April 2, 1947: The Big Story

Following up on an article in Newsweek Magazine, radio producer Bernard Prockter began developing an idea for a radio program in which real major stories from the newspapers would be dramatized while at the same time honor the reporters who "broke the story." Ernest ChappellBeginning on NBC, The Big Story was an immediate hit at times even beating Bing Crosby's Philco Radio Time. Sponsored by the American Tobacco Company the producer's stories tended toward crime and even dramatized old stories long past and buried in the newspaper morgues around the country. A number of veteran radio actors helped make the show the success it was including Quiet, Please's Ernest Chappell who as announcer brought the real reporters before the microphone after the broadcast presenting them with a $500 honorarium. The series ran for eight years airing initially on Wednesday nights at 9:30 p.m. and was even on TV for a short time. The opening program "The Kid and the Box" starred Barry Kroeger, Anne Seymour and other veteran radio actors. The Big Story was one of the precursors of TV series such as 911 and Cops.

April 3, 1939: Mr. District Attorney

When Thomas E. Dewey was elected Governor of New York, part of it was due to his high profile in fighting racketeering in the state. His vigor in cleaning up these criminals became legendary. In 1939, a new radio program premiered written and directed by Ed Byron, a former law student and admirerer of Dewey. The program was built around a figure similar to Dewey who was presented as if he was heaven-sent to fight the rackets and clean up crime in New York City city. He was so legendary that he did not even have a character name in the program other than "Mr. District Attorney."

Dwight WeistThe series began on this day as a fifteen minute serial starring Dwight Weist as Mr. DA. Only this first episode of the fifteen minute serial seems to exist. This stylized fifteen minute version did not catch on with listeners who were usually used to quick story arcs which in this format could take weeks. And so after 3 months, the program was re-designed. It had been hoped that like a soap opera, listeners would be satisfied with little short clips of events each night and tune in again the next night. Since this did not seem to be happening, the program shifted to a 30-minute once-a-week format. Beginning in June 1939 with Raymond Edward Johnson as Mr. D.A., the professed commitment to stopping crime continued to be dominant, but less excessive than the fifteen minute episodes. The storylines engaged listeners in more solid characterization and satisfactory closure. Now each episode had a beginning, middle and ending interrupted by Bristol-Myers commercials. The storylines were simple as with many of radio programs of that time with less complexity in arriving at the satisfactory conclusion.

The series went through two other actors in the lead role, with the bulk of the episodes as well as the popularity of the character being portrayed by Jay Jostyn and then David Brian in the syndicated version at the end of the series run by 1953.

Papke, David Ray: "Mr. District Attorney: The Prosecutor During the Golden Age of Radio", Marquette Law Scholarly Commons

Photo of Dwight Weist: New York Public Library

April 5, 1942: The Army Hour

The concept seemed simple. Provide a show for listeners to understand what their military is doing and how it did it during World War II. The production, however, was another matter. The show was a production of the War Department and it enlisted veteran radio personnel to put it together. Key to the series was Lights Out and, later, Quiet, Please creator Wyllis Cooper as Producer, Director and Writer. The show provided a glimpse into life at war including some live coverage of invasions, interviews with Generals and Privates. Some described aspects such as how they fed the troops, where theaters of war were at given times and so on. Radio Guide described the show as having "the feel of Iceland snows, of the dust and mud of training camps, of the sting of powder, of courage - and of sweat." NBC was the only network willing to schedule the series and by 1943 there were over three million listeners. It was first heard at 3:30 P.M. Eastern War Time every Sunday for one hour from NBC's studio 8-H in New York. Despite the other networks reluctance, overseas facilities were opened to the show including the BBC, CBC, the Voice of Freedom and radio facilities in the Soviet Union. The Army said the show had three aims: to inform American civilians of the nature of their fighting forces; to cheer our allies in the United Nations and the underground by giving honest reports on American's growing military might; and finally to give our fighting men contact with the American way of life with fragments of baseball games, music and other back-home touches. The series did have its technical problems, but overall it proved a valuable tool in the role of radio during the war.

