|Genre||Dramatic anthology; film adaptations|
|Running time||1 hour|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Hosted by||Howard Dietz|
|Starring||Hollywood movie stars|
|Directed by||Max Loeb|
|Produced by||Raymond Katz|
|Original release||October 14, 1949 – December 27, 1952|
The MGM Theater of the Air was a one-hour radio dramatic anthology in the United States. It was broadcast on WMGM in New York City and syndicated to other stations via electrical transcription October 14, 1949 – December 7, 1951. It was carried on Mutual January 5-December 27, 1952.
A 1950 trade publication described the program as a "Big time production ... featuring adaptions of MGM and other screen properties with top-ranking names of screen and theater."
Development of The MGM Theater of the Air was a departure from the parent company's previous practices. An article in a 1949 issue of Billboard noted that MGM "thruout [sic] the years has extended scant co-operation on the program level" to WMGM (which had been WHN)."Theater of the Air" and five other programs were set to be produced by MGM for broadcast on WMGM and KMGM (an FM station in Hollywood) and syndicated to other stations. The programs totaled about six hours of air time per week.
Beginning September 1, 1949, eight programs (including The Story of Dr. Kildare, The Adventures of Maisie , Crime Does Not Pay and The Hardy Family)were available to "big stations and little stations," as promoted in an ad for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Radio Attractions. The programs attracted interest from stations even before the official date when they would be available. Between 150 and 200 stations sought information about the shows "within a few days of the initial public announcement." An initial estimate was "The eight programs will cost MGM close to $1,500,000 per year for production and talent charges."
A reviewer of an early episode of The MGM Theater of the Air commented, "In slickness of production this hour-long program compares very favorably with many of its network brothers."
The MGM Theater of the Air and other MGM-produced programs moved from syndication to network distribution the week of December 31, 1951. Mutual began carrying the MGM productions Woman of the Year (based on the movie of the same name), Crime Does Not Pay, The Black Museum , The Story of Dr. Kildare, MGM Musical Comedy Theater of the Air, The Modern Adventures of Casanova, The Gracie Fields Show, The Adventures of Maisie, The Hardy Family and The MGM Theater of the Air.
Broadcasting magazine reported on Mutual's "extensive promotion campaign" for the MGM package: "The campaign was launched via distribution -- to advertisers, agencies and radio editors -- of boxes of gingerbread men in the shape of Mutual's 'Mr. Plus' trademarks and MGM's 'Leo the Lion,' along with details of the Mutual-MGM program tie-up."Despite the network's promotional efforts, however, the program lasted only one year on Mutual.
By its nature, The MGM Theater of the Air had no regular cast. Different MGM movie stars of the era were featured each week. They included Marlene Dietrich,Ronald Reagan, Joan Bennett, George Murphy and Nina Foch.
Howard Dietz, vice-president of MGM, was the program's host,with Carey Wilson as substitute host. Ed Stokes was the announcer, with Bob Williams as his substitute. Marx Loeb was the director. Raymond Katz was the producer. Joel Herron was the music conductor.
Joseph Cheshire Cotten Jr. was an American film, stage, radio and television actor. Cotten achieved prominence on Broadway, starring in the original stage productions of The Philadelphia Story and Sabrina Fair.
Dr. James Kildare is a fictional American medical doctor, originally created in the 1930s by the author Frederick Schiller Faust under the pen name Max Brand. Shortly after the character's first appearance in a magazine story, Paramount Pictures used the story and character as the basis for the 1937 film Internes Can't Take Money, starring Joel McCrea as Jimmie Kildare. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) subsequently acquired the rights and featured Kildare as the primary character in a series of American theatrical films in the late 1930s and early 1940s. Several of these films were co-written by Faust, who also continued to write magazine stories and novels about the character until the early 1940s. Kildare was portrayed by Lew Ayres in nine MGM films.(Ayres was drafted in 1942 and served as a non-combatant medic until 1946.) Later films set in the same hospital featured Dr. Gillespie. Ayres returned to voice the Kildare character in an early 1950s radio series. The 1961-1966 Dr. Kildare television series made a star of Richard Chamberlain and gave birth to a comic book and comic strip based on the show. A short-lived reboot of the TV series, Young Doctor Kildare, debuted in 1972 and ran for 24 episodes.
Ann Sothern was an American actress who worked on stage, radio, film, and television, in a career that spanned nearly six decades. Sothern began her career in the late 1920s in bit parts in films. In 1930, she made her Broadway stage debut and soon worked her way up to starring roles. In 1939, MGM cast her as Maisie Ravier, a brash yet lovable Brooklyn showgirl. The character, based on the Maisie short stories by Nell Martin, proved to be popular and spawned a successful film series and a network radio series.
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Counterspy was an espionage drama radio series that aired on the NBC Blue Network and Mutual from May 18, 1942, to November 29, 1957.
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Ford Theatre, spelled Ford Theater for the radio version and known as The Ford Television Theatre for the TV version, is a radio and television anthology series broadcast in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s. At various times the television series appeared on all three major television networks, while the radio version was broadcast on two separate networks and on two separate coasts. Ford Theatre was named for its sponsor, the Ford Motor Company, which had an earlier success with its concert music series, The Ford Sunday Evening Hour (1934–42).
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The Screen Guild Theater is a radio anthology series broadcast from 1939 until 1952 during the Golden Age of Radio. Leading Hollywood stars performed adaptations of popular motion pictures. Originating on CBS Radio, it aired under several different titles including The Gulf Screen Guild Show, The Gulf Screen Guild Theater, The Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater and The Camel Screen Guild Players. Fees that would ordinarily have been paid to the stars and studios were instead donated to the Motion Picture Relief Fund, and were used for the construction and maintenance of the Motion Picture Country House.
Author's Playhouse is an anthology radio drama series created by Wynn Wright, that aired on Mutual in 1940–1941, and on the NBC Blue Network from March 5, 1941, until October 1941. It then moved to the NBC Red Network where it was heard until June 4, 1945. Philip Morris was the sponsor between 1942 and 1943.
Hollywood Star Playhouse is a radio dramatic anthology series in the United States. It was broadcast April 24, 1950-February 15, 1953, appearing on CBS, ABC and NBC over that span.
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Hollywood Star Time was a radio interview program in the United States. It was initially broadcast on 20 Pacific Coast and Rocky Mountain stations beginning February 28, 1944. Later the 15-minute program was carried nationwide on the Blue Network May 29, 1944 – November 24, 1944.
For the interview program of the same name, see Hollywood Star Time .
Stars Over Hollywood was an anthology series of "original comedies and light dramas" produced by Revue Productions. Revue's first television series, it was a filmed in Hollywood and aired on the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) from September 6, 1950 to August 29, 1951. There were a total of 50 episodes.
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Favorite Story is an American old-time radio dramatic anthology. It was nationally syndicated by the Ziv Company from 1946 to 1949. The program was "advertised as a show that 'stands head and shoulders above the finest programs on the air'". Originating at KFI in Los Angeles, California, Favorite Story apparently was not related to the similarly named My Favorite Story that ran on KNX in Los Angeles earlier.