Serials: (Part 2) - Soaps On Radioby Terry G. G. Salomonson
Serial: adj. 1. Of, forming, or arranged in a series: serial numbers. 2. Published or produced in installments, as a novel or television dramas. 3. Pertaining to such publication or production. -n A literary or dramatic work published or produced in installments.
The definition above explains most of the radio programs that have been developed over the last 60 years. From many of the early dramatic broadcasts grew the basics of the "daytime female serial dramas" and the "light, homey, or love interest dramas." We must also remember, that yesterday's radio soap operas are nothing like today's television soap operas.
Many serialized programs never made it beyond the local radio station. Some made it to the national level and died quickly. A few stations, feeling they had a real powerful program that would generate a great deal of revenue, refused to allow the program to leave their total control. Thus, it was not uncommon for the real talent to leave the program and start a new series under a new name, leaving the station with the former program in name only. This happened more than any of us are aware of.
It occurred with one of the earliest and longest running radio programs. The program first hit the air in 1926.
Charles Correll & Freeman Gosden had been working together since 1920 when they hit upon a great radio idea. Their first broadcast of SAM 'N' HENRY was on 01/12/26 at WGN Chicago. They were about to go national a little over two years later when the station, owner of the name SAM 'N' HENRY, refused to allow them to use the name.
Changing stations and the name of the program, AMOS 'N' ANDY premiered on WMAQ in Chicago on 03/19/28. WMAQ was to become the Chicago outlet for CBS. The program was to change networks and started broadcasting on 08/19/29 over NBC-Red at 11:00 p.m. for Pepsodent. Final program aired 11/25/60 as THE AMOS AND ANDY MUSIC HALL.
SAM 'N' HENRY, and later AMOS 'N' ANDY, was the start of radio serials. CBS started serial programming with THE TRUE STORY HOUR in 1927. NBC quickly followed with a 30 minute serial REAL FOLKS beginning on 08/06/28. ROMANCE ISLE also started around this time on the same network.
Here is where the beginning of soap operas may become confusing. Marion & Jim Jordan (that's right, FIBBER MCGEE & MOLLY), began a new 30 minute radio program at 5:00 p.m. over WENR in Chicago starting on 06/07/29. The broadcast was called THE SMITH FAMILY. On 03/04/31 the 83rd broadcast moved to WMAQ NBC-Red. The program would move back to WENR with broadcast #135 on 11/08/31.
This was a family oriented program focusing on an upper middle class family. In March of 1930 sponsorship was offered by The National Tea Company. Program #156 on 04/03/32 was the last broadcast.
Marion Jordan did not consider this to be a soap, but was it? It could possibly have been the first true soap.
In 1929, CBS also started a progam called TRUE ROMANCES. Love was certainly starting to fill the airwaves.
11/20/29 was the start of THE RISE OF THE GOLDBERGS over WJZ NBC-Blue. The 15 minute program aired at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday and in the 1930-1931 season aired Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Starting on 07/13/31 and continuing through the 1934 season it became a nightly serial. Leaving the air for several years, it again resumed in 1937 over the CBS network for Oxydol and was heard concurrently on the Mutual network for a short time. The program left the air in 1945. Was this the first true soap (being sponsored by a soap company)?
In 1930, over NBC, several more serial/family/soap type programs began: UNCLE ABE AND DAVID, RAISING JUNIOR, MOONSHINE AND HONEYSUCKLE, and CARELESS LOVE.
WGN Chicago started broadcasting PAINTED DREAMS. Created by Irna Phillips, who also appeared on the program, it evolved from an earlier serial called SUE AND IRENE. WGN, as with SAM 'N' HENRY earlier, controlled and owned the program. Irna Phillips lost control of the program to the station after it turned down an offer to carry it nationwide. (Will they never learn?) She left for NBC and created TODAY'S CHILDREN. Starting on 10/10/33 PAINTED DREAMS finally did air over CBS but ended in 1934. This was considered by many to be the first true soap opera.
