BW – EP90: The Hollywood People Behind Radio’s Baby Boomer Boom (1945 – 1954)

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In Breaking Walls episode 90 and on the second part of our western trilogy, dramatic radio goes from boom to bust in a nine year period after World War II, as a group of actors become radio legends, while the radio western grows up.

• William S. Paley’s Plan to Overtake NBC
• The West-Coast Hollywood Actors
• Robson, Yarborough, Lewis, and Hawk Larabee
• Escape Moves the Western Forward
• The Life and Death of Jeff Chandler
• CBS Becomes Number 1
• NBC Fires Back with New Western Shows
• Elliott Lewis, Suspense, On Stage, and Crime Classics
• The Birth of Gunsmoke
• Jack Johnstone, Jimmy Stewart, and The Six Shooter
• The Networks Pull the Plug in 1954
• 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

As well as passages from
• Broadcast Magazine — 12/22/1947, 2/16/1948, 3/1/1948
• Sponsor Magazine — 10/1/1951

On the Interview Front:
• Parley Baer, Harry Bartell, Lillian Buyeff, Mary Jane Croft, John Dehner, Lawrence Dobkin, Sam Edwards, Herb Ellis, Virginia Gregg, Jack Johnstone, Byron Kane, Elliott Lewis, Jeanette Nolan, and Herb Vigran were with SPERDVAC, the Society to Preserve and Encourage Radio Drama, Variety, and Comedy. For more information, please go to

• Hans Conried, Howard Duff, and Elliott Lewis with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC’s The Golden Age of Radio. The full interviews can be heard at

• Jack Benny, Hans Conried, Betty Lou Gerson, Elliott Lewis, and Lurene Tuttle were with Chuck Schaden. Chuck’s interviews from an over 39-year career can be listened to for free at

• Eve Arden, Elliott Lewis, and E. Jack Neuman were with John Dunning for his 1980s 71KNUS Radio program from Denver. Some of his interviews can be found at

• William Conrad, John Dehner, Rex Koury, Norman Macdonnell, John Meston, William N. Robson, and George Walsh were John Hickman of WAMU for his Gunsmoke documentary.

• Mr. Hickman was the longtime host of “Recollections.” A modern version of this program is heard each Sunday evening as “The Big Broadcast.” For more information, please go to

• William Conrad was also with collector Chris Lambesis for a December 15th, 1969 interview

• Jimmy Stewart was with Larry King in 1986

• And William S. Paley and Frank Stanton were interviewed for CBS’s 50th Anniversary program in 1977.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors:
• The Fireside Mystery Theatre

• The Mutual Audio Network

• Twelve Chimes, It’s Midnight

Find them all on itunes or at their links in the written credits

Selected Music Featured in Today’s Episode Was:
• I’ve Got the World on a String – by Frank Sinatra
• Pyramid of the Sun & Voodoo Dreams – by Les Baxter
• I’ll Be Seeing You – by The Harry James Orchestra
• Route 66 – by Nat King Cole

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

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

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