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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: November ::
Shakespeare on the Radio
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.2094  Monday, 29 November 1999.

From:           Martin Jukovsky <
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Date:           Saturday, 27 Nov 1999 23:24:28 -0500
Subject:        Shakespeare on the Radio

The following messages appeared recently on the Old-Time Radio mailing
list (http://www.lofcom.com/).  Pardon the length, but I though a good
deal of this would be of interest here.

    --Martin Jukovsky

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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 16:33:07 -0500
From: 
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To: 
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Subject:  Shakespeare and OTR

I'm a scholar at work on an index of allusions from and references to
Shakespeare in OTR.  (This is part of a larger encyclopedia project on
Shakespeare and popular culture.)  I would appreciate the help of OTR
fans and experts on the list in compiling programs that feature
references to Shakespeare or his plays or that use lines or plots from
his plays.  I've already compiled information on the various radio
cycles of Shakespeare plays (CBS/Columbia's Shakespeare cycle,
Barrymore's Streamlined Shakespeare, Anthology, etc.).  Now I'm
interested in collecting allusions and references to Shakespeare in
radio shows.

Some examples of what I've found:

SUSPENSE:  "Othello," "Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble,"
THE LONE RANGER:  "The Barbary Coast, Part II"
GUNSMOKE:  "Shakespeare"
JACK BENNY:  "Romeo and Jello-ette"
FRED ALLEN SHOW or TOWN HALL TONIGHT:  "Ham Spade" (I have no date or
episode number for this)
THE SHADOW:  "Nightmare at Gaelsberry"
THE MAGNIFICENT MONTAGUE:  "Shakespeare on the Radio," "To Play Romeo"

Any other references you might recall I would deeply appreciate.
Contact me in the forum or at the e-mail address below.  I will make
sure to acknowledge everyone who offers help.

Many thanks!
Douglas Lanier

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Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 23:09:28 -0500
From: 
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To: 
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Subject:  Re: Shakespeare references on radio

I'm a scholar at work on an index of allusions from and references to
Shakespeare in OTR.  (This is part of a larger encyclopedia project on
Shakespeare and popular culture.)  I would appreciate the help of OTR
fans and experts on the list in compiling programs that feature
references to Shakespeare or his plays or that use lines or plots from
his plays.  I've already compiled information on the various radio
...

You should definitely track down a copy of the CBS RADIO WORKSHOP
episode "Hamlet Revisited: Another Point of View", 6/22/56.  William
Conrad (who also wrote the script) takes another look at Hamlet and
comes to the conclusion that Hamlet is the real villain of the story,
directly or indirectly causing more deaths than any other character in
the play.  Very well done.

From the same series is "An Interview with William Shakespeare",
broadcast 2/24/56, starring Hans Corned.

There was also a 30-minute version of "Macbeth" presented on LIGHTS OUT
in the late 1930s, either late 1938 or 1939.

Steve Lewis

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Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 16:15:51 -0500
From: "Andrea H. Selch" <
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To: 
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Subject:  shakespeare on radio

Look at Norman Corwin's "verse-brochure" for radio called "Seems Radio
is Here to Stay" (published in Thirteen by Corwin (New York: Holt,
1942).  This was written to celebrate the 20th anniversary of radio and
was broadcast by CBS's prestige program, The Columbia Worskhop, in April
1939.  It features a long passage from Hamlet.

I would also look into (that is, listen to) The Swift Premium Hour with
William Lyon "Billy" Phelps, a retired Yale professor. Perhaps also
Information Please! For more background on these two programs, see
Chapter 6 of Joan Shelley Rubin's *The Making of Middlebrow Culture"
(Chapel Hill, NC: Univ of North Carolina Press, 1992), which treats book
programs on commercial radio.

Also, both NBC and CBS ran series of Shakespeare's plays in the summer
of 1937. Erik Barnouw sees this as part of the two network's "battling
marquees."

Finally, Tony Wons, the host of the poetry and popular wisdom program,
Tony's Scrap Book, began his career at WLS around 1925 doing 45-minute
versions of Shakespeare's plays. He did all the voices himself! It is no
surprise he eventually collapsed from exhaustion.

--Andrea Selch

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Martin Jukovsky
Cambridge, Mass.
 

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