One Man's Family

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

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One Man's Family

Postby Lou » Tue Oct 25, 2005 12:35 pm

On the Air: See p. 135, The Great Radio Soap Operas, for full listing.

Father Henry Barbour: J. Anthony Smythe ... Mother Fanny Barbour: Minetta Ellen (April 29, 1932-July 8, 1955); Mary Adams (Feb. 13, 1956-May 8, 1959) ... Paul Barbour: Michael Raffetto (April 29, 1932-July 8, 1955); Russell Thorson (July 28, 1955-May 8, 1959) ... Hazel Barbour: Bernice Berwin ... Claudia Barbour: Kathleen Wilson (April 29, 1932-Aug. 29, 1943); Floy Margaret Hughes (substitute for Kathleen Wilson during illness); Barbara Fuller (Oct. 14, 1945-May 8, 1959); Laurette Fillbrandt (summer substitute 1949) ... Clifford Barbour: Barton Yarborough (April 29, 1932-Dec. 27, 1951) ... Jack Barbour: Page Gilman

Announcers: William Andrews, Frank Barton, Ken Carpenter

Theme Song: "Destiny Waltz" (Barnes), 1932-41; "Patricia" (Carson), 1941-59

Epigraph: One Man's Family, a Carlton E. Morse creation, is dedicated to the mothers and fathers of the younger generation and to their bewildering offspring.

Premise: Unquestionably among the best literary series that radio produced, One Man's Family was a profound statement of life as it unfolded in an upper-middle-class American family. The serial debuted during the depths of the Great Depression and became a listening ritual in millions of households. Although the drama's central figures, the Barbours of San Francisco, had few financial worries, they were not without cares. Their concerns were universal -- love, adolescence and a ceaseless amazement over the succeeding generations they nurtured. Unlike most other serials of the time, this one celebrated the positive aspects of living, abhorring stock formulas and devices (like amnesia) so typical elsewhere. More a novel than a soap, the drama's structure was built on "books" and "chapters" rather than typical subplot story lines. It was the crowning achievement of Carlton E. Morse, an adroit creative who wrote, directed and produced the program for most of its 27 years on the air. The series championed Morse's own philosophical disposition that the family was unparalleled in providing moral fiber for the nation. It was, to Morese, absolutely imperative that the family be honored and preserved for generations yet unborn. For 18 years, One Man's Family was broadcast as a weekly half-hour drama. Then it moved to a five-night-a-week format similar to that of the sudsy daytime washboard weepers. Even then its focus on daily life in one extended family's home remained, along with its literary and production superiority. The soap played out its final couple of years in a daytime quarter-hour. Failed attempts to see it succeed on both large and small screens never thwarted Morse and his associates; they routinely acquired virtually every prestigious award given for radio drama.

Trivia Question: The plots of what other serial aired on NBC from 1951-59 espoused the same familial values as One Man's Family and even adapted some of Family's story lines? What human connections linked the Barbours and Carters?

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