CBS Radio Mystery Theater

CBS Radio Mystery Theater (a.k.a. Radio Mystery Theater and Mystery Theater, sometimes abbreviated as CBSRMT) is a radio drama series created by Himan Brown that was broadcast on CBS Radio Network affiliates from 1974 to 1982, and later in the early 2000s was repeated by the NPR satellite feed.

The format was similar to that of classic old time radio shows like The Mysterious Traveler and The Whistler, in that the episodes were introduced by a host (E. G. Marshall) who provided pithy wisdom and commentary throughout. Unlike the hosts of those earlier programs, Marshall is fully mortal, merely someone whose heightened insight and erudition plunge the listener into the world of the macabre (in a manner similar to that of "The Man in Black" on yet another old time radio program, Suspense).

As with Himan Brown's prior Inner Sanctum Mysteries, each episode of CBS Radio Mystery Theater opened and closed with the ominous sound of a creaking crypt door, accompanied by Marshall's disturbing utterance, "Come in!… Welcome. I'm E. G. Marshall." This was followed by one of Marshall's other catchphrases, usually either "The sound of suspense" or "The fear you can hear." At the conclusion, the door would swing shut, preceded by Marshall's classic sign off, "Until next time, pleasant… dreams?" Marshall hosted the program from January 1974 until February 1982, when actress Tammy Grimes took over for the series' final season, maintaining the format.

CBSRMT was broadcast each weeknight, at first with a new program each night. Later in the run three or four episodes were new originals each week, and the remainder repeats. There were 1,399 original episodes. The total number of broadcasts, including repeats, was 2,969. Each episode was allotted a full hour of airtime, but after commercials and newscasts, episodes typically ran for around 45 minutes.

When repeats of the show were broadcast in the early 2000s, Himan Brown re-recorded E.G. Marshall's original host segments.

CBS Radio Mystery Theater
CBS Radio Mystery Theater
Logo of CBS Radio Mystery Theater
Other namesMystery Theater
GenreRadio drama
Running time45 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s)English
Home stationCBS Radio Network
Hosted byE. G. Marshall (1974-1982)
Tammy Grimes (1982)
Created byHiman Brown
Written bySam Dann, Ian Martin, Elspeth Eric, Bob Juhren, Henry Slesar
Directed byHiman Brown
Produced byHiman Brown
Original releaseJanuary 6, 1974 – December 31, 1982
No. of episodes1399
Audio formatMonaural sound

Target audience

The program was pitched, at least initially, to an audience old enough to remember classic radio; Brown was a legend amongst radio drama enthusiasts for his work on Inner Sanctum Mysteries, The Adventures of Nero Wolfe and other shows dating back to the 1930s. Even young characters in early episodes of CBSRMT tended to have names popular a generation earlier, such as Jack, George, Phyllis and Mary. Many scripts, especially those by Ian Martin, showed a tin ear for 1970s youth slang ("Don't let her give you no run-around, dad!";[1] "I think bein' around here's gonna be kicks!";[2] "I dig a man who's far out!"[3]). As late as 1981, Sam Dann's scripts included uncomfortable or skeptical references to "women's lib", a term that was by then around a decade out of date. In short, Brown made no attempt to broaden the program's appeal beyond the older generation that had been raised on radio.

The debut of CBSRMT, only a few months after the American Graffiti phenomenon, coincided with the wave of 1950s nostalgia that swept young America during the mid to late 1970s. The program quickly developed a very large fan base among teenage and young adult listeners, in addition to its older, target audience.

Music

Each show began with host E. G. Marshall intoning, "The CBS Radio Mystery Theater presents…", followed by the sound of a creaking door slowly opening, seeming to invite listeners in for the evening's adventure. Three descending notes from the double basses introduced Marshall's sinister intonation, "Come in… Welcome." A stopped horn sting and timpani roll, then: "I'm E.G. Marshall." A low, eerie theme played by the bass clarinet followed as Marshall introduced the program. At the end of each show, Marshall delivered his classic signoff, "… inviting you to return to our Mystery Theater for another adventure in the macabre. Until next time, pleasant…dreams?" The door then creaked and slammed shut, followed by a repeat of the show's ominous theme music.

