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Please feel free to explore our growing library of over 460 Golden Age Radio programming and broadcasting history articles and logs. We start every article and every program log with a clean sheet of paper before us. We perform our own, independent research into every program or personality. Never hestitate to let us know how we're doing--pro or con. And if you have something to contribute--or challenge--in our findings, please drop us a comment.

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Fully Provenanced Radio Program Articles

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Radio City Playhouse with Radio City and Harry W. Junkin

Radio City Playhouse was one of the last of a long series of premium Drama productions NBC offered as flagship, sustaining productions over the years. As with it's previous premium dramatic and classic music productions, NBC spared no apparent expense to mount these flagship efforts. And it shows. NBC, yet again, brings the greatest voice talent, writing, and technical direction to this anthology of wonderful, popular modern dramas.

NBC's previous dramatic sustaining productions consisted of either the pure Classics, or Modern Stage Plays from the 19th and 20th Centuries. This series of three seasons tended to feature a delightful mix of both contemporary original radio plays and classic dramas, backed by the very finest voice talent on contract with NBC. But Director Harry Junkin also introduced several new talents into the mix, which made for a wonderful combination of both tried and true productions with just enough orginal dramas and writers to keep the series both timely and timeless.

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Redbook Drama

By 1930 and beyond, Redbook Magazine was becoming as popular as Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post. The magazine attracted many of the better fiction authors of the era. It comes as no surprise that many of the stories selected for the series hold up quite well to today. Many of Louis Joseph Vance's 'Lone Wolf' stories were introduced in the pages of Redbook. Edgar Rice Burroughs also wrote for Redbook along with Sinclair Lewis, Ellis Parker Butler, Roy Cohen, Paul Gallico, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Booth Tarkington, Lord Dunsany, Rube Goldberg, and Frederic Dannay & Manfred B. Lee, better known as Ellery Queen.

The selections for Redbook Drama comprised adventure, mystery, western, and comedy fiction. The canon holds up well. The dramatizations, albeit edited for a twelve-minute format, were well performed, well directed, and, for recordings from the early 1930s, preserve a great deal of fidelity. Redbook's fiction stories were an ideal source for Redbook Drama's fifteen-minute format, as engaging today as they must have been during Post-Depression America.

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Request Performance with William N. Robson and Leith Stevens

Initially planned as a Saturday feature, Request Performance first aired on Sundays and remained on Sundays for the entire run. It was apparently first 'teased' to audiences on September 23, as part of its gala, annual 90-minute Stars In The Afternoon promotion, directed by William N. Robson. The 90-minute teaser promoted Request Performance with a package of fourteen programs for the upcoming CBS Fall lineup. We don't currently have access to the Stars In The Afternoon promotion, but we'd imagine that CBS first announced a call for requests for the following programs during that first teaser. CBS also made promotional announcements throughout September, soliciting suggestions for requested concepts or performers.

Request Performance premiered on October 7, 1945 with a Tour of New Orleans, co-hosted by Ronald Colman and Frances Langford. Their tour of New Orleans both set the tone for the productions to follow, as well as officially soliciting further requests from their listening audiences.

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The Private Files of Rex Saunders with Rex Harrison, Leon Janney and Himan Brown.

As a detective--gentleman or otherwise--Rex Harrison lends a distinctively intelligent and understated confidence to the role. He's not quite as nonchalant as The Thin Man's Nick Charles, not as arrogant as Philo Vance, and not as melodramatic as Sherlock Holmes or Radio's Philip Marlowe. In short, he's both 'just right' and entirely fascinating--and competent--as detective Rex Saunders. Leon Janney's rendition of Saunders' assistant, Alec, complements Harrison's delivery of his Saunders characterization. Not the typical stooge assistant, nor quite as clever as Nero Wolfe's Archie, Leon Janney's Alec is given the same latitude as some of Radio's other more helpful detective assistants.

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Richard Diamond Private Detective with Richard Powell, Virginia Gregg and Frances Robinson

While it's unclear whether Dick Powell and NBC specifically set out to recycle Powell's Richard Rogue characterization, history can't help but beg the question. The Rogue's Gallery franchise had slipped into a hiatus when Barry Sullivan's interpretation of Richard Rogue experienced tepid reviews after the Rogue's Gallery's Summer run of 1947.

