Silver Theater (radio Program)
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Silver Theater Radio Program
Silver Theater
Rosalind Russell and James Stewart CBS Radio 1937.jpg
Rosalind Russell and James Stewart as they appeared in the first four episodes of Silver Theater
Other namesThe 1847 Silver Theater
GenreHollywood drama
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited States
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
TV adaptationsThe Silver Theatre
Hosted byConrad Nagel
John Loder
StarringHollywood stars
AnnouncerJohn Conte
Dick Joy
Henry Charles
Roger Krupp
Jack Bailey
Harry Bartell
Written byTrue Boardman
Grover Jones
Joseph Russell
George Wells
Directed byGlenhall Taylor
Produced byGlenhall Taylor
Edna Best
Ted Bliss
Walter Bunker
Original releaseOctober 3, 1937 - August 17, 1947
Sponsored byInternational Silver Company, Meriden, CT

For the television series of the same name, see The Silver Theatre.

Silver Theater (sometimes written as Silver Theatre) was a radio dramatic anthology series in the United States. Originating in Hollywood, California,[1] it was carried on CBS[2] and on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[1] First broadcast October 3, 1937, its last broadcast was August 17, 1947.[2]



Originally, Silver Theater featured movie stars, primarily in original dramas and less often in adaptations of movies. Comedies were presented occasionally.[2] In a reversal of the customary trend, some original dramas from Silver Theater were purchased for use in movies.[3] In 1947, when the program was broadcast as a summer replacement series, radio stars--rather than those from movies--were used as leads.[4]


In 1941, the Summer Silver Theater was a variety program, with Ed Sullivan as host and Will Bradley as bandleader. A guest star featured each week.[5]


By its nature, Hollywood Star Playhouse had no regular cast. Different movie stars of the era were featured, as indicated in the sampling of episodes and stars listed below. One continuing presence was that of the host, who was referred to as the "director" on the air. Conrad Nagel was the initial host. John Loder replaced him in the early 1940s. Announcers over the program's lifetime were John Conte, Dick Joy, Henry Charles, Roger Krupp, Jack Bailey, and Harry Bartell. Felix Mills directed the orchestra.[2]

Selected episodes

Date(s) Episode Star(s)
October 3, 10, 17, 24, 1937 "First Love" Rosalind Russell, James Stewart[2]
March 5, 1939 "Single Party Going East" Ginger Rogers[6]
March 26, April 2, 1939 "For Us, the Living" Rosalind Russell[7]
May 21, 28, 1939 "Crossroads for Two" Helen Hayes, True Boardman[8]
October 8, 15, 1939 "Lost Yesterday" Loretta Young[9]
April 21, 1940 "Census 1940" Thomas Mitchell, Edna Best[10]
April 28, 1940 "Days of Grace" Carole Lombard[11]
January 26, 1941 "Love's New Sweet Song" Judy Garland[12]
April 6, 1941 "Niagara to Reno" Kay Kyser, Ginny Simms[13]
October 5, 1941 "The Better the Day" Mickey Rooney[14]
February 1, 1942 "The Maltese Falcon" Humphrey Bogart.[15]
July 25, 1943 "China Bridge" Ellen Drew, Preston Foster[16]
January 16, 1944 "Mr. Margie" Bing Crosby[17]
January 30, 1944 "For This We Live" Dorothy Lamour[18]
February 6, 1944 "Travel Is Broadening" William Powell[19]
April 2, 1944 "The Steadfast Heart" Paul Lukas[20]
April 30, 1944 "The Snow Goose" Ronald Colman[21]
May 14, 1944 "Little Johnny Appleseed" Kate Smith[22]
June 4, 1944 "Nothing Ever Happens" Joan Bennett[23]
June 25, 1944 "Suez Road" Ann Sothern[24]
August 5, 1945 "A Charmed Life" Joan Davis, Harry von Zell[25]

The sponsor, International Silver Company, launched the program by inviting couples married 25 years or more to the CBS studio for the initial broadcast on October 3, 1937.[26]

International Silver apparently chose well in selecting Silver Theater as a vehicle for advertising. The company's satisfaction with increased sales was such that CBS ran a four-page advertisement in the March 1, 1940, issue of Broadcasting magazine touting the advertising's effectiveness. The ad quoted comments from International Silver: "After thirteen weeks on CBS: 'We find we can paint a more alluring picture ... by radio than with the printed page.' ... After three years on CBS: '[S]ubstantial increase in sales for every year we have been on the air.'"[27] As the ad continued, it noted that Silver Theater had become more popular over those three years and that "as the popularity of the program has increased, sales of 1847 Rogers Bros. have increased."[27]

