Friday, October 21, 2016


For all you fans of The Lone Ranger radio program, fully aware that the first 790 or so episodes do not exist in recorded form, here are some of the earliest adventures of the Masked Man and his faithful Indian companion. The plot summaries come from reading and scrutinizing the radio scripts.

Episode #20, Broadcast March 16, 1933
Plot: In the early days, it took very little in the way of a rumor to start chaos in the vicinity of one of the small struggling banks in a western community, but that is exactly what happened when Slim is rejected a loan from the new bank. Most of the town folk are reluctant to invest their money in the brick-and-mortar institution, especially since Angus Tavish, the biggest rancher in Sleepy Creek, has not invested his own money. The Lone Ranger and Tonto, aware that Big Stan Clavin, the bank manager, has been embezzling small amounts and was responsible for the close of a bank in San Francisco, waits until a robber digs up the money in Clavin’s back yard. The Lone Ranger steals the $10,000 and turns the thief over to the sheriff. When Slim informs the town citizens about the failure of the San Francisco bank, a riot erupts until The Lone Ranger assists Angus Tavish in depositing $10,000 into the bank. The town citizens, now assured of their investments, begin to make deposits – a sound foundation for the financial institution. At the end of the day, Tavish informs the Clavin that the stolen money is now returned where it belonged and quietly, without the citizens aware, establishes a real account with the bank.

Episode #21, Broadcast March 18, 1933
Plot: Barney Oldfield and Jake Blossom plot to have Steve, an innocent railroad worker, destroy the Gopher Gulch bridge which is near completion. If the bridge is destroyed, Maxwell would lose the contract for the construction work and Jake would be quite sure of obtaining it. Barney tricks Steve into thinking that Duke Atterbury, the owner of the railroad, was responsible for the death of Steve’s sister, and that the train going across the bridge would have Atterbury on board. Tonto overhears Barney and Jake’s discussion and The Lone Ranger intercepts Steve before he could go down with the bridge that was blown up. Barney, discovering he was provided a ten second fuse, not a ten minute fuse, realizes he was duped. Head bent low, The Lone Ranger on the great horse Silver, swept over the country following the rails of the newly laid track, hoping to catch up with the approaching train that was unaware of the destruction at the Gopher Gulch bridge, carrying Duke Atterbury. When the conductor ignores the warnings of the Masked Man, The Lone Ranger shoots through the pistons to allow the steam to escape, saving the lives of Steve’s sister, who was married to Duke Atterbury.

Episode #22, Broadcast March 21, 1933
Plot: Money lender Tinkerby, who holds the mortgage on Abe Winters’ Circle O Ranch, will not extend the loan and demands the $10,000 by six tomorrow… or Abe Winters surrenders over the ranch. Abe asks his ranch hand, Hank, the boyfriend of Jane Winters, to take a four hour ride to Shady Corners, where a good friend and fellow rancher agreed to lend Abe the money in return for less interest than Tinkerby demanded. On route to Mitchell’s ranch, Hank is held up by a masked bandit named Nate, who ties up Hank and steals the letter of introduction, with the intention of stealing the money for his employer, Tinkerby. The Lone Ranger, keeping tabs on Hank, then steals the money from Nate and races back to help Hank reach the Circle O Ranch in time… and proves to the sheriff and a posse how Tinkerby was responsible for hiring Nate to intervene with the payment.

Episode #23, Broadcast March 23, 1933
Plot: Ben, an old hermit, mistook a stranger that stumbled into his retreat for an officer of the law, having killed dirty Dan Lawson six years prior. Ben fled a prosperous gold mine, a wife and son of 12. About the same time Ben confesses his sins to the stranger, Dan Lawson turns up alive and well at the home of Mary and her 18-year-old son, Jim. Dan claims Ben went to Mexico six years ago to get a divorce and marry a Mexican woman, but that now he is dead. Dan threatens to stake a claim on the mine, which needs to be renewed by tomorrow, if Mary and Jim do not allow him to work the mine with a group of rough Mexicans he brought with him. The Lone Ranger with old Ben on his horse swept into action by taking Ben to be reunited with his family. Jim, in the meantime, applies the bayonet as his father taught him, defending the land against the Mexican bandits. Ben took to the killing of white people more seriously that he did the stabbing of Mexican Bandits that tried to invade his home, shooting to kill but unintentionally wounding Dan Lawson. It is the Lone Ranger however, that brought about the redemption of old Ben, the saving of the claim, and the defeat of Dan Lawson.