It's also unclear whether Powell set out to make the 'singing detective' element of NBC's Richard Diamond, Private Detective a permanent fixture of the new characterization. Powell's interpretation of his Richard Rogue character had also enjoyed a few musical episodes during Powell's run as the character, but given Powell's avowed desire to cement his growing dramatic talent, it would seem counterintutive that he'd lobby for a character that would burst into song as a regular feature of a new Radio series. Whether it was his desire to provide himself with a last opportunity to 'sing for his supper', or it was imposed on him by NBC, Powell seemed to enjoy the occasional musical interludes.

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Rocky Fortune with Frank Sinatra

As hard is it may be to believe by today's standards, Rocky Fortune was Frank Sinatra's only dramatic Radio program from The Golden Age of Radio as the lead in a recurring role. As a variety guest performer, Sinatra's Radiography goes on and on and on. But this was the program that a great many of the growing number of fans of Sinatra's acting work really wanted to hear.

NBC had auditioned two other such detective genre vehicles for Sinatra--'Frankie Galahad, Private Detective', and an Erle Stanley Gardner series. Some intriguing prospects to be sure. If only . . . .

Rocco Fortunato was a young New Yorker on his way up and out of the endless dead-end jobs his employment agency was sending him on, like the oyster-shucking job they sent him to that yielded only a handful of 'clams' for his efforts--but a bonus of 12 big hot pearls in the bargain. And much as Alan Ladd's character in Box 13, Rocky Fortune was clearly ready for a more vibrant, exciting, and financially rewarding career change.

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Rogue's Gallery with Dick Powell, Barry Sullivan, Paul Stewart and Peter Leeds

Rogue's Gallery was one of those Golden Age Radio programs that simply wouldn't quit. It resurfaced again and again between 1945 and 1951 in original broadcast--and in rebroadcast for years later. Rogue's Gallery was broadcast through five different runs, over three major networks: NBC, The Mutual Broadcasting System, and ABC. The protagonist, fictional detective Richard Rogue, was performed by three different major dramatic actors: Dick Powell for the first three runs, Barry Sullivan for the 1947 Summer run, and critically acclaimed Mercury Theatre alumnus, Paul Stewart, for the 1950-1951 run.

One of the more carefully guarded, yet signature elements of the Rogue's Gallery formula was Richard Rogue's alter ego, 'Eugor' (Rogue spelled backwards), played by the famous--but uncredited--character actor, Peter Leeds. 'Eugor' resides in a particularly entertaining recess of Richard Rogue's mind called "Cloud Eight", an obvious play on the euphemism, 'Cloud Nine', which by the 1940s had come to describe a euphoric state induced in one form or another--by alcohol, drugs, or often love or intense emotional satisfaction. Interestingly, the origin of the term Cloud Nine itself is often--mistakenly--attributed to the term's use in the "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar" radio program whose popularity post-dated Rogue's Gallery by over five years. The term was in wide use well before 'Johnny Dollar'.

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Romance of The Ranchos with Frank Graham

For any native Californian--certainly any resident of Southern California--this remarkable series of thirty-five highly entertaining and informative historic vignettes of 18th and 19th century life in Southern California remain as fascinating today as they had to have been in 1941. The Romance of The Ranchos, funded and sponsored by The Title Insurance and Trust, Inc., of Los Angeles, provided a never before heard historical account of the people, events, and circumstances that shaped the history and almost exponential development of the southern half of California, from the 1700s through the 1940s.

Native-born residents of Southern California invariably learn a great deal about their region and its rich, multicultural history from grade school forward. But even the most avid fans of the Southern California lifestyle can learn whole new volumes of fascinating information from this relatively short, but captivating, series.

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Romance, Rhythm and Ripley

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For the new series' first two installments, the 'romance' element was represented by crooner Larry Douglas, and the 'rhythm' element by a guest rhythm and jazz vocalist. By Episode No. 3, jazz vocalist Evelyn Knight joined the cast as the permanent 'rhythm' element of the series. From that episode forward, each episode generally followed a segmented approach for the remainder of the series.

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Rotary Golden Theater

There were hundreds of special public service series broadcast over Radio during the Golden Age of Radio. Some were simply a local run of public service announcements (PSAs) interrelated by a uniting theme; Case Dismissed out of Chicago's WMAQ is a good example. Some of the better examples of these broadcasts in the public interest came not from the Government, but from private fraternal or service organizations of the era. In the above cited Case Dismissed, for example, it was The Bar Association of Illinois.

In the present example it was the Rotary International. As part of a coordinated, international campaign to alert the World to Rotary International's Golden Anniversary, the National U.S. arm of The Rotary commissioned a series of thirteen, illustrative and inspirational dramas to highlight various aspects of The Rotary's accomplishments, priorities and ongoing ideals and programs. The production was appropriately titled, Rotary Golden Theater, both in recognition of its 50th--Golden--Anniversary, as much as by way of pointing out the 'golden' advice, examples, and practical, problem-solving illustrations contained within each of the thirteen installments of the production.

