Wednesday, July 16, 2014
The Sears Radio Theater
The first season on CBS ran into August airing comedies, mysteries, love stories, drama action and westerns then went into re-runs. It was the last attempt to revive radio theater as serious ratings-producing network fodder. It failed. But it wasn't for lack of trying. Both Norman Corwin and Arch Oboler write scripts. Sears underwrote the first season of 130 episodes with a budget of $1.2 million dollars —that's a $3.5 million budget today if you correct for inflation.
source] In December of 1981 Mutual threw in the towel for good.
It was a very tumultuous time for Mutual. They unprofitable, and recognizing the problem, they were sold by Amway in 1983 to Doubleday broadcasting. The program seems to have come about int eh first place due to the influence of old radio talent, writers, programmers and other taste makers. These were people who knew better.. but were blinded by idealism.. possibly even romanticism for the golden era. But they were not alone. At it's peak the series was heard on 320 stations.. at the time it was over a third of the entire Mutual network.