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Radio Programs beginning with "S"

"...a tale well-calculated to keep you in...  SUSPENSE!"

     Vincent Price

The Saint

Stars: Vincent Price (through 1951),  Tom Conway (5/27/51-10/21/51), Barry Sullivan (for two weeks in 9/51)
Sponsors: Ford, Sustained (none)
Network: CBS (West Coast only), NBC, Mutual
Aired: 1947-1952 (always a summer replacement series, which ended up getting picked up for the season)
Type of Show: Detective Drama (PI)
NB: Probably more pieces have been made about Leslie Charteris's character than probably anyone else from the twentieth century.  There was a series of books, this radio series, other radio series in other countries, lots of movies, and a British TV series.  I may be partial, but when I think of The Saint, I think of Vincent Price! Prior to 1947 there was two other series of The Saint in 1945: on NBC, he was played by Edgar Barrier and sponsored by Bromo Seltzer (1/6/45-3/31/45); on CBS, he was played by Brian Aherne and sponsored by Campbell's Soup (6/20/45-9/12/45).

Screen Directors' Playhouse

Stars: various movie stars
Sponsors: RCA electronics, Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer, others, Sustained (none)
Network: NBC
Aired: 1949-1951
Type of Show: Anthology (movies)
NB: The last of the movie anthology series, some people think this was the best.

Screen Guild Theatre

Stars: various
Sponsors: Gulf gasoline, Lady Esther beauty products, Camel Cigarettes, Sustained (none)
Network: CBS, ABC
Aired: 1939-1952
Type of Show: Anthology (movies)
NB: Actors appearing on this program had to donate their pay to the Motion Picture Retirement Home in Woodland Hills, California.  I don't see how they could make it stick, other than the stigma of not giving the money.  With regards to the sponsor on this show, Gulf sponsored it in  areas where it was sold (Los Angeles was not one of them) and Lady Esther sponsored it everywhere else.  Be careful when purchasing episodes of this program because the sponsor's name usually preceeds the name of the show.  You might have a Lady Esther Screen Guild Theatre and a Gulf Screen Theatre from the same date:  Except for the commercials, the shows are identical.  That's fine, if you collect commercials.


Sergeant Preston of the Yukon (also known as "The Challenge of the Yukon")

Star: Paul Sutton, Brace Beemer, or Jay Michael
Sponsors: Sustaining (none), Quaker Puffed Wheat and Puffed Rice cereals ("Shot from guns!")
Network: Local Radio (WXYZ),  ABC
Aired: 1938-1945
Type of Show: Drama (Historical/Police)
NB: Set in turn of the century Nortwestern Canada.  Was a local show on WXYZ in Detroit (Lone Ranger, Green Hornet).  Went national in June 1947.  All the local shows were sustained and 15 minutes in length.  The network shows were sponsored by Quaker Puffed Cereals and 30 minutes in length.  The show was not called Sergeant Preson of the Yukon until 11/11/51.

Blue Coal was actual black coal dyed blue.  The blue dye was its trademark.

The Shadow

Stars: These men were the Shadow: James La Curto, Frank Readick, Jr., Bill Johnstone, Orson Welles, Bret Morrison, John Archer, and Steve Courdeigh.  These women were Margot Lane: Agnes Moorehead, Jeanette Nolan, Marjorie Anderson, Judith Allen, Laura Mae Carpenter, Grace Matthews, and Gertrude Warner
Sponsors: Street and Smith Publishers, Perfect-O-Lite, Blue Coal, Goodrich Tires, U.S. Savings Bonds, Carey Salt, Acme/Linex, Grove Laboratories, U.S. Army/Air Force Recruiting, Wildroot, Camel Cigarettes, Tide, No-Doz, others Sustained (no sponsor)
Network: CBS, Mutual
Aired: 1930-1954
Type of Show: Anthology (drama) for first few years; Crime Drama (superhero) after that
NB: Don't let the movie starring Alec Baldwin influence what you think of this show (for better or worse) before you hear it!

     James Stewart

The Six Shooter

Star: Jimmy Stewart
Sponsor: Sustaining (no sponsors)
Network: NBC
Aired: 1952-1953
Type of Show: Western
NB: The program was canceled after NBC assigned a tobacco company to sponsor the program and Jimmy Stewart said he couldn't go for it.  (Source: Stan Freberg)

Cadets Buz and Happy of the Space Patrol

  Send in enough Chex boxtops and get this swell model of the Terra V rocket!

Space Patrol

Stars: Ed Kemmer, Lyn Osborne, others
Sponsors: Chex cereals, Nestle chocolate, Sustained (none)
Network: ABC
Aired: 1950-1955
Type of Show: Juvenile Science Fiction
NB: Ran concurrently with a similar TV series.  Originated from the studios of KECA-TV (now KABC-TV) in Los Angeles.  The announcer of this show, Dick Tufeld, is still active in broadcasting!

Stan Freberg, Daws Butler, and June Foray

The Stan Freberg Show

Stars: Stan Freberg, Daws Butler, June Foray
Sponsor: Sustaining (no sponsors)
Network: CBS
Aired: 1957 (13 weeks)
Type of Show: Comedy/Variety
NB: According to Freberg in his autobiography, It Only Hurts When I Laugh, the program was doomed to fail weeks before it went on the air.  CBS, although the last network to stop regular production of OTR  in 1962, wanted nothing to do with Freberg's "high budget show."   It was the last big time variety program of the era.  Replayed in November 1991 over a course of 13 weeks on NPR stations. Daws Butler died in 1989.  He was probably unarguably the busiest voice actor in Hollywood, having provided the voices for Cap'n Crunch, Huckleberry Hound, many other cartoon characters, and voices for many other radio programs and commercials.  June Foray is probably best known as the voice actor for Rocky the Flying Squirrel and Boris Badenov's accomplice, Natasha Fatale in Rocky and His Friends.

    The first Man in Black was Joe Kearns (here seen on TV's Dennis the Menace).  He died in 1961.


Stars: various (The first Man in Black was Joseph Kearns; when Autolite was sponsor, the host was Harlow Wilcox)
Sponsors: Sustaining (no sponsors), Roma Wines, Autolite auto parts, others
Network: CBS
Aired: 1942-1962
Type of Show: Anthology (drama)
NB: This is the show which featured the classics "The Hitchhiker" and  "Sorry, Wrong Number."  They were written by Lucille Fletcher, a staff secretary at CBS in New York who, many times, had to "doctor up" scripts to make them work. She tried on many occaisions to submit scripts and no one took her seriously (gender bias).  Suspense! began as a sustaining show to take the edge off the war.  Now her scripts were wanted.  Eventually, she would write hundreds of the show's stories (and marry the show's musical conductor, Bernard Herrmann, then divorce him).  No one believed that a pretty girl who could type decently had any chance writing such fantastic stories.  But they were wrong!  Also, most radio producers (99.9999% men) had the idea that they could never get more than two women at a microphone at the same time.  They didn't think the listeners could tell their voices apart!

Updated November 23, 2001