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Original Abroad With The Lockharts header art

The Abroad With The Lockharts Radio Program

Dee-Scription: Home >> D D Too Home >> Radio Logs >> Abroad With The Lockharts
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Abroad With The Lockharts spot ad from October 26 1930
Abroad With The Lockharts spot ad from October 26 1930

Abroad With The Lockharts aired out of NBC-Blue key station KOA Denver
Abroad With The Lockharts aired out of NBC-Blue key station KOA Denver

Gene Lockhart
Gene Lockhart

Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Cratchit in M-G-M's 1938 Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol
Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Cratchit in M-G-M's 1938 Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol


Handy-Andy Food Stores of San Antonio sponsored a 13-week version of Abroad With the Lockharts
Handy-Andy Food Stores of San Antonio sponsored a 13-week version of Abroad With the Lockharts

Background

Transcribed programming for syndication was all the rage over Radio beginning in the mid to late 1920s and establishing itself as a viable, cost-effective and relatively risk-free programming alternative for early broadcast networks. The independents also thrived on canned programming. For many of the independents it was their primary means of obtaining quality programming.

The better syndications aired over both the early networks and independent stations equally. Those that were produced specifically for a network often found themselves in wider syndication after the network had exhausted the run. Indeed the more popular syndications from the mid to late 1920s to the mid 1950s continue to be as popular with contemporary 21st Century audiences as they were 50 to 70 years ago.

The more successful syndicators invested in the finest talent, writing, and direction to ensure the highest sales potential for their programming. Some of the most interesting syndicated programming arrived in the wake of the Great Depression. The relatively young networks were understandably still recovering from the Stock Market crash and its wake. The thousands of 'mom and pop,' family-owned independents were equally struggling to hold their broadcast audience without risking deeper debt investing in original programming.

So it was that literally thousands of syndicated programs--both popular and not so much--flooded the airwaves of the late 1920s and early 1930s. The most successful syndicated programming of the era was of the music or variety genre. The most popular dramatic programming of the era took the form of comedies and adventures. Abroad With The Lockharts premiered over Denver's 50,000 watt Radio station KOA, an NBC-Blue key station, in October of 1930. The syndicated series combined situation comedy with both adventure and romance. It was broadcast throughout the midwest and remained a popular favorite throughout its first run.

Abroad With The Lockharts premiere and production details

The most economical way to ensure a top notch syndicated production was investing in great talent. The husband and wife team of Gene Lockhart and Kathleen Lockhart had already proven themselves a highly successful and popular team on and off Broadway and in Film--and both before and throughout their marriage. Gene Lockhart had already established himself as a versatile playwright and actor on the Stage and Screen and Kathleen Lockhart was an equally durable and versatile character actress on both Stage and Screen.

Obtaining the Lockharts' talents for an adventure-situation comedy virtually guaranteed an audience for the syndication. The premise, as engaging as it was novel, had the Lockharts as a 'typical American Mr. and Mrs. who go abroad.' Will Lockhart is described as a plain businessman: comfortable, blunt, who knows his own mind. Mrs. Lockhart is described as a pleasant type of American wife: "a thorough housekeeper, member of the local woman's club and the literary club of her town, but still retains the spirit of romance."

As the series premieres, it's the Lockharts' tenth anniversary year, and finds the couple planning their summer vacation. Will Lockhart wants to go fishing again. Mrs. Lockhart wants a romantic, 50-day, seven-country tour of Europe. Mrs. Lockhart, quite predictably, prevails. Will Lockhart resigns himself to being dragged all over Europe for fifty days and Mrs. Lockhart envisions a romantic, adventurous holiday.

The series is a tour de force for Gene and Kathleen Lockhart. Apart from the announcer, theirs are the only voices heard throughout the series. As best as can be determined, Gene and Kathleen Lockhart perform every role in the circulating recordings. Gene Lockhart, arguably the more widely known of the acting couple assumes the role of curmudgeonly foil to his romantic wife. It's also quite plausible that Gene Lockhart also wrote the scripts for the series. Kathleen Lockhart shines as the ever-romantic, ever optimistic, adventurer, dragging her reluctant spouse all over England, France and Italy. Kathleen's performance is the epitome of what one might imagine of the archetypal American homemaker of the 1930s devouring her first experience of international adventure.


Generous to a fault, Gene Lockhart epitomizes the highly nationalistic American businessman of the 1930s abroad for the first time: nothing's as good as America, foreigners have it all wrong, and the romance and adventure of the experience abroad are all but lost on him until the couple embarks on their return trip home. Together, the couple are a perfect reflection of typical, middle-American values, misconceptions, and preconceived pretensions of European customs and values.