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The Saint with Edgar Barrier, Brian Aherne and Vincent Price

The Saint first appeared in Radio in 1940 over Radio Athlone in Ireland. Radio Athlone's powerful transmitters broadcast The Saint throught the United Kingdom, often being picked up in The Netherlands and France. British Stage actor Terence De Marney was Radio's first Simon Templar. It wasn't until 1945 that The Saint aired over American Radio. Two of the scripts from the Radio Athlone run were adapted for the Leslie Charteris-penned Brian Aherne run over CBS in the Summer of 1945.

The Saint owed it's debut over Radio to the extraordinary success of the Ellery Queen franchise. Ellery Queen had become so popular over Radio that it priced itself out of a sponsor. Emerson Drug, the maker of Bromo-Seltzer, decided that it would be more economical for them to abandon their Ellery Queen sponsorship over NBC and innaugurate a new series at a much lower cost. And so it was that Emerson Drug, Leslie Charteris, and producer/agent James Saphier brought the package to air over NBC for a three-month run between January and April 1945.

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The Adventures of Sam Spade Detective with Howard Duff, Lurene Tuttle, William Spier, Dick Joy and Steve Dunne

Arguably Golden Age Radio's most collected detective genre program, the history of Sam Spade, Detective was a confusing muddle before we tackled it. In the process we almost fully documented it, resolved most of the previous disparities and identified its most accurate chronology to date. We also enjoyed giving William Spier, Howard Duff, Dick Joy, and Steve Dunne their due. We'd already memorialized Radio's First Lady, Lurene Tuttle, with our Adventures of Maisie article and log. And no, we didn't overlook Dashiell Hammett either. He's memorialized below, and in our The Adventures of The Thin Man. And yes, he not only did The Thin Man, but also The Fat Man, and Secret Agent X-9.

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The Sammy Kaye Showroom | Chrysler Showroom with Sammy Kaye

At the time The Sammy Kaye Showroom premiered, Sammy Kaye had already sold in excess of 4 million records for RCA Victor. Victor itself had passed the Billion record mark only two years earlier. Kaye's orchestra was referred to as one of the 'sweet bands' of the era, characterized by comparatively mainstream, traditional favorites, romantic or patriotic new compositions, and traditional dance music. His band was also known for the participation of band members in the band's many comedic routines. Not particularly ground-breaking for the era, but equally endearing the band to its audiences.

Transcribed from the outset, The Sammy Kaye Showroom premiered on May 16, 1949 for a contracted run of twenty-six weeks. Airing three times a week in most markets, some markets aired the program weekly for twenty-six weeks. The vast majority of sponsoring Chrysler dealerships across the country opted for the three-a-week broadcasts, usually Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

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NBC Presents: Screen Directors Series with Ken Carpenter

"During its tenure on NBC, "Screen Directors' Playhouse" has presented a balanced ration of serious dramas, comedies, and musicals.  Among the films which have been adapted for the series are "The Best Years of Our Lives," "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House," "Music for Millions," "A Foreign Affair," "The Magnificent Obsession," "The Human Comedy," and "It's a Wonderful Life."

     The roster of players who have starred in "Playhouse" productions includes James Stewart, Cary Grant, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich, John Lund, Barbara Stanwyck, Loretta Young, Rosalind Russell, Fred MacMurray, Fred Astair, June Allyson, William Powell, Dana Andrews, Lucille Ball, Dan Dailey, Mickey Rooney, and Charles Boyer."

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Please visit the Saving The Lives or Our Own website to learn what you can do to help goad the Motion Picture and Television Relief Fund into resuming the care of their own.

The Screen Guild Radio Programs with Jean Hersholt

The Gulf Oil Corporation sponsored the first four seasons of The Screen Guild from 1939 to the Summer of 1942. The program was called The Gulf Screen Guild Show for its first season, and The Gulf Screen Guild Theatre for Seasons Two through Four. The reasoning for the name change was simply a natural progression in the type of productions the Guild was mounting. The 1st Season was comprised of equal elements of Variety, Musical Comedy, and straight Dramas. And though the 2nd Season opened with yet another Variety Revue, the Variety productions eventually fell away in favor of Musical Comedies, Classic Stage productions and straight Drama productions or movie adaptations. The Gulf Corporation contributed $10,000 per program to The Motion Picture Relief Fund--a total of approximately $1.3M over the course of it's sponsorship. That's approximately $17.4M in today's dollars. That may help to put into perspective the Screen Actors Guild's continued dedication to this series over the years.

