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Radio Programs beginning with "L"

"From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse, Silver.  The Lone Ranger rides again!"

  Laurel and Hardy

The Laurel and Hardy Radio Show

Stars: Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel
Sponsors: Sustaining (none; there were lots of public service announcements!)
Network: NBC
Aired: 1942-1943
Type of Show: Situation Comedy
NB: Extremely difficult to find existing episodes.  Although they were mostly into sight gags, the radio program worked very well, even though it was not a broadcast success.

This is a transcription disc used by the Armed Forces Radio Service to broadcast popular radio programs to GIs stationed overseas.  These were still in use when I was stationed in Germany (1979-1982).  The number 203 on this disc is the program number.  The date was when it was aired on the West Coast of the United States.  Many regional programs were heard overseas, but not all over the country.  The Whistler was such a program.  Other transcription disc labels may be seen at

Let George Do It

Stars: Bob Bailey, Joe Kearn
Sponsor: Standard Oil of California ("Chevron Dealers in Red, Standard Stations in Blue")
Network: Mutual-Don Lee (West Coast only)
Aired: 1946-1954
Type of Show: Drama (Detective)
NB: Bob Bailey would be known nationwide ten years later on the CBS show, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.

.....Let's Pretend was sponsored by Cream of Wheat for a few years...

Let's Pretend! (began as "The Adventures of Helen and Mary," changed title in 1934)

Star: Nila Mack
Sponsors: Cream of Wheat cereal, sustaining (no sponsors)
Network: CBS
Aired: 1929-1954  (The database I use states "Let's Pretend!'s" first year was 1934; however one of the links on this website traces its beginning to the show mentioned above)
Type of Show: Educational (juvenile)
NB: The theme music was the little jingle used for the Cream of Wheat commercials (even after the program ceased having a sponsor toward the end of its run it was played without words): "Cream of Wheat is so good to eat that we have to sing this song..."

  You can still buy this book at

Life is Worth Living

Star: Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Sponsor: Admiral Electronics
Network: ABC
Aired: 1955-1956 (only six months; was very successful on television)
Type of Show: Lecture (Inspirational)
NB: Probably more interesting for the fact that the good bishop gave nondenominational Sunday sermons with interruptions for commercials! Did you know that motion picture star Martin Sheen (born Ramon Estevez) took the name Sheen as a matter of respect for the bishop?

William Bendix

The Life of Riley

Stars:  William Bendix, Paula Winslowe, John Brown
Sponsors: American Meat Board, Teel Dentrifice (I think that means toothpaste), Dreft, Prell Shampoo, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer
Network: Blue/ABC, NBC
Aired: 1944-1951
Type of Show: Situation Comedy
NB: Dramatic actor William Bendix played Chester A. Riley, who worked at an aircraft plant in Los Angeles.  He was a loving, though not so bright, family man and father.  Riley would be played by Jackie Gleason on its TV version.  [There was an earlier version of The Life of Riley in 1941 with Lionel Stander (you might remember him from TV's Heart to Heart or everyone's favorite tuba movie, Frank Capra's Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, starring Gary Cooper, from 1936).  The first version of The Life of Riley was heard on CBS.]

Life with Luigi

Stars: J. Carrol Naish, Alan Reed
Sponsor: Wrigley's gum
Network: CBS
Aired: 1948-1953
Type of Show: Situation Comedy
NB: Carrol Naish was an actor who played anybody, regardless of race or nationality.  In this series he was a vulnerable Italian immigrant whose more experienced Italian immigrant friend Pasquale (played by Alan Reed, later Fred Flintstone) kept trying to con him and get him to marry his desperate daughter.  It's a heartwarming, poignant, funny show.  Alan Reed, born Edward Bergman, began his radio career as a teenager in the 1930s in New York.  He had an older sounding voice and publicity people often lied about his age.  He used his real name at first, with a nickname, Teddy Bergman.  Because his name sounded too close to another radio performer's he changed his name professionally to Alan Reed.

  Even the actors got scared on Lights Out!

Lights Out! (or "Lights Out, Everybody!")

Stars: various (Arch Oboler was narrator on the shows he produced)
Sponsor: Ironized Yeast
Network: Local Radio (WENR in Chicago), NBC (Red), CBS
Aired: 1934-1945
Type of Show: Anthology (drama)
NB: Created by Wyllis Cooper (who would later create Quiet, Please!).  Cooper left to do movies in Hollywood.  His role of director was succeeded by Arch Oboler.  The Ironized Yeast commercials would feature a woman who was so tired and worn out, she took a regimen of Ironized Yeast tablets and gained a lot of weight.  It wouldn't sell today!  Ironized Yeast was made by the same company which made Bayer Aspirin at the time and has not been around for years. [There were at least three revivals of the series.  One came in 1946 on NBC.  It was a summer replacement for Judy Canova.  The second came in 1947 on ABC.  It was a summer replacement for Henry Morgan.  Its narrator was Boris Karloff and sponsor was Eversharp pens.  The third came almost 30 years after the original series left the air.  It featured an older Arch Oboler narrating recordings of his original shows, having new titles which made them seem different until listening to them.  For example the original episode "Oxychloride X" was now called "The Hole."  Entitled The Devil and Mr. O, it was syndicated 1971-72.]

The Line-Up

Star: Bill Johnstone
Sponsor: Wrigley's Gum, Sustaining (none)
Network: CBS
Aired: 1950-1953
Type of Show: Police Drama
NB: Most programs would transcribe (record) their earlier East Coast program so it could be heard three hours later on the West Coast. The Line-Up didn't do that.  The East Coast program featured an orchestra while the West Coast show had an organist.  Generally, you never know which one you have until you buy it.

