Today's Children

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Today's Children
A 1935 Pillsbury premium
Genre Soap opera
Running time15 minutes
Country of originUnited States
Home station NBC
Starring Irna Phillips
AnnouncerLouis Roen (1933-37)
Created by Irna Phillips
Written by Irna Phillips, Virginia Cooke (dialogue, second series)
Directed byAxel Gruenberg (1943-50)
Produced byCarl Wester (1943-50)
Recording studio Chicago, Illinois (1933-37, 1943-46), Hollywood, California (1946-50)
Original releaseSeptember 11, 1933 – June 2, 1950
No. of seriesTwo
Audio formatMono
Sponsored by Pillsbury (1933-37), General Mills (1943-50)

Today's Children was a name shared by two thematically related American radio soap operas created and written by Irna Phillips, the earliest of which was her first nationally networked series.


1933-1938 series

The original series, which debuted on September 11, 1933, revolved around the large Moran clan, headed by widow Mary "Mother" Moran, who was voiced by Phillips herself. Mother Moran had three adult children—Terry, Frances, and Eileen—whose troubles she dealt with using what promotional materials called "warm-hearted understanding and a common-sense philosophy." [1]

The creation of the series was a direct result of Phillips' resignation from her pioneering WGN series Painted Dreams when the station refused to allow her to take the program to a network. As a result of the station's decision, she created Children for NBC-owned WMAQ as a thinly disguised version of the earlier series. Mother Moran was based on Mother Moynahan the mother-in-law of WGN station manager Harry Gilman, and Lucy Gilman's grandmother. [2] The series ended on December 31, 1937, replaced in the new year by another Phillips creation, Woman in White . [3]

In 1937 a novel was published in book form by Pillsbury Flour Mills Company based on the radio program and given the same name ("Today's Children"). The copyright was held by the National Broadcasting Company. No author was cited in the book. The book was illustrated with line drawings depicting the action, as well as photographs of the leading characters in the show - identified by their character names only.


A 1935 Pillsbury advertising premium describes the characters as follows.

1943-1950 series

Six years following the end of the original series, Phillips created a new serial bearing the Today's Children title which began on December 13, 1943, over NBC, related to the original series only by its general dramatic themes and the setting of Chicago's Hester Street. The new serial followed the family of Mama and Papa Schultz, played Virginia Payne and Murray Forbes. [2]

Originally, the series was one of three Phillips-created serials which made up the General Mills Hour, with characters and plots crossing over between Children, The Guiding Light , and Woman In White. Although Phillips was integral in plotting the revived series, the dialogue was written by Virginia Cooke. The second version of Today's Children ended on June 2, 1950. [2]

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  1. "A Synopsis of the Story to Date" from "Today's Children" Family Album (1935, Pillsbury advertising premium).
  2. 1 2 3 Dunning, John (1998). On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 673–674. ISBN   0-19-507678-8 . Retrieved 2019-09-24.
  3. "Behind Scenes Scenes; About Programs and People". New York Times. 1937-12-26.