Episode #24, Broadcast March 25, 1933
Plot: Dave Brinkman had acquired most of the smaller ranches in his section of the cattle country, and by fair means or foul he hoped to acquire the Lazy S Ranch, which though pretty well run down, was nevertheless a desirable bit of property. Miss Nancy, the “boss” of the Lazy S, rejects the offer to sell the ranch, forcing Brinkman to threaten a stampede – preventing her from making any money on the sale of cattle. She also rejects his proposal of marriage. Brinkman, armed with twenty hired men, former employees of the Lazy S who accepted the task for more money, orders them to prevent the cattle from reaching the railroad in time to complete the sale. Uncermoniously, early in the morning Brinkman was grabbed from his bunk and snatched from a sound sleep, blankets and all, by the Masked Man. Tonto throws rocks through the window to wake the Brinkman men. The plan to stampede the Lazy S cattle was forgotten in the danger that threatened Brinkman. Over hill and valley dashed the great horse Silver, and far behind him came the 20 cowmen. Thanks to the efforts of The Lone Ranger, Miss Nancy, along with her ranch hands Tim and Old Willis, sell the cattle to raise the money to keep the ranch working.

Episode #25, Broadcast March 28, 1933
Plot: The dance jamboree at the hall in Comstalk was suddenly brought to a stand still as Caleb Westbrook burst in, out of breath and full of news. The office of the local storeowner was robbed. Sheriff Uriah Nobbs claims it was his deputy, Dave Gratwick, who made a getaway on the sheriff’s horse. Unaware of what had taken place in Comstalk, Dave was following the orders given him by his superior as he led the horse of Sheriff Nobbs across the soil of Mexico in the Del Burro region, looking for the bandit camp to be sure that it was not men from there that had come to the Comstalk party planning trouble. Sheriff Nobbs, leading his posse of men from the Rio Grande, picking up the trail of Dave Gratwick on the Mexican side of the River, the posse came upon the body of a man stretched out on the ground. The sheriff quickly attempts to shoot and kill the deputy, unaware that the body was really Toro, a.k.a. “The Bull,” a Mexican bandit hired by the sheriff to kill Dave. Thanks to the interference of The Lone Ranger, Toro was apprehended. Discovering the sheriff tried to shoot and kill him, Toro confesses to the crooked election that gave Nobbs his job, and confesses how some of the stolen loot can be found on the sheriff’s possession. The former sheriff, Cal Stebbins, finds the proof and as Sheriff Nobbs attempts to make a getaway, Toro throws a knife into his heart.

Episode #26, Broadcast March 30, 1933
Plot: Jim Grant finds himself at the Half Way Inn, a wretched shack located halfway between the huge Circle Bar ranch and Fort Roanoke and one day’s hard ride from each. Jim was recently granted a pardon after serving ten years for the murder of Nate Fargo, former partner of the Circle Bar. The Lone Ranger and Tonto, trailing a head of missing cattle and investigating the unusual growth of cattle at the Circle Bar, discover Jim was hired by Mexican Joe to herd 25 steer that were stolen from the corral at Fort Roanoke. Jim, unaware the cattle is stolen, arrive at the Circle Bar, only to discover Gordon Fargo has been spending the past ten years cattle rustling. Thanks to The Lone Ranger, Jim’s pardon is saved from a fire and Fargo’s real identity was exposed – Nate Fargo never had a brother named Gordon Fargo, he is Nate Fargo in disguise, having faked his death using the bones from an Indian grave. Angry, Jim shoots Fargo dead in the presence of Captain Ryder, who arrives to take Jim back to prison. Having discovered Jim was innocent of the cattle rustling and he truly did have a pardon from prison, and that Fargo was a cattle thief working with the Mexican, Ryder returns to the fort with the stolen cattle. The Lone Ranger ensures the captain that Jim already served his time for the crime he just committed.

Trivia, etc. The Lone Ranger insists that Jim Grant is justified for the murder of Fargo, after shooting the crook in cold blood within the presence of Captain Ryder and a lieutenant, insisting that Jim already served his time (ten years) in prison for the crime. “There are so many times that justice goes awry that it is as well he is finished.”

Episode #27, Broadcast April 1, 1933
Cool Trivia: This was the first episode to feature the traditional “Hi, Yo, Silver… Away!” for the opening of the broadcast, rather than an abbreviated rendition prior. (Not used in script form again until episode 42.)

Friday, October 14, 2016

The Value of Dust Jackets

Collectors of vintage books will tell you that dust jackets are worth more than the book. A tight spine, the color of the paper (white, off-white, cream, yellow or tan) and the overall condition of the book are factors when grading the condition... and thus the value of the book. But in many cases where print runs were so large that the books today are a dime a dozen, the dust jacket is worth more. At fan gatherings, The Lone Ranger (1936) written by Gaylord Du Bois, is worth about $5. The Fran Striker version of the same novel (with only minor tweaks from the Du Bois version), is worth the same. At a recent convention, however, I noticed how the price tag (asking price) was $125 for the very same book. The buyer and seller were negotiating the selling price and I overheard the seller mention, "the binding is still tight." Whereupon the buyer remarked, "I am not interested in the condition of the book. I have four of them at home. I am basing the price on the dust jacket." Afterwards, the two men weighed justification on both sides on the condition of the dust jacket.

