Information And Help To The New Collector - Part VII


by Terry G.G. Salomonson

Serial: adj. 1. Of, forming, or arranged in a series: serial numbers. 2. Published or produced in installments, as a novel or television dramas. 3. Pertaining to such publication or production. -n A literary or dramatic work published or produced in installments.

The definition above explains most of the radio programs that have been developed over the last 60 years. From many of the early dramatic broadcasts grew the basics of the "daytime female serial dramas" and the "light, homey, or love interest dramas." We must also remember, that yesterday's radio soap operas are nothing like today's television soap operas.

Many serialized programs never made it beyond the local radio station. Some made it to the national level and died quickly. A few stations, feeling they had a real powerful program that would generate a great deal of revenue, refused to allow the program to leave their total control. Thus, it was not uncommon for the real talent to leave the program and start a new series under a new name, leaving the station with the former program in name only. This happened more than any of us are aware of.

It occurred with one of the earliest and longest running radio programs. The program first hit the air in 1926.

Charles Correll & Freeman Gosden had been working together since 1920 when they hit upon a great radio idea. Their first broadcast of SAM 'N' HENRY was on 01/12/26 at WGN Chicago. They were about to go national a little over two years later when the station, owner of the name SAM 'N' HENRY, refused to allow them to use the name.

Changing stations and the name of the program, AMOS 'N' ANDY premiered on WMAQ in Chicago on 03/19/28. WMAQ was to become the Chicago outlet for CBS. The program was to change networks and started broadcasting on 08/19/29 over NBC-Red at 11:00 p.m. for Pepsodent. Final program aired 11/25/60 as THE AMOS AND ANDY MUSIC HALL.

SAM 'N' HENRY, and later AMOS 'N' ANDY, was the start of radio serials. CBS started serial programming with THE TRUE STORY HOUR in 1927. NBC quickly followed with a 30 minute serial REAL FOLKS beginning on 08/06/28. ROMANCE ISLE also started around this time on the same network.

Here is where the beginning of soap operas may become confusing. Marion & Jim Jordan (that's right, FIBBER MCGEE & MOLLY), began a new 30 minute radio program at 5:00 p.m. over WENR in Chicago starting on 06/07/29. The broadcast was called THE SMITH FAMILY. On 03/04/31 the 83rd broadcast moved to WMAQ NBC-Red. The program would move back to WENR with broadcast #135 on 11/08/31.

This was a family oriented program focusing on an upper middle class family. In March of 1930 sponsorship was offered by The National Tea Company. Program #156 on 04/03/32 was the last broadcast.

Marion Jordan did not consider this to be a soap, but was it? It could possibly have been the first true soap.

In 1929, CBS also started a progam called TRUE ROMANCES. Love was certainly starting to fill the airwaves.

11/20/29 was the start of THE RISE OF THE GOLDBERGS over WJZ NBC-Blue. The 15 minute program aired at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday and in the 1930-1931 season aired Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Starting on 07/13/31 and continuing through the 1934 season it became a nightly serial. Leaving the air for several years, it again resumed in 1937 over the CBS network for Oxydol and was heard concurrently on the Mutual network for a short time. The program left the air in 1945. Was this the first true soap (being sponsored by a soap company)?

In 1930, over NBC, several more serial/family/soap type programs began: UNCLE ABE AND DAVID, RAISING JUNIOR, MOONSHINE AND HONEYSUCKLE, and CARELESS LOVE.

WGN Chicago started broadcasting PAINTED DREAMS. Created by Irna Phillips, who also appeared on the program, it evolved from an earlier serial called SUE AND IRENE. WGN, as with SAM 'N' HENRY earlier, controlled and owned the program. Irna Phillips lost control of the program to the station after it turned down an offer to carry it nationwide. (Will they never learn?) She left for NBC and created TODAY'S CHILDREN. Starting on 10/10/33 PAINTED DREAMS finally did air over CBS but ended in 1934. This was considered by many to be the first true soap opera.

1930 was also the beginning of EASY ACES which first aired on KMBC, Kansas City. Appearing on the CBS network starting on 03/01/32 for Lavoris, sponsorship eventually went to American Home Products on 10/10/33. The show's final broadcasts were in 1944.

1930 was also the year that CLARA, LU 'N' EM appeared for the first time over WGN in June. It would go to NBC starting on 01/27/31, and pick up sponsorship of Super Suds. Colgate sponsorship on NBC-Blue began on 02/15/32. Super Suds was again sponsoring by 1934. Louise Starkey appeared as Clara, Isobel Carothers as Lu, and Helen King as Em.

1931 offered DADDY AND ROLLO, LOVE STORIES on CBS. MYRT AND MARGE, also on CBS, started evenings on 11/02/31. It would switch to daytime programming on 01/04/37 and continue until 1942. MARY AND BOB arrived on NBC.

By 1932, the "daytime female serial dramas" and the "light, homey, or love interest dramas" were starting to become more and more popular. NBC-Blue introduced ROMANCE, and SHEER ROMANCE. Also on the Blue BETTY AND BOB began on 10/10/32 for General Mills.

ONE MAN'S FAMILY started over KGO, San Francisco on 04/29/32 as a local show. It began on 04/13/32 as a Pacific regional show and finally on the NBC network East Coast starting 05/17/33.

VIC AND SADE ran as a sustained program between 06/29/32 and 11/03/34 over NBC. Procter & Gamble started sponsorship on 11/03/34. The show would eventually air over the NBC Red and Blue networks, and later on NBC and CBS simultaneously ending on 09/29/44.

Originally called BILL THE BARBER, JUST PLAIN BILL began on CBS 09/19/32 and ending in 1955.

One of the first transcribed soaps, JUDY AND JANE, started on 10/10/32 for the J.A. Folger company. This program aired over NBC in the Midwest only.

MARIE, THE LITTLE FRENCH PRINCESS was CBS's first daytime serial beginning 03/07/33, and lasting until 1935. It was sponsored by Louis Phillips. TODAY'S CHILDREN, Irna Phillips answer to losing PAINTED DREAMS, began on NBC-Blue 09/11/33 and was sponsored by Pillsbury.

THE ROMANCE OF HELEN TRENT for CBS covered the years from 07/24/33 until 06/24/60.

Starting on 08/14/33 at WLW Cincinnati, MA PERKINS had one of the longest runs of any soap. NBC-Red picked up the program on 12/04/33 and after 7,065 daily episodes it left the air on 11/25/60. It was sometimes referred to as OXYDOL'S OWN MA PERKINS.

Beginning with 1934, the listing per year of new soaps become longer and longer until 1940. I will give the starting and ending dates of each program, as I know them. This is not the total listing of soaps. Remember, many soaps were local. As an example, Joan Vitez and Harriett Russell Livingstone starred in ANN WORTH, HOUSEWIFE. Popular in the Detroit, MI area, but unknown across the rest of the country. How many of the following titles do you remember?


























Additional serial titles from over the years:


If there is an area of information that you, the new or well established collector, would like to see in this series, please feel free to write me. Any questions, comments, or suggestions will be carefully considered. I can be reached through this internet web site or the following addresses:

P.O. Box 347
Howell, MI 48844-0347


Copyright (c) 1988 - 1998 by Terry G.G. Salomonson. All rights reserved.

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