The fifteen-minute format is typical for the transcribed programming of the era: musical fill for annoucements and sponsor messages, eleven to twelve minutes of script and musical fill at the close. The scripts are clever, well paced, filled with gentle humor, and highly reflective of the dynamics of a 'typical American Mr. and Mrs.' of the era.

The series remains a fascinating, highly introspective time-capsule of middle-American culture and values in the aftermath of The Great Depression. Kathleen Lockhart portrays a fascinating, gently embarrasing reflection of wholesome, yet pretentious, domestic romance: grounded, yet hopelessly romantic, and highly reflective of the American homemaker ideal of 1930. In the first of what would eventually become several successful leads for the couple over Radio, both of the Lockharts amply demonstrate the secrets of their popular success as a performing couple.

Independent broadcast outlets and networks alike aired Abroad with The Lockharts as either a weekly or three-a-week program of at least two known variants--a sixteen-week series or a thirteen-week series. There may well have been a twenty-six week, though we have yet to discover such a run. Given the format of Abroad With the Lockharts, once the couple boarded the S.S. Mauretius, there could have been any number of 'modular' adventures either aboard ship, or at their various European destinations.

Abroad with The Lockharts
remains an endearing, wonderfully reflective slice of American culture and values, as illustrative today as it was in 1930.

Series Derivatives:

None
Genre: Anthology of Golden Age Radio Situation Comedy
Network(s): [KSTP]; WTAM; KTSA
Audition Date(s) and Title(s): Unknown
Premiere Date(s) and Title(s): 30-10-13 01 Planning a Trip to Europe
Run Dates(s)/ Time(s): 30-10-13 to 31-01-26; [KSTP]; Sixteen, 15-minute programs; Monday afternoons, Thursdays, Saturdays and/or Sundays ( depending on the outlet)
Syndication:
Sponsors: Handy Andy Food Stores
Director(s):
Principal Actors: Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart
Recurring Character(s):
Protagonist(s): None
Author(s): None
Writer(s) Gene Lockhart, Kathleen Lockhart
Music Direction:
Musical Theme(s): Varying musical fill
Announcer(s): Unknown
Estimated Scripts or
Broadcasts:
16
Episodes in Circulation: 9
Total Episodes in Collection: 9
Provenances:

RadioGOLDINdex, Hickerson Guide.

Notes on Provenances:

The most helpful provenances were the log of the RadioGOLDINdex and newspaper listings.


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







The Abroad With The Lockharts Radio Program Log

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
30-10-13
1
Planning A Trip to Europe
Y
30-10-12 Capital Times
New series on the air:
"
Abroad With the Lockharts," KSTP,
St. Paul, Thursdays at 9 CST.

30-10-12 The Sandusky Register
MONDAY
WTAM--1:45 p.m.--With the Lockharts
30-10-20
2
Sailing Day
Y
30-10-27
3
At Sea
Y
30-11-03
4
Docking In England
Y
30-11-10
5
Sightseeing In London
Y
30-11-17
6
Corssing the Channel to Paris
Y
30-11-24
7
Sightseeing In Paris
Y
30-11-23 The Sandusky Register
MONDAY
WTAM--1:45 p.m.--With the Lockharts
30-12-01
8
Title Unknown
Y
30-12-08
9
Title Unknown
Y
30-12-07 The Sandusky Register
MONDAY
WTAM--1:45 p.m.--With the Lockharts
30-12-15
10
Title Unknown
Y
30-12-14 The Sandusky Register
MONDAY
WTAM--1:45 p.m.--With the Lockharts

30-12-15 Galveston Daily News
CBS--9:30 p.m. "Abroad with the Lockharts"
30-12-22
11
Title Unknown
Y
30-12-29
12
Title Unknown
Y
31-01-05
13
Title Unknown
Y
31-01-12
14
Sightseeing in Venice
N
31-01-19
15
Sightseeing In Rome
Y
31-01-26
16
Homeward Bound At Last
Y





The Abroad With The Lockharts Radio Program Log [KTSA, San Antonio Run]

Date Episode Title Avail. Notes
30-10-26
1
Title Unknown
N
[Sponsored by Handy Andy]

