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Original Up For Parole header art

The Up For Parole Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Up For Parole

WCBS Radio Network logo



Harry Salter--later of 'Name That Tune' fame--provided the music direction for Up for Parole
Harry Salter--later of 'Name That Tune' fame--provided the music direction for Up for Parole

Background

Thoughout the Golden Age of Radio, crime drama of one sub-genre or another held America's interest. Whether targeted to juvenile or adult audiences, crime dramas of the era continued to provide escapist adventure, cerebral crime detection or simply schadenfreude value, America absorbed itself in the more compelling crime productions:

1929-59 True Detective Mysteries
1930-31 Captain Post, Crime Specialist
1933-39 Calling All Cars
1935-57 Gang Busters
1935-36 Police Reporter
1936-49 Famous Jury Trials
1937 Murder Will Out
1937-52 Big Town
1938 Attorney at Law
1939 Crime and Death Take No Holiday
1939-52 Mr. District Attorney
1943 Highway Patrol 
1944-45 American Woman’s Jury
1945 Manhunt
1946 Police Woman
1946-47 The Crime Cases of Warden Lawes
1946-54 Under Arrest
1947-49 Call the Police
1947-57 Official Detective
1947-1955 The Big Story
1948 Criminal Casebook
1949 Crime Correspondent
1949-51 Crime Does Not Pay
1949-52 Pursuit
1949-57 Dragnet
1950-51 Hannibal Cobb
1950-51 Up for Parole
1950-53 The Lineup
1950 Wanted!
1951 The Man From Homicide
1951-52 Defense Attorney
1952 The Judge
1952 The Private Files of Matthew Bell
1954-55 Night Watch
1956 Indictment

We've intentionally omitted the hundreds of crime and mystery adventures of the era targeted to juveniles, the 'gentleman' or 'couples' detective dramas of the era, and the 'gumshoe' dramas of the era. The subject here is real--or fictional--crime dramatizations that purported to be either inspired by or drawn from actual crime files or crime headlines throughout the era.

The post-World War II era, especially, found itself awash in 'adult' crime and western dramas, a trend that continued well into the mid-1950s. That trend also exploded over early Television as well. Indeed, several of the 'adult' crime and western dramas of the Golden Age Radio era made a successful jump to Television, several of them airing concurrently over Radio and Television.

CBS launches Up For Parole

The concept of a radio series based on either prisoners or prospective parolees had been floating around for several years prior to the 1950 premiere of Up For Parole. At least two auditions for such a project were produced for potential sponsor or network interest. CBS ultimately produced Up for Parole in cooperation with the National Probation and Parole Association with an eye toward more widely publicizing both the justice and injustice--percieved or otherwise--of the era's attempts to either rehabilitate or encourage the rehabilitation of America's convicted criminals.

The series described itself as based on actual case files provided through the auspices of the National Probation and Parole Association with further research provided by Wally Gould of CBS. Premiering on March 10th of 1950, Up for Parole aired for thirty-nine, network-sustained episodes--or 'cases'. The new series also employed an 'audience participation' element in the following general format:

  • The introduction of the parole candidate, his or her crime--in the words of the prisoner, and the parole candidate's 'case number' or 'prisoner number.'
  • A dramatization of the life events that resulted in the candidate's incarceration(s).
  • The prisoner's ultimate trial(s) or conviction(s).
  • A promotional break provided for the listening audience to formulate their own conclusions and decisions regarding the candidate's worthiness for parole.
  • The actual 'decision' of the Parole Board and its rationale for either granting or denying parole.
  • A brief epilogue describing the post-decision outcome of the Parole Board on the episode's subject.

And indeed, not all of the parole candidates were ultimately granted parole during the series, which continued to make the series compelling for its audience. The crimes and sentences of the parole candidates ran the gamut of serious felonies from larceny to murder--and even cattle-rustling. The Parole Board Chairman, most often depicted by actor Wendell Holmes, took pains during several episodes to underscore--to both the parole candidate and the listening audience--that the decision of the Board had to be unanimous. That being the requirement there was even more of a burden, on both the words of the candidate and the episodes' accompanying dramatizations, to provide an even more compelling case for his or her parole decision by the Board--and of course that of the listening audience as well.

