is a radio soap opera in the United States. It was broadcast on ABC, CBS and NBC at various times during the era of old-time radio. Donna Halper, in her book, Invisible Stars: A Social History of Women in American Broadcasting, cited Jordan as one of the women in soap operas who “had careers … which, of course, became a struggle as they tried to balance their work with their desire for a family.” Radio Varieties magazine reported in its September 1940 issue that the concept of the Joyce Jordan storyline originated during a ride on a bus in New York City. Producer Himan Brown and author Julian Funt sat behind a young couple “who were arguing the age-old theory that marriage and a career do not mix.” As the two men who developed radio programs overheard the conversation, the storyline of Joyce Jordan emerged in their minds. The program’s national network debut was May 30, 1938, on CBS as Joyce Jordan, Girl Interne. It had first been test-marketed for 21 weeks in 1937 on three stations in New England. On June 28, 1937, it was moved to WEAF in New York City, New York, to be carried on four stations. The name changed to Joyce Jordan, M.D. in 1942 after the title character passed her medical exams and became employed at a “large city hospital.” Radio historian John Dunning wrote in his book On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, that despite some changes in plot, “the theme of a woman’s difficulty in a man’s world remained.” In the early episodes, Dr. Jordan had to choose between a variety of suitors. On the February 19, 1940, episode, she married foreign correspondent Paul Sherwood, who was her patient. Later, she had to deal with her husband’s “bitter and neurotic sister.” She also had to struggle with the demands of being a physician and a wife. After graduating from her internship, Dr. Jordan was a surgeon at Hotchkiss Memorial Hospital in a mythical place named Preston. Dr. Jordan’s motto, as spoken at the beginning of each episode, was “The sick in body, I try to heal; the sick in soul, I try to comfort; For to everyone — rich or poor, young or old — a doctor’s hand is a helping hand.” From the beginning, Brown and Funt sought to make the stories in the program more realistic than what listeners might have heard in other medically themed soap operas. Dr. Jordan never performed an operation on the program, never worked with experimental medicine and avoided psychological elements. As time went on, Dr. Jordan’s role morphed from active participant in the episodes to one that Jim Cox, in his book The Great Radio Soap Operas, described as “hostess of her long-running program, merely narrating the stories …” In 1948, Joyce Jordan, M.D. was replaced by a spin-off, The Brighter Day. Jim Cox wrote: “The Brighter Day premiered on the NBC network on October 11, 1948. But it was actually rolled out on another drama some time before that.” Dr. Jordan lived near the Dennis family’s hometown of Three Rivers, and listeners of the Jordan program became acquainted with the Dennises in 1948. In a seamless transition, Cox wrote, “By the time Dr. Jordan said ‘good-by’ on her final broadcast on Friday, October 8, 1948, the fans were already acquainted with the family that would replace her. The following Monday listeners could easily connect with the new series growing out of the show they had been hearing for so long.” Check out the 25 episode MP3 CD-R here!
Joyce Jordan, M.D.