The Cosmetics House of Lady Esther took over sponsorship of Seasons Five through Ten, calling their productions Lady Esther Presents The Screen Guild Players. Lady Esther was looking for a prestigious vehicle to promote their new line of ladies' compacts and other feminine requisites and considering the inherent glamour underlying almost every production of The Screen Guild they couldn't have asked for a more appropriate advertising vehicle.

Power, prestige, wealth, and responsibility in the Entertainment Industry have become distilled, concentrated, consolidated, and compressed down to a relative handful of multi-national corporations with no discernable moral compass, no corporate memory of their roots, no sense of obligation, nor any concern whatsoever for their heritage. . . Let alone responsibility for the trillions of dollars they've made on the backs of the tens of thousands of actors, technicians and artisans that they often drove into the ground before unions began protecting workers' interests. That's the difference between a Corporate Republic and a Democratic Republic. And so it seems that the free marketplace has triumphed yet again--in the most predictably reprehensible manner.

We're better than this. You can help. Learn more with the sidebar link [left]

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The Sealed Book with Robert Arthur, David P. Kogan and Phillip Clarke

As with The Mysterious Traveler that preceded it, The Sealed Book was an anthology of supernatural drama, produced and directed by Jock MacGregor for the Mutual network, and written by the extraordinary team of Robert Arthur and David Kogan. Indeed this same entire team of network, director, and writers were responsible for the entire run of The Mysterious Traveler.

Where the series' differed was in the 'hook' or novelty intro to each week's new episode. With the Mysterious Traveler, the atmospheric element was the mournful whistle of the train, and Maurice Tarplin's equally exaggerated exposition at the beginning of each episode. With The Sealed Book, each epsisode opened with the sound of the great gong, followed by Philip Clarke's observation that the Keeper of The Book had once again opened the door to the secret vault, within which was contained the 'great sealed book' recording 'all the secrets and mysteries of mankind through the ages.'

At the end of all but the last episode, Clarke would tell listeners to tune in the following week when "the sound of the great gong heralds another strange and exciting tale from... the sealed book."

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Secret Agent K-7 Returns with Jay Jostyn

It's been reported that Secret Agent K-7 first aired over Radio during the mid-1930s, though we have yet to confirm that assertion. A series of Secret Agent K-7 serial films began screening during 1936-1938. Referred to in the print media of the era as either/both Secret Agent K-7 and/or Special Agent K-7, the serials were screened--and rescreened--over a period of almost 20 years, often broadcast over the earliest years of the Golden Age of Television.

Whether or not an original Secret Agent K-7 series ever widely aired during the mid-1930s, it was Secret Agent K-7 Returns that first began airing during the Fall of 1939. A syndicated, transcribed production, Secret Agent K-7 Returns was first heard over at least two major networks as well as numerous regional Radio outlets throughout North America.

In this rendition of the exploits of Secret Agent K-7, the series is portrayed and introduced as the memoirs and reflections of the, by then retired, Secret Agent K-7 himself. Secret Agent K-7's years in service covered exploits on land, sea and air in twenty-two countries. Secret Agent K-7 frames his past adventures during the prologue of each installment, framing sufficient exposition to allowed the dramatized exploit to stand on its own during each installment.

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Secrets of Scotland Yard with Clive Brook, Harry Alan Towers and Percy Hoskins

Great Britain's world-famous Scotland Yard has been a fertile source of Mystery and Crime drama plots almost since it's inception in 1829, when it was implemented with The Metropolitan Police Act. Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel, with the help of France's legendary Eugène-François Vidocq (the fabled Monsieur Vidocq) of the Sûreté. Vidocq had already demonstrated the value of plain-clothes detectives, or 'civil agents' to combat crime in France. It was Sir Robert's hope to emulate the French Sûreté's initial successes in England.

Harry Alan Towers was a brilliant young entrepreneur who'd gotten his start as a child actor and Radio scriptwriter for The BBC. During World War II he'd joined the R.A.F. and was assigned to British Forces Radio, the equivalent of America's Armed Forces Radio Service (AFRS), tasked with repackaging and distributing Radio broadcasts via electrical transcription to British Forces overseas. His resultant exposure to electrical transcription technology and distribution on a large scale formed the basis for his first entrepreneurial success after the War.

