Breaking Walls-logo

Breaking Walls

Storytelling Podcasts

Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio.

Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio.


United States


Breaking Walls: The Podcast on the History of American Network Radio.






BW - EP104: Part 1/5—Orson Welles' Radio Career From Pearl Harbor to the End of Radio’s Peak

In Breaking Walls Episode 104 Part 1, we focus on Orson Welles’ radio career as he returns to Hollywood radio after production of Citizen Kane wrapped in the fall of 1941. PRODUCTION NOTE: This episode will be split into five parts and released on 6/1/2020 ; 6/5/2020 ; 6/10/2020 ; 6/15/2020; and 6/20/2020. On 6/25/2020 the entire episode will be available as one full episode. —————————— Highlights: Orson Returns to Radio In the Fall of 1941 The Magnificent Ambersons Enters Productions...


BW - EP104: Pre-show Announcement

James Scully from The WallBreakers here. Tomorrow I’ll be releasing Part 1 of Breaking Walls episode 104. Our next episode focuses on Orson Welles’ radio career between Pearl Harbor and the end of Radio’s peak. Ordinarily episodes of Breaking Walls are released once-per-month as a long form audio documentary. Because this episode on Orson Welles is so packed with information, I’ve decided to split it up into five parts to be released on the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, and 20th, of June. Then on...


Hal Styles interviews Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth on their Wedding Day—09/07/1943

At The Mercury Wonder Show's intermission on September 7th, 1943, Hal Styles interviewed the Wonder Show audience and cast — including Orson Welles, Rita Hayworth, and Marlene Dietrich. Welles and Hayworth had been married earlier in the day.


Have You Been Enjoying Breaking Walls?

Have you been enjoying Breaking Walls? If so, give us a quick rating on whatever platform you listen!


Orson Welles Radio Almanac: Guest Ann Sothern—02/09/1944

On Wednesday January 26th, 1944, CBS, Mobil Oil, and Orson Welles launched a variety program, with comedy, jazz, and a weekly guest star. It would be a true radio almanac. On February 9th, Ann Sothern appeared. The Mercury team of veterans like Agnes Moorehead, Hans Conried, and Ray Collins supported. This episode aired at 9:30PM Pacific Time.


Night Beat NBC Sales Promo—02/06/1950

In early 1950 as NBC launched Night Beat starring Frank Lovejoy as Chicago night beat reporter Randy Stone, they sent this recording of the episode "Zero" out to potential sponsors with a sales message taking the place of an opening commercial. Night Beat was a high-adventure human interest series. The program would get sponsorship starting in July as part of General Mills' Wheaties "Big Parade," but the cereal company would drop the entire campaign after just eight weeks. Night Beat was...


Orson Welles On Getting $55K From RKO President Harry Cohn To Finance Around The World in 80 Days

In 1946, Orson Welles decided to make a musical out of Around The World In Eighty Days. He wanted a circus on stage, traveling by a train running through the West. When the show cast ballooned to seventy, including four mechanical elephants, his original producer Mike Todd, pulled out. Welles went to Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures for money. In exchange, Welles would put the play on Broadway, and direct a film at no fee. The problem was, Welles' wife Rita Hayworth had a long-standing hatred...


Burning Gotham Teaser 003: Moving Day

May 1st, 1835. It’s a cold and rainy Moving Day. Every renter in New York is out on the street looking for lodging. Most of the city’s quarter-million live below Houston Street in buildings four stories or smaller, but construction is booming. New people are pouring onto New York’s dangerously overcrowded streets by the thousands. Rich and poor, many come to earn an honest living. Others for more nefarious reasons. And it’s the perfect place to begin. ——————————— Coming soon to your favorite...


Theater Five: April Snowfall—03/05/1965

The American Broadcasting Company was never able to overtake NBC or CBS in ratings or revenue during the Golden Age of Radio. But by 1964, the only network dramatic radio airing was part of vignettes on NBC’s Monitor. That spring, ABC announced they were launching a new show. They hired former NBC writer Jack Wilson as story editor and assigned the series to directors Warren Sommerville and Frederick Bell. Edward Byron, creator of Mr. District Attorney was brought in to advise. The new...


