Radio Programs beginning with "D"
"...stories told in future tense:
DIMENSION X -x -x -x -x -x -x!"
You can read all about the real Damon Runyon in this book by Jimmy Breslin
The Damon Runyan Theatre
Star: John Brown (as Broadway)
Sponsor: local sponsors
Network: Syndicated (Mayfair) [heard on many Mutual stations]
Type of Show: Drama
NB: Based upon the unexpectedly heartwarming gangster stories
by Damon Runyan (such as Little Miss Marker and Palm Beach Santa
Claus, both of which were episodes in this series). Runyan was
a newspaper sportswriter turned short story writer.
Star: Danny Kaye
Sponsor: Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer
Type of Show: Variety (Comedy)
NB: David Daniel Kaminsky shortened
his name to Kaye and became one of
the most respected perfomers in show business. Although this program
lasted only a few months, it was immensely popular. Shortly after
this he began to make quite a few motion pictures.
Dennis Day, whose real name (he never had it legally changed) was Owen
Patrick McNulty, was originally hired by Jack Benny to be his solo vocalist.
A Day in the Life of Dennis Day
Star: Dennis Day
Sponsor: Colgate toothpaste
Network: NBC, CBS, Syndicated
Type of Show: Situation Comedy
NB: This is not the same character Dennis Day portrayed on The
Jack Benny Program. In this show he plays a soda jerk.
Phil Harris, Dennis Day, and Mel Blanc (from the Benny program) began radio
shows in 1946. They continued to work with Jack Benny, although Harris
left the Benny program in 1951.
Death Valley Days was brought to you by 20 Mule Team Borax, now
made by Armour-Dial
Death Valley Days (in its last year it was called, "Death
Valley Sheriff;" reruns aired 1945-1951 on CBS called "The Sheriff")
Sponsor: 20 Mule Team Borax
Network: NBC (Red), NBC (Blue), CBS
Type of Show: Drama (Historical Fiction/Western)
NB: Series would go on television in the 1950s and 1960s.
Ronald Reagan was its first host on TV. The last was Dale Robertson.
Sponsors: sustaining (no sponsors), General Mills
Type of Show: Anthology (science fiction)
NB: Would return a few years later as X Minus One
Star: Dinah Shore
Sponsors: Bristol-Myers, Birdseye, Ford, Philip Morris Cigarettes,
Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, Chevrolet
Network: NBC (Blue), ABC, CBS, NBC
Trademark Sound: "Mwa!" (kiss blown to the audience)
Type of Show: Variety (Musical)
NB: The Pride of Winchester, Tennesee (she was born there and
grew up in Nashville), the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants was a
success in everything she did. When she first appeared on television
in 1954, her shows were seen on TV and heard on the radio at precisely
the same time. Dinah suffered from polio as a child and rarely walked
so anyone could watch her, as she had a slight limp.
Doctor Christian, the Country Doctor
Star: Jean Hersholt
Sponsor: Vaseline petroleum jelly
Type of Show: Daytime drama (not necessarily a serial all the
time; it only aired on one weekday afternoon)
NB: Based on a popular series of movies starring Jean Hersholt
as the kind, old country doctor. (The Humanitarian
Academy Award is named for him.) Most of the scripts on this
program were submitted by listeners as part of a nationwide talent search.
The prize was a substantial amount of cash and a case of Vaseline.
Since many of these programs survive on recordings, one could say that
another prize would be that of literary immortality.
Star: Lew Valentine or Jimmy McClain
Sponsor: Mars Candy, Vick Chemical Company, Embassy Cigarettes
Network: NBC (Red), ABC
Type of Show: Game Show
NB: Inspired the Dr. IQ candy bar, long since forgotten.
Companion Saturday morning kids' show Dr. IQ, Jr., ran from
1941 to 1949 on NBC. It went off the air when the adult show moved
to ABC and was sponsored by a cigarette company.
Star: Lew Ayres, Lionel Barrymore
Sponsor: Sustaining (no sponsors)
Network: Syndicated [originated from WMGM in New York City]
Type of Show: Drama
NB: Based on a movie series. About ten years after this
there would be a TV series on NBC starring Richard Chamberlain.
So that's why he looked older than he really was!
Jack Webb heartily endorsed his sponsors
Stars: Jack Webb, Barton Yarbrough, Ben Alexander, George Fenneman,
Sponsors: Fatima cigarettes, Chesterfield cigarettes (note how
smoking plays an important role in the program!)
Type of Show: Police Drama
NB: Former child movie actor Barton Yarbrough played Ben Romero.
He was a favorite of everyone. After he died in 1952
(and his character also died on the show) he was replaced by Ben Alexander,
who played Frank Smith. This was the first of three versions of Dragnet
(one on radio and two on TV) and probably the most remembered and best
loved. An important thing to note is that toward the end of the radio
series and first TV series Joe Friday was promoted from Sergeant to Lieutenant.
In the second TV series, he was a Sergeant again. Did he get busted?
Updated November 23, 2001
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