Today's Children

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

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Today's Children

Postby Lou » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:36 pm

On the Air: Sept. 11, 1933-May 29, 1936, NBC Blue, 10:30 a.m. ET; June 1, 1936-Dec. 31, 1937, NBC, 10:45 a.m.; Dec. 13, 1943-Nov. 29, 1946, NBC, 2:15 p.m.; Dec. 2, 1946-May 28, 1948, NBC, 2 p.m.; May 31, 1948-June 2, 1950, NBC, 2:30 p.m.

Mother Moran: Irna Phillips ... Eileen Moran: Fran Carlon, Ireene Wicker ... Frances Moran Matthews: Bess Johnson, Sunda Love ... Mama Schultz: Virginia Payne ... Papa Schultz: Murray Forbes

Announcer: Louis Roen

Theme Song: "Aphrodite" (Goetzl); "Autumn Nocturne"

Epigraph: And today's children, with their hopes and dreams, their laughter and tears, shall be the builders of a brighter world tomorrow.

Premise: Deja vu (n.): Something already seen; an illusion that one has previously had an experience that is new. Some listeners must have experienced deja vu while hearing this show. The premise, the characters and the locale must have seemed more than vaguely familiar. What in the world was going on? As it turned out, Irna Phillips, who created this show in 1932, was also the author behind Painted Dreams, a serial introduced to a Chicago audience in 1930. Scholars have often regarded Dreams as the very first daytime drama by installment. But Phillips and her employer soon ran into legal difficulties concerning who owned the material she had written. Getting nowhere with it, she resigned her job and took her ideas to a competing station. There she created an almost identical series, which was picked up by NBC Blue for nationwide airing. Set in an urban ethnic community in Chicago, the drama originally revolved around a tightly knit Irish-American family headed by a strong, widowed matriarch who imbued her brood with ageless moralistic messages. It later evolved into a German-oriented family epic set in the same neighborhood. Having little eslewhere to turn, daytime audiences made the program an instant hit, and it remained at that level for four years, until Phillips abruptly withdrew it. She returned the drama to the air after it had been absent for a half-dozen years, but it never achieved the prestige it had earlier enjoyed. The series was one of the first to exploit the premium request for a memento, a model for many shows that followed.

Trivia question: When the original theme song for this show was retired, for what more prominent serial did it become the theme?

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