major."
44-11-21
11
Around the World In 80 Days
Y
44-11-21 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Orson Welles in Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days."
44-11-28
12
The Romance Of Rosy Ridge
Y
44-11-28 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "The Romance of Rosy Ridge" starring Robert Cummings.
44-12-05
13
Princess O'Hara
N
44-12-05 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Damon Runyan's "Princess O'Hara," with Charley Cantor, Alan Reed, Eddie Marr, Lurene Tuttle, Bee Benedaret.
44-12-12
14
Miracle In the Rain
N
44-12-12 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Miracle in the Rain," with Dorothy McGuire and Robert Bailey.
44-12-19
15
The Plot To Overthrow Christmas
Y
44-12-19 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Orson Welles as Nero in "The Plot to Overthrow Christmas."
44-12-26
16
The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty
Y
44-12-16 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Robert Benchley in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," by James Thurber.
45-01-02
17
The Sobbin' Women
Y
45-01-02 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Paulette Goddard in "The Sobbin' Women" by Stephen Vincent Benet.
45-01-09
18
Harold Peavey's Fast Cow
N
45-01-09 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Jack Carson and Stuart Erwin in "Harold Peavey's Fast Cow."
45-01-16
19
Let There Be Honor
N
45-01-16 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Virginia Bruce and John Hodick in Kay Boyle's "Let Threre Be Honor," story of France under Vichy regime.
45-01-23
20
Storm
N
45-01-23 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Burgess Meredith, narrator for George R. Stewart's novel, "Storm."
45-01-30
21
Jupiter Laughs
N
45-01-30 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Gregory Peck in A.J. Cronin's "Jupiter Laughs."
45-02-06
22
Hasty Heart
N
45-02-06 Paris News - 8:30 Fred MacMurray in "Hasty Heart."
45-02-13
23
City of Illusion
N
45-02-13 Lima News - Agnes Moorehead and Thomas Mitchell of the films are the co-stars, when Vardis Fisher's absorbing story, "City of Illusion," is presented on "This Is My Best," Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. over Station WABC. The story is built around a primitive community, and the struggles of its people for survival, against opposing forces which include both the elements and predatory members of neighboring communities.
45-02-20
24
Biography
N
45-02-20 Lima News - Two top-ranking screen stars, Rosalind Russell and Barry Sullivan, are the radio headliners in S.N. Behrman's "Biography" which has been selected as "This Is My Best," on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., Lima time, over Station WABC. The broadcast marks Miss Russell's return to professional life after a long illness. Her leading man, Barry Sullivan, who is featured in the forthcoming screen version of "Duffy's Tavern," co-starred on Broadway in the Behrman comedy opposite Ina Claire.
45-02-27
25
Down the Bayou
N
45-02-27 Lima News - Barry Benefield's fish story of the Bayou Dubae, retitled "Down the Bayou," will be presented by a cast headed by Ella Raines and Robert Bailey of the films, on "This Is My Best," Tuesday at 8:30 p.m., Lima time, over Station WABC. Jeanette Nolan, actress wife of John McIntire, "This Is My Best" host, will be heard as Lydia Pilduff. Miss Raines currently is being seen on the screen opposite Charles Laughton in "Suspece," and Bailey's most recent film is "Sunday Dinner for a Soldier."
45-03-06
26
Mlle. Irene the Great
N
45-03-06 Lima News - Ed "Archie" Gardner, mine host of "Duffy's Tavern," teams up with Sandra Gould, his Miss Duffy, in Nunnally Johnson's rollicking story, "Mlle. Irene the Great," the "This Is My Best" offering at 8:30 p.m., Lima time, over Station WABC. Gardner, Brooklyn's accent and all, portrays a chapwho falls in love with agirl whose family is in the circus business. His dreams of love are somewhat shattered when he learns he's involved with a lion tamer, a trapeze artist, and a female trombone player.
45-03-13
27
Heart Of Darkness
Y
45-03-13 Lima News - Orson Welles, new host and narrator on "This Is My Best," makes his debut on that program at 8:30 p.m. over Station WABC, when he stars in a stirring dramatization of Joseph Conrad's classic, "Hearts In Darkness." In subsequent broadcasts of the series, Welles will be featured as host and narrator, and will play lead and character roles from time to time.
45-03-20
28
Miss Dilly Says "No"
Y
45-03-20 Lima News - 8:30--This Is My Best, Drama--cbs
45-03-27
29
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Y
45-03-27 Lima News - Sprightly Jane Powell, juvenile Hollywood star and former playmate of Charlie McCarthy, is featured as the heroine in the "This Is My Best" version of Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday over Station WABC.
45-04-03
30
The Diamond As Big As The Ritz
Number One
Y
[Last minute replacement for scheduled program]