1930 was also the beginning of EASY ACES which first aired on KMBC, Kansas City. Appearing on the CBS network starting on 03/01/32 for Lavoris, sponsorship eventually went to American Home Products on 10/10/33. The show's final broadcasts were in 1944.
1930 was also the year that CLARA, LU 'N' EM appeared for the first time over WGN in June. It would go to NBC starting on 01/27/31, and pick up sponsorship of Super Suds. Colgate sponsorship on NBC-Blue began on 02/15/32. Super Suds was again sponsoring by 1934. Louise Starkey appeared as Clara, Isobel Carothers as Lu, and Helen King as Em.
1931 offered DADDY AND ROLLO, LOVE STORIES on CBS. MYRT AND MARGE, also on CBS, started evenings on 11/02/31. It would switch to daytime programming on 01/04/37 and continue until 1942. MARY AND BOB arrived on NBC.
By 1932, the "daytime female serial dramas" and the "light, homey, or love interest dramas" were starting to become more and more popular. NBC-Blue introduced ROMANCE, and SHEER ROMANCE. Also on the Blue BETTY AND BOB began on 10/10/32 for General Mills.
ONE MAN'S FAMILY started over KGO, San Francisco on 04/29/32 as a local show. It began on 04/13/32 as a Pacific regional show and finally on the NBC network East Coast starting 05/17/33.
VIC AND SADE ran as a sustained program between 06/29/32 and 11/03/34 over NBC. Procter & Gamble started sponsorship on 11/03/34. The show would eventually air over the NBC Red and Blue networks, and later on NBC and CBS simultaneously ending on 09/29/44.
Originally called BILL THE BARBER, JUST PLAIN BILL began on CBS 09/19/32 and ending in 1955.
One of the first transcribed soaps, JUDY AND JANE, started on 10/10/32 for the J.A. Folger company. This program aired over NBC in the Midwest only.
MARIE, THE LITTLE FRENCH PRINCESS was CBS's first daytime serial beginning 03/07/33, and lasting until 1935. It was sponsored by Louis Phillips. TODAY'S CHILDREN, Irna Phillips answer to losing PAINTED DREAMS, began on NBC-Blue 09/11/33 and was sponsored by Pillsbury.
THE ROMANCE OF HELEN TRENT for CBS covered the years from 07/24/33 until 06/24/60.
Starting on 08/14/33 at WLW Cincinnati, MA PERKINS had one of the longest runs of any soap. NBC-Red picked up the program on 12/04/33 and after 7,065 daily episodes it left the air on 11/25/60. It was sometimes referred to as OXYDOL'S OWN MA PERKINS.
Beginning with 1934, the listing per year of new soaps become longer and longer until 1940. I will give the starting and ending dates of each program, as I know them. This is not the total listing of soaps. Remember, many soaps were local. As an example, Joan Vitez and Harriett Russell Livingstone starred in ANN WORTH, HOUSEWIFE. Popular in the Detroit, MI area, but unknown across the rest of the country. How many of the following titles do you remember?
HOME SWEET HOME (NBC-Red) from 07/23/34 until 11/16/36
DREAMS COME TRUE (NBC-Red) from 07/16/34 until 04/11/35
SONG OF THE CITY (NBC-Red) from 08/14/34 until 1935
PEGGY'S DOCTOR (NBC-Red) from 10/01/34 until 1935
THE GUMPS (CBS) starting on 11/05/34. (This was the first daytime serial to be based on a comic strip. There was an earlier series on WGN in 1931.)
THE LIFE OF MARY SOTHERN (Mutual) from 1934 to 1938. (This was Mutual's first daytime serial.) Sponsor Hinds Cream
THE STORY OF MARY MARLIN 01/01/35-45 (Intro WMAQ 01/03/34) Sponsor Kleenex CBS.
THE O'NEILLS NBC-Red 10/08/35 (started evenings 12/10/34 CBS) Ivory Soap.
BACKSTAGE WIFE (Mutual 08/05/35) (Moved to NBC 03/30/36-59)
MRS. WIGGS OF THE CABBAGE PATCH (1st adapted from a novel) CBS 02/04/35-12/23/38 Sponsor Jad Salts.
