Archive for the 'Front Page Drama' Category

Front Page Drama - Pgm 174

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

Here's another episode of one of my favorite series, "Front Page Drama", sponsored by the Hearst Newspapers to promote their Sunday supplement.

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Program 174 of the series was heard August 22, 1936 and is titled "Fallen Stars".  The story concerns a "famous star of the past" and looks at happens when the footlights fade.  Any guess who it might be?

The show was transferred from an original Langlois & Wentworth, NYC/Hearst Newspapers Victrolac transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number MS 104245-1.

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Front Page Drama - Pgm 307

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

Well, Halloween is upon us and it's the time for ghosts and spooks.  But ghosts can be serious business.

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Program 307 of the series "Front Page Drama", originally heard the week of March 11, 1939, is titled "The Spirit is Willing".  The program is based on the article "When Crime Poses as Spiritualism", written by a woman who was an investigator for Harry Houdini and appearing in the Hearst Newspaper magazine supplement, "The American Weekly".

You might compare this show with episode 70 from July 1934, posted some time ago in the blog, that dealt with a businessman being duped by a fake medium.

Transferred from an original International Radio Productions, NYC/Hearst Newspapers Victrolac transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number MS 033845-1.

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Front Page Drama - Pgm 168

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Note:  This program contains racial stereotyping themes that may be offensive to some listeners.

I have a certain fondness for "Front Page Drama", the long-running quarter hour program syndicated by Hearst Newspapers from the 30s well into the 1950s.  The shows can be wonderfully sensationalistic and odd, but is short enough to not wear out its welcome.  I recently obtained a cache of "Front Page Drama" discs from the 1930s, probably the best period in the show's history, and will drop in a few now and again.

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Program 168, distributed for broadcast the week of July 11, 1936, is "Mrs. Dodd's Defense", adapted from an "American Weekly" article titled "Wives Mustn't Shoot Their Husbands".  It's a little piece that paints defense lawyers as pretty shady characters and has a passionate murder to give the story some tabloid appeal.

The show was transferred from an original Langlois & Wentworth, NYC/Hearst Newspapers Victrolac transcription pressed by RCA, matrix number MS 102185-1.

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Front Page Drama - Pgm 149

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Here's the last program I have in the series, "Front Page Drama", syndicated by Hearst Newspapers and featuring true stories adapted from their "American Weekly" magazine newspaper supplement.

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So, here's program 149 in the series, "The Removal Man", originally broadcast the week of February 29, 1936.  The story concerns an inventive assassin who figures out an unusual way to kill his victims.

The show was transferred from original RCA Victrolac transcription, matrix MS99605.  On the flip side is an episode of "Jungle Jim", previously heard on the blog.

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Front Page Drama, Pgm 147

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Here's another episode in the long-running series "Front Page Drama", a weekly quarter hour dramatic show based on stories in the "American Weekly" distributed with Hearst Newspapers.

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Our little play in this episode is "The Devil's Crib", a mysterious story about old lighthouses, star-crossed lovers and ghosts from the depths of the tumultuous sea.  This was syndicated as program 147 in the series and was intended for broadcast February 15, 1936.

Transferred from original RCA Victrolac transcription, matrix MS98935.

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Front Page Drama - Pgm 144

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Here's another episode of the long-running weekly dramatic series, "Front Page Drama", sponsored by Hearst Newspapers and featuring adaptations of stories appearing in the "American Weekly" magazine.

This episode, number 144 in the series, was broadcast January 25, 1936 and is titled "Repayment".  The story concerns international intrigue about a small European country and a US treaty.

The show was transferred from an original RCA Victrolac pressing, matrix 98715.  The disc, by the way, came from an antiques dealer with the original railroad shipping container and special needle originally used to play the disc at the station.  Amazing that the whole package survived over 70 years in this state.

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Front Page Drama - Pgm 143, January 18, 1936

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Here's another episode of a long-running fifteen minute dramatic series, "Front Page Drama", syndicated by Hearst Newspapers and featuring dramatizations of stories appearing in the "American Weekly" newspaper supplement. In this episode, "Conqueror's Son", the setting is Vienna in 1832 and the story deals with mixed identities and intrigue in a royal court. The program, number 143, was syndicated for broadcast on January 18, 1936.

The program was dubbed directly from an RCA Victrolac pressing, matrix number MS98586. This is one of four discs in this series, also containing episodes of "Jungle Jim", that I picked up from an antiques dealer; the discs included the original shipping containers where they were sent to a radio station in Prescott, Arizona in 1936. One also included an original steel "Shadowgraphed" needle used to play the disc - the needle, used during a transition period to early vinyl discs, was "pre-worn" to fit the groove properly.

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Front Page Drama - Pgm 70 - The Night of Nights

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

Another episode of "Front Page Drama", dating from circa July 1934.  Program 70, called "The Night of Nights", looks at a businessman who is being duped by a fake medium who is exposed by the businessman's partner and a professor.  The play is a fictionalized story based on an article in that week's "American Weekly" magazine that dealt with new scientific techniques being used by fake mediums.  Note that the sound and overall volume of the show improves as it progresses.

"Front Page Drama" (at least the 1930s episodes) is one of my favorite series.  The stories are sometimes hokey and melodramatic, but are really well written little 15 minute pieces and you can often recognize well-known radio actors in bit parts.  As noted in a previous post, the series was sponsored by Hearst newspapers as a way to promote "American Weekly" that was distributed with the papers each week; it was something like the "Parade Magazine" of its day.

In future weeks, I'll be posting more shows from early 1936, when production and distribution of the show shifted from General Broadcasting and Brunswick Records to RCA.

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Front Page Drama - A Perfect Pair

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

"Front Page Drama" was a program syndicated to local stations for many years during the OTR era by Hearst newspapers. Each 15 minute show was based on a story in an upcoming edition of "The American Weekly", a magazine distributed with Hearst newspapers. This episode, number 69, dates from circa June or July 1934 and is based on a "true story" about a small town newspaper reporter who complains that there's no interesting news in the town. Transferred from an original shellac Brunswick pressing of the program; note that the sound improves as the episode progresses.

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