Brownstone Theater

Brownstone Theater is an old-time radio dramatic anthology series in the United States. It was broadcast on the Mutual Broadcasting System February 21, 1945 - September 23, 1945.[1]

Brownstone Theater
GenreDramatic anthology
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited States
Home stationWOR
Hosted byClayton Hamilton
StarringJackson Beck
Les Tremayne
Gertrude Warner
Written byPeggy L. Mayer
Anzie Strickland
Florence North
Gladys Milliner
Jock MacGregor
Eleanor Abbey
Keith Thompson
Directed byJock MacGregor
Narrated byClayton Hamilton
Original releaseFebruary 21, 1945 – September 23, 1945


Brownstone Theater featured adaptations of stories and plays that were popular at the turn of the 20th century.[2] The premiere offering, The Lion and the Mouse,[3] was followed by productions such as The Man Without a Country, The Prisoner of Zenda, and Cyrano de Bergerac.[1] A contemporary publication's radio listing described the material as "Revivals of some of the plays that thrilled Grandpa and Grandma."[4]

Radio historian John Dunning wrote in On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, "The format was faintly reminiscent of the famous First Nighter Program, with the listener led to his seat in the Brownstone Theater, and other trappings of curtains and greasepaint adding to the atmosphere."[1]

The program was actually produced in the Longacre Theater in New York City's Times Square. The theater was leased by WOR from 1944 to 1953 and was used for productions on that station and on the Mutual network.[5]


The host and narrator of Brownstone Theater was Clayton Hamilton, who had been a drama critic when some of the dramas were popular on Broadway.[6]

Jackson Beck[7] and Gertrude Warner were the original leading man and leading lady, respectively. Les Tremayne replaced Beck in July 1945.[8] Others heard on the program included Inge Adams, Jan Miner, Elissa Landi, Jane Cowl, Edward Rose, Anthony Hope, Neil Hamilton, Walter Hampden, Michael Fitzmaurice and Shep Menken.[5]

Sylvan Levin provided the music,[2] and Jock MacGregor was the director.[1] Writers for the adaptions included Peggy L. Mayer, Anzie Strickland, Florence North, Gladys Milliner, Jock MacGregor, Eleanor Abbey, and Keith Thompson.[5]


Some episodes of Brownstone Theater were broadcast by WABD, the DuMont Television Network's station in New York City. Bob Emery, the program's producer, cited it as one of the "shows which were fairly good examples of small budget dramatic television fare" in the mid-1940s.[9] The radio programs were filmed live via Kinescope and then were broadcast two or three weeks later on the TV station. The only changes made to accommodate TV were use of "a miniature stage and curtains through which to introduce and close each television presentation."[5]

At least four episodes of Brownstone Theater were also televised on WRGB in Schenectady, New York.[10]

See also


  1. Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-09-17.
  2. Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 54.
  3. Gaver, Jack (February 20, 1945). "Broadway". Dunkirk Evening Observer. New York, Dunkirk. United Press. p. 7. Retrieved January 21, 2017 via
  4. "Tune-In's Listening Post" (PDF). Tune-In. November 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  5. "The Brownstone Theater Radio Program". The Digital Deli Too. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  6. "The Radio". The Times Recorder. Ohio, Zanesville. Associated Press. February 9, 1945. p. 7. Retrieved January 21, 2017 via
  7. "Main Street" (PDF). Radio Daily. February 18, 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  8. "'Brownstone Theater' Returns" (PDF). Radio Daily. July 13, 1945. p. 4. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  9. Emery, Bob (March 21, 1946). "The Television Producer" (PDF). Radio Daily. p. 11. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  10. "WOR Resuming Tele With WRGB Tomorrow" (PDF). Radio Digest. August 7, 1945. pp. 1, 4. Retrieved 21 January 2017.



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