FIVE STAR JONES 02/04/35-02/05/37
MOLLY OF THE MOVIES 10/10/35-04/23/37 Mutual
PEPPER YOUNG'S FAMILY NBC 01/13/36-59 (Introduced as an evening feature in 1932 under title RED ADAMS. Later called RED DAVIS, FOREVER YOUNG) sponsor Camay Soap.
DAN HARDING'S WIFE NBC Red 01/20/36-39
JOHN'S OTHER WIFE NBC 09/14/36-44 sponsor Louis Phillipe.
RICH MAN'S DARLING CBS 02/17/36 (Replaced by OUR GAL SUNDAY 03/29/37) sponsor Jo-Cur.
MODERN CINDERELLA CBS 06/01/36-37
GIRL ALONE NBC-Red 07/13/36-41 sponsor Kellogg.
LOVE SONG Mutual 08/31/36-03/05/37 sponsor Gold Medal.
HEINZ MAGAZINE OF THE AIR CBS 09/02/36 (Returned as CAROL KENNEDY'S ROMANCE 08/37-07/30/38)
DAVID HARUM NBC-Blue 01/27/36-50 sponsor Bob-O.
BIG SISTER CBS 09/14/36-52 sponsor Rinso.
BACHELOR'S CHILDREN CBS 09/28/36-46 sponsor Old Dutch.
HOUSEBOAT HANNAH 1938 (1st heard coast-to-coast 1936 by ET)
FOLLOW THE MOON NBC-Red 01/04/37-38 sponsor Pebeco.
AUNT JENNY'S TRUE LIFE STORIES CBS 01/18/37-56 sponsor Spry.
THE GUIDING LIGHT NBC-Red 01/25/37-56 sponsor White Naptha.
(THE RIGHT TO HAPPINESS evolved from THE GUIDING LIGHT in 1939)
WE ARE FOUR Mutual 03/01/37
PRETTY KITTY KELLY CBS 07/19/37-40 sponsor Wonder Bread.
OUR GAL SUNDAY CBS 03/29/37-01/02/59
THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR Mutual 04/12/37-60
LORENZO JONES NBC-Red 04/26/37-55 sponsor Sterling Drugs.
THE ROAD OF LIFE CBS/NBC-Red & Blue 06/37-59
ARNOLD GRIMM'S DAUGHTER CBS 07/05/37-42
KITTY KEENE, INC. NBC-Red 09/13/37-41
JENNY PEABODY CBS 10/18/37-38
HILLTOP HOUSE CBS/Mutual 11/01/37 sponsor Palmolive Soap.
TERRY REGAN: ATTORNEY AT LAW NBC-Blue 01/03/38-06/29/38
MARGO OF CASTLEWOOD NBC-Blue
WOMAN IN WHITE NBC-Red 01/03/38-48 Pillsbury.
STEPMOTHER CBS 01/17/38-42 Colgate
YOUR FAMILY AND MINE NBC-Red 04/25/38-40 Sealtest
JOYCE JORDAN, GIRL INTERNE Calox (name changed to JOYCE JORDAN, M.D. in 1942) CBS 05/30/38-48
VALIANT LADY NBC-Red 05/30/38-46 (Started on CBS 03/07/38 as part of Gold Medal Hour)
YOUNG WIDDER BROWN NBC-Red 06/06/38-56 Cal Aspirin.
STELLA DALLAS NBC-Red 06/06/38-55 (Started on WEAF, NY 10/25/37) Phillips.
THOSE HAPPY GILMANS NBC-Red 08/22/38-05/19/39 Corn Kix.
LIFE CAN BE BEAUTIFUL CBS 1st year CBS/NBC-Red 2nd year 09/05/38-54 Ivory Soap.
MADAME COURAGEOUS NBC-Blue 09/26/38-12/23/38
HOUSEBOAT HANNAH NBC-Red 09/26/38-41 Lava Soap. (Syndicated ET series from 10/36)
JANE ARDEN 09/26/38-06/23/39 Ward Baking.