Among Towers' many ambitious programming projects was Secrets of Scotland Yard, hosted and narrated by then American Film and Stage actor Clive Brook, and The Black Museum, hosted and narrated by young American Radio legend, Orson Welles. Although it remains unclear which project officially preceded the other, we have some evidence that Secrets of Scotland Yard preceded The Black Museum by as much as two or three years.

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Shakespeare Cycle with Burgess Meredith and Conway Tearle

Shakespeare On the Radio?  It can't be done!

Or, can it...?  The Columbia Broadcasting System's announcement of their intention to do a summer series of Shakespearean plays was met with a barrage of opposition and sarcasm--that later turned into a publicity department duel when NBC announced they would do a Shakespeare series to be aired during the same timeslot as the CBS production.  Though CBS claimed previous rights to the idea, NBC pointedly ignored the matter.

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Shorty Bell with Mickey Rooney

There appears to have been an audition recording produced during December of 1947, starring Mickey Rooney as newspaper truck driver 'Shorty' Bell and written by free lancer Samuel Taylor and CBS Staff writer Milton Geiger. The audition is purported to have featured William Conrad, Joan Banks, Jeanne Bates and Parley Baer in supporting roles.

Apparently the network-ordered audition was deemed viable, though by the time Shorty Bell premiered on March 28th 1948, CBS and Rooney had completely restructured the feature's staff. Though ostensibly created by author Frederick Hazlett Brennan, it was free-lance magazine writer Samuel Taylor that was retained as the series' writer, along with creator Frederick Hazlett Brennan, Richard Carroll as adapter and John Dunkel as script supervisor. The new series was produced and directed by William N. Robson and the musical scoring was initially provided by Cy Feuer and his orchestra.

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The Silent Men with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

"Turbo vestri hostilis." A latin phrase that literally translated might be "whirlwind to your enemy" or more likely, in the case of the famed, but little known 'Beach Jumpers' units of World War II and beyond, "causing disorder in your enemy." And that's precisely what Beach Jumper units did.

You see, The Silent Men, a starring Radio vehicle for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. wasn't simply a young man's delayed pipe dream translated into a Radio espionage adventure series. Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. actually lived and worked with espionage and special operations personnel for most of his State Department and U.S. Naval Reserve careers throughout the World War II years.

What apparently remained something of a secret for all those years was the actual hands-on perspective from which Fairbanks approached the production. One assumes it was a combination of Fairbanks' natural humility and the continuing need for operational security that kept the full story of Fairbanks special ops background from the public. But what a wonderful promotional feature it could have been if it had been made public.

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Silver Theater with Conrad Nagel and International Silver

The International Silver Company began sponsoring Radio programs with their Tony Wons' Scrapbook, which ran from 1932 to 1941 under several high-profile sponsors. Tony Wons' Scrapbook began as a poetry and variety anthology. Tony Wons was actually Anthony Snow, using revered spelling for his stage name and book and article pseudonym. The Scrapbook was a collection of "noble thoughts, snatches of homely humor, tributes to beauty, diligence, nature, perseverance, motherhood, home, etc."

The Silver Theater
was by far International Silver's most ambitious undertaking, but this must be tempered by the fact that International Silver was a $20,000,000 company in 1937 with subsidiaries throughout the entire civilized world. One glance at the spot ads from the era (left) gives some indication of what it must have cost to mount each of The Silver Theater's nine seasons comprising 232 dramatic programs between 1937 and 1947.

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The Six Shooter with James Stewart

Though The Six Shooter wasn't the first popular adult western to air over Radio, a case can be made that it was the first to thoroughly legitimize the genre over the medium. Not only were The Six Shooter scripts--and casts--the equal of any of the first wave of adult westerns to air over Radio, but the series carried the considerable weight of James Stewart in the starring role as Britt Ponset, the reluctant, yet highly efficient, western gunslinger.

For the era, James Stewart was a natural choice to popularize the genre over Radio. His ground-breaking--for Stewart--depiction of the angst and inner turmoil of his protagonist, Lin McAdam in Winchester '73 (1950), launched a series of James Stewart appearances in other taut Anthony Mann and Alfred Hitchcock psychological thrillers over the following ten years. More importantly, the timing was perfect to cast Stewart in a psychological western thriller for Radio.

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Sleep No More with Nelson Olmsted and Ben Grauer

One of the rare ideal matches of performer to material, Olmsted and these wonderful supernatural classics combine to transfix the listener in a throwback to the wonderful lights-out, glowing dial experiences of the earliest days of broadcast Radio. Clearly, these readings are best experienced in a dimmed or darkened room, or even more ideally from the speakers of a vintage, tube-powered Radio or amplifier.