Serious collectors have two of the same book. One for reading (considered a beat-up copy) and one for collecting. No serious collector spends money on graded quality without an interest in reading the very materials that he would not dare to risk damage for want of the printed page. Many buy plastic sleeves that wrap around the dust jacket to ensure no further damage comes to the paper. (You have probably seen this done to hardcover books with dust jackets at the public library.) And you can recognize a serious collector someone continues to upgrade their collection with books they already have, when purchasing another of higher quality, intending to sell the lesser one.

Knowing just which covers are more valuable is dependent on print runs and the demand. The Gaylord DuBois cover of The Lone Ranger, for example, is more sought after than the Fran Striker version. According to a recent article in The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles (July 2016), a first edition of The Great Gatsby without the dust jacket has been known to sell for $3,000. First edition with the dust jacket, depending on the condition of the dust jacket, sells for $30,000.

Unscrupulous sellers will sometimes replace a second edition with a dust jacket from a first edition, thus making more money than the seller deserves. Sometimes the dust jackets on early printings were practically identical to the first edition -- do your research before you purchase. If the first edition dust jacket is paired with a first edition book, this is referred to as a "marriage." A few in the hobby claim this is fraud but others insist this is sufficient under the circumstances. (An obvious red flag is when the dust jacket is in much better condition than the book.) 

Today's technology offers a challenge to the collector. There are multiple companies that now manufacture practically any dust jacket you want. High quality facsimiles, with the wonders of photoshop to eliminate any blemishes from the scanned original, have become a new industry of recent. For many, there is nothing wrong with this practice provided the reproduction is disclosed. When a dishonest vendor attempts to pass one of these reproductions off as an original, the old adage is applied: buyer beware.

The photos below reveal how some of the movie studios attempted to promote their movies by licensing stills and artwork for books sold in the stores. Publishing companies felt this would lead to additional book sales. It was a joint venture for both. Fans of old movies find the editions with their book jackets more challenging to collect. You can buy a copy of Frankenstein for mere pennies these days. But a version published in 1931 with a dust jacket promoting the Boris Karloff movie? Dig deeper into your wallet for that one. But if Frankenstein (1931) is your movie of choice, a room in the house designated as a shrine for all things related to that movie, you are only going to buy this book once... so upgrading over time adds bragging rights. 

In 1933, the screenplay to King Kong was adapted into a novel and there is a sequence regarding a pit of spiders and large insects devouring the sailors. That scene is not in the finished movie but you can read a dramatization in the novel. 

As with The Return of Tarzan from 1915, the original dust jacket allows the seller to set the asking price of $250. (Which probably means you can pay $200 in cash.) 

These are just mere examples and the science behind this fascinating hobby is a book in itself. Needless to say, if you are ever in a used bookstore and contemplating whether or not to buy a book that is tempting both your eyes and your wallet, don't flip a coin. If the book has a dust jacket, do not hesitate; the decision is made for you.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Vintage Hollywood Screen Savers

Are you tired of looking at the same old mountain, grassy field or forest desktop image on your computer screen? Wish you could spruce it up with something cool and nostalgic? Well, now you can! The talented Sylvie Coune was kind enough to share her desktop images with you and I am posting a few here on my blog. Visit the website link provided and you will see tons of desk top images to choose from. The small selection I posted here is just a sampling to make your mouth droll.

Audrey Hepburn

Barbara Stanwyck

The Bride of Frankenstein with Boris Karloff

Gene Kelly

Gloria Dehaven

Humphrey Bogart

Jean Harlow

Johnny Weissmuller

Julie Andrews

Marilyn Monroe

Ronald Colman

Friday, September 30, 2016

The "Lost" episodes of The Cavalcade of America

The Cavalcade of America was an instant success, accomplishing the task it was first sent out to do in 1935. Cavalcade was designed to re-awaken in the public mind a consciousness of those ideals and inheritance that were most basically American. With this objective, the show was submitted to a permanent time slot and longer broadcast run

And for almost 20 years, The Cavalcade of America rivaled second behind the equally long-running Hollywood prestige program, The Lux Radio Theater. Stars of Hollywood and Broadway such as Raymond Massey, Orson Welles, Bette Davis, James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart and Burgess Meredith were offered top-notch acting performances. Carl Sandburg, Arch Oboler and Arthur Miller contributed to the program.

