Radio Programs beginning with "F"

"...who is it?   THE FAT MAN!"

The FBI in Peace and War

Stars: various
Sponsor: Lava soap ("L-A-V-A, L-A-V-A, L-A-V-A..."), others
Network: CBS
Theme Music: "March" from The Love of Three Oranges by Sergei Prokofiev
Aired: 1944-1958
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!

The Falcon

Star: Berry Kroeger, James Meighan, Les Tremayne, or Les Damon
Sponsors: Sustaining (none) Gem Razor Blades, Kraft Foods, others
Network: Blue, Mutual, NBC
Aired: 1943-1954
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)
Father Peyton preaching (right)

Family Theater

Stars: Carl Princie (host), various movie and radio stars
Sponsor: Sustaining (none)
Network: Mutual
Aired: 1948-1952
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 still exists.

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 Chicle
Network: ABC
Aired: 1946-1951
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
Network: NBC
Aired: 1949-1951
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.

Jim and Marian Jordan (aka Fibber and Molly McGee)

Fibber McGee & Molly (also called "Fibber McGee & Company")

Stars: Jim Jordan, Marian Jordan, Harlow Wilcox (announcer), others
Sponsors: Johnson Wax, Pet Evaporated Milk, Reynolds Aluminum
Network: NBC (Red)
Aired: 1935-1956
Type of Show: Situation Comedy (w/added musical selections)
NB: [My 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 Gerson)

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 Luddy (1936-49)
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 Riverside 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.

     Raymond Burr

Fort Laramie

Star: Raymond Burr
Sponsors: several
Network: CBS
Aired: 1956 (January-October; guess they didn't have a Christmas episode!)
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 night.)

Fred Allen and fan

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), others
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)
Aired: 1932-1949
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
Sponsors: various
Network: CBS
Aired: 1956-1958
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 look like?
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!)



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