OLD TIME RADIO - 1 CD-ROM - 49 mp3
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Inheritance was a joint production of the National Broadcasting Company and The American Legion and it's Auxliary. The timing of the production is significant. This was the height of the 'Red Scare' era, during which The American Legion of the era-- with the assistance of several powerful right wing Conservative senators and congressmen--orchestrated the notoriously infamous 'Red Channels' pamphlet which purported to 'out' alleged communist sympathizers in the name of 'national security.' The Red Channels pamphlets prompted the development of several informal--and entirely illegal--blacklists of the era, especially in the areas of union organizing efforts and The Arts.
This was by no means a Government-sponsored or sanctioned activity. Rather it was a political and economic activity instigated by powerful Congressmen and Senators in the pockets of Anti-Union lobbyists and Defense Industrialists. That the Federal Government of the era was either too co-opted or too politically cowardly to discourage this practice remains a national disgrace. But the fact of the disgrace continues to color virtually every aspect of the history of the Performing Arts, Literary Arts and Fine Arts of the era.
A cynic might characterize this series as a face-saving effort by the saner heads at The American Legion. Their connection to the infamous Red Channels pamplets had long been disclosed by the time the series aired. One might conjecture that both NBC and The Legion hoped to blunt the criticisms leveled at both organizations during this era. Given the almost non-existent promotion of the year long undertaking, the complete absence of detailed Radio listing information during its run, and the complete absence of any publicly announced connection between the broadcasts and their sponsors gives greater credence to this hypothesis. In fairness, these were also the waning years of Radio's influence; Television was--and would remain--the new novelty.
Inheritance premieres over NBC
Inheritance premiered on April 4th 1954. Airing for a total of fifty-seven installments, the production itself was extremely well-mounted--as might be expected of a year-long sustained network production. The huge, mostly West Coast casts comprised most of Radio's finest voice talent of the era. The music direction, while not particularly 'A'-List, was well-suited to the production. The productions were reasonably historically accurate--yet predictably jingoistic for the era. As with the Ladies Auxiliary to The Veterans of Foreign Wars-sponsoredAmerican Trail series of the previous year, functionaries of the respective supporting organizations would give a brief, topical message throughout the series.
The opportunity to recite one's patriotic beliefs seems to have been a focal point of most of the 'post-script messages' of the series. As a 'message series'Inheritance may have slightly missed its mark--through no real fault of its own, but as a reasonably accurate anthology of patriotic historical vignettes the series holds up quite well. As one of the last 'vanity' productions of the era, the exceptional array of Golden Age Radio West Coast talent makes for a fascinating snapshot of the waning years of California's contribution to Radio's wealth of great actors.
The writers that contributed to the series were also remarkable for their era. The writing staff included, among others, Ernest Kinoy, Karl Swenson, and George Lefferts. The appearance of two noteworthy science-fiction writers' contributions to an historical anthology series is interesting enough in itself, but the contribution of the 'Nancy Hanks' episode by Karl Swenson--as a writer--is just as interesting.
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Inheritance 54-04-11 Dorothea Lynde Dix
Inheritance 54-04-18 The Mountain Men
Inheritance 54-04-25 The Giants of Virginia
Inheritance 54-05-02 In What-So-Ever House I Enter
Inheritance 54-05-16 Flight to Nowhere
Inheritance 54-05-23 The Nut Megger and the Turtle
Inheritance 54-05-30 The Lewis and Clark Expedition
Inheritance 54-06-06 But for the Courage of a Woman
Inheritance 54-06-13 The Texas Rangers
Inheritance 54-06-20 Whipple's War
Inheritance 54-06-27 The Story of a Soldier
Inheritance 54-07-04 The Proclaim Liberty
Inheritance 54-07-11 America's Greatest Bargain
Inheritance 54-07-18 Victory on Lake Erie
Inheritance 54-07-25 That All May Know
Inheritance 54-08-01 Rails to the Pacific
Inheritance 54-08-08 The Gingerbread Man
Inheritance 54-08-15 The Flag That Talks
Inheritance 54-08-22 The Mail Had Wings
Inheritance 54-08-28 The Charter Oak
Inheritance 54-09-04 One Mile of Rock
Inheritance 54-09-11 A Salute to Mare Island
Inheritance 54-09-19 The Gilbraltar of the Hudson
Inheritance 54-09-26 Young Davey Crockett
Inheritance 54-10-03 Sequoyah
Inheritance 54-10-10 The Hand That Rocked the Cradle
Inheritance 54-10-17 Mother Bickerdyke
Inheritance 54-10-24 Gorgas and the Panama Canal
Inheritance 54-10-31 The Whalehunters
Inheritance 54-11-07 Horatio Alger
Inheritance 54-11-14 Nancy Hanks
Inheritance 54-11-21 What Is America
Inheritance 54-11-28 Harvest of the Stony Fields
Inheritance 54-12-05 Paul Revere
Inheritance 54-12-12 Man Without a Country
Inheritance 54-12-19 Cordwainers
Inheritance 54-12-26 The Vanguard
Inheritance 55-01-02 The Log of the Louisiana
Inheritance 55-01-09 George Washington Carver
Inheritance 55-01-16 Bradford
Inheritance 55-01-23 Johnny Appleseed
Inheritance 55-01-30 The Peacemakers
Inheritance 55-03-06 Adventures in Laughter
Inheritance 55-03-13 He Died Free
Inheritance 55-03-20 The Burning of Washington
Inheritance 55-03-27 Their Rights and Nothing less
Inheritance 55-04-17 Thanks for America
Inheritance 55-04-24 Two at the Top of the World
Inheritance 55-05-09 To Save a City