Columbia Workshop

Columbia Workshop was a radio series that aired on the Columbia Broadcasting System from 1936 to 1943, returning in 1946-47.

Irving Reis

The series began as the idea of Irving Reis.[1] Reis had begun his radio career as an engineer and developed a fascination with the possibilities of the relatively new medium. His idea was to use experimental modes of narrative to enhance the way a narrative was conveyed over the radio. Reis had isolated attempts to experiment on the radio: Before the Columbia Workshop's debut, he had directed at least a few radio dramas. For Reis, the Columbia Workshop was a platform for developing new techniques for presentation on radio as noted in the debut broadcast:

The Columbia Workshop dedicates itself to the purposes of familiarizing you with the story behind radio, both in broadcasting, as well as in aviation, shipping, communication and pathology, and to experiment in new techniques with a hope of discovering or evolving new and better forms of radio presentation, with especial emphasis on radio drama; to encourage and present the work of new writers and artists who may have fresh and vital ideas to contribute.[2]

As a sustaining program, the Workshop served as a symbol to prove to the public (and the Federal Communications Commission) that CBS was concerned with educating and serving the public.

Early shows on the Workshop exemplified Reis's penchant for experimentation through narrative and technical means. The second program, Broadway Evening followed a couple as they meandered down Broadway during an evening. A subsequent show had at least 30 characters functioning within a half-hour drama. Among the technical demonstrations were sound effects, the use of various kinds of microphones to achieve various aural effects and voice impersonators (including sound effects produced by voice).

Reis called upon others to try their hand in writing new or adapting existing material for the experimental nature of the Workshop. Orson Welles did a two-part adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet (mentioned along with the Workshop in the fictitious film Me and Orson Welles), as well as a 30-minute condensation of Macbeth. Irwin Shaw contributed one show, and Stephen Vincent Benét adapted several of his short stories. Reis also experimented with readings and dramatizations of poetry, including works by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Masefield and Edgar Allan Poe. One of the most notable presentations of Reis's tenure was Archibald MacLeish's original radio play, The Fall of the City. With a cast that included Burgess Meredith, Orson Welles and 300 students, the play was notable for its portrayal of the collapse of a city under an unnamed dictator, a commentary on fascism in Germany and Italy.

Reis recognized music as an important part of radio presentation. As part of CBS's commissioning of five classical composers to write original works for radio, Deems Taylor narrated a concert (November 7, 1936) which demonstrated the possibilities of idiomatic music composition for radio by playing orchestrations of three works by staff arranger Amadeo de Fillipi.[3]

Among the most significant musical contributions Reis made was appointing Bernard Herrmann music director of the Workshop.[4] Herrmann had previously worked on CBS primarily as a conductor. He had composed his first radio drama for the Workshop, but it was only after his second program, Rhythm of the Jute Mill (broadcast December 12, 1936) that the appointment was made. Thereafter Herrmann composed many radio shows himself, also conducting the music of others and even proposing a show entirely devoted to music composed for the Workshop.[5]

Other significant musical contributions during Reis's directorship include Paul Sterrett's and Leith Stevens's score for a two-part presentation of Alice in Wonderland in which music took the place of all sound effects, and Marc Blitzstein's half-hour musical I've Got the Tune, which similarly tried to convey sound effects and long-distance travel through purely musical means.

William N. Robson

On the broadcast of December 23, 1937 (the first of a two-part dramatization of Lewis Carroll's Alice Through the Looking Glass), it was announced that William N. Robson had succeeded Irving Reis as director of the Columbia Workshop. Reis moved to Hollywood and continued his career in the film industry. Though the Workshop continued some experimentation, Robson placed greater emphasis on good dramatic adaptations, rather than didactic explanations of radio techniques.

Robson was not averse to experimentation. His San Quentin Prison Break, originally broadcast prior to the Workshop on January 16, 1935 was based on an actual incident. To achieve a sense of realism, the dramatization was a combination news report or documentary. Unlike most radio dramas, there was no narrator involved. This was later rebroadcast as part of the Workshop on September 10, 1936.

Under Robson's aegis, the Workshop was able to broadcast a number of notable shows. Known more as a film director, Pare Lorentz wrote and directed Ecce Homo, a story concerning the relationship of man and technology. Both Irwin Shaw and Archibald MacLeish were invited back to write and direct shows as they had done under Reis's leadership. The Workshop extended its experimental mode by preceding the new MacLeish play, Air Raid with a broadcast of its rehearsal. Stephen Vincent Benèt continued to write for the Workshop, and author Wilbur Daniel Steele made his own adaptations of his previously written short stories. Arch Oboler, known for Lights Out! series, contributed one script, as did Thornton Wilder and budding writer Arthur Laurents.

At times, Robson reached beyond the typical crop of radio authors, selecting at least one script (Anita Fairgrieve's Andrea del Sarto), from his class in radio writing at New York University as well as soliciting scripts on the air from the listening audience.