30-11-02
2
Title Unknown
N
30-11-09
3
Title Unknown
N
30-11-16
4
Title Unknown
N
30-11-23
5
Title Unknown
N
30-11-30
6
Title Unknown
N
30-12-07
7
Title Unknown
N
30-12-14
8
Title Unknown
N
30-12-21
9
Title Unknown
N
30-12-28
10
Title Unknown
N
31-01-04
11
Title Unknown
N
31-01-11
12
Sightseeing in Venice
N
31-01-11 San Antonio Light
LOCKHARTS GET TIRED
In the program "Abroad With the Lockharts," broadcast at 9 p.m., we find this typical American couple in Venice, about to visit the Doge's palace. Mr. Lockhart is all for sitting in the shade of one of the trees until Mrs. Lockhart comes out, but she insists that he go into the palace and examine every little thing. She starts with the Stairway of the Giants, and this assignment is not a little one for Mr. Lockhart's aching feet. Finally then get a guide who explains all the wonders of the frescoes of Tintoretto and the work of Galileo, the great astronomer. The guide also points to the wonders of the canal and by the time he gets to the Doge's palace itself, both the Lockharts are leg-weary.
31-01-18
13
Homeward Bound At Last
N
31-10-18 San Antonio Light
In the concluding program, "Abroad With the Lockharts," we find them homeward-bound. The scene is the promenade deck of the S. S. "Mauretius." Mrs. Lockhart insists on getting Will up to the sunny side of the boat, because she insists she'll better, but be insists that these boat stairs were never meant for a man of his age. They finally get seated in their deck chairs. This Handy Andy
program will be broadcast at 9 p. m.






The Abroad With The Lockharts Radio Program Biographies




Gene Lockhart
Stage, Radio, Television and Film Actor; Stage Composer and Playwright
(1891-1957)

Birthplace: London, Ontario, Canada

Education: Brompton Oratory School, London, England

Radiography:
1930 Abroad With the Lockharts
1935 Lux Radio Theatre
1936 Tonight In Hollywood
1939 Good News
1939 The Chase and Sanborn Hour
1940 Canadian Red Cross Emergency Appeal
1943 Suspense
1944 Cavalcade Of America
1944 Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre
1945 The Nebbs
1945 Textron Theater
1947 Family Theater
1950 For the Living
1952 Guest Star
1952 The Forty Million
Return To Christmas Island
The Watchman (Audition)
The Gene and Kathleen Lockhart Hollywood Album (Audition)
Gene Lockhart
Gene Lockhart

An accomplished lyricist as well Gene Lockhart teamed with hometown friend Ernest Seitz to pen The World Is Waiting for The Sunrise
An accomplished lyricist as well Gene Lockhart teamed with hometown friend Ernest Seitz to pen The World Is Waiting for The Sunrise

Gene Lockhart in one of his most fondly remembered roles as Bob Cratchit in 1938's A Christmas Carol
Gene Lockhart in one of his most fondly remembered roles as Bob Cratchit in 1938's A Christmas Carol

Gene Lockhart's rubbery face and expressive smile was a prominent feature in the overwhelming majority of his Film roles.
Gene Lockhart's rubbery face and expressive smile was a prominent feature in the overwhelming majority of his Film roles.

Actress daughter June Lockhart awakens her father Gene Lockhart to announce the critical acclaim of her debut in For Love or Money Nov. 4 1947
Actress daughter June Lockhart awakens her father Gene Lockhart to announce the critical acclaim of her debut in For Love or Money Nov. 4 1947
From the April 1, 1957 edition of the Long Beach Press-Telegram: 

Gene Lockhart, 66, Film Veteran, Dies 

     SANTA MONICA (AP)--Gene Lockhart, a versatile performer who was seen or heard in a half dozen entertainment mediums during his 60-year career, died of a heart seizure Sunday.
     The pudgy-faced actor, director, author and composer was perhaps best known for his character roles in the movies.  He appeared in more than 300 films. 
     LOCKHART, 66, had been hospitalized here only Saturday night, after complaining of severe pains.  He had not been in apparent bad health and was working on a television show to be presented by the General Electric Theater.
     With him at his death were his wife of 33 years, Kathleen, and his actress daughter, June Lockhart.
     Lockhart was born in London, Ont., Canada.  He began his career with the Kilties Band of Canada when he was 6 years old and played in sketches with Beatrice Lillie at the age of 15.
     At various later stages of his career, he was a writer of Broadway shows, a composer, a newspaper columnist and a singer.  One of his songs--written with Deems Taylor--was "The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise."
     He appeared on Broadway in "Death of  a Salesman" and "Ah Wilderness" and directed a number of plays, including "The Warrior's Husband" and "Sumurun." 
     HIS MOTION picture career included roles in "Carousel," "Man in the Gray Flannel Suit," "The House on 92nd Street," "Leave Her to Heaven," "Foxes of Harrow," "Miracle on 34th Street" and "Vanishing American."
     He also wrote radio programs and played many television roles.

The obit really doesn't do Gene Lockhart justice. Gene Lockhart was a genuine American treasure. Somewhat underrated, those who knew of Gene Lockhart's multitude of dramatic and artistic talents were primarily from the Stage themselves. From the age of seven, Gene Lockhart showed a propensity for working on the Stage. After polishing his skills at the Brompton Oratory School in London, England, Lockhart returned to the U.S. ready to take on Broadway.

As skilled as a playwright and lyricist as he was as an actor, Gene Lockhart soon found success on the American Stage. Between 1917 and 1925, Lockhart had demonstrated his skills as a performer, playwright, director and lyricist, all with positive critical success.