April 5, 1950: Beyond Tomorrow

Whether this series ever had any episodes broadcast has never been established. If so, it certainly could have been the first adult science fiction series, but two things occured which prevent that distinction: 1)It is not known if it ever was broadcast and 2)it only had three episodes in its stable, one of which was a repeat of a previous production.
   At the end of the forties, the networks were all planning adult science fiction series. Realizing that with the dawn of the Atomic Age upon them and increasing interest in science fiction, they needed to provide shows to cater to those tastes. NBC was developing Dimension X, Mutual - 2000 Plus and CBS a series possibly to be called Beyond Tomorrow or Beyond This World. In the New York Times in March, 1950 are a few lines mentioning that CBS has pegged Mitchell Grayson to produce the science fiction series, Beyond Tomorrow. However, it appears it was not broadcast, at least on this day, though the audition certainly exists. In May, again in the Times, an announcement is made that the series was under consideration as a summer replacement for The FBI in Peace and War. But that never happened. Despite its doubt at being broadcast, the episodes that survive are fine examples of radio science fiction.

For more on Science Fiction on Radio, click here.

April 6, 1931: Little Orphan Annie

By 1930, radio began experimenting with children adventure programs. The real milestone in this experiment came on this day when a program began broadcasting out of Chicago based upon a popular comic strip. While there hadn't been a children's adventure show that lasted more than two years, Little Orphan Annie achieved the distinction of being the first. Its focus was on the adventure as well as the humor from the comic strip by Harold Gray. It also was truly directed at the kids.
While it is known that the radio program existed locally prior to this date, this day marks its going more regionally 6 times a week via NBC Blue sponsored by Ovaltine. Early Annie was based, like the strip, on life on a farm owned by the Silo family and with their neighbor Joe Corntassel making appearances as adventures took Annie and Joe into the the town of Simmons Corners. Later years, the show grew probably too big making Annie into an agent for the government. This episode is from 1935.

April 6, 1945: This Is Your FBI

Though it wasn't the first on the air, This Is Your FBI, had the blessing of the organizations head, J. Edgar Hoover, who supposedly loved the show. FBI in Peace and War, began in 1944, while this series premiered on this day in 1945. The music was a march giving it a sort of official sound to the series. Series creator, Jerry Divine, had access to FBI files (unlike its competitor) and they made the best of it, creating episodes based on actual case files. The first series of this program was based from New York and included a familiar voice, Frank Lovejoy, as narrator. Other main characters were protrayed by Mandel Kramer (later Johnny Dollar), Karl Swenson, and Santos Ortega (who was Inspector Queen for a while on Ellery Queen). In true comparison, the series and its competitors sounded pretty much a like, though this one had more authentic case studies. In this first year, it was focused mostly on former Nazis escaping from Germany at war's end.
The series moved to Hollywood in 1948 with Stacey Harris as Agent Jim Taylor. The entire run was over ABC and sponsored by the Equitable Life Assurance Company. It left the air in 1953 after a solid run.

April 8, 1950: Dimension X

With the explosion of the atomic bomb, the country began to turn its interest to things scientific. The fifties were an explosion of science fiction radio programs both for adults as well as children. Last month we featured the first truly adult sf series on radio, 2000 Plus. Dimension XThat series just barely beat out NBC which began its series, Dimension X, on this day in 1950. This was a fine series featuring stories out of the pages of the sf print medium, mostly from John Campbell's Astounding but also from other sources including the primary magazines such as Collier's. The series was put together by a group of people at NBC very dedicated to science fiction including its producer Van Woodward, writers Ernest Kinoy and George Lefferts, and several in-house directors. Some of the finest writers of science fiction had their works dramatized on this series including Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Murray Leinster and Isaac Asimov. Mostly sustained, this show had one major sponsor, Wheaties for a short time. The series run ended in 1951 but the format was resurrected by NBC several years later called X Minus One.

For more on Science Fiction on Radio, click here.