Little Orphan Annie

Stars: various
Sponsor: Ovaltine offered all kinds of premiums (shake-up mugs, decoder rings)
                        for sending in the inner seals to:
                        LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE
                        CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
                        "Sorry, this offer is void in Canada!"

NETWORK: NBC (Blue), NBC (Red), Mutual
Aired: 1930-1942
Type of Show: Juvenile Soap Opera
NB: Made famous (again) in the early 1980s film, Christmas Story.  However, if you look at the setup in that movie you'll notice it was too late for the dates I have listed.  Maybe little Ralphie in that story listened to Captain Midnight! It too was sponsored by Ovaltine and it was something more a boy could appreciate.

..........Earle Graser (1909-41)

The Lone Ranger

Stars: George Seaton (1/31/33-5/9/33), Jack Deeds (5/11/33 only), James Jewell (5/13/33 only), Earle Graser (5/13/33-4/7/41), Brace Beemer (4/18/41-9/3/54), Fred Foy (last announcer), John Todd (a Shakespearean actor who played Tonto)
Sponsors: sustaining (no sponsors), Silvercup, Bond Bread, Cheerios cereal
Theme Music: Overture to William Tell by G. Rossini
Alternate Theme: Les Preludes by F. Liszt (since there is no tuba part to William Tell, most symphony tubists refer to Les Preludes as The Lone Ranger theme; incidentally, unlike most live radio dramas of the time, this series used recorded music)
Networks: Local (WXYZ, Detroit), Mutual, ABC
Aired: 1933-1954 (only 3,374 episodes were produced; it aired 3-5 times a week)
Type of Show: Superhero Western
NB: The first superhero of the airwaves.  Children were saddened in April 1941 to hear that Canadian voice actor Earle Graser, who played the Lone Ranger since 1933, was killed in a car accident at Farmington, Michigan, near the WXYZ studios.  The program kept going, the explanation was that the Lone Ranger was injured in a fight and couldn't speak.  After a few weeks, the Masked Man uttered a few simple words in barely a whisper.  Eventually, the Ranger's wounds healed and his portrayer was Brace Beemer, the former announcer of the show (when Earle Graser was alive).  The renowned Fred Foy would take over as announcer in 1944.  Network rebroadcasts were heard in 1954-56 first on ABC then on NBC.

Two views of William Joyce (1906-46): On the air as Lord Haw-Haw (with fake props) and  speaking against the British government at the Reichstag in Berlin.

Lord Haw-Haw

Star: William Joyce
Sponsor: German Government (SS)
Network: Reichsfunk (Germany) [Programs were beamed for the British Isles and heard by US military personnel stationed in England and Scotland.]
Aired: 1940-1945
Type of Show: Political Propaganda
NB: William Joyce was born in New York on April 24, 1906, his parents returned to their native country, Ireland, when he was three.  In 1923, he joined the British Fascists.  Eventually, he would terminate his affiliation with that group but maintain the group's sense of bigotry in himself for the rest of his life.  Seeing what was happening in Germany, with regards to Jews and others considered undesirable,  he settled there in 1938 and became a German citizen in the following  year.  In 1940, he took to the airwaves as Lord Haw-Haw, an attempt for British people to see how foolish they seemed to "the rest of the world."  Actually, after the Blitzkrieg during this time, most of the world saw the Brits as very brave and unwaivering!  Lord Haw-Haw aired until April 30, 1945, when the Germans lost the war.  Joyce, as Haw-Haw, was deliberately drunk as he told how sweet the German people were during this time.  He gave one last "Heil, Hitler," went off the air, then went into hiding.  Not recognizing his German citizenship, after his arrest, the British government tried him in their court of law, found him guilty of treason, and hanged him at a prison in London just before his 40th birthday.  He was buried in an unmarked grave on the grounds of that institution.  From a personal view, I was shocked at how young William Joyce was.  He seemed much older in his recordings.  But at 17 years of age, he was a card-carrying Fascist.  Many reports on World War Two conclude that Joyce was an American but this wasn't true.  Yes, he was born in America but he left New York for Ireland at the same age Bob Hope was when his family moved to Ohio from England.  At the time, Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.  Eventually, Joyce moved to London.  He was, in fact, very British!

Chet Lauck and Norris Goff (aka "Lum" and Abner) were two dapper gentlemen

Lum 'n' Abner

Stars: Chester Lauck, Norris Goff
Sponsors: Quaker Oats, Ford Automobiles, Horlick's Malted Milk (the company's only sponsoring venture), Postum Fake Coffee, Alka-Seltzer, Frigidaire, Local Sponsors, Sustaining (none)
Network: Local Radio (KTHS in Little Rock), NBC (Red), Mutual, NBC (Blue), CBS, ABC (it was on every network!)
Aired: 1931-1950
Type of Show: Soap Opera (comedy)
NB: At first, all the parts were played by the two lead actors.  During its last few years, it had a sizable cast. In the early  1940s, a small town in Arkansas changed its name to Pine Ridge (where this show is set) and a business inspired by Columbus "Lum" Edwards and Abner Peabody's Jot 'em Down Store was set up.  It still remains to this day.

Cecil B. DeMille (second host of Lux Radio Theater)

Lux Radio Theater

Stars: various movie stars; hosts included Antony Stanford (10/14/34-5/25/36), Cecil B. DeMille (6/1/36-1/22/45), William Keighley (11/5/45-5/12/42), others
Sponsor: Lux soap products
Network: NBC (Red), CBS [The early NBC shows, hosted by Antony Stanford, originated in New York City.]
Aired: 1934-1952
Type of Show: Anthology (movies)
NB: Another show featuring movies on the radio.  This was the most successful series of its type.

Updated November 23, 2001