Michael Raffetto

Michael Raffetto (December 31, 1899 – May 31, 1990) was an American radio actor who starred as Paul Barbour (1932-1956) in the NBC Radio series One Man's Family and as Jack Packard in I Love a Mystery during the heyday of radio in the 1930s and 1940s.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Michael Raffetto
Elwyn Creighton Raffetto

December 31, 1899
DiedMay 31, 1990(1990-05-31) (aged 90)
Other namesMike Raffetto
EducationBA, JD
Alma materUniversity of California Berkeley, Boalt Hall
Years active19281961
EmployerNBC Radio
Known forradio actor
Notable work
One Man's Family, I Love a Mystery
Spouse(s)Constance Murray Raffetto (2)
RelativesJohn Augustus Raffetto (father), Lloyd Raffetto (brother), John Augustus Raffetto Jr. (brother), Alexander Howison Murray Jr. (brother-in-law)


Elwyn Creighton Raffetto was born in Placerville, California, the son of John Augustus Raffetto, a hotelier, and Adela Creighton.[7] (His grandparents, Domenico Raffetto and Anna Pensa, came first to nearby Newtown, California, from Ognio, a mountain village northeast of Genoa.[8]) He graduated cum laude from the University of California at Berkeley's Boalt Hall in 1925. He practiced law in San Francisco until 1928, when he directed drama at Berkeley as well as Los Angeles' Greek Theatre[1][9][10]


Raffetto pitched a program concept to NBC Radio's Tom Hutchinson in San Francisco. He went on to star, direct, and produce the show, called Arm of the Law.[10] Soon after, he became the network's West Coast program director through 1933. During that time, he produced Death Valley Days (1930).[1][10]

In 1946, he also directed Michael Shayne, Private Detective.[1]


Although he approached radio through programming, directing, and producing, Raffetto's career took off in acting.

One Man's Family

In 1932, writer Carlton E. Morse, with whom Raffetto had already collaborated, created One Man's Family. Raffetto landed the lead role as the family's eldest son, Paul Barbour, a fighter pilot wounded in World War I. NBC Radio first broadcast the show on April 29, 1932. Raffetto stayed with the show through 1956 (and the show ended on May 8, 1959). Paul Barbour ended many episodes with the line "That's how it is with the Barbours today." [1][7]

I Love a Mystery

In 1939, Morse started I Love a Mystery with three cast members from One Man's Family, including Raffetto as Jack Packard, "a soft-spoken, taciturn hero in the best traditions of the West." Together with characters Doc Long (a "brawling womanizer") and Reggie York (a "proper Englishman"), the threesome formed a team of "specialists in adventure."[1][7]


"After the first several years," Raffetto often "substituted" for creator Morse, "directing and writing while he was away."[10][11]

Raffetto also starred in Death Valley Days (1930) and Attorney for the Defense (1944).[12]

Personal life and death

Raffetto's second wife was sculptor Constance Murray Raffetto (a "Californio" descended from Eulalia Perez de Guillen Marine).[1]

Raffetto suffered from tuberculosis for much of his life. He had to leave radio twice to recover. Morse often picked him up from the hospital to act. "He'd drive me home, or I'd take the train back to the hospital," Raffetto later said. At times, episodes were broadcast from Raffetto's bedside.[10]

After leaving radio in 1956, Raffetto and his wife lived in Spain and Italy until 1960.[2] During that time, he wrote unpublished works, including a family history.[10]

Raffetto died of throat cancer at his home in Berkeley. At the time of his death, he had four daughters and five grandchildren.[1]

Acting credits


Raffetto's radio work lasted from 1930 to 1956 and included:[13]


Raffetto acted in small roles as early as the silent film era in films like Tillie's Punctured Romance starring W. C. Fields. He continued to in the 1940s and 1950s, including major films like A Foreign Affair (1948) with Marlene Dietrich and Storm Center (1956) with Bette Davis.

Raffetto's film work lasted from 1928 to 1957 and included:[15][16]


Raffetto's television credits include:


  • He's a Trooper: A Comedy-Drama in 3 Acts (copyrighted but unpublished)[17]


See also


  1. Folkart, Burt A. (8 June 1990). "Michael Raffetto, 91; Ex-Radio Actor". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  2. "Radio's 'One Man's Family' Star Dies". Associated Press (AP). 8 June 1990. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  3. "Michael Raffetto, Radio Actor, 91". New York Times. 9 June 1990. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  4. "Michael Raffetto, Radio Actor". Washington Post. 9 June 1990. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  5. "One Man's Family". Virtual Museum of City of San Francisco. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  6. "Michael Raffetto, 91, Former Radio Actor". Seattle Times. 9 June 2013. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  7. Yoholam, Betty (1 October 2001). I Remember" Stories and Pictures of El Dorado County Pioneer Families. Cedar Ridge Publishing. pp. 145–146, 237. ISBN 9780965876346. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  8. Gardella, John. "Reminisces of Old Newtown". One Old Miner's Store. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  9. Hawn, Jack (8 June 1990). "Survivors of 'The Family'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  10. Haefele, Dan (July 1990). "Actor Michael Raffetto Dies" (PDF). SPERDVAC's Radiogram. pp. 5, 7, 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  11. Schneider, John F. "Actor Michael Raffetto Dies". The NBC Pacific Coast Network. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  12. "Series: Attorney of the Defense". Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  13. "Raffetto, Michael". Radio Goldin Index. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  14. "Collections: Carlton E. Morse". American Radio Archives. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  15. "Michael Raffetto". Turner Movie Classics. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  16. "Michael Raffetto". IMDB.com. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  17. Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 1, Group 3 (Volume 2, No. 1): Dramatic Compositions, Motion Pictures. Library of Congress. 1929. p. 6190. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
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