Radio Programs beginning with "L"
"From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse,
Silver. The Lone Ranger rides again!"
Stars: Oliver Hardy, Stan Laurel
Laurel and Hardy
Sponsors: Sustaining (none; there were lots of public service
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 http://www.starcreation.com/otr/.
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)
Type of Show: Drama (Detective)
NB: Bob Bailey would be known nationwide ten years later on
the CBS show, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.
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)
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..."
can still buy this book at Amazon.com.
Life is Worth Living
Star: Bishop Fulton J. Sheen
Sponsor: Admiral Electronics
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 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
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
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.
actors got scared on Lights Out!
Lights Out! (or "Lights Out, Everybody!")
Stars: various (Arch Oboler was narrator on the shows
Sponsor: Ironized Yeast
Network: Local Radio (WENR in Chicago), NBC
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.
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.]
Star: Bill Johnstone
Sponsor: Wrigley's Gum, Sustaining (none)
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.
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.
Sponsor: Ovaltine offered
all kinds of premiums (shake-up mugs, decoder rings)
for sending in the inner seals to:
LITTLE ORPHAN ANNIE
"Sorry, this offer is void in Canada!"
NETWORK: NBC (Blue), NBC (Red), Mutual
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.
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
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
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.]
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
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!)
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
'em Down Store was set up. It still remains to this day.
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),
Sponsor: Lux soap products
Network: NBC (Red), CBS [The early NBC shows, hosted by Antony
Stanford, originated in New York City.]
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
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