With Bernard Herrmann continuing as music director, Robson (probably at Herrmann's insistence) included a few extended musical works and opera on the Workshop. Frederick Delius's Hassan, and two operas by Vittorio Giannini, Beauty and the Beast and Blennerhasset, were among those heard. Robson apparently stepped down sometime in mid-1939, after which the Workshop was somewhat adrift. Brewster Morgan and Earle McGill are credited as being those responsible for continuing the series.

Norman Corwin

Norman Corwin had been a rising star at CBS for a few years, and had even some of his work aired on the Workshop as early as 1938, when his adaptation of Stephen Crane's The Red Badge of Courage aired. But his sense of social justice again changed the direction of the Workshop into one frequently addressing current issues. By the fall 1940, Corwin was leading the Workshop, and in 1941, the series was giving the subtitle 26 by Corwin, attesting to the author's seemingly indefatigable energy. Given Corwin's strong interest in issues of the day, it is ironic he left the Workshop just one month prior to the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Final years

It is not entirely clear who led the Columbia Workshop during 1942, but interest in the program was clearly waning. There were a few significant programs (historically the most interesting of them is probably the airing of John Cage's and Kenneth Patchen's The City Wears a Slouch Hat). There are only a few references to shows in 1943. The show had a revival in the 1946-47 season. When it was revived in 1956, it was retitled the CBS Radio Workshop.

Radio techniques

The Columbia Workshop gave authors, directors, sound engineers and composers many opportunities to experiment with the use of sound as a device for enhancing narrative.

Sound filters

Buck Rogers was broadcast from a 21st-floor studio that had been troubled with air conditioning noises. At a bend in a duct the air gave a whoosh that had been difficult to dampen. Later, when it became necessary to suggest a rocket traveling through outer space, someone remembered the duct and put a microphone in the bend. Whenever Buck Rogers was on the move, the microphone was opened, producing the sound of a spaceship. This was the first development in sound filters.

Filters developed upon the need for radio directors to find a way to portray a voice over the telephone. The filters were generally small boxes through which a microphone circuit could be shunted. The box had dials on its surface. Its inner mechanism could remove upper or lower tones or a combination of them to give an incomplete reproduction, as given by a telephone. The dials allowed the engineer to vary the effect, creating varieties of incompleteness.[6] It became common for radio personnel to play around with the filters to find new sounds, and then having radio shows based upon their discoveries.


Many of the staff who worked on the Columbia Workshop would continue with CBS and work for television.


The Columbia Workshop received a 1946 Peabody Award for Outstanding Entertainment in Drama.[7]

List of Columbia Workshop programs

This is a list of all the Columbia Workshop programs, giving known information about authors, adaptors, directors/producers, composers.[8] Occasional remarks have been included. Gaps in dates usually refer to programs that were pre-empted. Information for the years 1942-43 is difficult to come by.