We understand from contemporary articles of the era that Nelson Olmsted was allowed to select his readings himself. This is underscored by the enthusiasm and focus that Olmsted demonstrated with each reading in the series. Olmsted knew this material--and their authors--intimately. Indeed, the response to the programs was so great, that upon completing the series, Olmsted's record label--Vanguard--pressed another six stories from the originally proposed canon of supernatural thriller into a highly successful LP--Sleep No More: Famous Ghost and Horror Stories--that's been rereleased twice since 1956. The Sleep No More LP and a companion LP, Tales of Terror, were rereleased as a two-record set in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Soldiers of The Press

Soldiers of The Press with Walter Cronkite

Virtually all of the pieces dramatized were almost verbatim accounts filed by UP correspondents in local newspapers across the country. In many cases the filed copy used in the newspaper postings were used verbatim as part of the Soldiers of The Press episodes.

For the most part, most of the Soldiers of The Press episodes aired within days or a couple of weeks of its companion filed news release. Indeed, as often as not, many of the correspondents' reports also aired over independent radio stations not affiliated with a network news service of their own. The variety and breadth of the broadcasts reflected the United Press' extraordinary reach and depth of their correspondents in the field. Covering every theater, every significant offensive and every major confrontation during the period 1943 - 1945, arguably the fastest moving, dynamic two years of World War II.

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Somebody Knows with Jack Johnstone

     "Somebody Knows," which offers a $5000 reward if you can put a finger on any of these criminals, recently took up the case of a psychopathic killer operating in St. Paul.  It opened with the voice of a Dr. Hathaway, a professor of psychology, addressing a seminar on mental abnormalities and speaking specifically of the repetitive nature of criminal acts by various types of psychopaths.

     This led into the review of the case of a girl named Geraldine.  Geraldine was returning home from her job shortly after midnight on a rainy night.  She was within two blocks of her home--a fact established by the bus driver who let her out there--when she was attacked and killed.  Her body, the throat and wrists slashed, was found three miles away from the scene of the crime.  The girl was neither raped nor robbed.

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Speed Gibson of The I.S.P. with Gale Gordon, John Gibson and Hanley Stafford

Air adventures being equally appealing to boys and girls, it seemed natural to syndicated progamming house, Radio Attractions, to mount a quality juvenile air adventure. Apparently recording the feature sometime during early 1937, Radio Attractions sold the feature to bakers and mills across America. The first baker to sponsor Speed Gibson regionally was Hecht's Bakeries in Tennessee. That first run of Speed Gibson--Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, weekly--premiered on September 20, 1937.

Out on the west coast, Remar Baking Company had just aquired a new fleet of 200 Chevrolet delivery vans and wanted yet another 'vehicle' to underscore and advertise their growing success. And so it was that Remar Baking premiered Speed Gibson to San Francisco Bay audiences on October 18, 1937. They ran their serial feature four days a week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday over KROW for at least Speed Gibson's first entire one-hundred episode adventure, "The Case of The World Vs. The Octopus."

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The Star and the Story with Walter Pidgeon

And so it was that Goodyear Tire and Rubber and CBS brought popular Film actor Walter Pidgeon to the air to headline his own Radio feature for the first--and last--time in Radio History. For Walter Pidgeon's avid Film fans the news of Pidgeon's own Radio program was a dream come true. But apart from Pidgeon's own appearances throughout the series, they'd also be treated to guest appearances by twenty-six of the most popular female Film stars of the era.

We're hard pressed to recall another Radio program from its Golden Age that featured virtually every major female Film star of the era during a comparitively short twenty-six episode run.

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Stars in The Air

CBS reacquired the Screen Guild program for seven more months in 1951 and 1952, returning to the 30-minute format, and airing its final Screen Guild program June 29, 1952. CBS unaccountably referred to the Screen Guild Theatre as a double-header: Stars In the Air and Hollywood Sound Stage for its first thirteen programs [see sidebar]. Then just as inexplicably, CBS reacquired the name Screen Guild Theatre for the last seventeen programs, which ran back to back with the remainder of the Stars In the Air run. The on-air proof that both programs are one in the same is contained in the epilogue comments to Ivy, from March 13, 1952, wherein Joan Fontaine is referred to as already having performed in the 'CBS Screen Guild Season'--which could only have been her performance during Hollywood Sound Stage.