45-04-03 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Orson Welles in John Dos Passos' novel, "Number One."
45-04-10
31
Master Of Ballentrae
Y
45-04-10 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Master of Ballantrae" with Orson Welles, Agnes Moorehead, and Ray Collins.
45-04-17
32
I Will Not Go Back
Don't Catch Me
Y
[Special Presentation in honor of F.D.R.'s Death]

45-04-17 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth in "Don't Catch Me."
45-04-24
33
Anything Can Happen
Y
45-04-24 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Orson Welles in George and Helen Papashvily's "Anything Can Happen."
45-05-01
34
The Snow Goose
N
45-05-01 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Herbert Marshall in "The Snow Goose" by Paul Gallico.
45-05-08
35
Sleeping Beauty
N
45-05-08 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Frank Morgan stars in John Collier's short story, "Sleeping Beauty."

45-05-08 New York Times
9:30-10--This Is My Best: "
Sleeping Beauty," With Frank Morgan, Others--WABC.
45-05-15
36
The Man Who Came To Dinner
N
45-05-15 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Monty Woolley in "The Man Who Came to Dinner."
45-05-22
37
Sleeping Beauty
N
45-05-22 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): starring Frank Morgan and Gloria Blondell in "Sleeping Beauty," modern fantasy based on the fairy tale.

45-05-22 New York Times
9:30-10--This Is My Best: "
Sleeping Beauty," With Frank Morgan, Gloria Blondell--WABC.
45-05-29
38
Babes In The Woods
Please, Charley
Y
45-05-29 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Jack Benny and Keenan Wynn in "Please, Charley."

45-05-29 New York Times
9:30-10--This Is My Best: "
Please Charley" With Jack Benny, Keenan Wynn--WABC.





45-09-18
39
Turnip's Blood
N
45-09-18 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): return of program, with Rosemary DeCamp and Herbert Marshall in "Turnip's Blood."
45-09-25
40
Coffee With Dorothy
N
45-09-25 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): George Murphy and Gale Page in "Coffee With Dorothy."
45-10-02
41
Hurry Kane
Here's The Pitch

