Thursday, November 8, 2007
Autobiography of Will Rogers from Hallmark Playhouse aired on February 2, 1950 starring Edward Arnold with Will Rogers, Jr. Will Rogers was first an Indian, a cowboy then a national figure. He now is a legend. He was born in 1879 on a large ranch in the Cherokee Nation near what later would become Oologah, Oklahoma. Will Rogers roping skills developed so special that he was listed in the Guinness Book of Records for throwing three lassos at once. His roping skills won him jobs trick roping in wild west shows and on vaudeville stages where, quickly, he started telling small jokes. Soon, his wise cracks and folksy observations became more prized by audiences than his expert roping. Will Rogers was the star of Broadway and 71 movies of the 1920s and 1930s, a popular broadcaster; besides writing more than 4,000 syndicated newspaper columns and befriending Presidents, Senators and Kings. This is a very entertaining story from Hallmark Playhouse.
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The Blind Gun from Mutual Radio Theater aired March 24, 1980 starring Corey Burton and Vic Perrin hosted by Lorne Greene. Mutual Broadcasting System acquired the Sears Radio Theater in December 1979 renaming it Mutual Radio Theater, and debuted March 3, 1980. It was to run for 13 weeks on almost 300 stations. The shows were then to be repeated over the summer and fall. It proved to be fairly successful and another 8 weeks of original programs were added; this was followed by another 8 weeks of repeats. The series was broadcast in stereo, making it the only commercial radio network drama program in the nation to use this technology at the time. Great writers were employed for this series including Arch Oboler and Norman Corwin.
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Gunsmoke was a long-running old-time radio and television Western drama program set in Dodge City, Kansas during the settlement of the American West. The radio show first aired on April 26, 1952 and ran until June 18, 1961 on the CBS radio network. The series starred William Conrad as Marshal Matt Dillon, Howard McNear as Doc Charles Adams, Georgia Ellis as Kitty Russell, and Parley Baer as Deputy Chester Proudfoot. Doc's first name and Chester's last name were changed for the television program. Gunsmoke was notable for its critically acclaimed cast and writing, and is commonly regarded as one of the finest old time radio shows. Some listeners have argued that the radio version of Gunsmoke was far more realistic than the television program. Episodes were aimed at adults, and featured some of the most explicit content of the day: there were violent crimes and scalpings, massacres and opium addicts. Miss Kitty's occupation as a prostitute was made far more obvious on the radio version than on television. Many episodes ended on a down-note, and villains often got away with their crimes.
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William Conrad interview on Spotlight On A Star aired December 15, 1969. William Conrad (September 27, 1920 – February 11, 1994), born William Cann, was an American actor and narrator in radio, film and television noted for his baritone voice, as well as for his sizable girth. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky. Starting work in radio in the late 1930s in California, Conrad went on to serve as a fighter pilot in World War II. He returned to the airwaves after the war, going on to accumulate over 7,000 roles in radio by his own estimate. Conrad's deep, resonant voice led to a number of noteworthy roles in radio drama, most prominently his originating the role of Marshal Matt Dillon on the Western program Gunsmoke from 1952-61. He was considered for the role when the series was brought to television in 1955, but his increasing obesity led to the casting of James Arness. Other series to which Conrad contributed his talents included Escape, Suspense and The Damon Runyon Theater. One particularly memorable radio piece was the 1957 CBS Radio Workshop broadcast "Epitaphs," an adaptation of the Edgar Lee Masters poetry volume Spoon River Anthology; Conrad both directed and narrated the production. On February 11, 1994, Conrad died from congestive heart failure at age 73 in Los Angeles, California and is interred at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in the Lincoln Terrace, Plot Number 4448. He was elected to the Radio Hall of Fame in 1997.
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Wild Jack Rett from Escape aired February 15, 1953 starring John Dehner and Harry Bartell. Escape was radio's leading anthology series of high adventure, airing on CBS from July 7, 1947 to September 25, 1954. Escape enthralled many listeners during its seven-year run. The series' well-remembered opening combined Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain with the introduction, intoned by Paul Frees and William Conrad: “Tired of the everyday routine? Ever dream of a life of romantic adventure? Want to get away from it all? We offer you... Escape!”
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Half A Rogue adapted for radio aired January 27, 1963 co-starring Slim Pickens as mountain man Big Jim Leyton. Bonanza follows the adventures of the Cartwrights who live in Nevada during the 1860s. Headed by Ben Cartwright, the family owned a large ranch, named The Ponderosa, which bordered the shore of Lake Tahoe. Ben, a widower, had three sons, Joseph called Little Joe, Adam, and Eric called Hoss.
