BW – EP80: Forecast—The Most Important Forgotten Series in Radio History

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Question? What do starlets Marlene Dietrich, Kay Thompson, Margaret Sullivan, and Loretta Young have in common? How about writers and directors Norman Corwin, Helen Deutsch, and Bill Spier. How about Danny Kaye, Mel Allen, Gerald Mohr, Elliot Lewis, Byron Kane, Lurene Tuttle, Paula Winslowe, Joseph Kearns, and Arthur Q. Bryan?

Answer: They guest-starred, grew, or launched their careers on CBS’s Forecast!

Forecast was a summer replacement series for the Lux Radio Theatre which ran for two seasons in 1940 and 1941. It ushered in an era of show pilots for public viewing and helped give rise to countless actors, writers, and directors, as well as two huge shows: Suspense & Duffy’s Tavern. On Breaking Walls Episode 80, we present an in-depth look at Forecast featuring interviews, insights, and episode moments.

• Why would Forecast have come to the airwaves in the first place?
• Hear CBS head William S. Paley’s insights on programming
• How Alfred Hitchcock helped launch the famed mystery show, Suspense
• Bill Spier: Music critic, turned producer and director of mystery
• How Elliott Lewis got his start on Forecast
• Mel Allen & Duffy’s Tavern: Where the Elite Meet To Eat
• Norman Corwin’s Two pieces for Forecast that helped catapult his career
• How radio actor Byron Kane got his first role on Forecast
• Jim Backus & the Class of 1941
* Hopalong Cassidy
• The Country Lawyer: One of the most experimental radio broadcasts of its time
• An all african-american jubilee to close Forecast

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To support the show:

Special thanks to our Sponsors:
• Twelve Chimes, It’s Midnight

• The Fireside Mystery Theatre

The reading material used in today’s episode was:
The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning
and Forecast: Is there a Sponsor in a House by Martin Grams Jr.

Featured in today’s episode were interviews with:
• Bill Spier and Mel Allen for Dick Bertel & Ed Corcoran’s WTIC Golden Age of Radio program, who’s episodes can be found at

• Elliott Lewis and Byron Kane, for the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety, and Comedy, which can be found at

• and Jim Backus and Norman Corwin with Chuck Schaden, who’s interviews can be streamed for free at Norman Corwin was also interviewed by Michael James Kacey for his DVD The Poet Laureate of Radio: An Interview with Norman Corwin, which you can pick up on Amazon.

Selected Music featured in today’s Episode was:
• My Blue Heaven by Glenn Miller
• Begin the Beguine & Stardust by Artie Shaw
• Alcolba Azul, by Elliot Goldenthal
The Battle Cry for Freedom by Jaqueline Schwab for the Civil War, by Ken Burns
Falling played by Michael Silvermann
• Catch a Falling Star, by Perry Como

A Special Thank you to:
Ryan Kramer
Christian Neuhaus
Rebecca Shield

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