Producer Houseman was chiefly responsible for paring down the "fat Victorian monsters" that served as the material for much of the series' plays (he would later hire a young writer named Howard Koch to take over the scripting chores), and conductor Bernard Herrmann provided the excellent scoring for the various productions, there was very little doubt that the show was an Orson Welles production. That is to say, the wonder that was Welles accepted a good deal of the credit as director, writer, and star. Listening to broadcasts of the show, even today one can't help but be a little awed by many of the productions, with even the lesser shows always having a little something distinctive to recommend them. One would also be remiss, however, if it wasn't pointed out that Welles' repertory cast -- Martin Gabel, Ray Collins, George Coulouris, Everett Sloane, Alice Frost, and Agnes Moorehead, to name only but a few -- deserve every bit of the credit for the fine acting that permeates each and every installment.
Radio Archives is pleased and proud to introduce this impressive collection: ten immortal broadcasts of "The Mercury Theatre on the Air" as originally heard between July and November of 1938. All of the programs have been transferred directly from the highest quality first generation master recordings and painstakingly restored for the best possible audio quality, making these the finest sounding versions of these broadcasts ever made available to the public.
When we look back at American family life in the late 1930s, many of us view it not through the eyes of reality but, instead, thru the rose colored glasses of popular culture. If you were young yourself at that time, you have a more realistic memory of those years - but, if you're a baby boomer and beyond, you're more likely to imagine a typical American home, circa 1940, as being in Carvel where a teenager named Andy Hardy lives: clean, pleasant, prosperous, and where every challenge, crisis, or misadventure is resolved in time for a happy ending - complete with the occasional musical number.
In its first incarnation, The Adventures of Archie Andrews was a daily fifteen-minute radio series, aired over the Blue Network. Ratings were respectable and, after a brief move to a half-hour weekly slot, the five-a-week format returned on Mutual in 1944. But the series really hit its stride in June of 1945, when a largely new cast was introduced and it premiered over NBC in a Saturday morning slot that it would happily occupy for eight years. For the majority of the Saturday morning run, Archie was played by Bob Hastings, a talented young actor who had already made his reputation playing juveniles on dramatic programs. Woman-hating food-loving Jughead was played by Harlan Stone, perky Betty was played by Rosemary Rice, and the honey-voiced Veronica was played by Gloria Mann. If you were looking for subtlety or teenaged angst, you were never going to find it on The Adventures of Archie Andrews; in typical sit-com fashion, the plots usually revolved around some simple misunderstanding that quickly turned into bedlam. Aimed straight at a pre-teen audience, the programs were designed to be nothing more than loud, goofy, and fun - and, from the reactions of the studio audience that attended each live broadcast, the show was clearly adored by its listeners.
The Adventures of Archie Andrews, a seven-hour collection from RadioArchives.com, offers fourteen original NBC broadcasts taken from the original network master recordings and fully restored for sparkling audio fidelity. If you've enjoyed our other comedy collections - and especially if Archie and his pals were a big part of your youth - this is a collection you simply won't want to miss.
Published by Sanctum Books
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