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Starlight Mystery Theater with William Wintersole and Karl Swenson

Mathew Slade: Private Investigator was a featured, half-hour mystery presentation by The Pacifica Players of Pacifica Radio of Berkeley, California and the Pacifica Foundation of North Hollywood, California. It premiered as a Starlight Mystery Theater production on July 5, 1964 over Pacifica Radio affiliate stations. Initially announced for alternating Sundays, the program soon began airing in erratic installments from August through November of 1964.

Starring William Wintersole as Mathew Slade, the program was billed as a radio mystery revival series from the outset, presented in recognition of the hundreds of popular detective mysteries that had aired throughout The Golden Age of Radio. At least twelve of the Mathew Slade: Private Investigator installments from Starlight Mystery Theater were selected by The Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) for transcription and rebroadcast to both the Armed Forces Network (AFN) in Europe in 1966 and The Far East Network (FEN) in 1968.

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Stay Tuned for Terror with Robert Bloch

Stay Tuned for Terror may very well be as mysterious as it's author's fiction. Often referenced, and cited for it's famous author's scripts, Stay Tuned for Terror remains one of those elusive programs from The Golden Age of Radio which has yet to surface in circulation. Golden Age Radio collectors can be fairly certain that its recordings survived either as transcriptions or privately recorded episodes. Robert Bloch's early writing successes and wide popularity in the horror genre virtually guarantee that any number of his horror fiction fans would have at least recorded the run from Radio.

Stay Tuned for Terror arose during one of the more prolific early periods of Robert Bloch's writing career. Some friends and acting acquaintances had suggested that his short horror fiction pieces would likely be well received over Radio. Ultimately it was his friends Berle Adams, a theatrical and writer's agent, Johnny Neblett, a sportscaster and actor, and James Doolittle, an actor, that sat down with Bloch over a period of a few weeks in the Fall of 1944 to attempt to put together the radio program.

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The Story Behind The Song

Transco marketed the series to large and small stations--and networks--alike. NBC-Blue's WJZ, New York, was the largest of the networks of the day to broadcast the series. Beginning in May of 1930, the syndication was airing in small market stations throughout the midwest. By 1931, NBC-Blue was broadcasting the series as filler for their 10:00 p.m. nighttime Wednesday or Thursday slot.

All thirty-nine episodes aired throughout the midwest as late as February 1931 during their first runs. The syndication was also broadcast throughout 1931 and 1932 by several small market stations.

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The Story of Dr. Kildare with Lionel Barrymore, Lew Ayres and Dick Joy

The Marcus Loew Booking Agency had owned radio station call sign WHN since 1946. In September of 1948, WHN changed their call sign to WMGM, in part to capitalize on a series of MGM programming projects they were attempting to introduce to a national audience. Programs such as The Adventures of Maisie, Crime Does Not Pay, The Hardy Family, M-G-M Theatre of The Airand The Story of Dr. Kildare, all drew on material that M-G-M, as a Film Studio, already had in the can. Having established Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Radio Attractions for the express purpose of transcribing, then syndicating this content, all that remained was for M-G-M to obtain a well-established radio station from which to broadcast their programming packages. The assumption was that once heard in a wide enough area they'd be picked up nation-wide in due time. The concept seemed to be working for several years, until a change in M-G-M focus made their M-G-M Radio Attractions division redundant. WMGM slowly began changing their format to remain viable to its expanding local audience, and the era of MGM-produced, network-ready, syndicated content dwindled to nothing.

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The Story of Joe Palooka with Alan Reed

Airing every Tuesday and Thursday at the dinner hour, The Story of Joe Palooka launched with a huge promotion throughout the U.S. At the time touting "over 10,000,000 fans" of the comic strip, Heinz 57's spot ads of the era heralded the new series as "the greatest 15 minutes of fun on the air." The Story of Joe Palooka starred young Teddy Bergman [Alan Reed, the 'voice' of TV's Fred Flintstone] in the role of Joe Palooka, with Frank Readick as Knobby Walsh, Joe's friend and manager, and Elmira Roessler, Elsie Hitz, and Mary Jane Higby in the role of Ann Howe. Georgia Backus wrote the scripts for the juvenile adventure serial and Ted Husing announced all the ferocious action during Joe's fight scenes. Radio, Film and Television legend Harry Von Zell was the series' announcer and Heinz spokesperson. Quickly running through the two-a-week order of twenty-six installments, Heinz 57 Varieties ordered an additional thirteen episodes, for a total of thirty-eight before pulling the plug on the short-lived series.

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Strange As It Seems with Gayne Whitman and Carleton Kadell

By 1935, John Hix's features--now both in print and film--had become so popular and compelling that they inspired a Radio feature of the same name.

