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Mercury Theater of the Air

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First Show: 07-11-38 Last Show: 12-04-38
Number Shows: 22 Audition Show: none

Show Description:

THE MERCURY THEATER OF THE AIR was first heard as a Summer series of
nine shows, on CBS affiliated stations and in Canada on the CBC. It
was the first time a theater company brought drama to the radio,
primarily. The shows were hour-long dramatizations of classic books.
It was produced and directed by Orsen Welles, probably one of the
most versatile and creative talents in the history of entertainment.

After the Summer series ended with "The Man Who Was Thursday" on
September 5, 1938, the series was continued until December 4 of that
year. It was during this time that the best known show from this
series, in fact, the best known radio show, was broadcast, the radio
adaptation of H.G. Wells' "The War of the Worlds".

The series didn't end on December 4. On December 9, 1938, the
Campbell's Soup Company took up sponsorship of the series, changing
the name to THE CAMPBELL PLAYHOUSE. Orsen Welles announced the
change at the end of the November 6, 1938 broadcast of THE MERCURY
THEATER. The first show of the new series aired on Friday at 8:00

List Comments:


Date Day Num Title Src Key
-------- --- --- ------------------------------------- ---------
>>>>>> "First Person Singular" <<<<<<
>>>>>> series of 9 shows <<<<<<
07-11-38 Mon 1 Dracula 123 5
07-18-38 Mon 2 Treasure Island 34
07-25-38 Mon 3 A Tale Of Two Cities 345
08-01-38 Mon 4 The Thirty Nine Steps 3
08-08-38 Mon 5 Three Short Stories: I'm A Fool, 34
Open Window, My Little Boy
08-15-38 Mon 6 Abraham Lincoln 34
08-22-38 Mon 7 The Affairs of Anatole 2
08-29-38 Mon 8 The Count of Monte Cristo 2 4
09-05-38 Mon 9 The Man Who Was Thursday 3
(last show of the Summer series)

09-11-38 Sun 10 Julius Caesar 3
09-18-38 Sun 11 Jane Eyre
09-25-38 Sun 12 Immortal Sherlock Holmes 1 3 5
10-02-38 Sun 13 Oliver Twist
10-09-38 Sun 14 Hell On Ice 34
10-16-38 Sun 15 Seventeen
10-23-38 Sun 16 Around The World In Eighty Days 23
10-30-38 Sun 17 The War of the Worlds 1 345
11-06-38 Sun 18 Two Stories: Heart of Darkness / Life
with Father (Campbell's Soup
Company sponsorship announced)
11-13-38 Sun 19 Passenger To Bali 3
11-20-38 Sun 20 The Pickwick Papers 1
11-27-38 Sun 21 Clarence
12-04-38 Sun 22 Bridge of San Luis Rey
(last Mercury Theater show)

Information Sources:

The information above was obtained from the following OTR vendor
and club catalogs. Contact them directly for more information.

Key Source
--- -----------------------------------------------------------------
1 Gordon R. Payton, 119 E. Cuthbert Blvd., Bldg. "O", #3, Westmont,
NJ 08108-1829
2 Edward J. Carr, 216 Shaner Street, Boyertown, PA 19512
3 Radio Showcase, Steve Kelez, PO Box 4357, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
4 Radio Historical Association of Colorado, PO Box 1908, Englewood,
CO 80150
5 Crabapple Sound, 254 Florida Ave, Amsterdam, NY 12010

To be fair to all, this is not an endorsement of the above vendors
and clubs. I receive nothing by mentioning them. They help keep
OTR alive. Please support them.


* "The Ultimate History of Network Radio Programming and Guide To
All Circulating Shows", third edition, by Jay Hickerson, Box 4321,
Hamden, CT 06514

Other Logs or Books:

* MERCURY THEATER OF THE AIR log, Jay Hickerson, Box 4321, Hamden,
CT 06514
* MERCURY THEATER log, Jerry Haendiges, 13808 Sunset Dr., Whittier,
CA 90602 (available from the Internet at The Vintage Radio Place,

Last Update: 08-24-98

I retain copyright, but this log may be freely copied provided that
the text is unchanged. Please send error corrections or additional
information to: Frank Passage, 109 Elmwood Road, Verona, NJ 07044
or via e-mail to

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