April 8, 1941: Death of Lone Ranger

In the early morning hours of this day in 1941, Earle Graser, the radio voice of the Lone Ranger, was killed in an auto accident on his way home around 5 AM. His popularity as the Lone Ranger and having no one who could easily stand in on a nightly radio children's program broadcast out of WXYZ in Detroit, threw the station into chaos. They quickly had to re-write scripts which would temporarily remove the Ranger from the program and attempt to phase in a new, though somewhat similar, radio voice - that of Brace Beemer, who previously had been the announcer on the program.

Click here to read about how radio handled this emergency transition.

April 11, 1943: Nick Carter, Master Detective

Nick Carter was perhaps one of radio's first pulp heroes of the air. Seeing life in dime novels in 1886 modeled on the super heroes of Old Sleuth and Old Cap Collier, he soon became an American Sherlock Holmes. Radio picked him up beginning in 1943 via the Mutual Broadcasting System. Nick Carter- Lon Clark and Charlotte MansonIt began as a sustained series which unfortunately Mutual moved around their timeslots before settling down with a paint sponsor. It even was aired as a 5 times-a-week serial for a while.
The series starred Lon Clark from beginning to end in the role of Nick and ran off and on until 1955. The openings changed periodically sometimes beginning with a gun shot and scream and other times with a loud knocking on the door. Helen Choate was Patsy until 1946 when Charlotte Manson (pictured here with Clark) took over. The episodes were somewhat two dimensional as were the characters, but it was good fun to listen to them. Lon Clark told me he loved the role which probably explains why he remained with it for so long. Many of the episodes are missing, and the one heard here is from the first year, but in July.

April 13, 1945: Death of FDR

America was at war, though we were seeing Victory in Europe the war with Japan was continuing. The nation looked to its leader, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, to guide us to total victory. But Roosevelt was ill. Though elected for his fourth term, his spirit seemed strong, but the pressures of office and his polio was taking its toll. He had just returned from Yalta, meeting there with Churchill and Stalin to plan out a post war world. The long trip left him tired and ill. He retreated to his beloved Warm Springs hideaway, "the Little White House," for some much needed rest. It was there that he suffered a cerebral hemmorage and died. The White House released a press bulletin at 5:48 PM Eastern War Time. This news bulletin announced to the country that their president was dead. No outpouring of grief for the loss of an American leader has been seen or heard since except perhaps John F. Kennedy. This leader had guided the country through a depression and a major American war. Love him or hate him, his loss was strongly felt by the whole world.

April 16, 1945: Truman before Congress After Death of FDR

The United States nearing the end of a devastating war in Europe and still looking for the end in the Pacific was faced with the passing of a man, Franklin Roosevelt, who had been their leader for 13 years. A little known man from Missouri, Harry S. Truman, was suddenly thrown into the limelight as he took on control of a nation emerging into world leadership. Burial of the former president was passed, now it was time to get on with the business of a nation. Truman appeared before Congress on this day in 1945 to lay out how he was going to continue what Roosevelt had begun.

April 19, 1924: National Barn Dance

In 1924, WLS Radio director, Edgar Bill, developed an idea to have a program of "down-home" music on the station. He had been raised on a farm and though he worked in Chicago, he felt there was a strong audience potential for folks who loved familiar music and the feel of an old fashioned barn dance. National Barn DanceEspecially since WLS was heard well beyond Chicago and into the farms and small towns of the middle-west. After the first program, the station was inundated with calls and letters of excitement. Basically, at its beginning, it was an intimate program of tunes and dance originating from the studios. By 1931, it had moved to the Eighth Street Theater to accomodate a popular expansion.
Beginning in 1933, the National Broadcasting Network picked it up for national broadcast. The show spawned a number of early country stars including Pat Buttram, Patsy Montana, and George Gobel. Others appearing included Roy Rogers, Red Foley, the Williams Brothers and the Hoosier Hot Shots. Eventually, it moved to the ABC network as other stations began emulating the shows success with their own spin-offs. It wasn't necessarily the first but it was the first to go national. This episode is on the occasion of the station's 9th Anniversary as a Nationally broadcast show via NBC and is from October 1942.

