The Great Radio Soap Operas

The Great Radio Soap Operas

by Jim Cox


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This reference work contains exhaustive histories of 31 of network radio’s most durable soap operas on the air between 1930 and 1960. The soap operas covered are Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories, Backstage Wife, Big Sister, The Brighter Day, David Harum, Front Page Farrell, The Guiding Light, Hilltop House, Just Plain Bill, Life Can Be Beautiful, The Light of the World, Lora Lawton, Lorenzo Jones, Ma Perkins, One Man’s Family, Our Gal Sunday, Pepper Young’s Family, Perry Mason, Portia Faces Life, The Right to Happiness, Road of Life, The Romance of Helen Trent, Rosemary, The Second Mrs. Burton, Stella Dallas, This Is Nora Drake, Today’s Children, Wendy Warren and the News, When a Girl Marries, Young Doctor Malone, and Young Widder Brown.
Included for each series are the drama’s theme and story line, an in-depth focus on the major characters, and a listing of producers, directors, writers, announcers, casts, sponsors, ratings, and broadcast dates, times and networks. Profiles of 158 actors, actresses, creators and others who figured prominently in a serial’s success are also provided.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786405893
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 07/01/1999
Pages: 341
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 7.00(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jim Cox, a leading radio historian, is an award-winning author of numerous books on the subject. A retired college professor, he lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix

Preface 1

1 Aunt Jenny’s Real Life Stories (The Ultimate Conclusion) 7

2 Backstage Wife (The Perfectly Named Serial Heroine) 15

3 Big Sister (John’s Other Wife) 29

4 The Brighter Day (Falling Leaves) 37

5 David Harum (Bab-O’s Own Program) 44

6 Front Page Farrell (The Unforgettable Radio Drama) 52

7 The Guiding Light (The Longest Narrative Ever Told) 60

8 Hilltop House (To the Women of America) 71

9 Just Plain Bill (A Giant of the Air) 77

10 Life Can Be Beautiful (A Beam of Hope in a Dark World) 85

11 The Light of the World (An Eternal Beacon 94

12 Lora Lawton (Where So Few Dreams Come True) 98

13 Lorenzo Jones (More Smiles Than Tears) 105

14 Ma Perkins (Mother of the Air) 111

15 One Man’s Family (Bewildering Offspring) 133

16 Our Gal Sunday (Can This Girl…Find Happiness?) 145

17 Pepper Young’s Family (The House That Camay Built) 157

18 Perry Mason (Murder and Mayhem in the Afternoon) 170

19 Portia Faces Life (Courage, Spirit, Integrity) 179

20 The Right to Happiness (Ivory Soap's Own Story) 185

21 Road of Life (The Duz Program) 193

22 The Romance of Helen Trent (The Goddess of Goodness) 201

23 Rosemary (This Is You) 213

24 The Second Mrs. Burton (Second Wife) 221

25 Stella Dallas (Nothin’ but Trouble) 229

26 This is Nora Drake (A Modern Story) 241

27 Today’s Children (A Bridge Over Troubled Waters) 250

28 Wendy Warren and the News (Reports from the Women’s World) 258

29 When a Girl Marries (Follow Your Heart) 268

30 Young Doctor Malone (A Page from a New Chapter) 277

31 Young Widder Brown (The Age-Old Conflict) 286

Epilogue 299

Appendix A: Soap Opera Firsts, Lasts and Mosts 301

Appendix B: Adult Weekday Radio Serials by Year of Debut 303

Chapter Notes 307

Annotated Bibliography 311

Index 317

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