Thus, the criteria for both the fictional Parole Board and the listening audience set a comparatively high bar for compassion, credibility and justice. All of the dramatized 'cases' were understandably morality tales--morality tales being very much the rage throughout the Cold War years of the new Atomic Age. In service of those ends, CBS writers Arnold Perl, Allan Sloane and Robert Cenedella provided a careful mix of pathos, detail and authenticity to Up for Parole's underlying dramatizations.

Produced and broadcast out of CBS' New York flagship station WCBS, CBS also tapped its West Coast resources to assemble the series. CBS' successful young black director Mitchell Grayson produced and directed the series out of WCBS and John Dietz directed the West Coast contributions out of CBS-KNX in Hollywood. CBS staff writer and researcher Wally Gould assisted the writers in vetting the authencity and accuracy of the series' 'case files,' and CBS music director Harry Salter provided the series' musical underscore and interstitial musical elements. Harry Marble served as the series' narrator and announcer.

Though failing to find a sponsor for the series, CBS continued to capitalize on the comparative success of Up for Parole to promote many of the other programs in its lineup. Up for Parole was immediately followed by Broadway Is My Beat in most CBS markets and as most fans of Broadway Is My Beat can testify, Broadway Is My Beat also seized on its popular success--and network-sustained status--to aggressively promote CBS' more popular weekly programs of the era.

The bottom line? We found Up for Parole to be a well-mounted crime drama novelty of the era. It followed up on the traditional denouement moments of most of the competing crime dramas of the period with dramatizations of the efforts of convicted criminals to gain parole from their prison sentences. Splendid radio fare, all told.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Crime Dramas
Network(s): CBS
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 50-03-10 01 The Case of John Newton, 33574
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 50-03-10 to 50-12-08; CBS [WCBS/KNX] ; Thirty-nine, 30-minute programs; Fridays
Syndication: Columbia Broadcasting System, in cooperation with the National Probation and Parole Association
Sponsors:
Director(s): Mitchell Grayson [Producer/Director]
John Dietz [Director]
Principal Actors: Chet Stratton, Michael O'Day, James McCallion, Bernard Lenrow, Santos Ortega, Paul McGrath, Cliff Carpenter, Stephen Hill, Shirley Blank, Teri Keane, Wendell Holmes, Delly Ellis
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s):
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Arnold Perl, Allan Sloane, Robert Cenedella [Writers]
Wally Gould [Research]
Music Direction: Harry Salter
Musical Theme(s):
Announcer(s): Harry Marble
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
39
Episodes in Circulation: 10
Total Episodes in Collection: 10
Provenances:
.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were newspaper listings.

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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.

[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 Up For Parole Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
50-03-03
--
--
50-03-03 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Leave It To Joan
50-03-10
1
The Case of John Newton, 33574
Y
50-03-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Up for Parole (WBBM):
new series; story of youth drawn into crime on threshold of medical career.

50-03-10 Long Beach Press-Telegram
6:00--KNX--
A new program, "Up for Parole," challenges the listeners to decide for themselves whether each case merits parole or not. The first one deals with a boy who has become involved in a rime just a few days before he is to be graduated from medical school.

50-03-10 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA, 8 p.m.,
case history of a man who commits a crime two days before he was to receive medical degree.

Teases
Case 33475 as next.

50-03-17
2
The Case of Paul Botwin, No. 824371
Y
50-03-17 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

Teases
Case 33750-B as next.

50-03-18 Long Beach Press-Telegram
9:00— KNX— A patch of weeds, a boxer's biography and a warm bath mark the t r a il to a killer when "Gangbusters" dramatize the "
Case of the Double Push." Narrator is Harry Bailes, chief of police, Jackson, Mich
50-03-24
3
Prison Case No. 33750-B
N
50-03-24 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

50-03-25 Long Beach Press-Telegram
9:00—KNX—A female killer and her accomplice lead police a wild chase from a farm in Delaware to one in New
Hampshire in the "
Case of the Double-barreled Farmerette," dramatized on "Gangbusters" tonight
50-03-31
4
The Case of Eddie Loughlin, No. 33476-4
Y
50-03-31 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

Announces
The Case of The Reluctant Wheeler on Gangbusters, Saturday. Teases The Cleveland Peacock, Case 755-2 as next.