Concurrently, the International Silver Company advertised their 1847 Rogers Bros. silverware with advertisements in LIFE magazine including product endorsements by Hollywood actresses. Many also performed in the Silver Theater, including Judy Garland, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Rosalind Russell, and Loretta Young. Another brand of the company, International Sterling, also promoted the Silver Theater in LIFE magazine advertisements.[28][29]

CBS also produced a brochure "showing success of the Silver Theatre."[30]


International Silver of Canada, counterpart of Silver Theater's sponsor, had its own version of the program (Summer Silver Theatre) on the CBC in 1941.[31] The program "bore little resemblance to its American counterpart" and lasted for only 10 episodes.[32]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Silver Net to Canada" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 15, 1937. p. 53. Retrieved 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 615-616. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved .
  3. ^ "Hollywood Turning to Radio for Talent" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 1, 1940. p. 20. Retrieved 2015.
  4. ^ Reinehr, Robert C. and Swartz, Jon D. (2008). The A to Z of Old-Time Radio. Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-7616-3. P. 234.
  5. ^ "Sunday". Radio and Television Mirror. 16 (5): 41. September 1941. Retrieved 2015.
  6. ^ "Virovai Is Guest". The Nebraska State Journal. March 5, 1939. p. 36. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  7. ^ "Fairbury Boys On NBC". The Nebraska State Journal. March 26, 1939. p. 44. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  8. ^ "Boardman to Act with Helen Hayes". Belvidere Daily Republican. May 20, 1939. p. 5. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  9. ^ "Silver Theater Staff" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 15, 1939. p. 66. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ "Variety Of Features On The Airwaves This Week". The Lincoln Star. April 21, 1940. p. 36. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  11. ^ "New Quiz Show On KFAB". The Lincoln Star. April 28, 1940. p. 36. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  12. ^ "Judy Garland on KFAB". The Lincoln Star. January 26, 1941. p. 64. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  13. ^ "3 Programs Join The Spring Dial; Several Programs Revised". The Lincoln Star. April 6, 1941. p. 40. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  14. ^ "(photo caption)". The Lincoln Star. October 5, 1941. p. 44. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  15. ^ "On KFAB". The Lincoln Star. February 1, 1942. p. 32. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  16. ^ "Ellen Drew, Preston Foster to Star on Silver Theater". Chicago Tribune. July 25, 1943. p. 4W. Retrieved 2015.
  17. ^ Macfarlane, Malcolm. "Bing Crosby - Day by Day". BING magazine. International Club Crosby. Retrieved 2019.
  18. ^ "Drama". The Nebraska State Journal. January 30, 1944. p. 36. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  19. ^ "Sunday Radio Features". The Nebraska State Journal. February 6, 1944. p. 28. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  20. ^ "Sunday Highlights". The Nebraska State Journal. April 2, 1944. p. 28. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  21. ^ "Sunday Highlights". The Nebraska State Journal. April 30, 1944. p. 32. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  22. ^ "Sunday Highlights". The Nebraska State Journal. May 14, 1944. p. 33. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  23. ^ "Sunday Highlights". The Nebraska State Journal. June 4, 1944. p. 28. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  24. ^ "Sunday Highlights". The Nebraska State Journal. June 25, 1944. p. 28. Retrieved 2015 – via access
  25. ^ "Joan Davis to Star in Silver Theater Drama". Chicago Tribune. August 5, 1945. p. Part 3-Page 4. Retrieved 2015.
  26. ^ "Silver Threads" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 15, 1938. p. 74. Retrieved 2015.
  27. ^ a b "How CBS Changes Silver into gold (advertisement)" (PDF). Broadcasting. March 1, 1940. pp. 5-8. Retrieved 2015.
  28. ^ (Undated, c. 1941.) "1847 Rogers Bros Silverware: 'Your Chance of a Lifetime' 1941 International Silver Company" dealer promotional video. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  29. ^ (April 3, 2016). "International Silver Company design catalogues and historical information" (Advertisements 1937-45). Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  30. ^ "Brochures" (PDF). Broadcasting. July 7, 1941. p. 35. Retrieved 2015.
  31. ^ "Network Accounts" (PDF). Broadcasting. May 5, 1941. p. 41. Retrieved 2015.
  32. ^ "The Silver Theater". The Digital Deli Too. Retrieved 2015.

External links

Episodic Logs


Streaming audio

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Music Scenes