HER HONOR, NANCY JAMES CBS 10/03/38-07/28/39 Kleenex.
SCATTERGOOD BAINES CBS 10/31/38-42(CBS Pacific Network 02/22/37) Wrigley Gum.
THIS DAY IS OURS CBS 11/07/38-01/20/40 Crisco. (On NBC-Blue until 03/29/40)
CENTRAL CITY NBC-Red 11/21/38-04/25/41 Oxydol.
DOC BARCLAY'S DAUGHTERS CBS 01/23/39-01/19/40 Personal Fin.
THE LIFE AND LOVES OF DR. SUSAN CBS 02/13/39-12/29/39
THE CARTERS OF ELM STREET NBC-Red 02/13/39-40 Ovaltine.
MANHATTAN MOTHER CBS 03/06/39-04/05/40 Chipso.
MIDSTREAM NBC-Red 05/01/39-40 (Started WLW, Cincinnati 1938) Teel.
WHEN A GIRL MARRIES CBS 05/29/39 Prudential.
CAROLINE'S GOLDEN STORE NBC-Red 06/05/39 (Moved to CBS 10/09/39)
THE MAN I MARRIED NBC-Red 07/03/39-42 Oxydol.
WOMAN OF COURAGE CBS 07/17/39-42 Octagon.
MEET THE DIXONS CBS 07/31/39 (Richard Widmark starred as Wesley Dixon)
THE TROUBLE WITH MARRIAGE NBC-Blue 07/31/39-12/29/39
ORPHANS OF DIVORCE NBC-Blue 09/39-42 Dr Lyons.
THUNDER OVER PARADISE NBC-Blue 10/02/39-41 Mueller.
ELLEN RANDOLPH NBC-Red 10/09/39-41 Supersuds.
MY SON AND I CBS 10/09/39-40 Calumet.
SOCIETY GIRL CBS 10/09/39-40 Kreml.
BY KATHLEEN NORRIS CBS 10/09/39-41 Wheaties.
BEYOND THESE VALLEYS CBS 10/09/39-09/27/40
THE RIGHT TO HAPPINESS NBC-Blue 10/16/39-12/31/57 Crisco. (Evolved from THE GUIDING LIGHT)
AGAINST THE STORM NBC 10/16/39-42 Ivory Soap.
YOUNG DR. MALONE NBC-Blue 11/39 then CBS 04/29/40-11/25/60
THE AFFAIRS OF ANTHONY NBC-Blue
MARTHA WEBSTER (LIFE BEGINS) CBS 01/22/40 Campbell Soups.
AMANDA OF HONEYMOON HILL NBC-Blue 02/05/40-46
LONE JOURNEY NBC-Red 05/27/40-43 Kraft.
THIS SMALL TOWN NBC-Red 09/30/40-04/25/41 Duz.
PORTIA FACES LIFE CBS 10/07/40-51 Post Flakes.
WE, THE ABBOTTS CBS 10/07/40-42 Best Foods.
KATE HOPKINS, ANGEL OF MERCY CBS 10/07/40-42 Maxwell House.
MOTHER O'MINE NBC-Blue 10/40-41 Clapps Food.
THE JOHNSON FAMILY (Started on WLW then Mutual)
HOME OF THE BRAVE CBS 01/06/41
CHARLIE AND JESSIE CBS 01/41
THE MYSTERY MAN NBC-Red 03/24/41-42 Wheaties.
THE STORY OF BESS JOHNSON CBS 03/31/41-42
THE BARTONS NBC-Red 10/41-06/42 Duz.
FRONT PAGE FARRELL Mutual 06/23/41-54 Anacin.
BRIGHT HORIZON CBS 08/25/41-45 Swan Soap.
MAUDIE'S DIARY CBS 08/13/41
THE SECOND MRS. BURTON CBS 09/21/41-60
HELPMATE NBC-Red 09/41-44 Old Dutch.
STORIES AMERICA LOVES (KITTY FOYLE) CBS 10/06/41 Wheaties.
