Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, December 28, 2017


For some New Year's is a phony holiday; for others, time to revel; and for still others, a time to reflect on the past year and to look to the new year with hope.  Whichever side you fall on, I am hoping that 2018 will bring you peace, health, and joy.  Sadly that didn't work out for the characters in this radio show from 70 years ago.

"New Year's Nightmare" aired on January 5, 1947 on the Mutual Radio Network's The Mysterious Traveler and featured Stuart Brady, Louise Pitts, Hester Sondergaard, and Nat Pollen

The Mysterious Traveler began on December 5, 1943, the brain child of writers Robert J. Arthur, Jr. (yes, the same guy who created The Three Investigators juvenile series for Alfred Hitchcock) and David Kogan.  The show was produced by Sherman "Jock" MacGregor, who -- along with Arthur and Kogan -- shared director's duties.  (Arthur and Kogan wrote and directed this episode.)  The Mysterious Traveler himself was voiced by Maurice Tarplin.  

In order to protect young children's ears from violence and crime on the airwaves, the National Association of Broadcasters imposed a "voluntary curfew" that forced The Mysterious Traveler and similar shows to be aired after 9:30 pm Eastern time from 1948 on.

From The Digital Deli Too website:

"The Mysterious Traveler eventually found itself up against an even more daunting body than the National Association of Broadcasters and their programming guidelines.  Both Robert Arthur, Jr., and David Kogan were activist member's of the Radio Writers' Guild, a popular writer's union that was deemed subversive by the infamous House Un-American Activities Committees (HUAC) between 1945 and 1954.  This was by no means unusual for the era.  The HUAC systematically attacked most significant collective bargaining organization of the era for their union and organizing activities, which the predominantly right-wing Republicans in control of Congress at the time, [sic] deemed a threat to Big Business in any form.  The larger, older unions manages to weather the scrutiny of the HUAC.  It was predominantly the smaller artists' and trade unions that the HUAC seemed most successful at bullying throughout the era -- with the Hollywood moguls' full support.

"Arthur and Kogan's very visible lobbying, organizing and picketing efforts on behalf of the Radio Writers' Guld during the late 1940s and early 1950s ultimately brought the HUAC down on Radio  station WOR and the Mutual Broadcasting System.  Both WOR and MBS predictably caved under the innuendos and allegations of the HUAC and terminated The Mysterious Traveler at the arc of its success.  while simply a road-bump to MBS, the blacklisting of one of Radio's greatest effectively ended their Radio writing careers with the cancellation of The Mysterious Traveler."

The show's last appearance was on September 16, 1952.  Arthur and Kogan had produced 303 scripts for the series and had garnered the authors Edgar Awards in both 1950 and 1953.

Enjoy...and welcome to 2018!

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