Among the program’s highlights was “The Green Pastures” with Juano Hernandez, a Christmas offering for 1940. For the broadcast of October 20, 1941, Edward Arnold, Jane Darwell and Walter Huston starred in “All That Money Can Buy” from Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Devil and Daniel Webster. Henry Fonda reprised his screen role from Drums Along the Mohawk. Errol Flynn reprised his screen role for They Died With Their Boots On three days before the movie premiered in theatres. Fredric March starred in the lead for The Adventures of Mark Twain. Kay Armen and Ray Block lent their talents during the war for a patriotic musical presentation titled “Sing A War Song.”

While most radio directors and actors had to contend with the fear of their programs being “pulled” from the air for any number of reasons, especially losing the sponsor, The Cavalcade of America did not have to contend with such worries. Cavalcade was a “DuPont program” as most performers referred to at the time. DuPont had no intention of dropping sponsorship, and it was this very reason why the program never had a brief broadcast run on the air.

Bob Hope entertains troops during a Cavalcade broadcast.
When DuPont chemists were toiling over their Bunsen burners and squinting into the reports to bring into the world new materials such as nylon and lucite, the public thought of DuPont as a gunpowder manufacturing gargantuan, making goods of destruction and profiting from world wars. Then some smart advertising agency executive sold the 26 men on DuPont’s executive committee the idea of advertising on radio the constructive things DuPont was making for society. “Better things for better living through chemistry” was the motif behind the advertising plan and it was soon heard as DuPont’s slogan on the weekly program.

Radio was still an infant in 1935 when the program premiered. During the program’s early years, Cavalcade was subjected to a series of different formats. The first was producer Arthur Pryor’s conception of two, 13-minute plays bridged with a DuPont promotional advertisement in between. Each episode dealt with a fundamental achievement that America could be proud of. For the broadcast of December 18, 1935, titled “Defiance of Nature,” two docudramas about the Erie Canal and the Holland Tunnel were offered. For the broadcast of March 25, 1936, “Conservation” was the subject with a brief drama about Johnny Appleseed and another about a modern story of a forest fire and firefighters combating the elements to preserve our forests. This early format stopped after the first 39 broadcasts.

The second format began with episode 40. Musical programs were a common staple on the radio so Pryor tried his hand at a weekly musical offering. From July 15, 1936 to September 23, 1936, Cavalcade offered a short-run summer series subtitled “The Development of Band Music in America,” followed by a number of other musical offerings such as “The Orchestra of Today and How it Grew” and “Music of the Movies.

The third format began on the evening of September 30, 1936 and became a staple for the rest of the series. One half-hour biographical drama centering on individuals both famous and obscure who helped in the advancement of progress here in the United States. A biography of Charles Goodyear, the showmanship of P.T. Barnum, and the person responsible for introducing seeing-eye dogs were among the earliest presentations.

Beginning with episode 90, broadcast July 7, 1937, the name of the program changed to The Cavalcade of Music and like the previous summer presented musical offerings for the radio listeners. This time each episode centered on a famous American composer with his music bridged between dramatic scenes. The works of Cole Porter, Jerome Kern and Victor Herbert were among the highlights.

Beginning with episode 102, broadcast September 29, 1937, the series picked up where it left off—offering a half-hour biographical sketch about an American who pioneered or advanced the means by which we live today. And reverted back to The Cavalcade of America name. And it was this format that remained throughout the rest of the program’s run. By 1939, the program had gained enough prestige to attract the attention of Hollywood actors who were performing on stage in New York. Since the series was presented from the East Coast, Cavalcade producers Larry Harding and Homer Fickett sought out actors from stage and screen who were willing to play the leads—and DuPont advanced the salaries. By 1940, actors such as Orson Welles, Burgess Meredith and Raymond Massey were making return visits and by 1941 all of Hollywood was jumping on board.

DuPont spared no expense. Nearly 1000 man-hours each week and eleven-and-a-half hours of rehearsal time were spent in the preparation of each half-hour production. Newspapers with a circulation of 17,500,000 carried advertisements of the program. Close to 715,000 pieces of mail were sent out weekly to stockholders, business leaders, educators, customers, and anyone else who might have an interest in the program. Variety reported in February of 1944 that the budget for Cavalcade moved from $5000 to $7000 per show exactly one year before to $11,500.

When each episode was broadcast “live” over the air from 1935 to 1953, DuPont went to the added expense of recording each of the broadcasts to transcription disc format. By the time the series picked up prestige and stars of stage and screen began making a weekly appearance, DuPont made it a tradition to cut a transcription disc for each of the lead actors and present the stars with a disc of their own. 