July 18, 1936 A Comedy of Danger Richard Hughes - Myron Sattler - First show
The Finger of GodPercival Wilde
July 25, 1936Broadway EveningLeopold Proser-Irving Reis--
August 1, 1936Technical Demonstration--Irving Reis--
Cartwheel Vic Knight
August 8, 1936ExperimentMary Parkington-Irving Reis--
Highway IncidentBrian J. Byrne
August 15, 1936Case HistoryMilton M. E. Geiger-Irving Reis-Fantasy of pilot in airline crash
August 22, 1936The March of the MoleculesOrestes H. Caldwell (FRC commissioner)-Irving Reis-Demonstration of how radio works
There Must Be Something ElseHelen Bergovoy
September 5, 1936San Quentin Prison BreakWilliam N. Robson-William N. Robson-Rebroadcast of a play originally broadcast January 16, 1935
September 12, 1936Voyage to BrobdingnagJonathan SwiftLeopold ProserIrving Reis--
September 19, 1936Hamlet, Acts 1-2William ShakespeareOrson WellesOrson Welles--
September 26, 1936The Dream MakerCharles Burton-Irving Reis-Fantasy of how dreams are made
Shadows That Walk In-Ghost analysis
October 3, 1936St. Louis Blues
October 10, 1936Sound Demonstration
October 17, 1936DauberJohn MasefieldBurke BoyceIrving ReisBernard Herrmann
October 24, 1936Letting the Cat Out of the Bag----Interview on vocal sound effects with Brad Barker and Madeleine Pearce
November 7, 1936Music for RadioNarration by Deems Taylor-Davidson TaylorDebussy: Golliwogg's Cakewalk, Schumann: Traumerei, Bizet: Farandole (from L'Arlesienne Suite)
orchestrated by Amadeo di Fillipi
To illustrate idiomatic use of radio orchestration for the Columbia Composers' Commission
November 14, 1936Hamlet, acts 3-5William ShakespeareOrson WellesOrson Welles-
November 21, 1936The Use of Theaters for BroadcastsE. E. Free-Irving Reis-Electrical demonstration
2000 Were ChosenE.P. Conkle-
November 28, 1936The American Patent SystemIrving Reis-Irving Reis-Honoring 100th Anniversary of the U.S. Patent Office
December 12, 1936Rhythm of the Jute MillWilliam N. Robson-William N. RobsonBernard Herrmann-
December 19, 1936The Gods of the MountainsLord Dunsany--Bernard Herrmann-
December 26, 1936The Happy PrinceOscar Wilde-Irving ReisBernard Herrmann-
January 2, 1937Public DomainEustis Wyatt-Earle McGill-Fantasy of PD characters yearning for release from stories
January 9, 1937Interview with a Control Engineer, part 1van Voorhees, control engineer--Clyde Borne, singerControl sound engineering
A Voyage to LilliputJonathan Swift(Irving Reis?)Irving Reis-
January 16, 1937Interview with a Control Engineer, part 2----microphone mixing
An Incident of the CosmosPaul Y. Anderson-Irving ReisBernard HerrmannExtraterrestrials witness the end of Earth
January 23, 1937The Signal-ManCharles Dickens-Irving Reis and Earle McGill--
January 30, 1937Evolution of the Negro Spiritual--Irving Reisarrangements by Clyde Barry & Helen Bergeron-
February 6, 1937Rime of the Ancient MarinerSamuel Taylor ColeridgeLeopold ProserIrving ReisBernard Herrmann-
February 13, 1937Sound and the Human EarNarrated by Dr. John Steinberg-Irving Reis(and pro.)-demonstration of pitch perception
February 28, 1937MacbethWilliam ShakespeareOrson WellesOrson WellesBernard Herrmann-
March 7, 1937----(unidentified show)
March 14, 1937Split SecondsIrving Reis-Irving ReisBernard HerrmannScript first broadcast in 1931
March 21, 1937Danse MacabreHelen Bergeron, George Zachary-Irving ReisCamille Saint-Saëns-
March 28, 1937Eve of St. AgnesJohn KeatsEdward A. ByronEdward A. Byron--
April 4, 1937Big BenJohn Mossman-John Mossman--
April 4, 1937CrisisRoy Winsower-Roy Winsower--
April 11, 1937The Fall of the CityArchibald MacLeish-Irving ReisBernard Herrmann-
April 18, 1937R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots)Karel Čapek-Irving ReisBernard Herrmann-
April 25, 1937St. Louis BluesIrving Reis-Irving ReisBlues by W.C. HandyOrig. written in 1932; first play for radio about radio; First heard on the Workshop Oct. 3, 1936
May 2, 1937Drums of Conscience--Irving Reis--
May 9, 1937Supply and DemandIrwin Shaw-Irving ReisBernard HerrmannWorthington Minor, "director of dialogue and staging"
May 16, 1937Paul RevereStephen Vincent Benét-Bernard Herrmann-
May 23, 1937A Night at an InnLord Dunsany-Irving ReisDebussy, conducted by Bernard Herrmann-
May 30, 1937DiscoverieMerrill Denison-Irving ReisBernard Herrmann-
June 6, 1937Downbeat on MurderCharles Tazewell-Irving ReisBernard Herrmannvoices change into musical notes
June 13, 1937The Young KingOscar Wilde-Irving Reis--
June 20, 1937Red-Head BakerAlbert Maltz-Joseph LoseyBernard Herrman-
June 27, 1937BaboukGuy EndoreLester FullerEdward A. Blatt, Irving ReisBernard Herrman-
July 4, 1937Mr. SycamoreRobert AyreLeonard Proser-Bernard Herrmann-
July 11, 1937The Tell-Tale HeartEdgar Allan PoeCharles TazewellIrving ReisBernard HerrmannUsed sounds of real heartbeats
July 18, 1937Fifty GrandErnest Hemingway-Bernard Herrmann-
July 25, 1937A Matter of Life and DeathLeopold Atlas-Irving Reis--
August 1, 1937Daniel Webster and the Sea SerpentStephen Vincent BenétSheldon StarkIrving ReisBernard Herrmann-
