Category Archives: drama/dramatic anthology

24 March: The bloody red harmonica blues

Shep Mencken. (Photo: CBS.)

Shep Mencken. (Photo: CBS.)

It has been almost as much a staple instrument of the blues as the guitar. The earliest records of such rock and roll legends as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones featured it frequently enough. A century earlier, and just a few years after a German clockmaker named Matthias Hohner made his first and began to mass produce it, the first such maker to do so, soldiers in both the Union and Confederate Armies are said to have taken comfort carrying and playing the instrument. So was President Abraham Lincoln.

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14 March: A deadly lottery

When Shirley Jackson wrote “The Lottery,” her allegorical short story of conformism taken to arbitrarily deadly extremes, for the 26 June 1948 issue of The New Yorker, both the author and the magazine were staggered by the volume of negative and even hate mail the story was said to provoke. The volume included negative remarks from Jackson’s own parents, as the author herself disclosed in her eventual posthumous anthology Come Along With Me (1968), edited by her husband Stanley Edgar Hyman.

Shirley Jackson.

Shirley Jackson.

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10 March: A decade late and a dollar short

Joseph Cotten reprises a 1948 film role tonight. (Photo: NBC.)

Joseph Cotten reprises a 1948 film role tonight. (Photo: NBC.)

NBC finds itself in a bind to open the 1949-50 radio season. Red Skelton has defected to CBS, another in the line of defections that took off in earnest, once Jack Benny bolted after his NBC contract negotiations broke down the previous winter. Eddie Cantor has left Friday nights to take on hosting Take It or Leave It on Sunday nights. And moving The Life of Riley and The Jimmy Durante Show to hold fort in the 9:00 p.m. hour is only a stopgap while the network spends calendar 1949 preparing a new show to take the slot come January 1950.

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14 February: A singular love

Love is deeper than a surface or a sight. Tonight I repeat a very special Lux Radio Theater performance that becomes, as of now, our annual Valentine’s Day feature program—even if it wasn’t actually performed on Valentine’s Day.

 

TUNE IN TONIGHT:
Lux Radio Theater: The Enchanted Cottage (CBS, 3 September 1945)

McGuire and Young in the original film. (Photo: RKO.)

McGuire and Young in the original film. (Photo: RKO.)

But it should have been. And if even the least sentimental listener isn’t gripped or embraced by this tastefully arresting adaptation of the film hit—in which Robert Young, Dorothy McGuire, and Herbert Marshall reprise their remarkable film roles—he or she might be prone to charges of lacking soul.

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27 January: One new, one old brave world

Aldous Huxley in the 1950s. (National Portrait Gallery.)

Aldous Huxley in the 1950s. (National Portrait Gallery.)

Old-time network radio in 1956 may be rounding third and heading for home, in the phrase of baseball player-turned-evangelist Billy Sunday. But it hardly lacks for grand ideas even entering its terminal period—including resurrecting one of its finest hours of the past, launching tonight, and picking up for the most part where that distinguished predecessor program (Columbia Workshop) left off, even raising it a few by way of one of the most challenging adaptations in the history of the art.

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