Photos were taken (many exist today with the stars proudly holding their disc while facing the photographer) and DuPont themselves retained a disc for each and every broadcast. These discs were housed in Wilmington and shortly after the series concluded they were transported to the Hagley Library where they remain today in storage for preservation.

During the early 1980s, a private collector dealing with old-time radio contacted the archive at Hagley and asked for the opportunity to transfer the recordings to a more stable medium so patrons visiting the archive could listen to the radio broadcasts without the necessity of removing the transcription discs from the shelves.

Regrettably, a visit to the same archive in 1999 revealed a fright for any radio historian: only 500 episodes of the 780 broadcasts remained. According to an employee at Hagley, not all of the discs and/or recordings were returned. A checklist was made and more than 200 recordings were not amidst the collection. Paperwork dated 1967 verified that all 780 discs were in the archive, sparking a mystery regarding the whereabouts of the missing episodes and who or what was responsible for the disappearance?

Before we begin the elusive search for the “lost” episodes, a few statistics are in order:
 (1) For anyone keeping count, there was “officially” a total of 780 radio broadcasts and 197 television broadcasts. All of the television episodes are known to exist on both 35mm and 16mm formats and since this article focuses on the radio programs we can focus on the radio program.
 (2) Episode #408 titled “Jane Addams of Hull House” scheduled for November 6, 1944 was never broadcast. The same drama was performed years previous on the Cavalcade series but the time slot was sold to the National Independent Committee for Roosevelt and Truman. The election speeches, the Republican/Democratic special, also pre-empted other radio programs that evening. DuPont, however, continued numbering the scripts consecutively so the broadcast of November 13 was listed as episode #409.

I have to repeat: episode #408 was never broadcast.

While many reference guides claim 781 episodes were broadcast, 780 was the exact figure. Sadly, some collectors have taken the May 21, 1940 broadcast of the same name and assigned it the 1944 broadcast date. The 1940 version featured Helen Hayes in the title role. The 1944 version would have starred Loretta Young. Therefore, unless someone miraculously comes up with a version starring Loretta Young, the 1944 recording is considered a “holy grail” and should be dismissed. It was never broadcast and should not be counted as an episode of Cavalcade.

Orson Welles on Cavalcade.
After months of research, with the cooperation of DuPont and private collectors of old-time radio programs, in early 1999 I completed an official list of the 17 lost radio episodes. SPERDVAC’S Radiogram featured the official list with the hopes that someone reading the essay would have sought out one or two of the lost episodes. After all, how can a collector know what is and is not a “lost” episode without such a list? And certainly far easier to remember the titles of 17 episodes than 764.

Today, more than ever, collectors of old-time radio broadcasts and fans of Hollywood motion pictures have been discovering The Cavalcade of America. While broadcasts of The Lux Radio Theatre have been making their way as extras on studio commercial DVDs, The Cavalcade of America has begun sharing the same success. Scholars and fans alike are discovering how polished the audio dramatizations can be, and everyone can thank DuPont for their efforts of keeping the series alive. Without DuPont footing the bill for the electrical transcriptions we would not have as many radio broadcasts to listen to today.

The most frequent question that arises is this: If so many episodes exist today why are there still a handful missing? The answer is varied depending on which “lost” recording we are referring to.

During the 20s and 30s radio broadcasts were generally broadcast live. Very few producers took to the expense of recording or transcribing the programs on disc. No one suspected there would be a commercial value over the span of decades and so after the initial live broadcast, the scripts were dismissed and the attention of the cast, producer and script writer centered on next week’s production. According to statistics that appear in print, radio broadcasts of the 20s and 30s indicate that the ratio of lost recordings may be anywhere from 80 to 90 percent if not more.

The reasons for this dreadful statistic are numerous, but one of the most important is the unstable nature of preservation. Even when the studios shelved transcription discs in storage, it would be years later that decision-makers chose to throw the discs away to make room for new offices. Collectors throughout the 1970s and 1980s still recall fishing through dumpers in alleys for the discs, taking them home and cleaning the dust off.

Junking old transcription discs was a standard operating procedure and a perfectly reasonable business decision—if there existed a duplicate recording kept in good condition. But when the duplicate transcription is also lost, there is nothing to return to, and the recording is gone forever.

To be fair to the studios of the past, few people believed there was any lasting worth to radio recordings except for their historical value. News briefs of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Hindenburg disaster and the War of the Worlds panic broadcast were given second thoughts before the decision to throw them away was discarded. To studio heads that center their efforts on the latest programs telecast on television, radio drama was a disposable art form, enjoyed years previous, forgotten the next, in much the same way we think of a newspaper or, perhaps, a magazine. Audiences didn’t notice that these frivolous entertainments also contained a record of the times in which they were made, capturing people, places, styles, and attitudes in a truer, more vivid way than could any history book.