As might be readily discerned, by the time Strange As It Seems premiered over Radio, John Hix's entertaining Strange As It Seems syndicated newspaper franchise had blossomed into a full-blown multimedia sensation, with Strange As It Seems short films, magazines, books, and full-page Sunday supplement features in full color--in addition to Hix's amazing output of daily syndicated cartoons and trivia snippets.

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The Strange Dr. Weird with Maurice Tarplin, Jock MacGregor and Adam Hats

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The Strange Dr. Weird was quite aptly named, given the elusive, reclusive nature of it's oft-referenced Host, the very strange Dr. Weird and his mysterious, decrepit mansion conveniently overlooking the nearby graveyard.

But such was the specific atmosphere the producers were aiming for with this series of Radio productions. Supernatural thrillers had long been a highly popular staple of early Radio. The distinct advantage this genre employed made it a natural for late-evening, lights-out listening--or simply to have the bejeebers scared out of its most avid weekly listeners. After all, what better way to convey a compelling, supernatural story than from the glowing dial of a radio, with the lights dimmed, someone to grab at arm's length, and something to munch on as the suspense mounted. These components were a match made in heaven during a period of Radio's History during which a war-weary nation sought some escape from the anxiety of simultaneous world conflicts.

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Strange Wills with Warren Willam and Lurene Tuttle

Strange Wills was an interesting twist on the mystery drama fare of the late 1940s. Conceived by both Teleways and Warren William himself, the premise of the series is the fascinating--but often overlooked--drama that arises from many last wills and testaments. Warren William provides the first-person accounting of these legal entanglements as either the attorney of record or as an investigator of the often complex underpinning of some extraordinary wills.

Initially syndicated by Teleways, Charles Michelson subsequently bought the syndication rights and licensed them further to Grace Gibson Radio Productions for distribution to Australian audiences. In an even further incarnation, Warren William bought--or licensed--the entire series of productions from Charles Michelson and formed his own Warren William Radio Productions, Inc., to market the series to NBC, repackaged as I Devise and Bequeath.

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Streamlined Shakespeare with John Barrymore and Gayne Whitman

    Following Columbia Broadcasting System's announcement of their intention to do a summer series of Shakespearean plays, NBC caused an uproar when they announced they would also do a Shakespeare series to be aired during the same time as that of its hated rival.  Though CBS claimed previous rights to the idea, NBC pointedly ignored the matter and amid the clashes of both ethics and temperament, Streamlined Shakespeare went into production.

     Though Columbia announced its series Shakespeare Cycle first, NBC beat them to the airwaves.  John Barrymore was signed to do the series of six 45-minute broadcasts, capitalizing on the notoriety of the reunion of Mr. and Mrs. John Barrymore along with their success  as Caliban and Ariel the previous year. 

     Despite beating CBS's Shakespeare Cycle to the airwaves by three weeks, NBC's Streamlined Shakespeare was not nearly as well received.

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Stroke of Fate with Ted Osborne, Roger De Koven and Walter Kiernan

Backed up by pains-taking research from four noted historians of the era, the brief series of thirteen installments spanned over 2,200 years of World History. A sustained effort by NBC, the series attracted some of Radio's finest East Coast voice talent and dramatic actors.

Famed American journalist and social and political commentator Walter Kiernan narrated most of the productions, interspersed with commentaries by several of NBC's News Bureau reporters and journalists. It's clear from each production that the on-air staff found these fascinating hypotheses as interesting as their national audience did.

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Studio One At CBS with Fletcher Markle, Everett Sloane and Anne Burr

Continuing on through the advent of World War II, to the mid-1940s and the end of World War II, Columbia Workshop continued to air some of Radio History's most thought-provoking, introspective and patriotic programming ever aired. The Columbia Workshop came to a close in January of 1947. But with the collective sigh of relief from the end of the War years, CBS wisely determined a need to continue cutting edge, well-mounted, fully developed Radio drama for a post-War audience.

CBS' answer was Studio One At CBS, or simply Studio One. Staged from CBS's own famous Studio One, the series was to be a continuation of the excellence in programming that America had come to expect from CBS and its virtually unequalled--for the era--stable of talent. But this was also the era during which, after the breakup of NBC, that CBS and NBC began to ruthlessly poach each other's talent--wholesale. If NBC mounted a great new detective comedy, CBS would answer with its own. If CBS mounted a fantastic new variety program, NBC would launch its own. Meanwhile, the Mutual Broadcasting System and the newly energized American Broadcasting Company (the former Blue Network) were also revving up the competition with no holds barred.

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