Re: Family Theater volunteer

Brian Kavanaugh

Somewhat off-topic, but there's another adaptation of the Anna Zenger book from the 1950 version of Destination Freedom, episode 20, broadcast 2/25/1951 on WMAQ Chicago. Cast list is below.

Maurice Copeland - Paul Revere
Bob Ecklund - radio adaptation/writer
John Cowan - producer/director
Geraldine Kaye - Anna Zenger
Carlton KaDell - John Zenger
Everett Clark
Donald Gallagher
Jess Pugh
Emil Soderstrom - composer
Helen Morton - organ
Jose Bethancourt - music
George Wilson - engineer
Cliff Mueller - sound effects
Bill Griskey - announcer

On Tue, Aug 2, 2022 at 1:19 PM Bob Stepno <Rstepno@...> wrote:

Thanks for this discussion, which sent me off looking into Family Theater for the first time -- as is my usual thing -- in search of episodes that featured newspaper reporters and editors to include in my "Newspaper Heroes on the Air" blog, 

If anyone has a great ear for actors' voices, read on to see if you can help me out with cast members mentioned below.

Skimming plot summaries for keywords like "newspaper," "reporter" and "editor," I found a few Family Theater episodes to listen to, thanks to Goldin's index, Dunning, Haendiges and the OTRR Library... And I'll be posting the first one shortly, using a link to the OTRR Library copy of the MP3 file of a biography of John Peter Zenger, whose trial established American courts' "truth" defense against libel, and whose wife Anna became one of America's first women newspaper editors while he was in jail, and who brings a top lawyer into her husband's case.

Unfortunately, the cast announcement at the end of the program does NOT identify the actor playing Zenger (jailed, it's not much of a role). Can anyone better at recognizing cast voices help me name him?

Pat O'Brien is the narrator, and Raymond Burr gets star billing as Andrew Hamilton, the great Philadelphia lawyer who won the trial by appealing to the jury, not the established case law. Only one woman is listed in the cast, so I am assuming that Jeanne Bates is the heroine of the tale, Anna Zenger. If I'm wrong, please holler! (For radio trivia fans: Anne Harding and Rosalind Russell had already played Anna Zenger on Cavalcade of America.)

Other male cast members to choose from include Michael Hayes, Tudor Owen, Herb Rawlinson, Bill Johnstone, Stan Waxman and Jack Kruschen. 

Back to Richard's question whether Jerry H has any of the missing Family Theater shows.

Here are Jerry's log and Dave Goldin's database listing search results:


For this series in particular, I love Jerry's skimmable format of just giving the title, date and cast... 

I had never listened to any of Family Theater, and given the OTRR Library's synopsis (from Dunning), I wouldn't be likely to: 

(Synopsis: Family Theater was created by Father Patrick Peyton of the Holy Cross Fathers in an effort to promote family unity and prayer. Initially it was seen as a forum to broadcast the Rosary: when the networks refused to allow such a narrow one-denominational appeal, Peyton broadened the scope, made it a weekly drama, added the glamor of Hollywood, and saved the 'message' for the slots normally reserved for commercials. - On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning)

BUT, looking at Jerry's cast lists puts the series in a whole new light!  What an amazing array of Hollywood stars! It's enough to make me wonder whether the Catholic Church was trading indulgences (or annulments) for participating in "Family Theater"!

The cast lists were also an easy way to answer an obvious question of whether the recurring titles indicated rebroadcasts of transcriptions, or entirely new performances of the same script... For instance, "Hound of Heaven," about the author of a poem I remember from high school, is included with five separate dates (and the same plot summary) in the OTRR Library collection and six times at Jerry's , including a 1952 repeat labelled as such. But look at the casts!

Hound of Heaven, Casts:

34  10-02-47  :29:41  Mark Stevens, Marven Miller
121  06-08-49  :29:29  Jack Benny, Dan O'Herlihy, Rod O'Conner
209  02-21-51  :29:40  Host: Jane Withers Stars: Mel Ferrer Narrator: Rod O'Conner Author: Fred Lipp
267  04-16-52  :29:40* Jane Withers, Mel Ferrer, Rod O'Conner Repeat of 2-21-51
395  10-27-54  :24:41  Host: Loretta Young.  Cast: Dan O'Herlihy, Raymond Burr, Jeanne Bates, Ben Wright, Richard Peale, Thomas F. O'Neill (Chairman of the Board of Mutual Broadcasting) has a closing message. Announcer: Tony La Frano
Music by Harry Zimmerman Author: Fred Lipp.  Produced & Directed by John T.Kelley

Meanwhile, while writing the blog post about the Zenger episode for, I browsed around the Wikipedia entries for Father Peyton and his radio creations, which actually did include a Mutual network rosary broadcast May 13, 1945, including Bing Crosby. You all might find these interesting:


Bob in the Blue Ridge

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