The opening and closing themes for CBSRMT are derived from an abbreviated form of the music from the classic Twilight Zone episode "Two", composed by Nathan Van Cleave. Series listeners will immediately recognize the "RMT Theme" beginning about 1:35 on the "Two" soundtrack selection from the Twilight Zone CD boxed set. Other background tracks from the Twilight Zone music library, to which CBS owned full rights, were featured repeatedly in episodes of CBSRMT. The theme song and the other music was also previously used in the 1950s and 1960s in other CBS-owned radio and television dramas (Perry Mason; Rawhide; The Fugitive; Gunsmoke; Have Gun Will Travel; Suspense; Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar; etc.), in addition to Twilight Zone, as it was all owned by CBS.

Scope

Despite the show's title, Brown expanded its scope beyond mysteries to include horror, science fiction,[4] historical drama, westerns and comedy, along with seasonal dramas at Christmas: A Christmas Carol, starring host Marshall as Scrooge, aired every Christmas Eve except 1974 and 1982.

In addition to original stories, there were adaptations of classic tales by such writers as O. Henry, Ambrose Bierce, Algernon Blackwood, Wilkie Collins, Arthur Conan Doyle, Charles Dickens, H. Rider Haggard, Oscar Wilde and others. Brown typically devoted the first full week of each January to a five- or seven-part series on a common theme. These included a full week of stories by an American writer, (Edgar Allan Poe in 1975, Mark Twain in 1976); week-long adaptations of classic novels (The Last Days of Pompeii in 1980, Les Miserables in 1982); and original dramas about historical figures (Nefertiti in 1979, Alexander the Great in 1981).

Radio historian John Dunning[5] argued the CBSRMT scripts varied widely in quality and concept. Many of the hour-long scripts were padded with filler, Dunning suggested, and could have been worked better as 30-minute programs, while other episodes suffered due to having been written by scribes unfamiliar with the unique needs of radio drama.

Notable performers

Prominent actors from radio's heydey, TV and film performed on the series. Notable regulars included Mason Adams, Kevin McCarthy, Arnold Moss, John Beal, Howard Da Silva, Keir Dullea, Morgan Fairchild, Veleka Gray, Jack Grimes, Fred Gwynne, Larry Haines, Paul Hecht, Celeste Holm, Kim Hunter, Mercedes McCambridge, Tony Roberts, Norman Rose, Alexander Scourby, Marian Seldes and Kristoffer Tabori, and a then-unknown John Lithgow.

The series introduced a new generation of listeners to many of the great old time radio voices, including such distinctive performers as Joan Banks, Jackson Beck, Virginia Gregg, Victor Jory, Roberta Maxwell, Marvin Miller, Santos Ortega, William Redfield, Alan Reed, Rosemary Rice, Anne Seymour, Les Tremayne, Lurene Tuttle and Janet Waldo.

A number of well-known veteran and future stars made guest appearances, including

Actors were paid union scale at around $73.92 per show. Writers earned a flat rate of $350 per show. Production took place with assembly-line precision. Brown met with actors at 9:00 a.m. for the first script reading. After he assigned roles, recording began. By noon, the recording of the actors was complete, and Brown handed everyone checks. Post-production was done in the afternoon. The program was taped at the CBS Studio Building, 49 East 52nd Street in Studio G, formerly Studio 27 (renamed in honor of Arthur Godfrey whose programs originated in the building for decades).

Episodes

Below are lists of episodes for each of the nine seasons of CBS Radio Mystery Theater.

Episode list # of episodes
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1974 season) 193
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1975 season) 212
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1976 season) 170
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1977 season) 186
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1978 season) 176
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1979 season) 106
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1980 season) 97
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1981 season) 132
List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1982 season) 127

Awards

In 1974, CBSRMT won a Peabody Award,[6] and in 1990 it was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.[7] On May 6, 1979, Himan Brown was presented a Broadcast Preceptor Award by San Francisco State University for his contributions with the CBSRMT.

Continuing popularity

From June 3 to November 27, 1998, CBSRMT was rebroadcast over CBS radio affiliates and, in 2000, on some NPR stations, in both cases, Himan Brown replaced the original introduction and narrations of E. G. Marshall.

CBSRMT remains perennially popular with collectors to this day, with numerous websites, discussion forums and a Usenet newsgroup devoted to trading MP3 files of episodes. Many of the episodes were taped with original local and network news and commercials embedded, providing an interesting insight into the period when the show first aired. While some may judge CBSRMT as inferior to similar shows from the past such as Inner Sanctum Mysteries, The Mysterious Traveler, and Suspense, which were produced in a 30-minute format, such comparisons must take into account the sheer prodigiousness of production by Brown and his players. At the rate of one program per day, it would take nearly four years to listen to each of the 1,399 hour-long episodes of CBSRMT.

