back arrowBreaking Walls

BW - EP79: The Boy Wonder—Orson Welles' Early Career (1931 - 1941)

Episode description

In Breaking Walls Episode 79, we present a detailed look at Orson Welles’ radio career through the end of 1941. Highlights: • Beginnings in Illinois and China — How they helped shape Orson • The Todd Seminary School — His first exposure to theater and Radio • Connections and Early Breaks — How his mentor Roger Hill, Thornton Wilder, Alexander Woollcott, and Katharine Cornell helped Orson get to Broadway • Orson meets John Houseman and Archibald MacLeish, and first appears on the March of Time • 1935-1937 — From the March of Time to the Columbia Workshop, and how Irvin Reis taught Orson how to create for radio • How the US Government shaped the opportunity for Orson to write, direct, and star in Les Misérables on the Mutual Broadcasting System in 1937
 • The Shadow Knows! — Agnes Moorehead and Orson Welles’ one season on The Shadow • The birth of the Mercury Theater on the Air as First Person singular. • How it’s success led to the most infamous night in radio in October of 1938 • Mainstream success with Campbell’s Soups • Orson goes to Hollywood, and signs the greatest autonomous film contract in history at 24 • Citizen Kane — How William Randolph Hearst and RKO shaped the film • Lady Esther Presents — Orson comes back to radio in the autumn of 1941 • Pearl Harbor Day and collaborating with Norman Corwin • Joseph Cotton introduces Orson to Rita Hayworth The WallBreakers: http://thewallbreakers.com Subscribe to Breaking Walls everywhere you get your podcasts. To support the show: http://patreon.com/TheWallBreakers Special thanks to our Sponsors: • The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society http://www.ghoulishdelights.com/series/themorls/ • Twelve Chimes, It’s Midnight https://twelvechimesradio.blogspot.com • The Fireside Mystery Theatre https://www.firesidemysterytheatre.com The reading material used in today’s episode was: • Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles by Frank Brady • This is Orson Welles by Welles and Peter Bogdanovich • The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning • Discovering Orson Welles by Jonathan Rosenbaum Other materials included: • http://www.wellesnet.com - an incredibly comprehensive website on Orson’s career • Orson Welles on the Air, 1938-1946 at https://orsonwelles.indiana.edu • The Radio Preservation Task Force also has a great Facebook group headed by Josh Shepperd Selected Interviews in this episode were: • Orson Welles with Dick Cavett, Johnny Carson, and Huw Wheldon, • Agnes Moorehead and Alan Reed were with radio Hall of Fame Member Chuck Schaden, who interviewed over 200 members of the radio community during his 39 year career. Chuck’s interviews can be streamed for free at SpeakingofRadio.com. • William Robson was with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC’s The Golden Age of Radio in January of 1976 and Kenny Delmare was with John Dunning in 1983. Those interviews can be found at the Old Time Radio Researcher’s Group at Otrrlibrary.org • William Herz was with Walden Hughes and John and Larry Gassman in 2013 for their program on the Yesterday USA Radio Network, which you can visit at http://www.yesterdayusa.com. A Special Thank you to: Christian Neuhaus Rebecca Shield WallBreakers Links: Patreon - http://patreon.com/thewallbreakers Social Media - @TheWallBreakers URL - http://thewallbreakers.com Online Store - jamesthewallbreaker.com/shop/

episodes iconMore Episodes

Frank Sinatra on The Jack Benny Program 10/08/1944

October 16th, 2018

7:58
In October of 1944 Frank Sinatra was enjoying the greatest popularity of his early career. Still only 29, he had taken to radio acting as well as …

Frank Sinatra Tells a Hilarious Story About Don Rickles Embarrassing Him at a Restaurant

October 13th, 2018

2:20
On November 12th, 1976 Frank Sinatra was a guest on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. They spoke of their relationship and Frank's career. In the middle of the interview Don Rickles surprised the duo by walking out on …

Andre Baruch On The Sponsor's Tight Control of Your Hit Parade

October 12th, 2018

0:40
Longtime radio announcer Andre Baruch tells of American Tobacco President George Washington Hill's control of the show. Hill churned through many a …

Rudy Vallée Explains The Importance of Being Different—How He Started Out

October 10th, 2018

2:00
In the early 1970s Rudy Vallée, the most popular music artist of the late 1920s and early 1930s, sat down with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for WTIC's …

Suspense: To Find Help—Starring Agnes Moorehead and Frank Sinatra 1/18/1945

October 8th, 2018

26:37
With the most recent episode of Breaking Walls being on radio’s macabre, mystery, and horror programming, and the upcoming episode on Frank Sinatra’s …

Frank Sinatra Remembers Visiting a Heroin Dry Out Clinic To Prepare for The Man With The Golden Arm

October 7th, 2018

1:34
In 1955 Frank Sinatra starred in Otto Preminger's production of The Man With The Golden Arm. It was a film many consider to be well-ahead of its time …

The Story Behind Bill Spier's Exit From Suspense

October 6th, 2018

7:42
After the November 20th, 1947 episode of Suspense, Roma Wines wrapped up its sponsorship of the series. For the next five weeks CBS broadcast Suspense on Friday evenings. Beginning on January 3rd, 1948 the program …

Orson Welles Reflects on War Of The Worlds—Admits He Scared People On Purpose

October 5th, 2018

2:36
In the 1950s, Orson Welles reflected upon the public reaction to his War of the Worlds broadcast on October 30th, 1938, and also admits that he and the rest of his Mercury Theater production crew did the broadcast to …

Frank Sinatra Tells A Joke About What Misery Is

October 4th, 2018

0:47
In 1965, CBS cameras followed Frank Sinatra around with unprecedented access to the performer's personal life. In this clip, seated at Jilly Rizzo's …

The Story Behind Lights Out—The Most Gruesome Radio Show of the 1930s

October 3rd, 2018

8:34
In 1934, as Chicago was cresting as the center for radio production, NBC Writer and director Wyllis Cooper created a program for NBC's Chicago affiliate WENR that drastically altered the tone of radio horror. Cooper …
Loading ...

Download the RadioPublic app for
 FREE and never miss an episode.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store