On the Air: Jan. 27, 1936-Jan. 5, 1951. (For detailed schedule, see "The Great Radio Soap Operas," chapter 5.)
David Harum: Wilmer Walter, Craig McDonnell, Cameron Prud'homme (1944-47, 50-51) ... Polly Benson (Aunt Polly): Charme Allen, Eve Condon ... James Benson: Bennett Kilpack ... Susan Price Wells: Peggy Allenby, Joan Tompkins, Gertrude Warner
Announcer: Ford Bond
Theme Song: "Sunbonnet Sue" (initially hummed by Stanley Davis to his own guitar accompaniment, later played on the organ)
Epigraph: Once again we present David Harum, one of the most beloved stories in American fiction, for David Harum is America. It's the story of every one of us -- of our search for love ... for happiness ... and the good way of life.
Premise: This program baited its audience with the sponsor's frequent premium offers by having serial characters unabashedly refer to giveaway items within the story line. Other dramas generally did it less obtrusively (and, perhaps, less effectively), but here the hook for selling wares was often an integral part of the plot. It was an abstraction that sent some in the industry into spasms. The show itself offered plenty of promise, meanwhile. Its hypothesis involved a small-town New England banker, never married, who was as adept at helping people in trouble as at protecting their investments and loaning money. He followed in the footsteps of a parade of soap opera characters whose destinies included dispensing practical advice out of their bountiful wisdom. Like several of his counterparts, David Harum also had his share of mystery encounters: he would search for kidnapped damsels in distress, nail an occasional scoundrel and expose diabolical schemes the police didn't know existed. The common sense he employed, along with the perceptive abilities that he acquired and that everybody else in Homeville missed, turned the banker-hero into a trusted friend of the righteous and a hated nemesis of evildoers. His exploits supplied adventure and inspiration while capitalizing on premiums that turned lukewarm listeners into faithful fans.
Hosted by Jim Cox, author of The Great Radio Soap Operas (31 Classic Daytime Dramas, 1930-1960)
Moderator: Jim Cox
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