April 19, 1932: Joe Palooka

Sometime in the early thirties, cartoonist Ham Fisher, the creator of the then popular Joe Palooka comic strip appearing in hundreds of newspapers, Teddy Bergman/Alan Reedapproached the Columbia Network System about creating a radio series around his popular pugilist. Columbia searched around and found a sponsor, Heinz, who was willing to foot the cost of the new series. Starring in the new series was a radio actor whose name was Teddy Bergman (left) and according to press releases was a 200 pounder who looked like a fighter. Bergman later in his radio career changed his name to Alan Reed, who later on television was the voice of Fred Flintstone. With all in place, the series premiered as a twice-a-week 15 minute show. Also appearing in the series as Joe's trainer, Knobby Walsh, was actor Frank Readick who went on to become the first voice of The Shadow. Unfortunately, the series had a short lifespan leaving in August of the same year. The story supposedly is that the wife of the owner of Heinz heard the show for the first time at a high-class soiree and felt it too undignified to be part of the Heinz Family. True or not, Joe Palooka was no more.

April 26, 1952: Gunsmoke

Westerns were always popular on radio, but mostly had juvenile appeal with the likes of The Lone Ranger, Tom Mix and others. Adult westerns were never heard until the appearance of Gunsmoke. This series took the science of sound effects to new heights through the genius of Tom Hanley, Ray Kemper, and Bill James. One was literally taken back to the town of Dodge with its many sounds of horses, spurs, barking dogs and other background noises that made the imagination work overtime. Gunsmoke castThe shows themes were sometimes violent, sometimes gentle humor, but always adult. With its repertory of veteran radio actors, including William Conrad as Marshall Dillon, Parley Baer as Chester, the show was produced by the brilliant Norman MacDonnell, who was also involved with Escape and Suspense.

Gunsmoke was first heard on this day over CBS and was an immediate hit, despite the beginning decline of the radio dramatic form. Moving the series to television while still broadcasting the radio program did not really help this series. Television featured a different cast, one which had the Hollywood image of the cowboy. Yet Gunsmoke on the radio, as on tv was perhaps one of the finest radio series ever broadcast. The show finally left radio in 1961 near the end of dramatic radio's final gasps.

May 2, 1932 Jack Benny

Radio had several well-known actors who are strongly identified with the medium. Jack BennyOne of the few who spanned Vaudeville, radio, then television and even the film industry was Jack Benny. Jack Benny's shows developed gradually over time. At the top of his form on stage (though he was beginning to flirt with film - Hollywood Revue of 1929) Jack Benny felt radio was the up and coming medium and accepted an offer from Canada Dry in 1932 to host his own radio show over NBC. The show initially included as co-star Ethel Shutta and the Don Olsen orchestra. This sound bite is from that first broadcast. It is obvious from the soundbite that Jack Benny had not yet achieved his best form, but the beginnings were there. Gradually, as other members of the cast joined Benny, and as the comedian began developing his miserly style, the show began to click. By the late thirties and early forties, the Benny repertory was like a finely oiled machine. The humor has never faded and Benny draws laughs even from those who never experienced his humor while he was alive.

May 6, 1937 Hindenburg Disaster

Some of radio's greatest moments are when the actual event occurs live on the air or while a reporter is recording and the unexpected happens. One such event happened to reporter Herb Morrison on May 6th, 1937 in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The mighty German passenger Zeppelin, Hindenburg, was attempting a mooring. As the zeppelin arrives, Morrison is describing the mooring when suddenly it bursts into flames. You can read more and hear the complete broadcast here!

May 7-8, 1945 Victory in Europe

Radio News had come of age during World War II. Victory in EuropeAnd now, on this day, probably the greatest story in its history was announced. The German's had officially surrendered in an event in Reims, France at 2:41 AM French Time, ending a long and deadly struggle against the Hitler war machine and Victory in Europe was proclaimed. Never again has this world known such an outpouring of relief. Never again has this world pulled together in such a way to defeat a common threat. This sound bite, which demonstrates such an outpouring, is a composite of a number of clips announcing and celebrating VE Day. Some are from the BBC as well as US Radio News organizations.

