Mercury Theatre on the Air

(September- December 1938) First Person Singular under a new name. One-hour adaptions of literary works, including Hell on Ice and The War of the Worlds.

CBS was well pleased with the first set of Orson Welles productions, and the company engaged Welles and his troupe for another set of broadcast dramas. In the introduction to the first episode in the new cycle, the announcer quotes a number of reviewers:

“After nine weeks, this is what the radio critics say… “The programs sparkle with originality, cleverness, and skilled acting. The series suggests new avenues of approach in the development of radio drama,” says the Saint Louis Democrat. “A must for any listener,” declares the Campden New Jersey Post.”

The new set of dramas began just a week after the final episode of First Person Singular. Orson Welles and the Mercury Theatre on the Air opened with a production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, their greatest stage success to date, and just a few weeks later broadcast their most famous production, The War of the Worlds.

Thirteen episodes were produced under the title Mercury Theatre on the Air. Eight are present here.



Adaptation of William Gilette's stage version of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.



Adaptation of Edward Ellsberg's "Hell On Ice". Adapted by Howard Koch.



Adaptation of Booth Tarkington's 1916 novel "Seventeen". Adapted by Howard Koch



Adaptation of Jules Verne's 1873 novel "Around the World in Eighty Days". Adapted by Howard Koch.



Adaptation of H.G. Welles 1898 novel "The War of the Worlds". Adapted by Howard Koch. Orson Welles's most famous radio production.



Adaptation of works by Joseph Conrad, Clarence Day. Adapted by Howard Koch.



Adaptation of Ellis St. Joseph's "A Passenger to Bali". Adapted by Howard Koch.



Adaptation of William Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar".

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