Saving a single recording of an endangered program is obviously important, but saving or restoring the original disc or creating a new duplicate recording from which new copies could be struck is even more vital. The condition of those transcriptions—if they exist at all—depends in large part on how popular the program was. A transcription disc for an un-circulated episode of The Shadow from 1944, for example, would generate larger interest than an episode of remote ballroom music from New York’s Waldorf Astoria from the same year.

The practice of transferring radio broadcasts from transcription discs is not as simple as playing an LP record. Use the wrong needle and you damage the disc. The raw audio has to be recorded digitally. Then software (often expensive) is used to remove some of the hiss and pops that are in the soundtrack. True preservationists insist on saving the audio on a 44.1 mhz linear .wav file (comparable to CD audio) and avoid the MP3 format. The .wav file is used to strike a restoration copy and stored in its original form so if future programs designed and offered later can improve the quality from today’s restoration techniques, the raw version can be consulted without the need of again removing the fragile discs off the shelf. The MP3 format compresses the audio file and while suitable for listeners and collections, it is often compared to a six-hour recording on a VHS video as opposed to a re-mastered commercial film on DVD.

The list featured in the 1999 issue of Radiogram featured a total of 22 episodes that were not known to exist in circulation. Seventeen were not in available recorded form (hence the word “lost”) and five episodes were known to exist but remained un-circulated at Hagley. A request was placed with Hagley to have a copy of those five episodes struck but given their prior relationship with the collector who failed to return all of the recordings, the offer was declined.

Neal Ellis, host of Radio Once More heard weekly on spent the past year working with a number of archives along the East Coast to preserve what remains of The Cavalcade of America. His efforts are not in vain. Thanks to the cooperation of library archives and private collectors, Neal has begun a restoration process from original masters to ensure superb sound quality and the most complete collection anywhere.

Thanks to his efforts, four of the five episodes that existed but were formerly not available in circulation are now available:  “Éluthère Irénée DuPont”  (May 29, 1939), “The Lady and the Flag”  (June 15, 1942), “My Wayward Patient”  (April 2, 1945), “Man of Great Importance”  (September 16, 1952).  The only episode known to exist but still withheld from circulation is “Accent on Youth,“ broadcast March 2, 1942. With luck, that episode will become available shortly.

As for the former 17 “lost” episodes, three have become available thanks to Neal’s efforts and are now on CD and MP3 format.  They are:  “The Development of Band Music in America: The Concert Band Comes Into Its Own”  (August 12, 1936), “The Development of Band Music in America: Introducing the Instruments”  (August 19, 1936), “Modern American Orchestral Music”  (September 9, 1936).
What now remains are 14 “lost” episodes with details provided below.

Lost Episode #1: “The Story of Rubber.”   Broadcast November 18, 1936.  Announcer Frank Singiser.  Commercial Announcer Craig Stevens.  Written for Cavalcade by Lawrence Hammond.  Produced by Arthur Pryor and directed by Kenneth Webb.   Music composed by Donald Voorhees conducting his Orchestra.
Plot: This episode documents Charles Goodyear who, in 1832, began experimenting with a crude form of rubber called India Rubber in an attempt to find a way to make the substance useful for manufacturing.

Lost Episode #2: “The Cavalcade of Music.” Broadcast August 11, 1937.  Soprano Francia White.  Announcer Frank Singiser. Script first written July 22, 1937 and revised on August 10, 1937. Produced and directed by Kenneth Webb. Music composed by Donald Voorhees conducting his Orchestra.
Plot: Subtitled “Jerome Kern’s Music,” this was part six of a 12-part summer series dramatizing the history of American musicians and their compositions. Some of the songs featured were “Old Man River,” “Till the Clouds Roll By,” “Good Morning Dearie,” “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” and “Can I Forget You.”

Lost Episode #3: “The Pathfinder.” Broadcast January 26, 1938.  Announcer Frank Singiser.  Commercial Announcer Dwight Weist.   Written for Cavalcade by John Driscoll.  Script first written on August 31, 1937 and revisions were made on January 3, 11 and 25, 1938.  Produced by Arthur Pryor and directed by Kenneth Webb.  Music composed by Donald Voorhees conducting his Orchestra. The opening overture was “My Little Gray Home in the West.”
Plot: The drama for this episode was about John C. Fremont, geologist, botanist and topographer, who combined the technical knowledge with his daring as a pioneer in the western wilderness.

