Rare Old Time Radio Soap Operas

Love is in the air over in old time radio! They’ve been hanging Paper Cupids everywhere and have been busy listening to some old Rare Soap Operas. If anything can  get you in a Romantic Mood it’s the Sob-fest after listening to the Heartaches and Treachery of Soaps from the Golden Age of Radio all afternoon. (Do you hear the organ music AGAIN?!)

Of course nothing would make OTRCAT happier than sharing a big chunk of his collection with some of his friends. It will give him something to email his friends about (What will Mindy Lou  do when she finds out that her lover is really the long lost son of old Doctor Young?)  While I  go through another box of tissues, please take a look at some of the shows now available:

The Road of Life is another creation of the “Mother of the Soap Opera”, Irna Phillips. It is the story of handsome Dr Jim Brent and his pretty wife Jocelyn. Also figuring prominently is Jocelyn’s wealthy but dysfunctional family, the Overton’s of Merrimac.

Bright Horizon was only the second successful Soap Opera spinoff.  It came from the Lillian Laugerty created Big Sister.  Beginning in 1941, actress Alice Frost, who also had the title role of Ruth Evans Wayne on Big Sister appeared for a short while on Bright Horizon to help insure the series successful launch. The show was sponsored by Swan Soap.

The Career of Alice Blair (1939-1940) was a short running Soap sponsored by a cold crème manufacturer. Alice left her small town home to seek her career with handsome publisher Richard Newman. Alice’s life becomes filled with intrigue and scandal, but she dedicates herself to paying off the family debt back home and her devotion to her boss.

Doctor Paul (1940-1945) “radio’s wonderful story of adult love” sponsored by Dutch Mill American Cheese. The show would be briefly revived in syndication in 1953. Dr. Paul was a small town doctor who is dedicated to his patients, but becomes embroiled in the scheme and loves that swirl around him. The show is full of the schemes of the Dr.’s wife and a woman who loves the Dr. from afar.

The Life of Mary Southern (1934-1938) Mary struggles to raise her children and keep her husband living on the straight and narrow.

Pepper Young’s Family (1932-1959) was the first radio soap from creator Elaine Stern Carrington. The show starred young Burgess Meredith as a high school athlete whose family went through many trials. The show went through several title changes with the demands of sponsors. Sponsorship went from Beechnut Gum to Proctor and Gamble’s Camay Soap.

The radio version of Earle Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason was a much more action packed show than the TV version starring Raymond Burr. Airing from 1943 through 1955, the show was set to make the transition to TV when creative disagreements between Gardner (no relation to Ava Gardner radio) and CBS arose. CBS went forward witht the project, which became the long running TV soap, The Edge of Night.CBS and Gardner eventually patched up their differences, and Perry Masoncame to TV, with a recurring plot every week- Perry would defend an innocent person of murder charges, but Perry dramatically proves the guilt of another character.

The Right to Happinesswas created by Irna Phillips as a spinoff of The Guiding Light. The show ran from 1939 until it was cancelled on “The day the Radio Soap Opera Died,” Nov 25, 1960. The Past was a recurring character on the show, reminding heroine Carolyn Allen of the mistakes and tragedies in her life. Carolyn would go through 4 marriages and a jail sentence inorder to find her Right to Happiness.

This Life Is Mine tells the story of teacher Eden Channing and her family on the home front during WWII. Her family faces the uncertainty of Modern times with differing points of view, but always Eden stands up for good and virtue and the love of her man.

When a Girl Marries came from the creator of Pepper Young’s Family, Elaine Carrington. The series premiered on May 29, 1939 and ran into 1951, playing over CBS, NBC, and finally ABC. The show was promoted as “a tender, human story of young married life.” The plot followed the lives of Harry Davis and his lovely bride, Joan Field Davis. There would be numerous conflicts between Harry’s impoverished background and the high society family that Joan grew up in.

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2 Responses to Rare Old Time Radio Soap Operas

  1. Sid Kaminsky says:

    Love the radio soaps, however there are way too many without the organ music. But still a great buy. Brings back memories of my being at home sick.

    • oldradioshows says:

      Hi Sid — Glad you’re enjoying the recordings. Many of the soap opera recordings were stored on transcription disks. Because recording on media was so expensive during the era, many productions recorded the broadcast separately (and had separate disks for the organ music intro and exits).

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