Monday, January 2, 2017

Lighthouses on Old Time Radio - The Lighthouse Keepers on Columbia Workshop (1938)

Its 2017 and I just had a great time sharing old time radio recordings about Christmas for the third year ( Here is a link to all the previous OTR Christmas entries).  That got me thinking that I never finished up my radio series about lighthouses last year.  So no better time than the present to finish up these great Old Time Radio programs with a lighthouse theme.  I hope to have these every few days - maybe twice a week.  Here is the 12th entry in my lighthouses on old time radio series - but my first in 2017.   Last year, I featured Lightship was on the CBS Radio Workshop.  The CBS Radio Workshop was a later take on their brilliant series, The Columbia Workshop.

Crisp Point Light (West of Paradise, Michigan)>

Crisp Point Lighthouse (Lake Superior)
July 2011

The Columbia Workshop was a staple of the CBS Network from 1936 through 1942 and from 1946 through 1947. According the Rob Lackmann's Encylcopedia of American Radio, the Columbia Workshop was designed "to develop new writing talent for radio and to experiment with innovative techniques for presenting drama on the medium." One of the most creative voices from the Columbia Workshop was Norman Corwin, who served as the director and producer for this great episode.

For the episode on September 29, 1938, The Columbia Workshop did something that it had not done before.  In the spirit of experimentation, they chose to dramatize Paul Cloquemin's thriller, "The Lighthouse Keepers."  They performed this episode with only two actors, Ray Collins who plays the father and Luis Van Rooten who plays the son.  Taking place on a stormy March day at the Maudit Lighthouse near the coast of Brittany.  Maudit means cursed or damned in French.  The two people on the lighthouse are the aged keeper (Brehan) and his son Yvon.  The storm forces them to talk about duty and fear.  The need for these lighthouse keepers to act heroically, even when their own lives are at risk. Complicating matters is that Yvon was recently bit by a dog - and has become rabid.  The father had only one way to take care of his son.

The original play on which this episode is based comes from the Grand Guignol theater where it was first performed in 1913.  This was a Parisian theater from the 19th century that specialized in horror stories.  As the story proceeds, it is as scary as anything you can hear on radio.  I hope you enjoy this great episode from the Columbia Workshop and enjoy my new lighthouse entries.

The Lighthouse Keepers (Columbia Workshop September 29, 1938)

Script of The Lighthouse Keepers from Microphone Plays

Here are some links to programs relating to Old Time Radio and Columbia Workshop:

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