BW – EP104: Orson Welles’ Radio Career From Pearl Harbor to the End of Radio’s Peak (1941—1948)

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In Breaking Walls Episode 104 we focus on Orson Welles’ radio career from Pearl Harbor through the end of radio’s peak, and pick up where we left off in Breaking Walls episode 79.


• Orson Returns to Radio In the Fall of 1941
• The Magnificent Ambersons Enters Productions
• December 7th, 1941
• Orson and Norman Corwin Collaborate
• Orson is Named Pan-American Goodwill Ambassador
• It’s All True and Brazil
• Problems with RKO
• Endings Changed, Others Destroyed
• Orson gets fired—Returns to the United States in the fall of 1942
• Ceiling Unlimited And Hello Americans
• Jane Eyre
• Jack Benny Gets Sick, Orson filles in as host
• The Mercury Wonder Show
• Rita
• Marriage, again
• Busy Radio Days in 1944
• The Orson Welles Almanac
• Campaigning for FDR
• Donovan’s Brain
• D Day
• Election Day—1944
• Rita and Orson meet Rebecca
• Christmas 1944
• This is My Best
• Our President is Dead
• More Collaborations with Corwin
• The War Ends
• The Stranger
• Around the World in Eighty Days
• The Mercury Summer Theater
• The Lady From Shanghai
• Divorce
• Macbeth
• Europe and the end for Welles on American radio


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The reading material used in today’s episode was:
• Citizen Welles by Frank Brady
• This is Orson Welles by Welles and Peter Bogdanovich
• On the Air — By John Dunning
• Discovering Orson Welles by Jonathan Rosenbaum
• Orson Welles on the Air, at


On the interview front:
• Orson Welles was with Peter Bogdonavich, Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Leslie MeGahey, Dinah Shore, and Huw Wheldon.

• Byron Kane and Jeanette Nolan were with SPERDVAC, the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety, and Comedy. For more information, please go to

• Norman Corwin was with Chuck Schaden. Hear the full chat at

• Howard Duff was with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC’s The Golden Age of Radio. Hear their full chat at

• Robert Wise was with Leslie MeGahey.

• Jack Benny spoke with Jack Carney.

• Lurene Tuttle spoke with Same Time, Same Station in 1972.

• Agnes Moorehead was with Dick Cavett in 1973.


Selected music featured in today’s episode was:

• Perfida — By Jimmy Dorsey and his Orchestra
• The Klezmer’s Wedding — By Andre Moisan
• The Third Man — By Anton Karas
• Hooray for Hollywood — By Don Swan
• The Battle Cry of Freedom — By Jacqueline Schwab
• Star of Bethlehem — Conducted by John Williams


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A special thank you to Ted Davenport and Jerry Haendiges: two radio show collectors who helped supply material for this episode. They’re who the large retailers go to.

Ted’s got a Facebook group –
For Jerry, please visit

I’d also like to thank Walden Hughes and John and Larry Gassman of SPERDVAC –


A Special Thank you to:
Tony Adams
Briana Isaac
Ryan Kramer
Barry Nadler
Christian Neuhaus
Aimee Pavy
Terry Wallace


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