50-04-07
5
The Case of the Cleveland Peacock, 755-2
N
50-04-07 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

50-04-08 Long Beach Press-Telegram
9:00— KNX— In co-operation with the National Probation and Parole 'Association, "Gangbusters" re-enacts the
"Case of the Square Question Mark," in which two hoodlums lead an unwary victim into a life of crime.
50-04-14
6
Title Unknown
N
50-04-14 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole
50-04-21
7
The Case of Harold Edgerton II, 210-37
Y
50-04-21 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

Teases
Case 13033-B as next.

50-04-28
8
Prison Case No. 13033-B
The Case of Harry Marble
N
50-04-28 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

50-05-05
9
The Case of Tyler Graham, No. 268-417
Y
50-05-05 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

Announces
The Case of the Shallow Trail on Gangbusters, Saturday. Teases Prison Case SQ201-37 as next.


50-05-12
10
The Case of Clarence Hogan, SQ201-37
Y
50-05-12 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Up for Parole (WBBM):
Case of cattle-rustler convicted of helping murder.

50-05-12 San Antonio Express
Up For Parole, KTSA, 8 p.m., enacting an actual case history, tells
the story of a belligerent 24-year-old youth convicted of cattle-rustling and as accessory in a murder.

Announces
The Case of the Vicious Triangle on Gangbusters, Saturday. Teases Prison Case 247-350 as next.

50-05-19
11
The Case of Thomas Hostey, 2N61-357
Y
50-05-19 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

Announces
$56,000 in the jackpot of Sing It Again, Saturday.
Announces
The Case of Emma Gee on Gangbusters, Saturday.
Teases
Prison Case No. 234-768 as next.

50-05-26
12
Prison Case No. 234-768
Y
50-05-26 Wisconsin State Journal
7 p.m.--Up for Parole (WBBM):
love-crazed robber pleads for second chance.

50-05-27 San Mateo Times
"
The Case of the Prairie, Pearl Diver" will be told night on "Gangbusters" over KCBS at 9 o'clock.

50-06-02
13
The Case of Margo Owens, BP45-2
N
50-06-02 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Up for Parole

Announces The Case of The Prairie Pearl-Diver on Gangbusters, Saturday.
Teases
Prison Case No. VR-095 as next.

50-06-03 Mason City Globe-Gazette
Gangbusters
. .. (8 p. m.) A true story from actual police files titled "
The Case of the Prairie Pearl Diver."
50-06-09
14
Prison Case No. VR-095
N
50-06-09 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Up for Parole
50-06-16
15
Title Unknown
N
50-06-16 New York Times
9-9:30--Drama: "Up for Parole"--Criminal Case Histories--WOR.
50-06-23
16
Title Unknown
N
50-06-23 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Up for Parole
50-06-30
17
Title Unknown
N
50-06-30 Wisconsin State Journal
6:30 p.m.--Up for Parole (WBBM): at new time.
50-07-07
18
Title Unknown
N
50-07-07 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
childhood dream leads girl into crime.
50-07-14
19
Title Unknown
N
50-07-14 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 6:30 Up for Parole
50-07-21
20
Title Unknown
N
50-07-21 Wisconsin State Journal - WBBM 6:30 Up for Parole
50-07-28
21
The Case of Ernest Moss
N
50-07-28 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
young car thief tells his story.
50-08-04
22
The Case of Jimmy King
N
50-08-04 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
story of youth driven into crime by mother's thirst.

50-08-04 San Antonion Express
Up For Parole, KTSA, 7:30 p.m.--
The case of Jimmy King who at 25 is eligible for parole after serving five years of a sentence for second degree robbery is dramatized on this program.
50-08-11
23
Title Unknown
N
50-08-11 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
arrogant numbers-racket kingpin learns about law.

50-08-11 San Antonio Express
Arrogant and cocksure about points of law, a 63-year-old numbers racket kingpin who, in his various endeavors, has been paid $100,000 a year for the past 25 years, comes up for a hearing before the parole board.
50-08-18
24
The Case of Travis Pons
N
50-08-18 Wisconsin State Journal
7:30 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
story of romantic embezzler.

