Grace Matthews

Grace Matthews (September 3, 1910 – May 15, 1995) was an actress in the era of old-time radio and the early years of television. She is perhaps best known for portraying Margo Lane in the radio program The Shadow.

Grace Matthews
BornSeptember 3, 1910
Toronto, Canada
DiedMay 15, 1995, age 84
Mount Kisco, New York
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
OccupationActress
Spouse(s)Court Benson (1940-?)
Children1 daughter
1 son

Early years

Matthews was born in Toronto, Canada, on September 3, 1910.[1] She graduated from the University of Toronto[2] and from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England.[3]

Radio

Matthews played Margo Lane in The Shadow 1946-1949.[4] Lane was described in the program's scripts as the faithful companion of Lamont Cranston, alter ego of The Shadow. A February 5, 1987, article in the Milwaukee Journal reported Matthews' confusion about the programs: "The plots were so complicated I often had difficulty figuring them out. After the show, I'd go home and ask my husband ... to explain what had happened."[5]

Program Role
Big Sister Ruth Wayne[6]
The Brighter Day Liz[7]
Hilltop House Julie Erickson[8]
Road of Life Carson McVicker[9]

Matthews was the lead actress on American Portrait,[10] Soldier's Wife and The Story of Dr. Susan,[11] and she appeared often on Armstrong's Theatre of Today.[9] She was active in Canadian radio for about five years before she began working on radio in the United States.[12] In later years, she was heard in some episodes of CBS Radio Mystery Theater.[13]

Stage

Matthews' theatrical work included stock theater in Manitoba, Canada, and Ontario, Canada,[1] summer stock activities in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and the production of Dame Nature by the Theatre Guild in New York City.[14]

In Canada, Matthews was active in the Hart House Theatre[1] and the John Holden Players.[15]

Television

Matthews was seen in Road of Life, As the World Turns as Grace Baker #2, and The Guiding Light as Claudia Dillman. She also spent three years in London, England, acting in programs on ITV and the BBC.[1]

Recognition

Matthews' work as an actress on radio in Canada in 1944 earned her three national awards — The Major Genera La Fleche Trophy, Canadian Broadcaster magazine's Beaver Award and a top rating in a poll by Canadian newspapers.[16] She also won the Beaver Award (for "Distinguished Service to Canadian Radio") in 1940.[17]

Personal life

Matthews married announcer and actor Court Benson in October 1940.[18] They had a daughter, Andrea, and a son, Paul.[9]

Death

Matthews died May 15, 1995, in Mount Kisco, New York.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 186.
  2. ^ "Grace Matthews". Radio and Television Mirror. 34 (3): 74. August 1950. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  3. ^ Vale, Virginia (April 17, 1947). "Star Dust". Big Piney Examiner. Wyoming, Big Piney. Western Newspaper Union. p. 5. Retrieved July 26, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ Sterling, Christopher H. (ed.) (2004). Encyclopedia of Radio. Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 1-57958-249-4. P. 1252.
  5. ^ "Shadow". The Milwaukee Journal. Wisconsin, Milwaukee. February 5, 1987. p. 110. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Big Sister--In Living Portraits". Radio Mirror. 28 (5): 25. October 1947. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Toward a Brighter Day". TV Radio Mirror. 46 (2): 62–63. July 1956. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  8. ^ "In Living Portraits -- Hilltop House". Radio and Television Mirror. 32 (4): 34–35. September 1949. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  9. ^ a b c Haller, Marie (February 1953). "Grace Matthews' Road of Life" (PDF). Radio-TV Mirror. 39 (3): 34–35, 68. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  10. ^ "Production" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 28, 1946. p. 68. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  11. ^ Cox, Jim (1999). The Great Radio Soap Operas. McFarland. p. 35. ISBN 9780786438655. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  12. ^ "Main Street" (PDF). Radio Daily. April 16, 1946. p. 6. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  13. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 143.
  14. ^ "Radio Chatter". Janesville Daily Gazette. Wisconsin, Janesville. September 10, 1946. p. 4. Retrieved July 26, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  15. ^ "Welcome Back". The Winnipeg Tribune. Canada, Winnipeg, Manitoba. January 23, 1937. p. 27. Retrieved July 26, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  16. ^ Hammerston, Claude (May 17, 1949). "Mostly Biographical". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  17. ^ O'Neill, Mildred (March 6, 1946). "Women in Radio" (PDF). Radio Daily. p. 6. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  18. ^ Shermet, Hazel (October 1949). "All Three of Us" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror. 32 (5): 54, 84–86. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
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Born in Chicago, Illinois, Morrison entered radio during the 1930s while he was still in Chicago High School. He began with The First Nighter Program. In 1937, he was in the cast of Lucky Girl, a Monday-Friday drama broadcast on WGN in Chicago.Morrison portrayed the Shadow longer than any other actor, spending 10 years in the role in two separate runs. Bill Johnstone played the Shadow until early 1943. Morrison replaced Johnstone in April, 1943, continuing until 1944. John Archer (1944–45) was followed by Steve Courtleigh (1945). Morrison then returned from 1945 until 1954. For many, he was the definitive voice of the Shadow, though his delivery was much less sinister than Orson Welles, who also portrayed the Shadow during its first full year run.

Morrison's other roles in radio programs included those shown in the table below.

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The seasons were of variable length: Season 1 through Season 8 were of 26-30 episodes, Season 9 through Season 12 were of 38-39 episodes, Season 13 through Season 17 were of 47-52 episodes, and the final Season 18 was of 22 episodes.

There are a number of lost episodes, over 60% of the total: 153 episodes are missing and six episodes are incomplete from seasons one through 12, and seasons 13 through 18 are entirely missing except for two episodes.

Radio scripts are available for the series including the missing episodes, except for the season one summer series, which is complete in recordings. Some of the missing episodes are available in preserved recordings of a 1940s Australian adaptation and in recordings of recreated stage readings collected by old-time radio enthusiasts.

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Originally a mysterious radio show narrator, The Shadow was developed into a distinctive literary character in 1931, later to become a pop culture icon, by writer Walter B. Gibson. The character has been cited as a major influence on the subsequent evolution of comic book superheroes, particularly Batman.The Shadow debuted on July 31, 1930, as the mysterious narrator of the radio program Detective Story Hour, which was developed to boost sales of Street and Smith's monthly pulp Detective Story Magazine. When listeners of the program began asking at newsstands for copies of "That Shadow detective magazine", Street & Smith decided to create a magazine based on The Shadow and hired Gibson to create a character concept to fit the name and voice and write a story featuring him. The first issue of The Shadow Magazine went on sale on April 1, 1931, a pulp series.

On September 26, 1937, The Shadow radio drama, a new radio series based on the character as created by Gibson for the pulp magazine, premiered with the story "The Death House Rescue", in which The Shadow was characterized as having "the power to cloud men's minds so they cannot see him". As in the magazine stories, The Shadow was not given the literal ability to become invisible.

The introduction from The Shadow radio program "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows!", spoken by actor Frank Readick Jr, has earned a place in the American idiom. These words were accompanied by an ominous laugh and a musical theme, Camille Saint-Saëns' Le Rouet d'Omphale ("Omphale's Spinning Wheel", composed in 1872). At the end of each episode The Shadow reminded listeners that, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit! Crime does not pay... The Shadow knows!" (Some early episodes, however, used the alternate statement, "As you sow evil, so shall you reap evil! Crime does not pay... The Shadow knows!")

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