August 8, 1937An Incident of the Cosmos(rep)Paul Y. Anderson-Irving ReisBernard Herrmann-
Last CitationJohn Whedon
August 15, 1937Escape (part 1)John GalsworthyLeopold ProserIrving ReisBernard Herrmann-
August 22, 1937Escape (part 2)John GalsworthyLeopold ProserIrving ReisBernard Herrmann-
August 29, 1937The Half-Pint FlaskDubose HeywardIrving ReisWilliam N. Robson(Victor Young?)-
August 30, 1937Twelfth NightWilliam ShakespeareOrson WellesOrson Welles, director, John Houseman, producer-Includes readings by Pepys, Manningham, Mazlitt, and Brandes
September 5, 1937S.S. San PedroJames G. CozzensBetsy TuttleWilliam N. RobsonCharles PaulJames Gould Cozzens
September 12, 1937Death of a QueenHilaire BellocVal GielgudVal Gielgud-Originated from BBC in London
September 19, 1937Riders to the SeaJohn Millington Synge-Irving Reis-Originated from Dublin, Ireland
September 26, 1937Alice in Wonderland, part 1Lewis CarrollWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. RobsonPaul Sterrett-
October 3, 1937Alice in Wonderland, part 2Lewis CarrollWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. RobsonPaul Sterrett and Leith Stevens-
October 10, 1937Meridian 7-1212Irving Reis-Irving ReisBernard Herrmann-
October 17, 1937The KillersErnest HemingwayIrving ReisIrving Reis--
October 17, 1937IllusionGeorgia Backus-Georgia Backus--
October 24, 1937I've Got the TuneMarc Blitzstein-Marc Blitzstein-
October 31, 1937SweepstakesIrving Reis & Charles Martin-Irving Reis & Charles MartinBernard Herrmann-
November 7, 1937The HorlaGuy de MaupassantCharles TazewellIrving ReisBernard Herrmann-
November 14, 1937Mr. JusticeIrving Reis---
November 21, 1937Georgia TransportJohn Williams Andrews-Irving ReisBernard HerrmannRepeat from Sept. 27, 1937
November 28, 1937First ViolinNorman DaveySally RussellIrving Reis--
December 2, 1937-----(unidentified show)
December 9, 1937Marconi-Orrin Dunlap-Bernard Herrmann-
December 16, 1937MetzengersteinEdgar Allan PoeCharles TazewellIrving ReisBernard Herrmann-
December 23, 1937Alice Through the Looking Glass, part 1Lewis CarrollWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. RobsonPaul Sterrett and Leith StevensRobson succeeds Reis as head of Columbia Workshop
December 30, 1937Alice Through the Looking Glass, part 2Lewis CarrollWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. RobsonPaul Sterrett and Leith Stevens-
January 8, 1938The Ghost of Benjamin Sweet, part 1
January 15, 1938The House That Jack Didn't BuildAlfred KreymborgWilliam N. RobsonExperiment in drama
January 16, 1938Mr. Whipple is WorriedBernard Herrmann
January 22, 1938Robert OwensBernard Herrmann
January 29, 1938Madame CurieEve CurieWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. RobsonBernard Herrmann
February 5, 1938Andrea del SartoAnita FairgrieveEarle McGillBernard HerrmannAuthor was NYU student
February 12, 1938Be PreparedGuy Della Cioppa & Richard LinkroumGeorge ZacharyBernard HerrmannBoy scouts & demo of audio montage
February 19, 1938The Well of the SaintsJohn Millington SyngeGeorge ZacharyGeorge ZacharyBernard HerrmannUse of sound in delineating elements of supernatural fantasy
February 26, 1938Night PatrolStuart Hawkins
March 5, 1938The Ghost of Benjamin Sweet, part 2Pauline Gibson & Frederick GilsdorffNila MackBernard HerrmannUse of microphone filters
March 12, 1938HassanJames Elroy FleckerConstance BrownEarle McGillFrederick Delius (Bermard Herrmann, conductor)opera
March 19, 1938The Wedding of the MeteorsLeslie Roberts & Joel HamillWilliam N. RobsonBernard Herrmann
March 26, 1938J. Smith and WifeCharles TazewellWilliam N. RobsonBernard HerrmannNo sound effects used
April 2, 1938Seven Waves AwayRichard SaleMargaret LewerthWilliam N. RobsonBernard Herrmann
April 9, 1938The Broken FeatherMichael CarrollWilliam N. RobsonBernard Herrmann
April 16, 1938The Terrible MeekCharles Rann KennedyWilliam N. Robson
April 23, 1938Never Come MondayEric KnightStephen FoxWilliam N. RobsonCharles PaulRepeated June 25, 1938
April 30, 1938Fours into Seven Won't GoVal Gielgud, Stephen King-HallVal Gielgud
May 7, 1938The Fisherman and His SoulOscar Wilde[William N. Robson?]William N. Robson
May 14, 1938Melodramsvarious [poems read by David Ross]William N. RobsonBernard Herrmannmusic composed 1934-35
May 21, 1938Ecce HomoPare LorenzPare LorenzBernard Herrmann
May 28, 1938Bury the DeadIrwin ShawWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. Robson
June 4, 1938Tranga Man, Fine GahJohn S. CarlisleJohn S. Carlisle & William N. Robson
June 11, 1938SurrealismErnest Walsh & George WhitsettDavidson TaylorBernard HerrmannAlso music by Erik Satie & Virgil Thomson
June 18, 1938ReunionJohn Hines Jr. & Guy Della CioppaWilliam N. RobsonColumbia Univ. Singers conducted by Lyn Murray
June 25, 1938Never Come MondayEric KnightStephen FoxWilliam N. RobsonCharles Paul & Bernard HerrmannRepeat from April 23, 1938
July 2, 1938The Constitution of the USWilliam N. Robson
July 9, 1938The Red Badge of CourageStephen CraneMargaret LewerthNorman CorwinCharles PaulCorwin's debut on CBS