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The President's Lady from Hollywood Radio Theater aired on September 28, 1953 starring Charlton Heston and Joan Fontaine. Based on the novel by Irving Stone this is the story of one of the most vicious rumor campaigns in American political history. It is the story of how the love of the life of our seventh President was destroyed by these rumors, which were based on half-truths. Without question one of the great romances of all time.
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Shady Deal at Sunny Acres - The Maverick gang's all here when Bret brings in brother Bart and every recurring player on the show as part of a convoluted con game to recover money swindled from him by a crooked banker. James Garner as Bret Maverick, Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick, John Dehner as banker John Bates. Also starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Richard Long and Diane Brewster. Maverick is a comedy-western series created by Roy Huggins that ran from September 22, 1957 to July 8, 1962 on ABC. Shady Deal at Sunny Acres aired November 23, 1958. When Maverick first premiered it went up against Steve Allen and The Ed Sullivan Show, a pair of heavyweight programs at the time. Maverick would eventually surpass both in the ratings for a short time.
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She Wore a Yellow Ribbon from Lux Radio Theater aired March 12, 1951 starring John Wayne and Mel Ferrer. This is Wayne's greatest role as an Indian fighting Captain Nathan Brittles. Captain Nathan Brittles, on the eve of retirement, takes out a last patrol to stop an impending massive Indian attack. The song She Wore a Yellow Ribbon is still to this day the official anthem of the United States Cavalry Armor. This is without a doubt the best in John Ford's famed cavalry trilogy.
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Broken Arrow from Screen Director's Playhouse aired September 7, 1951. Starring in their original roles is James Stewart as Tom Jeffords, Jeff Chandler as Cochise and Debra Paget as Sonseeahray (Morningstar). Broken Arrow is the story of a land, of the people who lived on it in the year 1870, and of a man whose name was Cochise. He was an Indian leader of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. The performances of James Stewart, Jeff Chandler and Debra Paget are outstanding and Broken Arrow is one of the first westerns to portray Native Americans in a balanced, sympathetic way. It was nominated for three Academy Awards, and won a Golden Globe. Interesting is that the world premier was at the Nusho Theater in downtown Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.
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Cimarron from Hallmark Playhouse aired on September 9, 1948 starring Irene Dunne. Cimarron is the title of a novel published by popular historical fiction author Edna Ferber in 1929. Ferber was also the author of Giant that starred James Dean. This epic Western won the 1931 Academy Award for Best Picture and was the first Western to win an Oscar, the only western to win until The Unforgiven. In the story Yancey Cravat, a frontiersman, newspaper editor, and former gunslinger brings his young bride Sabra to the wild Oklahoma territory to taste the adventure, crusade for social justice, and leave his family for years at a time. The Oklahoma Land Rush, also called the Cherokee Strip Land Run, plays a pivotal role in the story. The desperation of the settlers involved in the rush provides for great drama and and outstanding story. How many westerns have been made where every settler is desperate to stake his claim on the best piece of land with water?
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In Old California, adapted for radio starring John Wayne as Tom Craig, Binnie Barnes as Lacey Miller and Albert Dekker as Britt Dawson was released May 31, 1942. Picture a old time Western saloon, filled with colorful frontier types and about to be busted into kindling by a ruffian with a fearsome toothache. At this moment, through the swinging doors appears a pilgrim from Boston outfitted with top hat, frock coat, a courtly manner, and a medical bag filled with the miracles of modern pharmacology of 1849. Just one incident on his way west to California to seek fame and fortune as California becomes American territory. This is a fun listen and John Wayne might say, "I'm going to wrestle me a grizzly and kiss me a pretty girl."
Red River from Lux Radio Theater aired March 7, 1949 starring John Wayne as Tom Dunson with Joanne Dru and Walter Brennan. Tells the story of the first cattle drive along the Chisholm Trail. One of the all time greatest Westerns featuring impassioned performances and adventure on a grand scale. Red River has everything a great Western ought to have; a sweeping sense of history, stampedes, gunfights, Indian attacks, and, of course, Walter Brennan as Dunson's crusty old cook and comic sidekick, Nadine Groot. A classic!
