Radio Programs beginning with "F"
"...who is it? THE FAT MAN!"
The FBI in Peace and War
Sponsor: Lava soap ("L-A-V-A, L-A-V-A, L-A-V-A..."), others
Theme Music: "March" from The Love of Three Oranges by
Type of Show: Detective Drama (FBI)
NB: You might forget the program, but you'll never forget how
the Lava commercials segue into the theme music!
Star: Berry Kroeger, James Meighan, Les Tremayne, or Les Damon
Sponsors: Sustaining (none) Gem Razor Blades, Kraft Foods, others
Network: Blue, Mutual, NBC
Type of Show: Drama (PI)
NB: Most memorable opening was the one that went: "Use
Gem Blades! Use Gem Blades! Use Gem Blades!...
[ad infinitum]" Subliminal
advertising was key back in those days and it wasn't illegal!
Rev. Patrick Peyton & movie stars before a show (left)
Stars: Carl Princie (host), various movie and radio stars
Father Peyton preaching (right)
Sponsor: Sustaining (none)
Type of Show: Anthology (drama)
NB: Not really a religious program, this show featured actors
of all faiths in situations which would test anyone's character.
Family Theater is a minstry begun in the early 1940s by Rev. Patrick Peyton,
CSC (1909-92). This ministry using mass media to teach families ethics
J. Scott Smart as Brad Runyon (the Fat Man) and his badge
The Fat Man
Star: J. Scott Smart
Sponsor: Sustaining (none), Pepto-Bismol, RJ Reynolds, American
Type of Show: Detective Drama (PI)
NB: Theme music is a very impressive tuba solo.
Father Knows Best
Stars: Robert Young and June Whitley
Sponsor: General Foods
Type of Show: Situation Comedy
NB: As I was growing up I loved watching reruns of the 1950s
TV series starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt. I was pleasantly
surprised to discover that it was originally a radio series! It was
sad when the TV series started that only Robert Young was retained.
Incidentally, the radio series has many more laughs than the more sedate
TV program. Jim Anderson has a personality more like Homer Simpson than Ward Cleaver.
Marian Jordan (aka Fibber and Molly McGee)
Fibber McGee & Molly (also called "Fibber McGee &
Stars: Jim Jordan, Marian Jordan, Harlow Wilcox (announcer), others
Sponsors: Johnson Wax, Pet Evaporated Milk, Reynolds Aluminum
Network: NBC (Red)
Type of Show: Situation Comedy (w/added musical selections)
wife hates this show. She says McGee and Molly are too loud with
each other.] The Jordans did a few programs before
they began doing the McGees in 1935. They were in Chicago until the
late 1930s when many shows started moving west to Hollywood (actually,
the trend started earlier). Like the McGees, the Jordans' home town
was Peoria, Illinois.
Stars from the Firstnighter Program (Les Tremayne and Betty Lou
The Firstnighter Program
Stars: Don Ameche (1930-37), Les Tremayne (1937-1943), Olan Soule
(1943-49), June Meredith (1930-1935) Betty Lou Gerson (1935-36), Barbara
Sponsors: Campana, Miller High Life beer (reruns only)
Network: NBC (Blue), NBC (Red), CBS, Mutual
Aired: 1930-1949 (reruns aired on NBC 1952-1953)
Type of Show: Repertory anthology (drama)
NB: One of the best loved shows of the OTR era! The action
took place at the fictional "Little Theatre off Times Square" in New York
City and involved the writing of some of radio's best. Originally,
the show originated from Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in the 1940s.
"Leading lady" Barbara Luddy always seemed to be fond of saying, "I've
never been to New York City!" (when asked about what life is like there).
Olan Soule would have a very colorful acting career after arriving in Hollywood.
On television, he was the bartender on Perry Mason and the forensic
scientist on Dragnet. He continued to do voicework until he
died in 1994, many doing cartoons for Hanna-Barbera. After
his wife died in the early 1980s, Soule moved to Corona (near Riverside)
to be near his grandchildren. When I was the tuba soloist with the
Concert Band (1988-89 and 1993) he was always a prominent member of
the audience. My wife talked to him many times and was impressed
with the modest way he described his career: "Oh, I do some work
in the entertainment industry in Hollywood," as if it were just a job like
anyone else would have. He is buried at the Forest
Lawn Cemetery in the Hollywood Hills, just down the street from
the Los Angeles Zoo.
Star: Raymond Burr
Aired: 1956 (January-October; guess they didn't have a Christmas
Type of Show: Western
NB: Raymond Burr did a lot of radio drama in the 1950s, even
after he began the Perry Mason TV series! (This series is
included because KNX sometimes plays it as part of their radio dramas at
Fred Allen and
The Fred Allen Show (known as "The Linit Bath Club Revue,"
"The Salad Bowl Revue," "The Sal Hepatica Revue," "Hour of Smiles," "Town
Hall Tonight," and "Texaco Star Theatre" before they decided to call it
"The Fred Allen Show!")
Stars: Fred Allen, Portland Hoffa (Mrs. Fred Allen),
Sponsors: Linit Bath products, Best Foods/Hellmann's
dressings, Sal Hepatica, Ipana Toothpaste, Texaco gasoline, various products
manufactured by Standard Brands (not the paint company; this company made
Blue Bonnet margarine, Tender Leaf tea balls, and V-8 vegetable juice cocktail),
Ford Automobiles (even though Fred Allen never drove a car in his life!)
Networks: CBS, NBC (Red)
Type of Show: Comedy/Variety
NB: For all it's worth, Fred Allen (1894-1956)
was two and a half months younger than Jack Benny (1894-1974). Jack
Benny legally changed his name from Benjamin Kubelsky. Fred Allen
was always John Florence Sullivan to the day he died. His wife, Portland
Hoffa, used her real name. However, since Portland was her middle
name (she was actually born in Portland, Oregon), she used her first name
"Mary" in private life. Consequently, it's very difficult to find
out anything about her personally. I know she remarried in the early
1960s and died in 1979 or 1980.
The Frontier Gentleman
Star: John Dehner
Type of Show: Western
NB: Premise is a man from England who went to the West to do
journalism work. Dehner's couldn't hide his New York accent.
Can you figure what this page is supposed to
It's a Lava soap wrapper!
Corrections made August 16, 2003. (Send me an e-mail... There might be more that need to be made!)
CHOOSE THE FIRST LETTER OF A RADIO PROGRAM