July 16, 1938The National HeadlinersWilliam N. Robson
July 23, 1938Murder in the CathedralT. S. EliotGeorge ZacharyGeorge ZacharyBernard Herrmann
July 30, 1938TristamEdwin Arlington RobinsonStella ReynoldsWilliam N. RobsonWagner (Cond. BH)
August 6, 1938The Devil and Daniel WebsterStephen Vincent BenétCharles R. JacksonEarle McGillBernard Herrmann
August 13, 1938
August 20, 1938(unidentified show)
August 27, 1938Pelleas et Melisande
September 1, 1938(unidentified show)
September 8, 1938(unidentified show)
September 15, 1938Outward BoundSutton VaneCharles R. JacksonMartin GoschBernard Herrmann
September 22, 1938He Doubles in PipesHilda ColeWilliam N. Robson
September 29, 1938The Lighthouse KeepersPaul CloqueminNorman Corwin
October 13, 1938Brushwood BoyRudyard KiplingEustace WyattEarle McGillBernard Herrmann
October 20, 1938The Happy Journey to Trenton and CamdenThorton Wilder
October 26, 1938Air Raid (Rehearsal)Archibald MacLeishWilliam N. Robson
October 27, 1938Air RaidArchibald MacLeishWilliam N. Robson
November 3, 1938Poetic LicenseNorman CorwinNorman Corwin
November 10, 1938A Drink of WaterWilbur Daniel SteeleMax WylieMartin GoschBernard Herrmann
November 17, 1938LuckWilbur Daniel SteeleMargaret LewerthMartin Gosch;
Betsy Tuttle, producer.
Bernard Herrmann
November 24, 1938Beauty and the BeastRobert A. Simon (libretto)Vittorio Giannini
(Howard Barlow, conductor)
December 1, 1938The Giant's StairWilbur Daniel SteeleCharles R. JacksonEarle McGillBernard Herrmann
December 8, 1938Man With a Gun/
Experiments in Music/
Fall of Jericho
Sound engineer: Al SpanCharles VandaSimeone, music director3 pop songs in 2nd half of show
December 15, 1938A Trip to CzardisEdwin GranberryJames & Elizabeth HartBernard Herrmann
December 22, 1938Bread on the WatersArch ObolerEarle McGillAlexander CourageSound: D. Gaines
December 29, 1938Crosstown ManhattanTravis Ingham, Norman CorwinWilliam N. RobsonAlfred Newman,
Mark Warnow
January 5, 1939Orphan EgoArnold ManoffLeslie UbrachWilliam N. RobsonBernard Herrmann
January 9, 1939Forgot in the RainsWilliam MerrickBrewster MorganBernard Herrmann
January 16, 1939Mr. Whipple is WorriedJames FrederickBrewster MorganBernard Herrmann
January 23, 1939ProphecyBernard Herrmann
January 30, 1939Now Playing TomorrowArthur LaurentsWilliam N. RobsonBernard Herrmann
February 6, 1939Do Not Open For 5000 YearsWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. Robson
February 20, 1939Nine PrisonersWilliam MarchBrian J. ByrneEarle McGillBernard Herrmann
February 27, 1939Jury TrialElizabeth & James HartWilliam N. Robson
March 6, 1939The Winged VictoryDavid RedstoneBrewster Morgan
March 13, 1939In the TrainFrank O’ConnorHugh HuntBrewster MorganBernard Herrmann
March 20, 1939A Letter from HomeCharles R. JacksonNila MackBernard Herrmann
March 27, 1939Pepito Inherits the Earth
April 3, 1939Rendezvous with Kit Carsoncorrect date?
April 10, 1939They Fly Through The Air With The Greatest of EaseNorman CorwinNorman Corwin
April 17, 1939Ear Essay On Broadcasting
April 24, 1939Seems Radio Is Here to StayNorman CorwinNorman CorwinBernard Herrmann
May 1, 1939Wet SaturdayLee Anderson play based on short story by John CollierMargaret LewerthWilliam N. RobsonBernard Herrmann
May 8, 1939Wild Man
May 15, 1939Law Beaters
May 22, 1939
May 29, 1939Private Throgg
June 5, 1939Highboy
June 12, 1939Handful of Dust
June 19, 1939Journalism in TennesseeMark TwainNorman Corwin
June 19, 1939SalesmanshipMary Ellen ChaseNorman Corwin
July 6, 1939The Half-Pint FlaskDubose HeywardIrving ReisWilliam N. Robson[Victor Young?]
July 13, 1939Never Come Home
July 20, 1939John Brown's BodyStephen Vincent BenétNorman CorwinNorman CorwinLeith StevensOne hour broadcast
July 27, 1939A Trip to Czardis
August 3, 1939The Ghost of Benjamin Sweet
August 10, 1939Radio PlayWilliam Saroyan
August 17, 1939A Drink of Water
August 24, 1939Meridian 7-1212Irving ReisIrving Reis
August 31, 1939Apartment to LetDorothy Parker
Alan Campbell
Brewster MorganGeorge Lehman (composer)
Bernard Herrmann (conductor)
September 7, 1939So This is Radio
September 14, 1939The Use of ManBernard Herrmann
September 21, 1939Now It's SummerArthur KoberEarle McGill
September 28, 1939The Fall of the CityArchibald MacLeishIrving Reis[no music]remake broadcast from California featuring Orson Welles[9] and 500 University of Southern California students
October 12, 1939Wake Up and DieFrank LovejoyStory of alarm clocks
October 19, 1939William Ireland's ConfessionArthur Miller
November 2, 1939Blennerhasset [Conductor: Howard Barlow]Libretto by:Philip A. Roll & Norman CorwinVittorio Gianniniopera
November 16, 1939A Letter From AboveFlorence & Ben Vine
November 23, 1939A Circular TourW. W. Jacobs
November 27, 1939The Half-Pint FlaskDubose HeywardLeith StevensRepeat from August 29, 1937
November 30, 1939The Wonderful DayFrank GouldEarle McGillAlexander Semmler
December 7, 1939As You Like It
December 14, 1939Story in the Dogtown CommonJoseph LissAlexander Semmler
