On the Air: Oct. 7, 1940-April 25, 1941, CBS, 4 p.m. ET; April 28, 1941-March 31, 1944, NBC, 5:15 p.m.; April 3, 1944-Sept. 29, 1944, CBS, 2 p.m.; Oct. 2, 1944-June 29, 1951, NBC, 5:15 p.m.
Portia Blake Manning: Lucille Wall, Anne Seymour (four months in 1948) ... Walter Manning: Myron McCormick, Bartlett Robinson ... Dickie Blake: Edwin Bruce, Skip Homeier, Raymond Ives, Alastair Kyle, Larry Robinson
Announcers: George Putnam, Ron Rawson
Theme Song: "Kerry Dance" (Molloy)
Premise: Without Walter Manning, this could have been a feminine version of Perry Mason. For Portia, the most successful woman lawyer among radio soap heroines, had the ability and brains to dazzle the prosecution, defending her clients with masterful strokes of legal maneuver. She was a woman whom men desired outside the hall of justice and feared inside it. Her serial might have been an altogether intriguing tale of courtroom drama had it not been for the mail. Listeners preferred melodrama, they indicated in overwhelming numbers. Left with a small son to raise after the accidental death of her husband, the feminine barrister was often preoccupied with domestic matters rather than issues pertaining to her career. A lot of turned-on males, including Walter Manning, found her charms totally captivating. From the day of Walter's arrival in the plot it appeared that his lone function was to create problems for Portia to solve. Despite frequent, lengthy unexplained lapses in time, during which he was gone for weeks and months -- once for over a year -- Portia, a woman of brains, courage and skill, still married him. Walter suffered constant physical, mental and emotional setbacks and even called on his wife to defend him on at least two occasions -- once for treason, another time for murder. Their union produced a daughter, and in their household Portia's son, Dickie, grew up. The men with the roving eyes never relinquished their desire for Portia. And in the end she too faced life -- or part of it -- behind bars for a crime she didn't commit.
Ponder this: Does anybody recall why poor Portia was sent to the slammer as her serial was about to fade?
Hosted by Jim Cox, author of The Great Radio Soap Operas (31 Classic Daytime Dramas, 1930-1960)
Moderator: Jim Cox
2 posts • Page 1 of 1
I read somewhere that the powers that be allowed Portia to go to jail as a publicity gimmick to save the serial. They hoped the public outcry would force the network to continue/revive the story. To no avail. The heartbroken and shocked fans and Portia never received a reprieve. But out of curiosity, did the TV version rcycle the plots of the radio version like ONe Man's Family did? Or was it a rewritten version like Follow Your Heart and When A Girl Marriers and Young Dr. Malone? Or was it just a in name only copy like Valiant Lady?
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