RADIO DRAMA: A Comprehensive Chronicle of American Network Programs, 1932-1962

The free-standing radios of the middle decades of the 20th century were invitingly rotund and proudly displayed-nothing like today’s skinny televisions hidden inside “entertainment centers.” Radios were the hub of the family’s after-dinner activities, and children and adults gorged themselves on western-adventure series like “The Lone Ranger,” police dramas such as “Calling All Cars,” and the varied offerings of “The Cavalcade of America.” Shows often aired two or three times a week, and many programs were broadcast for more than a decade, comprising hundreds of episodes. This book includes more than 300 program logs (many appearing in print for the first time) drawn from newspapers, script files in broadcast museums, records from NBC, ABC and CBS, and the personal records of series directors. Each entry contains a short broadcast history that includes directors, writers, and actors, and the broadcast dates and airtimes. A comprehensive index rounds out the work.

 

Published in May 2000.

 

REVIEW:

“Thirty years’ worth of radio programming is documented in this alphabetical roster of more than 300 broadcast logs. (Broadcast logs are simply chronological listings of a radio program’s episodes and their air dates). From Academy Award Theater, in which an adaptation of an award-winning (or at least nominated) Hollywood film was presented, sometimes with the original stars taking part, to Your Story Parade, a children’s program of 15-minute sketches based on favorite stories, each entry offers a capsule broadcast history followed by the listing of numbered and dated episodes and often cast names. Unfortunately, there are no photographs, but this is radio! An index of personal names allows the reader to look up favorite stars and locate the series in which they performed. TV fans will be interested to find out that many fabled programs, like The Adventures of Superman, Dragnet , and Studio One , had their origins on radio, and that television stars such as Lucille Ball, Danny Kaye, and Loretta Young first performed on the radio. As a chronicle of a particular type of radio program (the dramatic serial), this is a worthy addition to the growing body of reference works about radio. There is overlap with Luther Sies’ more comprehensive Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960 [RBB Jl 2000], but Sies does not provide lists of episodes. Recommended for large reference collections or specialized broadcasting or performing arts collections.”

— The American Library Association

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