Books

The episode "Children of Death", broadcast February 5, 1976, written by Sam Dann, served as the basis for Dann's 1979 novel The Third Body, published by Popular Library. Another of his stories for Mystery Theater, "Goodbye Carl Erich" from the 1975 season, was also turned into a novel by the same name, first published in 1985.

In 1976, a paperback anthology with three short stories adapted from the series' radio scripts was published by Pocket Library, Strange Tales from the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, edited and with a foreword by Himan Brown.

In January 1999, McFarland & Company, Inc. published The CBS Radio Mystery Theater, a book documenting the history of the program, including an episode guide. Fully indexed, the 475-page book was authored by Gordon Payton and Martin Grams, Jr. It was published in both hardcover and trade paperback.

In October 2006, Stahl Consolidated Manufacturing Corporation published a third book about Mystery Theater, examining the series' value today in education and instruction, The CBS Radio Mystery Theater As An Educational Degree, authored by Michael Anthony Stahl of Huntsville, AL. 180 pages, the hardcover was also selected for inclusion into the libraries of The University of Georgia,(one of the few venues with a complete collection of the series from the CBS vaults) as well as included into their Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection of the Film and Television Library in Summer, 2009.

All three books were reviewed in an article by Roger Sobin in Old-Time Detection Magazine in the Spring 2008 issue.

Listen to

  • To listen to all 1,399 episodes, go to www.CBSRMT.com, and you can choose episodes by the year they were broadcast. The site has an episode guide that gives a description of each episode.
  • There was once a 24/7/365 continuous stream of *CBSRMT* episodes on a station at LIVE365 internet radio, but this no longer exists as LIVE365 has gone out of business as of Jan. 31, 2016. Live365's intellectual property was purchased in July 2016, and relaunched on 23 May 2017, but no information is currently available as to whether or not the *CBSRMT* stream will return. However, there are a variety of Old Time Radio (OTR) Stations online that play CBSRMT episodes very frequently. Many OTR stations can be found on TuneIn, Xiia, Audials, and many more online radio websites.
  • On-demand episodes of CBSRMT can also be found in podcast formats on various podcast apps. PlayerFM, TuneIn and Stitcher are just a few sites where episodes of CBSRMT can be played on-demand.
  • CBSRMT Apps can be found in the Google Play Store and the App Store. These series of free and paid apps are dedicated only to CBSRMT, and each volume usually contains approximately 50 episodes.
  • Internet archive has archives of all the episodes.

See also

References

  1. ^ Ghost Plane, originally broadcast September 12, 1975
  2. ^ Don't Let It Choke You, May 21, 1975
  3. ^ The Shock of His Life, February 19, 1979
  4. ^ "Free Audio SF - CBS Radio Mystery Theater". Hard SF. Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
  5. ^ Dunning, John. On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998. ISBN 0-19-507678-8
  6. ^ "PDF list of winners at Peabody Award site" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-26. Retrieved 2009-08-27.
  7. ^ "Award testimonial at RHOF site". Archived from the original on 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2009-08-27.

External links

Bob Bailey (actor)

Bob Bailey (born Robert Bainter Bailey, June 13, 1913, Toledo, Ohio – August 13, 1983 Lancaster, California) was an American actor who performed mostly on radio but also appeared in films.

One of Bailey's earliest roles on radio was that of the title character in the comedy serial Mortimer Gooch (1936–37) on CBS.:366 In the early 1940s Bailey was regularly featured on network radio programs originating from Chicago. He played the boyfriend of the title character's sister in That Brewster Boy and the father of the title character in Meet Corliss Archer. He played Bob Jones in Kitty Keene, Inc..He was signed in 1943 by 20th Century-Fox and appeared in seven feature films; the first two (in which he was most prominent) starred Laurel and Hardy. After the studio failed to renew Bailey's one-year contract, he returned to radio.

Starting in 1946, Bailey starred as freelance detective George Valentine in the radio drama Let George Do It, but he is best remembered as the title character in the long-running radio series Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar. The program ran from 1949 to 1962 (it and Suspense were the last CBS radio drama series on the air until the CBS Radio Mystery Theater began in 1974) and featured the exploits of "America's fabulous freelance insurance investigator"; Bailey starred as Johnny from 1955 to 1960 and wrote the script for the December 22, 1957 episode "The Carmen Kringle Matter" using the pen name "Robert Bainter".With CBS devoting more money to television and wanting to reduce costs, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar relocated to New York in 1960 and Bailey, unwilling to relocate, was dismissed. Having performed in almost 500 episodes, he had made the role his own. With the end of his involvement, the show wound down over the following two years (with two different actors) before being taken off the air in 1962, by which time Bailey had virtually given up acting.Near the end of the 1962 film Birdman of Alcatraz, he can be seen as one of the reporters gathered around Burt Lancaster and Edmond O'Brien. (O'Brien had portrayed Johnny Dollar on the radio from 1950 to 1952.) Bailey's role was only a bit, and most of his dialogue was dubbed by another actor.

