BW – EP101: Frontier Gentleman and The Saga of Belle Siddons (1958)

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In Breaking Walls episode 101, we spotlight the career of John Dehner during 1958. In February of that year, Dehner was cast in the title role of J.B. Kendall in Antony Ellis’ short-lived western, Frontier Gentleman.

We’ll focus on four episodes of the series which had a recurring character named Belle Siddons, a beautiful gambler and ex-Confederate spy.

Although Frontier Gentleman only aired for nine months, it has left a lasting impression on listeners in the years since.

• John Dehner: Artist and Disney Animator
• How John Dehner Got Into Radio
• Breaking Into the Inner Circle of CBS West-Coast Character Actors
• Television Usurps Radio Drama in the 1950s
• How Gunsmoke Influenced the Western Drama
• Antony Ellis
• CBS Radio Turns a Profit in 1957
• Frontier Gentleman Is Launched
• The Radio Landscape in February of 1958
• The Travels of J.B. Kendall
• Who Is Belle Siddons?
• Love and Honor
• Have Gun Will Travel Replaces Frontier Gentleman
• Radio Drama Dies
• Looking Ahead to the Return of Johnny Dollar
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The reading material used in today’s episode was:
• On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio – by John Dunning
• Radio Rides The Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929 – 1967 by Jack French and David S. Siegel
• Network Radio Ratings, 1932-1953 – by Jim Ramsburg

As well as articles from:
• U.S. Radio, 2/1958, and Broadcasting Magazine 2/101958, and 12/8/1958
On the interview front:
• Harry Bartell, Lilian Buyeff, John Dehner, Lawrence Dobkin, Sam Edwards, Virginia Gregg, Jack Johnstone, and Vic Perrin were with SPERDVAC, the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety, and Comedy. For more information, please go to

• Virginia Gregg was also with Chuck Schaden. Hear their full chat at

• William Conrad, John Dehner, Norman Macdonnell, and William N. Robson were with John Hickman. Mr. Hickman was the longtime host of WAMU’s Recollections. Today, this program is heard each Sunday evening as The Big Broadcast. For more information, please go to

• John Dehner and Vic Perrin were also heard with Neil Ross for KMPC in 1982.

• Vincent Price and William N Robson were with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC’s The Golden Age of Radio. These interviews can be heard at

• And Roberta Goodwin was with John Dunning for his 71KNUS program from Denver on February 7th, 1982.
Selected Music featured in today’s episode was:
• Hog of The Forsaken – By Michael Hurley
• Ghost Bus Tours – By George Fenton for High Spirits
• Sligo Creek – By Al Petteway and Debi Smith for Ken Burns’ The National Parks—America’s Best Idea
• Get a Job – By The Silhouettes
• Someone to Watch Over Me – By Rosemary Squires & The Ken Thorne Orchestra
• Young at Heart – By Frank Sinatra
• Guess Things Happen That Way – By Johnny Cash
Special thanks to our sponsors!
The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society

The Mutual Audio Network

Hey It’s Jali Entertainment
A Special Thank you to:
Tony Adams
Ryan Kramer
Barry Nadler
Christian Neuhaus
Aimee Pavy
Terry Wallace
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