Available now: Radio Drama and Comedy Writers, 1928-1962 by Ryan Ellett.
More than 700 scriptwriters who created the memorable characters and thrilling stories of radio's Golden Age receive our recognition in this reference work.
For some, radio was a stepping stone on the way to greater achievements in film or television, on the stage or in literature. For others, it was the culmination of a life spent writing newspaper copy. Established authors dabbled in radio as a new medium, while working writers saw it as another opportunity to earn a paycheck. When these men and women came to broadcasting, they crafted a body of work still appreciated by modern listeners.
Radio Drama and Comedy Writers, 1928-1962 is currently available for purchase here by McFarland Press, both in softcover and electronic editions.
Thanks to these eagle-eyed readers who have pointed out corrections:
- Stewart W. notes that author Robert Ryf used a pseudonym not mentioned in the book, Robert Stanley.
- Dan R. provided more detailed information about Gordon St. Clair: "Gordon Saint Clair first wrote for the Princess Pat Players (sometimes referred to as Princess Pat Pageant) which aired from 1932 to 1936 first on CBS and mostly on NBC Blue. The Princess Pat Players was a weekly theatrical drama. Gordon Saint Clair wrote many of the 30 minutes plays but definitely not all. Your second source from the Pittsburg Press (1934) was for his play "Just Another Hero" as written for the Princess Pat Players and not A Tale of Today. A Tale of Today (1936 to 1939) was a serial drama that replaced the Princess Pat Players. It was also mostly written by Gordon Saint Clair, working for the sponsor, Princess Pat cosmetics. Your first source, the Radio Mirror article identifies him as the writer but your dates for A Tale of Today are incorrect.
- Ian D. points out that the entry for Denis Green suggests that he wrote with Bruce Taylor and Leslie Charteris. He did, but Taylor was a pen name used by Charteris, a fact not clearly stated in the text.
Available now: The Texas Rangers: Two Decades on Radio, Film, Television, and Stage, by Ryan Ellett and Kevin Coffey.
Kansas City's KMBC was home to many country and western artists during radio's golden age but few could match the popularity and longevity of the Texas Rangers. Debuting in 1932, the Texas Rangers entertained America by radio, records, tours, motion pictures, and television before finally disbanding in the 1950s.
With few commercially released singles, the Texas Rangers were soon forgotten after their heyday except by the most devoted fans of the genre. Now, nearly six decades after the end of their performing years, this book provides a rare glimpse into the personalities and business dealings that kept the group performing before the public for more than twenty years.
Also includes episodes synopses of their transcribed series Life on the Red Horse Ranch, a discography of their transcription library, a filmography, and list of their earliest identified radio appearances.
Listen to Ellett talk about his new book on Yesterday USA with Walden Hughes, Larry Gassman, and John Gassman (aired November 16, 2014).
Ellett talked with Kansas Public Radio's Tom Parkinson and the edited interview was broadcast January 25, 2016. Click here to listen.
"Were it not for this 2014 publication, the Texas Rangers band might have been only a footnote in Western music and movie history. But thanks to detailed research by Ryan Ellett and noted historian Kevin Coffey, the band's work has finally been thoroughly documented... Highly Recommended!" Ropeburns.org
Available now: Radio Rides the Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967, edited by Jack French and David S. Siegel.
Includes a chapter on the musical group the Texas Rangers and their musical-drama series Life on the Red Horse Ranch written by Ryan Ellett.
Radio Rides the Range: A Reference Guide to Western Drama on the Air, 1929-1967 is currently available for purchase here by McFarland, both in softcover and electronic editions.
"This sorely needed book will help document the radio westerns. The content has been provided by dedicated contributors who have the background and knowledge of each series." Frank Bresee
"Playing Little Beaver on Red Ryder was my most exciting radio role. I'm gratified to be in this extraordinary volume of western radio drama which David and Jack have compiled." Golden Days of Radio
Available now: Encyclopedia of Black Radio in the United States, 1921-1955, by Ryan Ellett
Published by McFarland Press, Encyclopedia of Black Radio in the United States, 1921-1955 represents the most comprehensive overview of African American actors, musicians, writers, and series on radio during the medium's first 35 years of commercial broadcasting. Also included are some of the most famous white men and women who wrote about or portrayed African American characters during this era.
Utilizing newspaper reviews, scripts, and historical interviews in addition to other scholarly works, this book explores over 300 individuals, groups, and radio programs, many of which have received little or no attention in other publications about historical black radio.
Encyclopedia of Black Radio in the United States, 1921-1955 is currently for sale here by McFarland, both in hardback and electronic editions.
"Recommended." Choice, Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
"One of the best I've seen. . . puts most books on the performing arts to shame." Jordon Young, Examiner.com
"Thoroughly researched. . . lively." Booklist
"Enlivens as well as informs." Tom Gilson, Against the Grain
Corrections and Additions
The problem with any printed work is the inability to correct errors that inevitably occur and reflect new discoveries. I will try to post both corrections and updates here as time allows. * The entry for Jack Cooper erroneously suggests his All-Negro Hour debuted on WGBS in Chicago. WGBS was a New York station; Cooper's program debuted on Chicago's WSBC, as indicated in the entry on All-Negro Hour. (Thanks to Steve Darnell) * Don Ameci, mentioned in the Richard Durham entry, is the same Don Ameche of television and film fame. (Thanks to Steve Darnell) * Old time radio historian Jack French has identified a musical program, Harlem Hospitality Club, which was not included in the entry of Willie Byrant. * Jack French and radio historian Karl Schadow have found a reference to a New York program called The Negro World which appears to be a news program geared to African American listeners in 1950. * Hal Jackson, profiled in the book, passed away May 23, 2012. (Thanks to Jack French)
Here'a an early African-American group who appeared on radio ca. 1930 that was not profiled in my book.