HELPING HAND CBS 10/13/41-42 Ironized Yeast.
WE ARE ALWAYS YOUNG
BUCK PRIVATE AND HIS GIRL
EDITH ADAMS' FUTURE Mutual
HELEN HOLDEN Mutual
GOVERNMENT GIRL Mutual
I'LL FIND MY WAY Mutual
WE LOVE AND LEARN CBS 04/13/42-44 General Foods. (Started AS THE TWIG IS BENT in 1941 on ET)
SECOND HUSBAND CBS 04/42-46 Sterling Drugs.
LONELY WOMEN (TODAY'S CHILDREN) NBC 06/42 General Mills.
SNOW VILLAGE NBC 12/28/42-11/11/43 Proctor Gamble.
WOMAN IN AMERICA NBC 01/25/43-46 Proctor Gamble.
LORA LAWTON NBC 05/43-49 Babbitt.
THE OPEN DOOR NBC 06/21/43-06/3044 Standard Brands.
AMERICAN WOMEN CBS 08/02/43-44 Wrigley Gum.
BRAVE TOMORROW NBC 10/11/43-44 Proctor Gamble.
PERRY MASON CBS 10/18/43-55 Proctor Gamble.
SWEET RIVER ABC 01/03/44-44 Staley.
THIS CHANGING WORLD CBS 07/03/44-45
TENA AND TIM CBS 08/07/44-46 (ET series from the mid 1930's) Cudahy Packing.
ROSEMARY NBC 10/02/44-55 Proctor Gamble.
TWO ON A CLUE CBS 10/02/44-48 General Foods.
THE STRANGE ROMANCE OF EVELYN WINTERS CBS 11/20/44-48
BARRY CAMERON (THE SOLDIER WHO CAME HOME) NBC 04/16/45-46 Manhattan Soap.
A WOMAN'S LIFE CBS 07/09/45-46 Lever Brothers.
MASQUERADE NBC 01/14/46-08/29/47 General Mills
ROSE OF MY DREAMS NBC 11/25/46 - (a couple of additional months) Manhattan Soap.
KATIE'S DAUGHTER NBC 03/47-48 Manhattan Soap.
WENDY WARREN CBS 06/23/47-58 General Foods.
THE STORY OF HOLLY SLOAN NBC 09/01/47-48 General Mills.
SONG OF A STRANGER Mutual 09/29/47-48 Pharmaco.
THIS IS NORA DRAKE NBC 10/27/47-59 Toni.
THE BRIGHTER DAY NBC 10/11/48-56 Proctor Gamble.
MARRIAGE FOR TWO NBC 07/11/49-10/03/49 (sustained) 10/03/49-03/31/50 Kraft Cheese.
NONA FROM NOWHERE CBS 01/09/50 (lasted a couple of months) Babbitt.
DR. PAUL ABC Wesson Oil.
KING'S ROW NBC 02/26/51-10/51 Colgate.
WOMAN IN MY HOUSE NBC 1951-59 Manhattan Soap.
THE DOCTOR'S WIFE NBC 03/03/52-56 Ex Lax.
EVER SINCE EVE ABC Sustained
ONE MAN'S FAMILY NBC 07/04/55-05/08/59 (this is a daytime version. (First heard on KGO, San Francisco on 04/29/32)
HOTEL FOR PETS NBC Quaker Oats
THE AFFAIRS OF DR. GENTRY NBC 01/57-59
FIVE STAR MATINEE NBC 1957-58
REAL LIFE STORIES NBC 1958-59
WHISPERING STREETS CBS 1959-60 (Originally ABC in 1953)
BEST SELLER CBS 06/27/60 (radio's last serial drama)
Additional serial titles from over the years:
THREE GIRLS LOST
THE STOLEN HUSBAND
SEARCH FOR TOMORROW
MOTHER O' MINE
LINDA'S FIRST LOVE (by transcription)
MARY FOSTER, THE EDITOR'S DAUGHTER (by transcription)
Next Part VIII - Clubs And Buying Groups
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Last Updated: 04/27/15 07:37:41 PM