The First Nighter Program was a long-running radio anthology comedy-drama series broadcast from November 27, 1930, to September 27, 1953. The host was Mr. First Nighter (Charles P. Hughes, Macdonald Carey, Bret Morrison, Marvin Miller, Don Briggs and Rye Billsbury [later known as Michael Rye]).
The show's opening recreated the aural atmosphere of a Broadway opening. Before each week's drama began, Mr. First Nighter was first heard walking on Broadway, emerging from the noise of people and street traffic into the crowded lobby of "the Little Theater Off Times Square" and then taking his seat in the third row center, where he gave the whispered introduction:
- The house lights have dimmed, and the curtain is about to go up on tonight's production.
Romantic comedies were the specialty of the series, and the principal roles were played by the teams of Don Ameche and June Meredith (1930–36), Ameche and Betty Lou Gerson (1935–36), Les Tremayne andBarbara Luddy (1936–43) and Olan Soule and Luddy (1943 and after). Joseph T. Ainley produced and directed the series. The announcers were Larry Keating and Vincent Pelletier. Music was provided by "The Famous First Nighter Orchestra", under the direction of Eric Sagerquist (1930–44), Caesar Petrillo (1945–46) and Frank Worth (1947–53).
The most popular episode may have been the annual Christmas episode, "Little Town of Bethlehem," which was first performed in 1937 and every year afterwards at the request of the listening audience.
Performing before a studio audience, the actors wore formal attire, with Luddy in a gown and Tremayne clad in evening clothes and top hat. Commercial breaks were signalled with the usher's cry "Smoking downstairs and in the outer lobby only, please!", with the action resuming with a buzzer and the usher's curtain call.
The series ran on four radio networks in the following timeline:
- NBC Blue Network: 11/27/30 to 09/29/33
- NBC Red Network: 10/06/33 to 02/12/37
- CBS: 02/19/37 to 12/21/37
- NBC Red Network: 01/07/38 to 08/26/38
- CBS: 09/02/38 to 05/29/42
- Mutual: 10/04/42 to 10/25/44
- CBS: 10/20/45 to 04/13/46 and 10/04/47 to 10/20/49
- NBC (reruns): 04/27/52 to 09/27/53
The show was hosted by The Campana Company and solely featured commercials for their products. Due largely in part to this exposure, their Italian Balm became the best-selling hand lotion in the United States in the 1930s.
Includes 33 Episodes!
Some Of The Episodes On This CD-R:
1STN390428 - Three Who Face Death.mp3
1STN391013 - A Symphony With Your Spaghetti.mp3
1STN410325 - Love and Gazooza .mp3
1STN440329 - Chinese Gong .mp3
1STN440503 - Mother's Angel Children.mp3
1STN440524 - Speak Ever So Gently.mp3
1STN440531 - Give up the Ship.mp3
1STN440607 - Susan Stepped Out.mp3
1STN440614 - Just a Bum [Repeat].mp3
1STN440719 - The Heart That Has Truly Loved.mp3
1STN441011 - Oh Say Can You See [ Repeat].mp3
1STN451224 - Oh Little Town of Bethlehem .mp3
1STN471018 - Wolf in Sheep's Skin .mp3
1STN471025 - Nonnanny .mp3
1STN471223 - Oh, Little Town Of Bethlehem .mp3
1STN480101 - The One in the Middle .mp3
1STN480108 - Help Wanted, Female .mp3
1STN480122 - The Mind Reader .mp3
1STN480129 - A Writer in the Family .mp3
1STN480205 - Drink for the Damned .mp3
1STN480212 - Love is Stranger Than Fiction .mp3
1STN480219 - Oh, Bury Me Not .mp3
1STN480304 - An Order by the Leutenant .mp3
1STN480311 - There's Something in the Air .mp3
1STN480506 - The Tin Box .mp3
1STN480527 - A Good Joe .mp3
1STN480617 - Old Lady Shakespere .mp3
1STN481223 - Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem .mp3
1STN490310 - No Greater Need .mp3
1STN520720 - Speak Ever So Gently .mp3
1STN521223 - Oh, Little Town of Bethlehem .mp3
1STN530106 - A Good Joe .mp3
1STN530901 - Honest Dope .mp3