Here's a new series on the blog that's not particularly well known and likely for good reason. At one time, programs of poetry readings weren't uncommon on radio, but they seemed to fall by the wayside after War, at least on the national networks. You'd still find them on local stations for several years.
"Words With Music" was the Armed Forces Radio's attempt at the genre. Organist Milton Charles provided the background music and various starlets would step up to the microphone to try their hand at Shakespeare, Keats and the works of other poets. You might be surprised who turns up on some of the programs.
Program 1 of the series is a previously "lost" program in the series and features Merle Oberon.
Milton Charles had a long career starting in the silent movie days and later on records and radio. According to a LA Times article, he passed away in 1991 at the age of 94. Merle Oberon, of course, is best remembered for her work in classic films like "Wuthering Heights" and "The Private Life of Henry VIII".
The show was transferred from an original vinyl War Department Armed Forces Radio Service transcription that is undated, but is likely from the early War period.
I'll drop in a few of these rare shows on the blog in coming months featuring a few stars you might recognize.