December 21, 1939Mr. Cohen Takes a Walk
December 28, 1939Higher Than A KiteBrewster Morgan[Brewster Morgan?]
January 11, 1940My Heart Is In The Highlands
January 18, 1940Fannie KembleJoseph Liss and Louis Lantz
January 25, 1940Heavently RestMilton WayneEarle McGill
February 1, 1940Coals to Newscastlefrom J. P. Marquand's “Timothy Dexter”Charles MonroeBrewster Morgan
February 15, 1940Double ExposureMaurice Level, Étienne ReyAlexander SemmlerAdaptation of Grand Guignol play
February 22, 1940An Autobiography of an Egotist
February 29, 1940The Great Microphone Mystery; Ellery Queen Mystery: The Case of the Mysterious Leap Year
February 29, 1940Leaping Out of CharacterFrom CBS Program book: “Announcers are to be singers; singers and directors turn actors; actors take a hand as musiciansî
March 7, 1940My Client CurleyLucille FletcherNorman CorwinRaymond ScottRepeated April 4, 1940
March 14, 1940Three Original Playlets by KNX staffWriting, acting, producinto and music has been placed in the hands of elevator operators, ushers, stenographers, tourist guides, receptionists, mail clerks and other employed in the non-glamorous jobs connected with radio.
March 21, 1940The Taming of the ShrewShakespeareJoseph Gottlieb and Irvin GrahamPhil Cohan“specially written modernized-musical”; music & lyrics by Gottlieb & Graham
April 4, 1940Sunset BoulevardWilliam N. RobsonWilliam N. Robson
April 18, 1940Three Strikes, You're OutVernon DelstonBrewster Morgan
April 25, 1940America Was PromisesArchibald MacLeishGeorge ZacharyNicholas Nabokov
May 5, 1940The Honest CaptainKnowles Entrikin, Howard BreslinEarle McGillCharles Paul (organ)Workshop switched to Sundays
May 12, 1940A Day in ManhattanA. M. SullivanEarle McGill
May 19, 1940Carlos Chavez conducts a program of Mexican musicCarlos Chavez,various
June 2, 1940The Dark ValleyW. H. AudenBrewster MorganBenjamin Britten
June 9, 1940No Complications
June 16, 1940pre-empted
June 23, 1940In April Once
June 30, 1940The Man With the One Track MindLucille Fletcher
July 7, 1940The Cock-Eyed WonderAbout baseball
July 14, 1940The Fish StoryJoseph Gottlieb & Irvin GrahamPhil Cohanmusical
July 21, 1940Canvas Kisser
July 28, 1940CarmillaSheridan Le FanuLucille FletcherEarle McGill
August 18, 1940The 500 Hats of Bartholomew CubbinsE. B. White-Dr. SeussNila Mack & Stuart†AynesNila MackCharles Paul
August 25, 1940I Followed The Seals
September 1, 1940Alf, The All-American FlyLucille FletcherEarle McGillBernard Herrmann
September 8, 1940The Major Goes Over The Hill
September 15, 1940Mr. Charles
September 22, 1940Well Look Who's Here
September 29, 1940The Pussy Cat And The Expert Plumber Who Was A ManArthur MillerBrewster MogranCharles Paul
October 6, 1940They Also Serve
October 27, 1940Fulton Fish Market
November 3, 1940The Constitution
November 10, 1940Bela and Dita BartókBéla Bartók
November 17, 1940I Get The Blues From Revues
November 24, 1940The DynastsThomas HardyW.H. Auden?Benjamin Britten
December 1, 1940And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry StreetDr. SeussNila Mack production
December 8, 1940The Trojan WomenEuripidesEdith Hamilton, translatorVirgil Thomson
December 15, 1940The Symptoms of being 35
In The Fog
December 22, 1940The Plot to Overthrow ChristmasNorman CorwinNorman CorwinRepeat of Corwin's original Dec. 25, 1938 performance
December 29, 1940Dr. Johnson in Scotland
January 5, 1941Love In 32 bars
January 12, 1941Cassidy and the Devil
January 26, 1941This Is From DavidMeridel Le SueurDraper Lewis, Jack FinkClinton JohnstonAlexander Semmler
February 2, 1941Help Me Hannah
February 9, 1941Dress Rehearsal
February 16, 1941A Crop of BeansMarjorie Kinnan RawlingsDraper LewisGuy della Cioppa
February 23, 1941Wings of an Eagle
March 2, 1941RoadsideLynn RiggsAlan M. FishburnEarle McGillBurl Ives
March 9, 1941Still Small Voice
March 16, 1941Cassidy and the Devil
March 23, 1941Out of the Air
March 30, 1941The Creation
The Congo
April 6, 1941The Rocking-Horse WinnerDH Lawrence ad. Auden & James SternGuy della CioppaBenjamin Britten
April 13, 1941Glory Machine/The House/Brooklyn Cantata
April 20, 1941The Reluctant DragonNila Mack
April 27, 1941Jason Was A Man
May 4, 194126 by Corwin: Radio PrimerNorman CorwinLyn Murray
May 11, 194126 by Corwin: Log of the R-77Norman CorwinLyn Murray
May 18, 194126 by Corwin: The People, YesNorman CorwinEarl Robinson
May 25, 194126 by Corwin: Lip ServiceNorman CorwinLarry Adler
June 1, 194126 by Corwin: AppointmentNorman CorwinLyn Murray
June 8, 194126 by Corwin: The Odyssey of Runyon JonesNorman CorwinAlexander Semmler
June 15, 194126 by Corwin: A Soliloquy to Balance the BudgetNorman Corwin
June 22, 194126 by Corwin: DaybreakNorman CorwinLyn Murray
June 29, 194126 by Corwin: Old SaltNorman CorwinLyn Murray
July 6, 194126 by Corwin: Between AmericansNorman CorwinAlexander Semmler
July 13, 194126 by Corwin: Ann RutledgeNorman CorwinNorman CorwinAlexander SemmlerAnn Was An Ordinary Girl
July 20, 194126 by Corwin: Double ConcertoNorman CorwinPaul Berlanger