Lockhart met and married the former Kathleen Arthur, a British Stage actress, in 1924. In 1925, the couple gave birth to June Lockhart, who'd go on to fame in her own right, exploding onto the Broadway Stage at the age of 22, with a critically acclaimed performance in For Love or Money (1947).

Lockhart's Stage career eventually encompassed sixteen Broadway plays, several of which he both performed, wrote and directed--one of which, Bunk of 1926, he adapted from his own book, performed, directed and composed the score. Over the course of his Film career, Lockhart appeared in over 300 films as a solid, versatile character actor.

Lockhart's Radio career spanned the entire Golden Age of Radio era, highlighted by his own program, Abroad With the Lockharts (1930), and often appearing with his wife Kathleen in several other prestigious dramatic Radio venues over the years.

When Television took off in earnest, Gene Lockhart was as much in demand in the new medium as he'd been in Film. As Television took off, Gene Lockhart was already in his 60s, but as in demand for a wide range of character parts as he'd been in Film. Had he not been taken by a heart attack in 1957, it's more than likely that he'd have performed another ten years in Television and Film.

In a moment of perfect Film symmetry, the entire Lockhart family is fondly remembered every Christmas season for their appearance in A Christmas Carol (1938), with Gene Lockhart as Bob Cratchit, Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Cratchit, and June Lockhart as their daughter Belinda Cratchit. A fitting tribute to one of the entertainment world's most successful performing families.




Kathleen Lockhart [Kathleen Arthur]
Stage, Screen, Radio, and Television Actress
(1894-1978)

Birthplace: Southsea, Hampshire, England, U.K.

Radiography:

1930 Abroad With the Lockharts
1936 Tonight In Hollywood
1936 Lux Radio Theatre
1938 The Chase and Sanborn Hour
1939 Good News
1941 The Rudy Vallee Sealtest Show
1945 The Nebbs
1946 Cavalcade Of America
1951 Family Theater
1952 The Forty Million
The Gene and Kathleen Lockhart Hollywood Album (Audition)


Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Cratchit in M-G-M's 1938 Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol
Kathleen Lockhart as Mrs. Cratchit in M-G-M's 1938 Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol

Kathleen Lockhart. The dour expression isn't sea-sickness. She's seen here as Mrs. Grayson the distraught mother in Lady In the Lake (1947)
Kathleen Lockhart. The dour expression isn't sea-sickness. She's seen here as Mrs. Grayson the distraught mother in Lady In the Lake (1947)

Kathleen Lockhart as Mary Brewster in Plymouth Adventure (1952)
Kathleen Lockhart as Mary Brewster in Plymouth Adventure (1952)
From the February 23, 1978 edition of the Winnipeg Free Press:
 
Veteran actress Kathleen Lockhart dies at 84
 
     LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kathleen Lockhart, mother of actress June Lockhart, and herself a veteran of more than five decades on the stage and screen, has died following a lengthy illness.  She was 84.
     Born in England, Mrs. Lockhart was the widow of actor Gene Lockhart.  She and her husband collaborated on radio and the stage before branching out into films and television.
     Mrs. Lockhart, who died Friday in Marycrest Manor, acted in about 30 films, including A Christmas Carol, Two Years Before the Mast.


Over a dramatic career spanning over five decades, Kathleen Lockhart was one of the most durable and versatile actresses of her time. Often acting opposite her equally famous husband, actor Gene Lockhart, the couple first appeared together over Radio in the delightful 1930 situation comedy, Abroad with The Lockharts. A brilliant touor de force by The Lockharts, the entire series was written and performed by only Gene and Kathleen Lockhart. Already in her mid-30s at the time, Kathleen's charm, natural comedic talent, and obvious ease working with her husband virtually ensured that the couple would work together many more times throughout their careers.

A respected Stage actress, Kathleen Lockhart's most lasting impression to the American public came with her marvelous transformation--every bit as much as that of 'Old Scrooge' himself--in the 1938 M-G-M Christmas classic, A Christmas Carol. Initially portrayed as the hopelessly down-trodden wife of the ever-optimistic Bob Cratchit, Kathleen Lockhart's ability to so dramatically transform her Mrs. Cratchit at various turns in roller-coaster script stole every scene in which she appeared.

Over a Film career that spanned at least forty feature films, Kathleen Lockhart appeared in a broad range of matronly or motherly characterizations. She retired from Film after the unexpected death of her husband Gene Lockhart in 1957.

All three Lockharts--Kathleen, Gene and young June--appeared together several times over Radio and in Film. Kathleen Lockhart reportedly devoted the remainder of her life to her daughter June and granddaughters Anne and Elizabeth before succumbing to a long illness at the age of 84.



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