BW – EP89: The Birth of The Adult Radio Western (1929 – 1945)

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In Breaking Walls episode 89, we explore the birth of the dramatic radio western show, specifically targeted to adult audiences. This is the first of a three-part mini-series on adult western radio shows.

• Back to the Very Beginning
• What is a Western Show?
• The Birth of Western Dramatic Radio Shows
• Empire Builders
• Death Valley Days
• The Western show on local stations
• …And in syndication
• Lux Presents Hollywood
• The Triumph and Tragedy of Buck Jones
• Americana and the Cavalcade of America
• Howard McNear and Romance of the Ranchos
• The First Western Soap Opera
• The War Ends and the Western show grows up
• What’s Next?

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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
• Hello Everybody! The Dawn of American Radio by Anthony Rudel &
• The Network by Scott Woolley

On the interview front:
• Don Ameche, Joan Fontaine, Hans Conried, Rudy Vallée were with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC’s The Golden Age of Radio. The full interviews can be heard at

• Agnes Moorehead and Anne Seymour were with Chuck Schaden. Chuck’s interviews from an over 39-year career can be listened to for free at

• John Dunkel and William N. Robson were with John Hickman for his WAMU program “Recollections.” A modern version of this program is heard each Sunday evening as “The Big Broadcast.” For more information, please go to

• Ruth Woodman was with Ida Blackburn in 1961 for KOCO. The full video clip can be seen on the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Youtube page –

• and journalist Robert Bendiner was with Westinghouse for their 1970 50th Anniversary program.

Special thanks to our Sponsors:
• The Fireside Mystery Theatre

• The Mutual Audio Network

Selected music featured in today’s episode was:
• The Colorado Trail Opus 28 by Elizabeth Hainen –
• The Last Rose of Summer by Tom Waits
• Morning Prayer by Kenneth Little Hawk
• All Mortal Flesh Be Silent by Deirdre Fay
• Across the Wide Missouri, by Mathias Gohl, Molly Mason, Jay Unger, and Andy Stein
• Jefferson and Liberty by John Owen Lardinois
• Amazing Grace by Leta Rector
• Across the Alley from the Alamo by the Mills Brothers

I’d also like to thank Walden Hughes and John and Larry Gassman. Listen to their shows on the Yesterday USA radio network.

A Special Thank you to:
Ryan Kramer
Christian Neuhaus
Aimee Pavy
Terry Wallace

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