Despite the signing in the early morning hours of May 7th, the official day was not until May 8th. After the signing, Churchill wanted to announce right away, but Stalin would not have it since the signing in France was not authorized by Soviet Central. And so the official date was set to May 8 in Western Europe and May 9th in the Soviet Union. Some of these clips refer to the second day rather than the actual signing day. There is an interesting backstory controversy over the whole signing which in some ways was where the Cold War began. You can read that here.

You can read and hear more about Radio News by clicking here.

May 11, 1946 Juvenile Jury

While working as an announcer for radio station WOR, Jack Barry had an idea for a kids quiz show that involved common children and not the prodigies from The Quiz Kids. Children were coming to the station to be part of the Uncle Don kids program and Barry selected five to make an audition of his new program idea. The idea stuck and it debuted on WOR on this day, then went national over Mutual Radio in June. Barry hosted the series which lasted until 1953 when it moved to television. The episode here is apparently the only one in circulation and was from 1949.

May 14, 1946 Let George Do It

One of radio's great character actors starred in his first series beginning on this day in 1946. Bob BaileyThe actor, Bob Bailey went on to portray one of the best Johnny Dollars in the mid-1950's. When one listens to Let George Do It, one can't help but think of Johnny Dollar. Like Dollar, George Valentine is a detective who like Box 13's Dan Holliday, advertised in the newspapers. The title of the series comes from the ad which read "If the job's too tough for you to handle, you've got a job for me." Initially, the format of the series was light with a lot of humor but gradually became more serious. Throughout it all, the character was the same wise-cracking, though more bumbling, detective we get from Bailey as Johnny Dollar. The series was syndicated by the Mutual-Don Lee organization and first heard in the west.

For more on radio's detectives, click here.

May 17, 1932 One Man's Family

In 1932 Carleton E. Morse created his long running series, One Man's Family, in which the lives of the Barbour family were lived weekly and heard only in the West. Carleton E. MorsePatterned after John Galsworthy's Forsythe Saga, the show moved to full national broadcast on this day in 1933. The series was so expansive in telling the stories of the Barbour family that many listeners felt they knew each member intimately. The characters were actually created around the real actor so that if one actually met the real actor, he or she was the character they heard. One example was upon the death of actor Barton Yarborough, who played Clifford Barbour, Morse had Clifford move away to Scotland where he was only heard from via letter. The character was never again played by another actor. The episodes were not just onetime incidents, but rather Books and Chapters in the characters' lives (See photo). Eventually, the series moved to television as a daytime serial over NBC.

May 26, 1940 Invitation to Learning

At its peak, radio was still considered a tool for learning among academics. In 1940, with World War II knocking on America's door, Dr. Stringfellow Barrthe British under fire from Hitler who seemed unstoppable, the President of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland, came up with an idea for a radio program. Dr. Stringfellow Barr, offered the idea to the Columbia Network, which under William Paley still felt that sustained programs could play a role and especially an educational program which would demonstrate the network was high-minded. On this day in 1940, opened with an invitation to listeners turning in on Sunday afternoon exclaiming that for 2000 years Western Civilation had drawn sustenance from liberal education and that his audience would certainly continue that trend. Dr. Barr believed that with Hitler, the anti-intellectual seemingly controlling the European continent, it was imperative that such programs exist.

By the end of the first season, Stringfellow Barr moved on to other things and Mark Van Doren, associate professor of English at Columbia University took over the hosting role. Episodes would consist of Van Doren and usually one or two guests discussing various topics from classic literature to the nature of ideas. Later, others would step in as moderator as incredibly, the series lasted until the early sixties. A number of spin-off books on the topics discussed were published by the network and many people would snap them up.

May 28, 1931 The Witch's Tale

Near the end of the 1920's decade, radio was slowly developing a genre that echoed the printed pulps of the times. This mysterious or thrill genre saw early examples in the likes of Street & Smith's Detective Story program, Detective Magazinea precursor to The Shadow. As the genre took shape, the format usually involved a storyteller affecting a strange voice, usually one with a disembodied character. One of the earliest series to come to radio with this format was The Witch's Tale. Imagine sitting around a campfire, telling ghosts stories to scare the life out of the others. Beginning on this day in 1931, the format used a storyteller called Old Nancy, a Salem Witch with her cat Satan. Under the theme music (Orgies and the Spirits by Leginski), Old Nancy would begin the episode by setting a mood of the strange and horrible, then introducing the night's episode. The series began on radio station WOR (which would later produce The Shadow) and was written by Alonzo Deen Cole with Adelaide Fitzallen as Old Nancy. The series was anthology in its format with no special radio stars and eventually moved into national release via Mutual. Though it sounds crude by today's standards, The Witch's Tale was certainly a scary experience for its listeners in the early 1930's.
For more on radio mystery, click here.