Spot ad for Hurry Kane and The Gilded Pheasant

N
45-10-02 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Joe E. Brown in Ring Lardner's story, "Hurry Kane."
45-10-09
42
The Gilded Pheasant
N
45-10-09 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Sylvia Sidney in "The Gilded Pheasant."
45-10-16
43
Mr Bisbee's Princess
Y
45-10-16 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Mr. Bisbee's Princess," with Donald Meek and Lenore Aubert.
45-10-23
44
All the World Over
N
45-10-23 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Nancy Kelly and Robert Bailey in "All the World Over."
45-10-30
45
Venus Didn't Diet
N
45-10-30 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Venus Didn't Diet," with Brenda Joyce and Allyn Joslyn.
45-11-06
46
A Passenger To Bali
N
45-11-06 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Charles Laughton in "A Passenger to Bali."
45-11-13
47
Colonel Paxton and the Haunted Horse
N
45-11-13 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Colonel Paxton and the Haunted Horse," with Agnes Moorehead and Ray Collins.
45-11-20
48
This Is Violet
N
45-11-20 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Peggy Ann Garner, Gail Patrick and Jimmy Dunn in "This Is Violet."
45-11-27
49
The Perfect Plan
N
45-11-27 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Keenan Wynn in Mark Hellinger's "The Perfect Plan."
45-12-04
50
Happily Ever After
Y
45-12-04 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Robert Young, Louise Allbritton in "Mr. and Mrs. Cugat."
45-12-11
51
Can't Have Cake and Eat It
N
45-12-11 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Bill Goodwin and Nancy Coleman in "Can't Have Cake and Eat It."
45-12-18
52
'Twas the Night Before Christmas
N
45-12-18 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Dick Powell in Paul Gallico's "Twas the Night Before Christmas."
45-12-25
53
Twenty-Two Years To Christmas
N
45-12-24 Wisconsin State Journal - Tuesday 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Virginia Bruce in "Twenty-two Years to Christmas."
46-01-01
54
Internal Combustion
N
45-12-31 Wisconsin State Journal - Tuesday 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Rosemary DeCamp and Keenan Wynn in "Internal Combustion."
46-01-08
55
Pink Hussar
N
46-01-08 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Ben Hecht's " Pink Hussar," starring Michael Chekhov.
46-01-15
56
Beautiful Pretense
N
46-01-15 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Claire Trevor in "Beautiful Pretense."
46-01-22
57
Park Avenue Blues
N
46-01-22 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Virginia Mayo in "Park Avenue Blues."
46-01-29
58
Cast the First Stone
N
46-01-29 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Cast the First Stone," starring Ann Rutherford and Dick Foran.
46-02-05
59
The Tin Crown
N
46-02-05 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Robert Alda and Hedda Hopper in "The Tin Crown."
46-02-12
60
Jeff Raleigh's Piano Solo
N
46-02-12 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Chester Morris and Gail Page in "Jeff Raleigh's Piano Solo."
46-02-19
61
Sitting Pretty
N
46-02-19 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Sitting Pretty," starring Garry Moore.
46-02-26
62
Blueprint For Happiness
N
46-02-26 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Walter Brennan and June Lockhart in "Blueprint for Happiness."
46-03-05
63
Here, Birdie, Birdie, Birdie
N
46-03-05 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Here, Birdie, Birdie, Birdie" with William Bendix."
46-03-12
64
The Gentleman Dressed In Newspaper
N
46-03-12 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Joan Caulfield and Lee Bowman in "The Gentleman Dressed in Newspaper."
46-03-19
65
For Always
N
46-03-19 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): William Eythe and Louise Albritton in "For Always."
46-03-26
66
That Man Is Here Again
N
46-03-26 Lima News - Alexis Smith and Barry Sullivan of the films are paired in the "This Is My Best" romance, "That Man Is Here Again," at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday over CBS. The love story concerns an ex-Army captain who writes "the play of the century," and his former WAC aids who, as play-doctor handles its production and rescues it from a certain fate.
46-04-02
67
Mister Onion
N
46-04-02 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Geraldine Fitzgerald stars in Dana Burnet's "Mister Onion."
46-04-09
68
The Way To the Heart
N
46-04-09 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "The Way to the Heart" starring Conrad Nagel.
46-04-16
69
Outside Eden
N
46-04-16 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "Outside Eden," with Robert Young and Louise Albritton.
46-04-23
70
Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie
N
46-04-23 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Marguerite Chapman and Eddie Albert in "Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie."
46-04-30
71
The Love Life Of Miss Stoneygate
N
46-04-30 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Barbara Jo Allen (Vera Vague) in "The Love Life of Miss Stoneygate."
46-05-07
72
The Pond
N
46-05-07 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Ida Lupino in "The Pond."
46-05-14
73
Tugboat Annie Sails Again
N
46-05-14 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Marjorie Main in "Tugboat Annie Sails Again."
46-05-21
74
She Left Her Flat
N
46-05-21 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): Joan Blondell and Richard Whorf in "She Left Her Flat."
46-05-28
75
The Furious Bride
N
46-05-28 Wisconsin State Journal - 8:30 p.m.--This Is My Best (WBBM): "The Furious Bride," starring John Lund.