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War of the Wildcats adapted for radio aired December 6, 1943 starring John Wayne as Daniel F. Somers, Martha Scott as Catherine Elizabeth Allen, Albert Dekker as Jim 'Hunk' Gardner and George 'Gabby' Hayes as Despirit Dean. Originally released under the title In Old Oklahoma cowboy Dan Somers and oil man Jim "Hunk" Gardner battle for drilling rights on Indian lands in Oklahoma during the oil boom days, as well as for the love of school teacher turned scandalous book author Cathy Allen...More
War of the Wildcats adapted for radio aired December 6, 1943 starring John Wayne as Daniel F. Somers, Martha Scott as Catherine Elizabeth Allen, Albert Dekker as Jim 'Hunk' Gardner and George 'Gabby' Hayes as Despirit Dean. Originally released under the title In Old Oklahoma cowboy Dan Somers and oil man Jim "Hunk" Gardner battle for drilling rights on Indian lands in Oklahoma during the oil boom days, as well as for the love of school teacher turned scandalous book author Cathy Allen. Just plain good old entertainment in this one with fist fights, Indians, love affairs, funny one-liners from the Duke, and a dance hall song performed by Dale Evans. I guess this was a pre Roy Rogers days appearance for Dale. Enjoy!!
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Seed of Deception adapted for radio aired April 13, 1958. Riding through the town of Bonita, Bret and Bart are mistaken for Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday and stumble onto a bank robbery plot. When Maverick first premiered it went up against Steve Allen and The Ed Sullivan Show, a pair of heavyweight programs at the time. Maverick would eventually surpass both in the ratings for a short time. Though it began as a traditional western upon its premiere in 1957, Maverick soon developed into something much more than that. Elements of humor and parody were soon added and the show's popularity quickly took off. Maverick made a star out of James Garner, who played gambler Bret Maverick, and Jack Kelly lent fine support as brother Bart.
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Hopalong Cassidy is a fictional cowboy-hero, created in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford and appearing in a series of popular stories and novels. In print, the character appears as a rude, rough-talking 'galoot'. Beginning in 1935, the character, played by William Boyd was transformed into the clean-cut hero of a series of 66 immensely popular films, only a few of which were based on Mulford's works. Mulford actually rewrote his earlier stories to fit the movie conception, and these led in turn to a comic book series modeled after the films. This story is about Hoppy portrayed on the screen. The juvenile lead was played by James Ellison, Russell Hayden, or Rand Brooks. Gabby Hayes originally played Cassidy's grizzled sidekick Windy Halliday. After Hayes left the series due to a salary dispute with producer Harry Sherman, he was replaced by comedian Britt Wood as Speedy McGinnis, and finally by veteran movie comedian Andy Clyde as California Carlson. Clyde, the most durable of the sidekicks, remained with the series until it ended.
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Prairie Skipper adapted for radio aired May 5, 1959 staring Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne, a former Confederate army captain seeking his fortune in the West. This particular episode also stars Lorne Greene as Capt. Amos Carr, a man of the sea. Lorene Greene went on to star in Bonanza four months later in September. While driving a herd of cattle Bronco meets up with Capt. Amos Carr on the prairie while in search of a pass. But the Captain's new wife complicates the situation. A good one!
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Story of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The two outlaws robbed trains, banks and stole horses in the 1890's Wild West. Butch, born Robert Leroy Parker on 13 April 1866 in Beaver Utah, the son of a Mormon family, left home at 13 to work as a labourer. Shifting with the work, Butch fell in with Mike Cassidy a cattle and horse rustler. Cassidy's occupation was more exciting than manual labour and Butch joined in his gang and later assumed his name.
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The Storekeeper from Mutual Radio Theater aired March 3, 1980 starring Vic Perrin hosted by Lorne Greene. Mutual Broadcasting System acquired the Sears Radio Theater in December 1979 renaming it Mutual Radio Theater, and debuted March 3, 1980. It was to run for 13 weeks on almost 300 stations. The shows were then to be repeated over the summer and fall. It proved to be fairly successful and another 8 weeks of original programs were added; this was followed by another 8 weeks of repeats. The series was broadcast in stereo, making it the only commercial radio network drama program in the nation to use this technology at the time. Great writers were employed for this series including Arch Oboler and Norman Corwin.
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The Burro That Had No Name from Death Valley Days aired June 17, 1938. Death Valley Days was a long-running American radio and television anthology about true stories of the old American West, particularly the Death Valley area. It was created in 1930 by Ruth Woodman and ran on radio until 1945. It ran from 1952 to 1975 as a syndicated television show. The 558 television stories, which had different actors, were introduced by a host. The longest-running was "The Old Ranger" from 1952-1965, played by Stanley Andrews when the series was produced by McGowan Productions, producer of the Sky King television series. Filmaster Productions Incorporated who produced the first several seasons of Gunsmoke for CBS Television took over production of the series in the mid 1960s.