August 3, 194126 by Corwin: Descent of the GodsNorman Corwin
August 10, 194126 by Corwin: SamsonNorman CorwinBernard Herrmann
August 17, 194126 by Corwin: EstherNorman CorwinLyn Murray
August 24, 194126 by Corwin: JobNorman CorwinDeems Taylor
August 31, 194126 by Corwin: Mary and the FairyNorman CorwinLud Gluskin
September 7, 194126 by Corwin: Anatomy of SoundNorman Corwin[no music]
September 14, 194126 by Corwin: Fragments from a Lost CauseNorman CorwinAlexander Semmler
September 21, 194126 by Corwin: The Human AngleDore ScharyNorman CorwinNorman Corwin
September 28, 194126 by Corwin: Good HeavensNorman CorwinLyn Murray
October 5, 194126 by Corwin: WolfianaThomas WolfeNorman CorwinNorman CorwinAlexander Semmler
October 12, 194126 by Corwin: Murder in Studio OneNorman CorwinAlexander Semmler
October 19, 194126 by Corwin: Descent of the GodsNorman CorwinPerry Lafferty[no original music]repeat due to Corwin illness
October 26, 194126 by Corwin: Odyssey of Runyan JonesNorman Corwinrepeat performance
November 2, 194126 by Corwin: A Man with a PlatformNorman CorwinLyn Murrary
November 9, 194126 by Corwin: Psalm for a Dark YearNorman CorwinAlexander Semmler
November 16, 1941Gator Boy
November 23, 1941The Life of a Careful ManVirgil Thomson
November 30, 1941Double Ugly
December 14, 1941Citizen For Tomorrow150th anniversary of Bill of Rights
December 21, 1941Miracle In ManhattanDuffy's Tavern
December 28, 1941Who Wants To Be Born These Days?New Years show – baby organization
January 4, 1942The Fish on the Bathroom Floor
January 11, 1942Free Speech
January 18, 1942At The Sign Of The Lark“rare books”
January 25, 1942The Man Without A ShadowWerner MishelCharles VandaAlexander SemmlerLurene Tuttle plays all 7 female parts
February 1, 1942Jenny, The Bus Nobody LovedPerry LaffertyBus rebellion
February 8, 1942Portrait of JennieRobert NathanGeorge D. GriffinEarle McGillLehman EngelSantos Ortega
February 15, 1942Opus For A Lute And A LiarNila MackNila Mack
February 22, 1942Plot for Mr. Greenberg
March 1, 1942When the Bough Breaks
March 8, 1942The TestJoseph Ruscoll
March 15, 1942A Child's History of Hot Music
March 22, 1942Green Receipt
March 29, 1942Solomon and BalkisBernard Rogersopera
April 5, 1942Miracle of the Danube
April 12, 1942He Should Have Stood In ElbaNathan Van CleaveTed de Corsia
April 19, 1942Play BallLouis Hazam
May 3, 1942Looking For Susie
May 10, 1942Flight To Arras
May 17, 1942Good Morning Mr. Crumb
May 24, 1942Midnight BlueJames Caleb BeachPerry LaffertyNathan Van CleaveAbout blues
May 31, 1942The City Wears a Slouch HatKenneth PatchenLes MitchelJohn Cage
June 7, 1942The Little One
June 12, 1942Ritchie The GreatJerome Lawrence, Robert E. LeeJohn DietzJames Monks, Joan Allison
June 19, 1942It Couldn't Happen To A Nicer Kid
June 26, 1942History Is On The March/1812
July 3, 1942Tag number 1-184-463Skip Homier
July 6, 1942Broadcast from the Year 1812
July 13, 1942Let Me Tell You About My Operation
July 20, 1942Someone ElseLucille FletcherEarle McGillBernard HerrmannArr. of music by André Campra
July 27, 1942Reveille Pass
August 3, 1942Laughter For The Leader
August 10, 1942Music Of The Mountains
August 17, 1942All Out For Comedy
August 24, 1942Hold ‘Em Yale
August 31, 1942All Out For Comedy – Columbia Sketchbook
September 7, 1942Café Society – Stars
September 14, 1942Portrait of JennieRobert Nathan
September 21, 1942My Kid Brother
September 28, 1942Florrie And The Country GreenAbraham PolonskyMarx LoebBen Ludlow
October 12, 1942Rebirth of Barrow’s Inlet
October 19, 1942Remodeled BrownstoneLucille FletcherJohn DietzMartin Gabel
November 8, 1942Proclaim the Morning
July 25, 1944El Capitain and the Corporal
March 23, 1946Act of FaithIrwin ShawCharles S. MonroeJohn DietzAlexander Semmler
April 13, 1946Joe Peabody's DreamBetty ToddCharles Paul
April 21, 1946The PlayroomHoward RodmanJohn DietzNorman Lockwood, conducted by Fred Steiner
April 28, 1946 A Study in Bells Bogart Carlaw - Albert Ward Norman Lockwood, conducted by Fred Steiner
The HouseAndré Maurois
May 19, 1946The TrialFranz KafkaDavidson TaylorGuy della Cioppa(&pro)Bernard Herrmann
September 15, 1946The Last DelegateMargaret LewerthJohn DietzRobert Stringer
September 21, 1946The Midnight Town Is Full of BoysFletcher MarkleAlbert WardFred Steiner
October 5, 1946Studies in JealousyIrving HopkinsAlexander Semmler
October 12, 1946Brewsie and WillieGertrude SteinRichard SanvilleRobert Stringer
November 2, 1946Lee Fountain Comes of AgeJoseph RuscollWerner MishelAlexander Semmler
November 23, 1946The Tin WhistleRichard BurdickCarl BeyerEverett Helm
November 30, 1946It Shouldn't Happen to a ManMadelyn PughWilliam N. RobsonMaurice Carlton, conducted by Wilbur Hatch
December 7, 1946The ParadeMorris MarkeyMargaret LewerthRichard SanvilleRobert Stringer
December 14, 1946Alice and the EchoJean L. MeyerJohn BeckerAlexander Semmler
January 11, 1947The Surreal MarriageElwood HoffmanWerner MishelAlexander Semmler
January 25, 1947The Natural History of NonsenseBergen EvansJoseph RuscollAlbert WardBen Ludlow


