Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lighthouses on Old Time Radio - When Cupid Was a Pup from The Cavalcade of America (1946)

Here is the eighth entry in my Lighthouses on Old Time Radio series.  This is the second one I want to feature from the Cavalcade of America.  This is a great story about how people at a lighthouse take care of an abandoned seal pup that was left to die.  And while it was based on a true story, it has a different and very current feel among the stories that were featured on this great series.  More about that later.

The story was pulled from the pages of the Saturday Evening Post.  The Post was the leading weekly publication in the United States for many, many years.  The following passage sums up the impact of the weekly:

Long before Time and Newsweek recapped the events of the world for millions of Americans, long before Reader's Digest and Life condensed the news into words and pictures, the Saturday Evening Post was truly America's magazine. Born in earnest at the turn of the twentieth century, with roots in colonial America, the Saturday Evening Post quickly became required reading for anyone who wished to stay in touch with the issues that mattered in culture, politics, and the economy. The Post, as it became widely known, dominated the American magazine landscape for the first thirty years of the century, both in circulation and influence. In its heyday, it was the voice of American common-sense conservatism. The Saturday Evening Post ultimately faded along with that brand of conservatism, giving way to a less impressive contemporary incarnation of the publication. However, memories of the magazine's greatness live on through the classic Norman Rockwell Post covers that have become essential elements in Americana collections.

-Pendergast, Tom. "The Saturday Evening Post." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Thomas Riggs. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. Detroit: St. James Press, 2013. 445-447. Web. 8 Mar. 2015.

On January 19, 1946, Richard English wrote the column Report to the Editor about a lighthouse keeper who saved a seal pup.  Called "When Cupid Was a Pup," this short story sat on page 6, just next to an advertisement from DuPont extolling the benefits of their nylon bristles on toothbrushes.  While there is no proof to this outcome - it would be great to think that people in the DuPont marketing were looking at their ad in the Saturday Evening Post - and noticed this great story.  What a great addition, they might have thought, to Cavalcade.  A few months later - on April 1st to be exact - it appeared on the air.

The Cavalcade of America is a great series sponsored by DuPont.  The purpose of the program has been one of great study and I am definitely glad that I have a few episodes to talk about it.  The long-running show ran from 1935 to 1953 and then had a second life on television.  Starting first on the CBS Network, it moved to NBC in 1939.  This 30 minute program provided a great platform to showcase some of the lesser known incidents and people who made the country great.  Not only was this series a great source of historical dramas, there were numerous fictional stories brought in as well.  From the Internet Archive page (see link below),  "The company's motto, 'Maker of better things for better living through chemistry,' was read at the beginning of each program, and the dramas emphasized humanitarian progress, particularly improvements in the lives of women, often through technological innovation."

314/365/1775 (April 21, 2013) - Pigeon Point Lighthouse (Pescadero, California)

Pigeon Point Lighthouse (Pescadero, California) - April 21, 2013

The episode itself took some liberties with the original story, but it placed it well in the world of post-WWII America.  In this story, an ex-serviceman, Dick Pearson, looks to get away from civilization - and finds himself working at the lighthouse on the Farrallon Islands - 25 miles west of San Francisco.  He was happiest being far away from women.  But when he learns about the others at the lighthouse, he is displeased to learn that Bobby the cook - was actually Bobbie the cook - the lighthousekeeper's daughter.  But what gets his interest more than anything is an abandoned seal pup that he discovers on the shore near the lighthouse.  "Oscar" has he is to be named, was blind.  Dick Pearson, who was in the medical crew during the war, gets boric acid to take care of his vision.  Through that and subsequent needs that Oscar had, Dick Pearson not only saves the seal, but he learns to love again,

The episode was recorded with a live audience (given the great laughter at times in the recording) and started movie star Cornel Wilde as Dick Pearson. It was stars Elliott Lewis, Griff Barnett, Jerry Hausner, and Sammie Hill.
When Cupid Was a Pup (April 1, 1946)

Please enjoy this great episode.  This is a real treat and a great way to continue my Lighthouse Old Time Radio series.  I will have another entry in about a week!

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and Cavalcade of America:
Lighthouses on Old Time Radio:

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