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Virginia City from Lux Radio Theater aired May 26, 1941 starring Earl Flynn and Martha Scott. Towards the end of the Civil War, Union spy Errol Flynn is sent to Virginia City to stop a secret Confederate shipment of gold from reaching its destination, thus giving the South money to finance its failing war effort.
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The Wild Bunch from Twenty-Six Men aired October 29, 1957. When a member of the Wild Bunch escapes from Ranger Clint Travis, he is fired. In order to redeem himself, he takes on the entire gang. It was based on true official files of the Arizona Rangers in the final days taming the old west. In 1901, a law enforcement organization was formed, known as the Arizona Rangers, consisting of twenty-six men: a captain, a lieutenant, four sergeants, and twenty privates. The Rangers preserved and maintained law and order in the Arizona Territory, making arrests of criminals in any part of Arizona. As one of the original members reportedly recalled: "The reason there was only twenty-six of us was because the Territory couldn't afford no more."
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Cash On the Barrelhead from Mutual Radio Theater aired March 31, 1980 starring Vic Perrin hosted by Lorne Greene. Mutual Broadcasting System acquired the Sears Radio Theater in December 1979 renaming it Mutual Radio Theater, and debuted March 3, 1980. It was to run for 13 weeks on almost 300 stations. The shows were then to be repeated over the summer and fall. It proved to be fairly successful and another 8 weeks of original programs were added; this was followed by another 8 weeks of repeats. The series was broadcast in stereo, making it the only commercial radio network drama program in the nation to use this technology at the time. Great writers were employed for this series including Arch Oboler and Norman Corwin.
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Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847 - April 3, 1882), American outlaw, was born in Kearney, Missouri. His father, Robert James, was a Baptist minister who helped found William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. At seventeen, James left his native Missouri to fight as a Confederate guerilla in the American Civil War as part of Quantrill's Raiders, participating in raids in Kansas. He once killed eight men in a single day. After the war, he returned to his home state and lead one of history's most notorious outlaw gangs. He was wounded while surrendering at the end of the war, and later claimed to have been forced into outlawry because his family had been persecuted in the war. With his brother Frank James and several other ex-Confederates, including Cole Younger and his brothers, the James gang robbed their way across the Western frontier targeting banks, trains, stagecoaches, and stores from Iowa to Texas. Eluding even the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, the gang escaped with thousands of dollars. James is believed to have carried out the first daylight bank robbery in peacetime, stealing $60,000 from a bank in Liberty, Missouri.
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The Plainsman from November 16, 1936 directed by Cecile B. DeMille brings you Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur in the story of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, the hardest boiled pair of lovers who ever rode the plains. With the end of the American Civil War, military industrialists are left with an oversupply of weapons. Some of the more unscrupulous ones view the Indians as possible new customers. Having been just discharged from the Union Army, Wild Bill Hickok is making his way back west. On a paddle steamer, he bumps into his old army scout colleague, Buffalo Bill Cody and his new bride. Later, Calamity Jane is the driver of their stagecoach to Hays, Kansas. Lux Radio Theater aired the radio adaptation May 31, 1937.
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Train robbery was a type of robbery, in which the goal was to steal any money being delivered as cargo on trains. Trains carrying payroll shipments were for this reason a major target. These shipments would be guarded by an expressman whose duty it was to protect the cargo of the "express car". Expressmen, conductors, and other personnel took enormous pride in their duty and had no problem with risking their lives for a shipment. Bandits would rely on the expressman to open the safe and provide the goods. Without the combination required for the combination lock, it was almost impossible to break into the safes. However, the invention of dynamite made it much easier to break into safes and rob the train. If the outlaw was unsatisfied with the goods, passengers of the train's carriages who generally would be unarmed would be held at gunpoint and made to hand over any valuables they were carrying, usually in the form of jewelry or currency.
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Tom Mix from Hallmark Hall of Fame presents a true story of the legend airing Jan 3, 1954. A very entertaining story of a true account while he was a real life marshall played by John Dehner. Also are included comments from Clark Gable, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, William Boyd, Will Rogers Jr and Tom Mix's wife Olive. Tom Mix was an American actor and the star of many early Western movies. He made a reported 336 films between 1910 and 1935, all but 9 of which were silent features. He was Hollywood's first Western megastar and is noted as having defined the genre for all cowboy actors who followed. Tom Mix was a pallbearer at the funeral of Wyatt Earp, rode in Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade, and Texas governor Homer Allred named Mix an honorary Texas Ranger in 1935.