  • Bannerman, R. LeRoy. Norman Corwin and Radio: The Golden Years. University, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1986. ISBN 978-0-8173-0274-0
  • Barnouw, Erik. A History of Broadcasting in the United States, v. 2. The Golden Web: 1933 to 1953. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968. ISBN 978-0-19-500475-5
  • Coulter, Douglas, editor. Columbia Workshop Plays: Fourteen Radio Dramas. New York, London: Whittlesey House, McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1939.
  • Kosovsky, Robert. Bernard Herrmann's Radio Music for the Columbia Workshop. Ph.D. dissertation, Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2000.
  • McGill, Earle. Radio Directing. New York: McGraw-Hill Co., 1940.
  • Wylie, Max. Radio Writing. New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1939.


  1. Much of the information in this article is drawn from Robert Kosovsky's Bernard Herrmann's Music for the Columbia Workshop
  2. Reis, Irving. Excerpt from script of the Columbia Workshop premiere broadcast.
  4. As announced on the show of December 12, 1936.
  5. The suggestion is made by the announcer at the end of the Melodrams show of May 14, 1938, but it never took place.
  6. Barnouw, Erik (1969). The Golden Web: A History Broadcasting in the United States, p. 65.
  7. "Peabody Awards for '46 Announced" (PDF). Broadcasting. April 21, 1947. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  8. This list is drawn from a variety of sources, in particular the catalog of the Paley Center, and many old time radio lists.
  9. Brady, Frank, Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1989 ISBN 0-385-26759-2 page 225

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