June 1, 1936 Lux Radio Theatre

The Lux Radio Theatre was one of radio's premiere dramatic shows. With its big budget and top Hollywood film actors, the show was extremely popular. However, all was not always rosy. When the series first came to NBC in October, 1934 the original concept was to produce a show that would duplicate in dramatic form the best of both Broadway and film. But Broadway was simply not able to provide sufficient material of interest to listeners for a weekly series. Ratings were dropping rapidly. J. Walter Thompson, the ad agency responsible for the Lux account assigned one of their executives, Danny Danker to try to save the show. Danker saw a wealth of material coming out of Hollywood, but the budget could not handle film stars coming to New York, where the series was produced week after week. Danker suggested to the ad agency that the series be moved to Hollywood and given a budget that allowed the original actors of the films to appear.

Cecil B. DeMilleAnd so, on this day, the show was heard from Hollywood for the first time. To add additional glamour, the agency hired director Cecil B. DeMille to host. DeMille never really "produced" the series as it implied. He would simply show up to do his lines. But the weight of his fame added to the series and he became integral when it was heard each week. Later he would leave the series after a dispute involving the Union. But when the series is remembered, it was DeMille's distinctive voice matched with the announcer opening the program with "Lux Presents Hollywood!"

June 3, 1949 Dragnet

Though many detective shows were premiering during these months, one police show that premiered on this day had repercussions that would carry it onto TV and set a precedent for many "cop" shows to come later. This was Dragnet, a series that came from the imagination of Jack Webb, a veteran radio actor. What made Dragnet different is the sense we got of what being a real police detective was all about.

DragnetWebb with his dry Sergeant Friday, and his crew of actors played it close to the belt . Like many mystery series, we learned details when the detectives did. We had no idea about the crime, except as it was investigated bit by bit.

Early on, Friday's partner was Ben Romero, played by another veteran radio actor, Barton Yarborough (of Jack, Doc and Reggie fame). After Yarborough died, the series went through several partners before settling on Frank Smith, portrayed by Ben Alexander (see photo right). Despite its dryness, this series had a powerful attraction. It was so true to life that listeners were keen to follow the exploits of Friday and his partner. It ran until 1956 on radio though it had already moved to television by that time. Webb would always be known as Joe Friday, but because of its success, that did not seem to phase him.

June 6, 1944 D-Day

D-Day InvasionThe United States had been at war now for three years, most other countries even longer. Scores were still dying and Nazi Germany had a strong hold on the continent of Europe. It had been rumored that an invasion by Allied forces was in the works. Josef Stalin of the Soviet Union had certainly been asking for it as a second front for years. The German government thought it would happen near Calais and so concentrated their troops there. The weather reports for this weekend were miserable. Strong rains and winds made the channel separating Europe and England very choppy. Gen. Eisenhower had to make a decision to go or hold. Holding could delay an invasion for weeks. Suddenly, a window of reasonable calm opened and the word on Operation Overlord was "go." And so on this day, the world's largest invasion force began moving toward France in an effort to gain a foothold onto the western continent of Europe. D-Day was here. This operation would change the face of broadcasting journalism. The events set in place would produce vast amounts of eloquent words and alter the whole of news reporting. This would be one of news radio's finest moments.

Additional information on D-Day is found at George Hicks historic eyewitness recording.