The Gunfighter from Screen Director's Playhouse starring Gregory Peck on June 7, 1951. Aging notorious gunfighter, Jimmy Ringo, trying to leave his past behind rides into town to find his true love, who doesn't want to see him. He hasn't come looking for trouble, but trouble finds him around every corner. This is a fantastic story, and without question, one of the best Westerns ever made. Old gunfighters can't just fade away.
The Six Shooter - A pilot for the show entitled simply "The Six Shooter" was broadcast April 13, 1952 as an episode of the anthology from Hollywood Star Playhouse on Easter from NBC. This used the Ben Scofield script which was also used for the audition episode which uses a slightly different opening. James Stewart plays Britt Ponsett, a drifting cowboy in the final years of the wild west, and Sheriff Ben Scofield is played by William Conrad.
Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshall starring Richard Conte is a selection from THE HALLMARK PLAYHOUSE which was heard over CBS stations on Thursday evenings sponsored by, of course, Hallmark Greeting Cards. This story is from the Stuart N. Lake book Frontier Marshall, a 1931 biography of Wyatt Earp. It aired March 24, 1949.
Phantly Roy Bean, the "Hangin' Judge", (c. 1825 – March 16, 1903) was an eccentric U.S. saloon-keeper and Justice of the Peace who called himself "The Law West of the Pecos". According to legend, Judge Roy Bean held court in his saloon along the Rio Grande River in a desolate stretch of the Chihuahuan Desert of west Texas. This first radio show Law West of the Pecos stars Walter Brennan and Andy Devine.
Riders of the Purple Sage is Zane Grey's best-known novel. Originally published in 1912, it was one of the earliest works of Western fiction and played a significant role in popularizing that genre. Riders of the Purple Sage tells the story of Jane Withersteen and her battle to overcome her persecution by members of her church. The events depicted in Riders of the Purple Sage occur between the mid-spring and the late summer of 1871. This radio version is from Hollywood Star Time on May 12, 1946 starring George Montgomery and Lynn Bari.
Escape was radio's leading anthology series of high adventure, airing on CBS from July 7, 1947 to September 25, 1954. This episode "SUNDOWN" from June 23, 1950 lets you escape back to the old west in the style of Louis L'Amour. The story of a boy who never owned anything but a gun.
The Paleface is a comedy western starring Bob Hope as "Painless Potter," a dentist of doubtful competence, and Jane Russell as Calamity Jane. One of the funniest Bob Hope ever did and was a godsend to the career of Jane Russell. This radio version features Hope and Russell in their original roles from the Screen Director's Playhouse March 3, 1950.
ROMANCE aired on CBS Saturdays 10:30 - 11:00 pm and was directed by Norman MacDonnell and sponsored by Wrigley's Gum. Pagosa stars William Conrad. John Meston wrote the script for Pagosa and later, MacDonnell and Meston went on to create Gunsmoke.
The Return of Frank James stars Henry Fonda. Written by Sam Hellman, the show loosely follows the life of Frank James following the death of his outlaw brother, Jesse James at the hands of the Ford brothers. This radio version is from Hollywood Startime March 10, 1946 taken from the 1940 western movie.
Destry Rides Again - This is a comedy and a drama from a 1939 western film directed by George Marshall adapted for radio by Lux Radio Theater airing November 5, 1945 starring Jimmy Stewart and Joan Blondell. It is about how a corrupt and violent town can be cleaned up without relying entirely on physical force. Tom Destry, son of a legendary frontier peacekeeper, doesn't believe in gunplay. Thus he becomes the object of widespread ridicule when he rides into the wide-open town of Bottleneck. A good one!
The Lone Ranger was an American long-running early radio and television show created by George W. Trendle and developed by writer Fran Striker. The character is a masked Texas Ranger in the American Old West, who gallops about righting injustices, usually with the aid of a clever American Indian sidekick called Tonto, and his horse Silver. He would famously say "Hi-yo Silver, away!" to get the horse to gallop. In Legend of the Lone Ranger (1952) the evil Cavendish Gang ambushes a group of Rangers, the lone survivor, with his Indian friend "Tonto," comes back to haunt them. Clayton Moore and Jay Silverheels