Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mary & Bob on the True Story Hour

The True Story Hour was one of the first "romance" programs on the air. It was alternately called "Mary & Bob's True Stories." This was named for their sponsor 'True Story" magazine.  the radio program  debuted in 1928, and ran into 1931 on CBS as a weekly 1 hour program.  It moved to NBC in June of that year and ran as a half-hour show, for another year.  It had a second life in 1938 on the NBC Blue network, getting another year as a 30 minute show. In 1931, probably while the program was off air, Mary and Bob complied a book of their best stories. At the time (according to the introduction) they'd told over 200 of their tales on air. The book Dramas Of The Air complied by Mary and Bob went on:
"Old in the traditions for broadcasting indeed as history is reckoned, Mary and Bob made their radio debut on the first Friday night of 1928. Since that time they have gone on air each week with a new travel adventure which has prologued the presentation in dramatized for of a true story disclosed to them in the course of their week's travels."
The plot is that Mary and Bob are newlyweds touring and traveling the country. Bob was actually played by William Brenton,except when it was David Ross or Eddie Wragge, or Cecil Secrest. Mary was played by Elizabeth 'Betty' Wragge, and Nora Stirling. Nora and William were the original Mary and Bob. Eddie and Elizabeth Wragge and played the parts on the 1938 revamp. On that season, they were telling other peoples stories, no longer their own.
In 1932 two of the voice actors Cecil Secrest and Nora Stirling wrote a set of radio scripts for a spin off series. But "Mary and Bob on the Farm" was never launched.  The new plot was that their travels were over and they were settling in for a rural life.They wrote at least three episodes with Roger Gray. You can see the copyright entry here.

Despite losing that series, they managed to work in the biz. Nora had been a radio writer, who among other things, wrote for the AFRS Mystery Playhouse program.Cecil Secrest performed on a number of other dramas such as "Home Sweet Home" which ran in 1930 on NBC Blue, Treasure Band wagon on the Mutual Network in 1943 and others. True Story magazine was discontinued in 1942. But before that happened, it became the basis for a radio series in 1935 called "The True Story Court of Human Relations." It was directed by none other than Erik Barnouw and was carried on NBC.