June 12, 1947 Challenge of the Yukon

After two of his radio productions struck gold, WXYZ, Detroit radio owner, George W. Trendle, wanted a new series in which a dog was a hero. He wanted a series in which the dog would be a working dog, but would also be placed in action situations in which he made the difference in the outcome. Paul SuttonWXYZ writer Tom Dougall created a Huskie dog character which ultimately was named King. Once scripts were completed and production began, the series came on the air as Challenge of the Yukon in 1938. It ran locally on WXYZ until this day in 1947, when Quaker Oats wanted to sponsor the program and take it national. It began airing on the ABC Radio network until 1949 when it moved to the Mutual Broadcasting System. The initial actor was Jay Michael, when in the 1940s the role was taken on by Paul Sutton, a solid radio actor, but one who never gained much notoreity in film. He stayed with the series until the early 1950s when briefly, Brace Beamer (who played the Lone Ranger) took over the role of Sgt. Preston. It ended its run on radio in 1955, but moved to television with Richard Simmons in the role of Sgt. Preston.

June 18, 1939 Adventures of Ellery Queen

Detective mystery was rapidly becoming a staple of radio. In the early thirties we heard Charlie Chan, Detective Story Hour, which evolved into The Shadow and others. Most of the programs were based upon characters from books. One of the more successful detective mystery characters which moved from radio & film to television was the Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee detective, Ellery Queen. Ellery QueenThis detective series, The Adventures of Ellery Queen, was born on this day over CBS on Sunday nights at 8:00 p.m. The show was initially scripted by Dannay and Lee and featured a format which allowed guests to try to figure out who the killer might be. These guests from the entertainment field were not very good at guessing and eventully the producer, George Zachary, solicited guesses from a panel of mystery writers. The first Ellery Queen was played by the mild-mannered Hugh Marlowe. One of the announcers (as in this clip) was Ernest Chappell (Quiet, Please). The series was heard off-and-on over radio for the next several years including runs on NBC and ABC.
For more on Radio Detectives, click here.

June 23, 1941 Front Page Farrell

Though radio was beginning to accumulate daytime women's serial drama, a new one began on this day months before Pearl Harbor about David and Sally Farrell. David was "a handsome, dashing, star reporter on one of New York's greatest newspapers and the girl he marries on impulse to save her from throwing herself away on a rich man twice her age." Staats CotsworthFront Page Farrell was billed as "the unforgetable story of marriage and the newspaper office." Unlike many women's soap operas, this one billed itself as a crime serial and was purposely placed later in the afternoon to tak advantage of potential male listeners according to radio historian John Dunning. David Farrell was always investigating crime incidents and Sally Farrell went with him oftening solving the cases. During the war with ideas from the Office of War Information, the storylines dealt with homefront problems. After the war, the stories were still crime related and each arc usually wrapped up within a couple of weeks. But it was popular remaining on the air until 1954. Richard Widmark's early radio career was portraying David Farrell for the first year. Carleton Young filled in for a while, but the bulk of the time was filled by Staats Cotsworth (Casey, Crime Photographer) (right) for the rest of the run. The series was part of the soap factory from Frank and Anne Hummert.

This episode provided begins with a brief news summary from Mutual.

June 29, 1932 Vic and Sade

Probably one of radio's greatest serials began on this day in 1932 over NBC. Vic and Sade, a domestic comedy that Time Magazine in 1943 called the best soap opera, was the mind-child of Paul Rhymer, a reporter turned scriptwriter from Bloomington, Illinois. He was called upon to create a program about family life. He chose to pull memories of his own youth to create the characters that became Vic and Sade Gook. For most of its run, this show was a three-character comedy, but Rhymer was so good at drawing characters through the mouths of others that listeners thought they knew those they never heard as well as their own neighbors. During the complete run, Vic was played by Art Van Harvey and Sade by Bernadette Flynn with Billy Idleson as Rush. When Rush went off to war another character came on board, Russell Miller, the Gook's orphaned nephew. Sade's peerless Uncle Fletcher, played by Clarence Hartzell, sooned joined. Unlike other serial dramas each episode of the serial was a complete story. The joy of this show was in its humor. For example, there was Rush's dog, Mr. Albert Johnson, who suffered from astigmatism and could not bark. Even the character names were humorous: Smelly Clark and Bluetooth Johnson. But after 13 years, the show finally ended. Rhymer had simply decided he'd had enough.
For more information on Vic and Sade, visit this site!

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