E. G. Marshall

E. G. Marshall (born Everett Eugene Grunz, June 18, 1914 – August 24, 1998) was an American actor, best known for his television roles as the lawyer Lawrence Preston on The Defenders in the 1960s and as neurosurgeon David Craig on The Bold Ones: The New Doctors in the 1970s. Among his film roles he is perhaps best known as the unflappable, conscientious "Juror #4" in Sidney Lumet's courtroom drama 12 Angry Men (1957). He also played the President of the United States in Superman II (1980), Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut (2006) and his photo (as The President) appears in the TV version of Superman (1978). Marshall was also known as the host of the radio drama series, CBS Radio Mystery Theater (1974–82).

Earplay

Earplay was the longest-running of the formal series of radio drama anthologies on National Public Radio, produced by WHA in Madison, Wisconsin and heard from 1972 into the 1990s. It approached radio drama as an art form with scripts written by such leading playwrights as Edward Albee, Arthur Kopit, Archibald MacLeish and David Mamet.

Airing in stereo, Earplay provided a showcase for original and adapted work. Eventually, the less-sustained successor series NPR Playhouse drew episodes from the Earplay run. Often presented by NPR member stations on a weekly basis, Earplay episodes were produced with much attention to recording technique and sound-effects.

In 1975, it scored a triumph with Listening, an original play written by Edward Albee for stereo radio, employing one speaker for one character and another speaker for another character. Since both characters are seated in a room, the illusion is created that they are in the same room as the listener. After its premiere on radio, Listening was later performed on stage.

Along with the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Sears Radio Theater, The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater, Christian radio's Unshackled and Public Radio's The National Radio Theater of Chicago, Earplay was among the most ambitious nationwide projects in the medium in the U.S. during the 1970s and 1980s.

George Lowther (writer)

George F. Lowther (April 9, 1913 – April 28, 1975) was a writer, producer, director in the earliest days of radio and television.During the 1940s, he was a scriptwriter for the Superman radio programs on the Mutual Radio Network and the author of The Adventures of Superman (1942).

Born in New York City, Lowther broke into radio at 13 as an NBC page. Eventually, he wrote episodes for radio's Dick Tracy and Terry and the Pirates, as well as The Adventures of Superman. He also scripted for the Roy Rogers and Tom Mix radio programs. In later years, he wrote, produced and directed many dramas for The United States Steel Hour and Armstrong Circle Theatre and also wrote for The Edge of Night.He later worked as a writer, director and producer for the Guy Lombardo and Morton Downey radio programs, as well as Broadway Calling with Gertrude Lawrence. Lowther joined the DuMont Television Network as an executive producer starting with its inception in 1945. He also wrote several adventure novels for children. By 1963 he had joined the Famous Writers School.

From 1974-1975, he wrote 44 episodes of the CBS Radio Mystery Theater — and even performed in one of them in 1974.Lowther married the former Florence Wagner. They had two sons, Kevin and Sean, and lived in Westport, Connecticut, where Lowther died.

Joan Lorring

Joan Lorring (April 17, 1926 – May 30, 2014) was an American actress and singer known for her work in film and theatre. For her role as Bessy Watty in The Corn Is Green (1945), Lorring was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Lorring also originated the role of Marie Buckholder in Come Back, Little Sheba on Broadway in 1950, for which she won a Donaldson Award (an early version of the Tony Award).

Keir Dullea

Keir Dullea (; born May 30, 1936) is an American actor best known for his portrayals of astronaut David Bowman in the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey and its 1984 sequel, 2010: The Year We Make Contact. His other film roles include Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965) and Black Christmas (1974). He studied acting at the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City.