AFRS Globe Theatre Program Log from the 'This Is My Best' Series

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
44-07-08 Harold Peavey's Fast Cow
Y
44-09-19 Porgy and Bess
Y
44-11-14 Career In C Minor
N
45-04-10 Master Of Ballantrae
Y
45-09-25 Coffee With Dorothy
N
45-10-02 Hurry Kane
Here's The Pitch
Y
45-10-09 The Gilded Pheasant
Y
45-11-06 A Passenger To Bali
N
45-11-13 Colonel Paxton and the Haunted House
N
45-12-11 You Can't Have Cake and Eat It
N
46-02-19 Sitting Pretty
N






The This Is My Best Radio Program Biographies




George Orson Welles
(Director, Scenarist, Actor, Producer, Narrator)
Stage, Screen, Radio and Television Actor, Author, Poet, Artist, Magician, Pianist, Producer, Director
(1915-1985)

Birthplace: Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Education: The Todd School, Chicago, IL, U.S.A.

Radiography:

1936 Musical Reveries
1936 The March Of Time
1936 Columbia Workshop
1937 Les Miserables
1937 Shakespeare Festival
1937 The Shadow
1938 The Mercury Theatre of The Air
1938 The Silver Theatre
1938 Campbell Playhouse
1939 Columbia Masterworks' The Merchant Of Venice
1940 This Is Radio (for New York World's Fair)
1940 A Discussion Between H. G. Wells and Orson Welles
1940 The Rudy Vallee Sealtest Show
1941 Front Page Drama
1941 Forecast
1941 The Orson Welles Theatre
1941 We Hold These Truths
1941 The Cavalcade Of America
1942 Treasury Star Parade
1942 Ceiling Unlimited
1942 Suspense
1942 Information Please
1942 The Texaco Star Theatre
1942 Hello Americans
1942 The Radio Reader's Digest
1943 The Jack Benny Program
1943 Reading Out Loud
1943 The Pepsodent Show
1943 The New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra
1944 Radio Almanac
1944 The Dinah Shore Program
1944 The Lux Radio Theatre
1944 Fifth War Loan Drive
1944 The Radio Hall Of Fame
1944 The Charlie McCarthy Show
1944 Now Is The Time
1944 This Is My Best
1944 Stop Or Go
1944 G. I. Journal
1945 Command Performance
1945 Fourteen August, A Message For The Day Of Victory
1945 Armed Forces V-J Program
1945 The Victory Chest Program
1946 The Danny Kaye Show
1946 The Fred Allen Show
1946 The Mercury Summer Theatre
1946 The Bill Stern Colgate Sports Newsreel
1946 The Orson Welles Program [ABC]
1947 The Esquire Jazz Concert
1950 This Is The U. N.
1951 The Lives Of Harry Lime
1952 The Black Museum
1954 Anthology
1954 The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes
1955 The Ed Sullivan Show
1956 Tomorrow
1956 Biography In Sound
1972 The Hallmark Hall Of Fame
1974 The Dick Cavett Show
1975 The Tom Snyder Show
1976 NBC: The First Fifty Years
1983 Something Wicked This Way Comes
The Story Of The Juggler Of Our Lady
Adventures Of A Quarter

Orson Welles, ca. 1938
Orson Welles, ca. 1937

Welles publicity photo, ca. 1939
Welles publicity photo, ca. 1939

Welles rehearses with Mercury Theatre Players, ca. 1938
Welles rehearses with Mercury Theatre Players, ca. 1938

Welles and wife Virginia Nicholson, ca. 1938
Welles and wife Virginia Nicholson, ca. 1938

Welles' second book with collaborator Roger Hill, ca 194
Welles' second book with collaborator Roger Hill, ca 1941

Welles' The Mercury Shakespeare book inside plate from 1941
Welles' The Mercury Shakespeare book inside plate from 1941

A Welles sketch for The Mercury Shakespeare book
A Welles sketch for The Mercury Shakespeare book.