50-08-18 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA, 7:30 p.m.--The board hears the story of a suave, phony individual in "
The Case of Travis Pons."
50-08-25
25
Title Unknown
N
50-08-25 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 6:30 Up for Parole.

50-08-25 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA, 7:30 p.m.--
Goaded into a fury by a dominating mother-in-law and by her profound influence on his wife, a man who tried to kill his wife in a fit of anger comes "Up for Parole."
50-09-01
26
The Case of Clinton Foster, S11623-9
Y
50-09-01 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 6:30 Up for Parole.

50-09-01 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA, 7:30 p.m.--"
The Case of Clinton Foster," who tried, at the age of 18, to solve family reverses with a clumsy, amateurish holdup of the bank in his small community, and who was arrested almost immediately, will be dramatized.

Announces the return of The Choraliers and Symphonette, Sunday.
Announces Up For Parole at a new time the following week.

50-09-08
27
The Case of Wanda Stewart
N
50-09-08 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
Wanda Stewart, arrested on a charge of grand larceny after rebelling against being too perfect is up for parole.
50-09-15
28
The Case of Lawrence Trowbridge, Jr.
N
50-09-15 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW): tale of crippled man's unnecessary crime.

50-09-15 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA, 7:30 p.m.--Wendell Holmes plays the parole board chairman in a tense and bitter story of an unnecessary crime in the authentic crime story being presented in this series. "
The Case of Lawrence Trowbridge, Jr.," tells of the bitter frustration of a well-to-do young man, a cripple since childbirth, and the son of selfish divorced parents. His violent efforts to prove himself and to be as powerful as his father end in tragedy for himself and his fiancee.
50-09-22
29
The Case of Margie Braun
N
50-09-22 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 7:00 Up for Parole

50-09-23 San Mateo Times
"
The Case of t he False Creek Killers' will be the title of Gangbusters, KCDS at 9 o'clock.
50-09-29
30
Title Unknown
N
50-09-29 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole
50-10-06
31
The Case of Fern Russell, SP-048
Y
50-10-06 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole

Announces Lowell Thomas' 20th year on the air.
Announces Prison Case No. V15-42 next.

50-10-13
32
Prison Case No. V15-42
N
50-10-13 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole
50-10-20
33
Title Unknown
N
50-10-20 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole
50-10-27
--
--
50-10-27 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM, WKOW Vice Pres. Barkley
50-11-03
34
The Case of Mark Bridges
N
50-11-03 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
misdirected love turns to blind hate.

50-11-03 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA,8 p.m.--"
The Case of Mark Bridges," whose misdirected love for a girl unworthy of him turned to blind hate after she had rejected and humiliated him once too often is dramatized in this real life story.
50-11-10
35
The Case of Walter Kelso
N
50-11-10 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
gas station competition leads to dynamiting.

50-11-10 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA,8 p.m.--"
The Case of Walter Kelso," who resorted to violence when he saw his 29-year-old gas station business failing because of unexpected competition is dramatized as he applies for parole.
50-11-17
36
The Case of Claire Compton
N
50-11-17 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole
50-11-24
37
The Case of Matthew Morris
N
50-11-24 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Up for Parole
50-12-01
38
The Case of Henry W. Merrill
N
50-12-01 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
ex-convict becomes civic leader--and blackmail victim.

50-12-01 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA,8 p.m.--
The Case of Henry W. Merrill, who killed a man to put a stop to a vicious blackmail scheme, is dramatized in this thrilling case report.
50-12-08
39
The Case of Ritchie Whitfield
N
50-12-08 Wisconsin State Journal
8 p.m.--Up for Parole (WKOW):
story of poison-pen arsonist; WBBM 8:00 Five-Star Revue.

50-12-08 San Antonio Express
Up for Parole, KTSA,8 p.m.--"
The Case of Ritchie Whitfield," who, enraged because someone else was promoted to the job he considered rightfully his, wrote a series of poison pen letters to his employer and his rival and then set two fires at the plant.
50-12-15
--
--
50-12-15 Wisconsin State Journal
WBBM 8:00 Five-Star Revue; WKOW 8:00 Hear It Now.









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