This Is My Best

This Is My Best is a radio anthology series, sponsored by Cresta Blanca wines, which ran on CBS Radio from 1944 to 1946 in 30-minute episodes.

This Is My Best
GenreAnthology drama
Running time30 minutes
Country of originUnited States
Home stationCBS
Hosted byOwen James
John McIntire
Verne Smith
James Wallington
Orson Welles
Written byTrue Eames Boardman
Dick Carroll
Norman Corwin
Robert Riley Crutcher
Betty Hopkins
Milton Geiger
W.A. Krauss
Robert Tallman
Orson Welles
Directed byDon Clark
Original releaseSeptember 5, 1944 – May 28, 1946
No. of series2
No. of episodes75
Audio formatMonaural sound

The series aired for two seasons, one of 39 episodes and the other of 36, before its cancellation in 1946, and adapted a combination of literary classics, contemporary literature and films. It was performed before a live audience.

Guest stars included many notable actors of the day, such as Ralph Bellamy, Jack Benny, Joan Blondell, Joe E. Brown, Virginia Bruce, Jack Carson, Ray Collins, Robert Cummings, Louis Hayward, Rita Hayworth, Hedda Hopper, Van Johnson, Charles Laughton, Ida Lupino, Virginia Mayo, Burgess Meredith, Thomas Mitchell, Gregory Peck, Rosalind Russell, Ann Rutherford, Sylvia Sidney, Akim Tamiroff and Keenan Wynn.[1]

The series is most closely associated with Orson Welles, who guest-starred in several earlier episodes, and then from episode 27 (broadcast 13 March 1945), took over as producer, writer, host and star. He began with an adaptation of Heart of Darkness, something he had previously adapted for The Mercury Theatre on the Air and The Campbell Playhouse, and which he had attempted to make as his first film in 1940 before turning his attention to Citizen Kane. However, Welles' running of the show was short-lived, and he left after just seven episodes.[2] Welles' suffered strained relations with the show's nominal director, Don Clark, complaining that Clark could be "very drunk" in the studio, whilst Welles annoyed Clark by effectively taking the directing out of his hands.[3] He was fired after a disagreement with Clark, when Welles wanted to substitute an adaptation of Don't Catch Me by Robert Powell which Clark had scheduled with his own adaptation of Ferenc Molnár's The Guardsman, starring himself and his wife Rita Hayworth. Despite the show's sponsors being very happy with the idea (Hayworth was then at the peak of her stardom), Welles was sacked within three hours of the argument.[4] Welles went on to front another radio anthology series for Cresta Blanca and CBS later that year, The Orson Welles Theatre, which lasted just two months.[5]

It was during Welles' stint that his friend President Franklin D. Roosevelt died, and so he made his penultimate episode, I Will Not Go Back (broadcast 17 April 1945) an FDR special, dedicating it to "an American president who has fallen in battle." [6][7]


  1. The Definitive This Is My Best Radio Log
  2. The Definitive This Is My Best Radio Log
  3. Simon Callow, Orson Welles: Hello Americans (Jonathan Cape, London, 2006) p.243
  4. Simon Callow, Orson Welles: Hello Americans (Jonathan Cape, London, 2006) pp.243-4
  5. The Definitive This Is My Best Radio Log
  6. Episode synopses of This Is My Best
  7. Log of Orson Welles radio episodes
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