Road of Life

Hosted by Jim Cox, author of The Great Radio Soap Operas (31 Classic Daytime Dramas, 1930-1960)

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Road of Life

Postby Lou » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:29 pm

On the Air: Sept. 13, 1937-Jan. 2, 1959

Dr. Jim Brent: Matt Crowley, David Ellis, Ken Griffin, Don MacLaughlin, Howard Teichmann ... Carol Evans Brent: Louise Fitch, Marion Shockley, Lesley Woods ... Jocelyn McLeod Brent: Barbara Becker, Virginia Dwyer ... John ("Butch") Brent: Roland Butterfield, David Ellis, Donald Kraatz, Bill Lipton, Lawson Zerbe ... Francie Brent: Elizabeth Lawrence

Announcers: George Bryan, Nelson Case, Clayton (Bud) Collyer, Ron Rawson

Theme Song: First Movement of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, "Pathetique" (Breil)

Premise: "A most important soap opera," as one radio historian characterized it, Road of Life was broadcast on dual networks for two-fifths of its existence, considerably widening its audience appeal beyond the normal reach of typical washboard weepers. The program became a long-standing tradition in many homes, showing up at numerous points on the radio dial at a variety of hours. With more than one hundred performers in its cast, the drama focused on a small town physician, Dr. Jim Brent, and the foibles impinging on his life and those he loved. While most of it avoided the eccentric stuff found on other serials, it encountered a few tragic moments along the way. The show was rooted in creator Irna Phillips' strong bent toward characterization. Across two decades there was ample opportunity for listeners to examine the gifts and perils in the lives of major figures. While Brent's career provided substance for the narrative, his interaction with two wives -- one good, one not-so-good -- also contributed heavily to the evolving plot. Carried out in the inimitable Phillips tradition in which realism played a dynamic part, Road became a daytime staple, the first of a long string of serials in which medics became the subjects around which the action transpired.

Question #1: Do you remember this serial and its familiar theme, which was simply recalled by housewives as "music for the Duz program"? If so, what personal memories do you associate with it?

Question #2: What important figures from the cast of this serial were married to each other in real life in a ceremony broadcast on "Bride and Groom"?

Question #3: Can you name 3 other programs (including 2 more serials) that were identified with Duz for many years which relied upon the same announcer for all 4 shows (including Road)?

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