Lost Episode #4: “Dear Brutus.” Broadcast March 16, 1942.  Cast: Fredric March (Dearth), Karl Swenson (Matey), John McIntire (Mr. Coade), Jeanette Nolan (Mrs. Coade), Charita Bauer (Margaret), and Betty Garde (Alice).  Narrator Kenny Delmar.  Announcer Clayton Collyer.  Produced and directed by Homer Fickett.   Music composed by Donald Voorhees conducting his Orchestra.
Plot: Next to Peter Pan, Dear Brutus is the most beloved of all the plays written by Sir James Matthew Barrie. The radio script was adapted for Cavalcade by Robert Tallman (who wrote for The Whistler and Suspense). For trivia buffs, real-life husband and wife John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan played a married couple in this episode.

Lost Episode #5: “The Silent Heart.” Broadcast on March 30, 1942.  Cast: Ingrid Bergman (Jenny Lind), Karl Swenson (Joseph), Bill Johnstone (Otto), Betty Garde (Anna), Ed Jerome (Webster), Ted Jewett (the voice), John McIntire (P.T.) and Edgar Vincent (the sailor).  Announcer Kenny Delmar.  Based on unpublished research by Carl Carmer; written for Cavalcade by Norman Rosten.  The production credits are the same as the above episode.
Plot: This episode featured the Ken Christie singers. Elizabeth Mulliner sang Bergman’s role of Jenny Lind, singing the 1813 song “Last Rose of Summer.” Best remembered as the Swedish nightingale, this episode told the story of Jenny Lind and her debut at the Old Castle Garden on the Battery in New York.

Lost Episode #6: “This Side of Hades.” Broadcast on April 27, 1942.  Cast: Loretta Young (Molly Pitcher), Ed Jerome (Irvine), Betty Garde (Beulah), Bill Johnstone (the sentry), Paul Stewart (Smith), Bill Pringle (the Captain), Ted Jewett (the Colonel), John McIntire (George Washington) and Jeanette Nolan (Mrs. Irvine).  Announcer Clayton Collyer.  Based on research by Carl Carmer; written for Cavalcade by Robert Tallman. Produced and directed by Homer Fickett. Music by Donald Voorhees conducting his orchestra.
Plot: True story of Molly Pitcher, who ran back and forth from the front lines to a distant well with her pitcher of water during the American Civil War. Then one day her husband fell exhausted by his cannon, and Molly came to the rescue.

Lost Episode #7: “Clara Barton.” Broadcast on June 1, 1942.  Cast: Madeleine Carroll (Clara Barton), Bill Pringle (Senator Z.), Everett Sloane (Jim), John McIntire (Wilson), Jeanette Nolan (Ann), Paul Stewart (Hay), Ed Jerome (Senator Y) and Ted Jewett (the orderly).  Announcer Kenny Delmar.   Production credits same as the above episode.
Plot: Clara Barton not only founded the American Red Cross but also spent four years after the Civil War directing an extensive search for missing soldiers.

Lost Episode #8: “Man of Iron.” Broadcast on July 13, 1942.  Cast: Dean Jagger (Lt. Worden), Bill Johnstone (Greene), Ian Martin (the attache), Paul Stewart (the helmsman), Arnold Moss (Fox), Arlene Francis (Olivia), Ed Jerome (Abe Lincoln) and Karl Swenson (Stanton).  Announcer Clayton Collyer.  Written for Cavalcade by Robert L. Richards and Robert Tallman.  Produced and directed by Homer Fickett.  Music by Donald Voorhees conducting his Orchestra.
Plot: John Ericsson came forward to build, in the incredibly short period of one hundred days, a vessel that would destroy the new menace called the Merrimac. His “cheesebox on a raft” introduced a basic new principle of naval warfare to the world.

Lost Episode #9: “Theodore Roosevelt, Man of Action.” Broadcast on August 17, 1942.  Cast: Edward Arnold (Roosevelt). Written for Cavalcade by Robert L. Richards and Robert Tallman. Production credits are the same as the above episode.
Plot: This presents the life of Roosevelt, the man who charged up San Juan Hill, won the vice- presidency in the election of 1900, and became president a year later when McKinley died at the hand of an assassin. The original title of this script was “The Big Stick,” referring to the old proverb, “walk softly and carry a big stick.” By the time the final draft of this script came into being the title was changed to the above. One small historical mistake occurred during this drama. McKinley was assassinated by three bullets (provided by sound man Al Scott). When listeners heard this, they began writing to DuPont, commenting that McKinley was assassinated by two bullets, not three. And the listeners were correct!