Welles rehearses Mercury Theatre for its next play the day after The War of The Worlds broadcast, Oct. 31, 1938
Welles rehearses Mercury Theatre for its next play the day after The War of The Worlds broadcast, Oct. 31, 1938

Welles is quizzed by reporters after The War of the Worlds broadcast
Welles is quizzed by reporters after The War of the Worlds broadcast.
Tall, husky Welles, taking a meeting with a collaborator, ca. 1942
Tall, husky Welles, taking a meeting with a collaborator, ca. 1942

Welles as Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, ca. 1937
Welles as Lamont Cranston, The Shadow, ca. 1937

Orson Welles, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson record a BBC broadcast of Sherlock Holmes, ca. 1948
Orson Welles, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson record a BBC broadcast of Sherlock Holmes, ca. 1948

Welles assesses a set for a Stage production, ca. 1972
Welles assesses a set for a Stage production, ca. 1972

Welles as The Third Man, walks into the mist, ca. 1949
Welles as The Third Man, walks into the mist, ca. 1949

"I started at the top and worked down."
--Orson Welles (1981)

Frank, prophetic, revealing words from a man most experts consider one of the great artistic geniuses of the 20th Century. There's no disputing his genius--at every endeavor he ever set his hand or mind to. George Orson Welles was born to a very successful inventor and a gifted, beautiful concert pianist. It's no wonder he was equipped as well as he was to excel at every Performing Arts challenge he ever attempted.

Already a child prodigy in multiple disciplines -- art, the piano, and magic -- he lost his mother at the age of nine. Welles' father took him on a world tour for the next six years. Then his father died when Welles was fifteen. He became the ward of a family friend, Dr. Maurice Bernstein, in Chicago.

Upon graduating from The Todd School in 1931, Welles decided to foregoe College for the present and instead take a sketching tour of Ireland, his ancestral home. Once in the U.K., Welles attempted to enter the London Stage, then returned to the U.S. to attempt to enter the Broadway Stage. Unsuccessful in both Drama centers, Welles' wanderlust took him to Morocco and Spain. It's reported that he even attempted bull-fighting while in Spain.

Coaxed back from Europe, friends Thornton Wilder and Alexander Woolcott got him a tryout with Katherine Cornell's road company. It was while with Katherine Cornell that Welles made his Broadway Stage debut as Tybalt in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (1934). Also in 1934, Welles directed his first short film, The Hearts of Age, and married his first wife, Virginia Nicholson, who later acted with him in Mercury Theatre.

While on tour with Katherine Cornell and then William Kane he collaborated with fellow Todd School alumnus and Headmaster, Roger Hill to write Everybody's Shakespeare, a book containing acting treatments of The Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar and Twelfth Night. Welles and Hill collaborated on another book in 1941. But it was Katherine Cornell's influence on Welles that eventually led to the dramatically novel approaches he took to the Classics. Cornell's updated treatments of both Romeo and Juliet and The Barretts of Wimpole Street were considered quite avant garde for their day. Indeed it was his impatience with Cornell in helping further his career that led him to work with William Kane back in Chicago.

In Chicago, Welles teamed with other Todd School alumni to mount a drama festival of his own with local actors, Dublin's Gate Theatre actors Micheál MacLiammóir and Hilton Edwards, and several Broadway stage artists he'd met during his first abortive attempt to break into the New York Stage. The festival was an unexpected success and caught the attention of John Houseman who was then working with the Federal Theatre Project under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration.

Houseman's current project was working with the Negro Theatre Unit of the Federal Theatre Project in mounting an all-Negro production of Macbeth, set in Haiti. The players of the Negro Theatre Unit were primarily comprised of actors and technicians from Harlem's American Negro Theatre. The production was heralded by the public and critics alike and toured the U.S. under the auspices of the Federal Theatre Project. Still only 20, Welles was finally being hailed as a Theatre prodigy.

