OLD TIME RADIO - 1 CD-ROM - 10 mp3 - Total Playtime: 6:08:40
WBBM and Wrigley bring Island Venture to CBS airwaves
WBBM, Chicago, had aired a popular regional favorite, The First Line, throughout the World War II years. The First Line was a patriotic informational and variety program which celebrated the efforts of the U. S. Navy in prosecuting World War II at home and abroad. The First Line aired between January 1942 and November 1945. The Great Lakes region of the American Midwest remained a significant contributor to World War II efforts throughout the era--especially Navy efforts and training. Wrigley sponsored The First Line throughout its three-year run.
With the welcomed arrival of V-J Day, August 9th 1945, WBBM and Wrigley felt that The First Line had honorably served its intended purpose and began casting around for another late evening vehicle to replace The First Line.
First conceived as simply "Adventure," the new series was to be an action-adventure drama involving two ex-Naval Aviation veterans and their attempts to establish an air freight service in the Central Pacific Ocean area. The two featured 'stars' of the series were identified as only "two ex-servicemen," one of which has been identified as Jerry Walter in the role of Gil Perry.
By the time the series got the green light it was renamed "Island Venture" and deemed worthy of airing over the full CBS Network of the era. Premiering late Thursday evening, November 15th 1945, the series aired nationally between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. over most CBS affiliates.
The premise of the series was certainly worthy of commercial sponsorship to a national audience. Former Naval Aviation pilot, Gilbert 'Gil' Perry was the driving force in establishing the Inter-Island Air Service based on the Central Pacific island of Ilopan. Perry's sidekick and business partner was ex-Naval Aviation engineer and gunner 'Trigger' Brett. The partners had also acquired the services of local 'fixer' and owner of Ilopan's Empire Hotel, Roland Luis Fernando Tomas 'Pop' Mendoza and his daughter Polly to assist with the maintenance and administration of the ambitious island-hopping air service. The backstory of the evolving premise disclosed an ongoing romantic relationship between Polly Mendoza and Trigger Brett.
The series hit all the right notes for the era: two ex-GIs undertaking a much-needed air service for the area, the encroachments of competitors--both fair and criminal, and a series of encounters with the aboriginal natives and French colonialists inhabiting the islands surrounding Ilopan. Gil Perry found his own romantic interest by February 1946 in the form of Nancy Goodwin, the erstwhile owner of a competing air service, Central Pacific Air Service. The romantic elements didn't generally distract from the action-adventure aspects of the series. Rather they generally provided either occasional light comedy relief or an opportunity for a 'damsel in distress' plot of one kind or another.
The sniping byplay between Pop Mendoza and Trigger Brett made for some of the lighter aspects of the series, but the usually fast-paced adventures that underscored each plot kept each episode moving along quite crisply. Fans of the later Bold Venture series starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall will find many similarities between Island Venture and Bold Venture. The themes and interstitial underscore were quite reminiscent of the later Bold Venture, as well as the format of the series. Naturally, with Bold Venture set in the Caribbean and Island Venture set in the South Pacific, the geographical similarities don't exist, but many of the situations, plots, character dynamics and interactions compare very closely indeed.
Text from Digital Deli
Island Venture 45-12-06 Ranak reveals plot of Lanus to make Matan chief of both islands
Island Venture 45-12-13 Mr Thompson visits Gil at Ilo-Pan
Island Venture 46-01-10 Joe Standish comes to work for Inter-Island Air Service
Island Venture 46-01-17 Trigger & Mendoza sing Sunshine for the Princess of Lapango
Island Venture 46-01-24 Delivering books and dynamite to Eros Gil & Trigger find Cartwrights on a sandbar
Island Venture 46-01-31 Gil, Trigger & Pop Mendoza see small canoe containing injured native
Island Venture 46-02-07 Gil hires beachcomber named George Tyson & meets new girl named Nancy Goodwin
Island Venture 46-02-21 Gil is jealous of Dr Stacy the archeologist
Island Venture 46-04-25 Gil & Trigger arrive to do business with Lecont
Island Venture 46-05-02 Gil, Trigger & Pop Mendoza aid Marty in recovering a log
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