Lost Episode #10: “The Road to Victory.” Broadcast December 7, 1942.  Narrator Carl Sandburg.  Announcer Clayton Collyer. Based on numerous works by Sandburg, and adapted for Cavalcade by Norman Rosten.  Produced and directed by Homer Fickett.  Music composed by Ardon Cornwell and conducted by Donald Voorhees.
Plot: A vocal number is sung by the Delta Rhythm Boys. This episode was a one-year anniversary of Pearl Harbor with Sandburg describing his meetings with Americans from all walks of life, and paused to celebrate the road builders and those traveling along that road. Radio actors often played more than one role in the same drama, a common practice for creating the illusion of a crowd, or filling in for simple one-line remarks such as a conductor calling “All Aboard,” or a passerby saying “hello.” To note, this episode featured the largest cast of characters than any other Cavalcade broadcast.  Seventy-three characters were featured and all of the roles were played by a little more than a dozen actors!

Lost Episode #11: “Sing a War Song.” Broadcast on May 29, 1944.  Stars Kay Armen in a musical war-time presentation.  Narrator Deems Taylor.  Announcer Roland Winters.  Commercial Announcer Ted Pearson.  Written for Cavalcade by Peter Lyon. Produced and directed by Jack Zoller.  Music for this program was under the direction of Donald Voorhees and his orchestra of twenty-eight men, Ray Block and a chorus of twenty-four voices and the Golden Gate Quartet. Donald Bryan directed the musical scores. Songs featured were “Elmer’s Tune,” “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition,” “Rosie the Riveter,” “Don’t Forget to Say No, Baby,” “This is the Army, Mr. Jones,” “One More Mile to Go,” “One Little Wac,” “Milkman, Keep Those Bottles Quiet,” and “When the Yanks Go Marching In.”

Lost Episode #12: “Pink Lace.” Broadcast on February 28, 1949.  Cast: Janet Blair (Pauline Cushman) and Staats Cotsworth (McNairy).  Announcer Ted Pearson.  Commercial Announcer Bill Hamilton.  Written for Cavalcade by Virginia Radcliffe. Produced and directed by Jack Zoller. Music composed by Ardon Cornwell and conducted by Donald Bryan.
Plot: During the War between the States, actress Pauline Cushman openly declared herself for the South thereby enabling her to move around gathering information as a female spy. This episode actually has two titles.   The official script title was “Pink Lace,” but beforehand it was titled “The Girl in the Pink Lace.” At the beginning of the broadcast Ted Pearson announced the drama as “The Girl in the Pink Lace,” even though the official script title says otherwise. Madeline Carroll was originally slated to play the role of Pauline Cushman, but for reasons unknown she was unable to attend. Janet Blair became her replacement.

Lost Episode #13: “Letter From Europe.” Broadcast on March 21, 1949.  Cast: Charles Boyer (Albert Gallatin), Barbara Weeks (Hannah), Ethel Owen (Mrs. Harwood), Scott Tennyson (Janney), House Jameson (Thomas Jefferson), Robert Dryden (voice one), Alan Hewitt (the chairman); Arnold Moss (John Adams) and Joseph Bell (the Massachusetts man).  Written for Cavalcade by Russell Hughes. Production credits are the same as above.
Plot: In 1798, when war with France seemed inevitable, a small group of men marshaled themselves against it. Among them was the European-born Albert Gallatin. He won his fight and later became Secretary of the Treasury under President Jefferson.

Lost Episode #14: “Never Marry a Ranger.” Broadcast on May 9, 1950. Cast: Martha Scott (Roberta McConnell), Donnie Harris (Scott), Nelson Case (Mr. McConnell), Joseph Bell (the boss), Robin Morgan (Cissie), George Petrie (the volunteer), Cameron Andrews (Old Pete), Joe Latham (Oley), Rica Martens (the woman), Clifford Tatum, Jr. (the baby cry) and Carl Eastman (the radio voice).  Announcer Ted Pearson.  Commercial Announcer Bill Hamilton.  Written for Cavalcade by Virginia Radcliffe as adapted from the book of the same title by Roberta McConnell as originally published by Prentice-Hall in 1950.  Produced by Roger Pryor and Directed by Jack Zoller.  Music composed by Roger Pryor and conducted by Donald Voorhees.
Plot: Story of the Forest Ranger station on Callina Crib in the Utah mountains and how Roberta, the wife of a Forest Ranger, has to contend with her husband’s job and the life that accompanied it. When a forest fire broke out one day, it was Roberta who saved the day and then realized the importance of her husband’s job.

Compare your collection with the list above. If you believe you have any of these lost recordings, please drop a note so it can be verified. Because the MP3 market is flooded with supposed “lost” episodes (pre-existing recordings re-assigned titles and broadcast dates), a copy of the lost episode would need to be verified. I purchased half a dozen MP3s during the past two years claiming to have at least one “lost” episode and not one of them were legit in their claims. Should you wish to forward a copy of the recording to Neal Ellis for verification, his web-site is Further details about The Cavalcade of America can be found in the 480-page book, The History of the Cavalcade of America (Morris Publishing, 1998).