Though having already performed in Radio during 1935, Welles' first lead in Radio came with 1936's Musical Reveries, a fifteen-minute variety-drama format wherein Welles' segment comprised drama and poetry readings. Welles and John Houseman formed the Mercury Theatre in 1937, mounting one of Broadway's most controversial treatments of Julius Caesar. Drawing on his experience with Katherine Cornell, Welles made the Shakespeare classic into a contemporary exploration of Mussolini's fascist Italy, with the sparsest of sets, fascist military costuming, and only dramatic lighting and sound to add to the atmosphere. Both heralded and despised by traditional Stage critics, the notoriety got Welles and Houseman an opportunity to air a serial presentation of Les Miserables (1937) over The Mutual Broadcasting System. Running for seven weeks of installments during the Summer of 1937, the program was a resounding success and introduced the Mercury Theatre repertory ensemble to the nation.

The success of both Les Miserables and Welles' performances in The Shadow (1937) got Welles and Houseman a shot at a prime time CBS commitment to nine, hour-long Mercury Theatre productions of Welles' chosing, conceptually titled, "First Person Singular." The concept envisioned Welles narrating a series of productions in his own words and from his own perspective (e.g. in the first person, singular, or 'I'). The first nine broadcasts met with broad acceptance and critical acclaim, resulting in CBS extending the commitment for thirteen more installments.

It was with that second set of programs that Welles broadcast the Mercury Theatre's most famous and remarkable production, The War of The Worlds, a novel by H.G. Wells that had been brilliantly adapted for Halloween Eve by Howard Koch, one of the Mercury Theatre writers. The production and aftermath of the production are chronicled in detail above, but The War of the Worlds catapulted Orson Welles into the realm of Performing Arts legend within forty-eight hours of that historic broadcast.

While Welles did go on to even further accomplishments in the Performing Arts, it goes without saying that Orson Welles will always be equally viewed as both a Radio and Film Legend. Anyone with an even passing awarness of The Golden Age of Radio will undoubtedly mention Orson Welles in any discussion of Radio from the 1930s to the 1950s. Welles' imprint on the history of that era is part of the very fiber of Radio History--and not simply for his Shadow (1938) appearances, his various Mercury Theatre productions over the years, or his The Lives of Harry Lime (1951) performances.

Radio is an aural medium. Welles' genius was in shaping every phrase he uttered over Radio with an ear to what ultimately came out of the radio set or speaker at the other end. Welles knew radio technology and knew how to best employ it for maximum effect. He accomplished the same in Film. Studying both the available technology--and techniques--then maximizing their results at the receiving end, whether that was simply ears and imagination or eyes, ears and imagination. It was one's imagination that Welles sought to connect with. From the elaborate dramatic tempo and framing of a suspenseful spoken phrase, to the most elaborate crane shot in Film, Welles played and tinkered with the medium at hand until he acheived his desired effect.

There's no disputing Welles' genius, nor that he possessed the archetypal temperament of a genius. He demanded perfection--from himself and from those he worked with. And his demands were often both quixotic and onerous. But irrespective of the egos he bent and the frustration he engendered in his collaborators, Welles produced Art. Brilliant Art. In every medium he undertook.

There's no room on this page for an exhaustive biography of Orson Welles. And even if we chose to undertake such a biography the warts and missteps of Welles' career would invariably distract attention from a fair assessment of Welles' enduring impact. We're neither intellectually equipped nor at a level from which to judge Orson Welles' life. We determined that, frank and realistic to the end, Welles alone, was best equipped to make those kinds of judgements.

We opened with Welles' own assessment of his performing life. It's both brutal and honest. Welles' life after Mercury Theatre and both Citizen Kane (1941) and The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) wasn't idle in the least, but beset with personal and financial distractions, Welles never quite recaptured the consistent brilliance and genius of his first twenty years on the public stage.

Welles never seemed to find the time for all the projects he wanted to pursue, but he made the time to leave the world in awe of his extraordinary talent. More importantly, he left a legacy of excellence and innovation in every endeavor he did undertake, inspiring hundreds of thousands of younger performing artists to reach for the unattainable and--occasionally--actually grasp it, as George Orson Welles had.




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