Dullea has also had a long and successful career on stage in New York City and in regional theaters; he has stated that, despite being more recognized for his film work, he prefers the stage.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1974 season)

This is an episode list for the 1974 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1975 season)

This is an episode list for the 1975 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1976 season)

This is an episode list for the 1976 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1977 season)

This is an episode list for the 1977 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1978 season)

This is an episode list for the 1978 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1979 season)

This is an episode list for the 1979 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with repeats filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1980 season)

This is an episode list for the 1980 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1981 season)

This is an episode list for the 1981 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of CBS Radio Mystery Theater episodes (1982 season)

This is an episode list for the 1982 season of the radio drama series CBS Radio Mystery Theater. The series premiered on CBS on January 6, 1974 and ended on December 31, 1982. A set of 1,399 original episodes aired between January 1974 and December 1982. The series was broadcast every day of the week for the first six years with re-runs filling in empty slots starting in February 1974. All episodes are available free at the Internet Archive.

List of actresses who have played Irene Adler

List of actresses who have played Irene Adler

Lloyd Battista

Lloyd McAteer Battista (born May 14, 1937 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an American actor and screenwriter. Battista studied acting at the Carnegie Institute of Technology. He was active on Broadway and off-Broadway stages, appearing in productions of plays such as Sexual Perversity in Chicago and The Homecoming. His television roles ranged from the CBS soap opera Love of Life in the 1950s and the mini-series James A. Michener's Texas in 1994. He appeared in movies such as Chisum (1970), Love and Death (1975), and In Hell (2003). On the radio, Battista was heard between 1974 and 1982 on the CBS Radio Mystery Theater. He also wrote The Nose Knows, a guide to Los Angeles area restaurants.

Sears Radio Theater

Sears Radio Theater was a radio drama anthology series which ran weeknights on CBS Radio in 1979, sponsored by the Sears chain. Often paired with The CBS Radio Mystery Theater during its first season, the program offered a different genre of drama for each evening's broadcast.

In January 1980, the program moved to the Mutual Broadcasting System and became the Mutual Radio Theater. The Mutual series broadcast repeats from the CBS run until September 1980, when a short season of new dramas was presented. Sears continued as a sponsor during the Mutual run. The program turned out to be Mutual's final radio drama series. Mutual continued to broadcast repeats of the program (along with a few previously unaired episodes) until December 1981.

Monday was "Western Night" and was hosted by Lorne Greene. Tuesday was "Comedy Night", hosted by Andy Griffith. Wednesday was "Mystery Night" with Vincent Price as host. Thursday was "Love and Hate Night" with Cicely Tyson doing honors as host. Finally, Friday brought "Adventure Night", first hosted by Richard Widmark and later by Howard Duff and then by Leonard Nimoy.

Actors heard on the series included Jim Jordan, Henry Morgan, Daws Butler, June Foray, Parley Baer, Mary Jane Croft, Howard Culver, John Dehner, Joan McCall, Ron Stark, Don Diamond, Virginia Gregg, Janet Waldo, Vic Perrin, Hans Conried, Marvin Miller, Elliott Lewis, Jeff Corey, Lesley Woods, Robert Rockwell, Lurene Tuttle, Eve Arden, Keith Andes, Harriet Nelson, Alan Young, Tom Bosley, Marion Ross, Lloyd Bochner, Rick Jason, Frank Campanella, Toni Tennille, Arthur Hill, Dan O'Herlihy, Jesse White and Frank Nelson. Actress Peggy Webber was heard on 52 episodes.

It was produced and directed by Fletcher Markle and Elliott Lewis. The theme was composed and conducted by Nelson Riddle.Though less long-lived than NPR's Earplay or the CBS Radio Mystery Theater, it was an ambitious attempt to reinvigorate a neglected field. Like Earplay, it was broadcast in stereo.

The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater

The General Mills Radio Adventure Theater was an anthology radio drama series with Tom Bosley as host, which aired on the CBS Radio Network in 1977. Himan Brown, already producing the CBS Radio Mystery Theater for the network, added this twice-weekly (Saturdays and Sundays) anthology radio drama series to his workload in 1977. It usually aired on weekends, beginning in February 1977 and continuing through the end of January 1978, on CBS radio affiliates which carried it.

General Mills's was looking for a means of reaching children that would be less expensive than television advertising. Brown and CBS were willing to experiment with a series aimed at younger listeners, reaching that audience through ads in comic books. Apart from Christian or other religious broadcasting, this may have been the only nationwide attempt in the U.S. in the 1970s to air such a series. General Mills did not continue as sponsor after the 52 episodes had first aired over the first 26 weekends (February 1977 through July 1977), and the series (52 shows) was then repeated over the next 26 weekends (August 1977 through the end of January 1978), as The CBS Radio Adventure Theater, with a variety of other sponsors.

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