Actress Peggy Webber On Orson Welles Last Minute Script Cuts

On August 14th, 1982 actress Peggy Webber was part of a SPERDVAC ( event featuring some of the great radio character actors from the Golden Age of Radio. The panel, which also included Parley Baer, Harry Bartell, John Dehner, Virginia Gregg, and Vic Perrin, spoke of their memories of Orson Welles. In this clip, Peggy Webber tells a funny Orson Welles story about last minute script edits while live on the air.


Vincent Price on How to Get Started in The Acting Business Through Radio Drama

In November of 1972, Vincent Price was a guest on WTIC's The Golden Age of Radio, with hosts Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran (Full interview here - Price lauded radio's power as a medium and spoke happily of his past and (then) present radio drama work. He also provided good insight on how to get started in acting while going to college.


Orson Welles On Radio Imagination

In 1976 Orson Welles was a guest of Johnny Carson's on the Tonight Show for a segment on Orson's life and career (full segment here - The duo focused more on the radio days than anything else.


Douglas Edwards & Charles Osgood On Live Radio Flubs of the 1940s

For CBS's 50th anniversary celebration in 1977, CBS anchors Doug Edwards and Charles Osgood spoke about on-air flubs. Mr. Edwards told a great story about a time he got Edward R. Murrow to lose his composure.


Breaking Walls: The Lora Lawton Collection

This three-act collection from Breaking Walls Episodes 97-99 tells the story of a melodramatic holiday season for radio's Lora Lawton, title character of a famed soap opera staring New York actress Jan Miner.


Have You Been Enjoying Breaking Walls?

Have you been enjoying Breaking Walls? If so, give us a quick rating on whatever platform you listen!


Campbell Playhouse: June Moon w/ Jack Benny & Orson Welles—03/24/1940

On March 24th, 1940 Jack Benny was guest-star for a dramatic role on Orson Welles' Campbell Playhouse over CBS airwaves. The story they chose was "June Moon," a play by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner, based on the Lardner short story "Some Like Them Cold," about a love affair that loses steam before it ever gets started. At the center of June Moon is Fred Stevens, a young aspiring lyricist who journeys from Schenectady to New York City, where he hopes to make a name for himself in the...


Orson Welles On Primetime Soaps During His Last Interview

In the last interview of his life on October 9th, 1985, Orson Welles appeared on Merv Griffin's TV show for a wide-ranging conversation about his life and career. During the course of the chat Orson spoke about the prime-time soaps of the 1980s and how they differed with the prime time radio Welles' was at the helm of early in his career. After the show, Welles had dinner with his (unauthorized) biographer Barbara Leaming at Ma Maison in Los Angeles. A man named Patrick Terrail joined Welles...


Jack Benny Program: Orson Welles Guest Appearance—04/11/1943

In this hilarious excerpt from the April 11th, 1943 episode of The Jack Benny Program, Jack has been sick with pneumonia the previous weeks and Orson Welles has been guest-host. Jack is feeling well enough to come back to the show, but Welles isn't quite ready to give up the gig. Jack flubs Orson's name after Dennis' song and hilarity ensues.


NBC Engineer Aldo Gizalbert On Studio Problems at Radio City's Opening

In September of 1972, former NBC engineer and producer Aldo Gizalbert sat down with Dick Bertel and Ed Corcoran for their Hartford, CT-based WTIC Golden Age of Radio Program (full interview here - Mr. Gizalbert speaks in this clip about the early days of NBC's programming at Radio City.


Bold Venture: Deadly Merchandise with Bogart and Bacall—03/26/1951

Bold Venture was a syndicated radio series starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall that aired in 1951-52. Morton Fine and David Friedkin scripted the taped series for Bogart's Santana Productions. Beginning in March 1951, the Frederic W. Ziv Company syndicated 78 episodes via electrical transcription. Some sources have claimed that the 78 episodes include reruns, and that there were only around 30 episodes but more than 50 shows have now come to light. Heard on 423 stations, the 30-minute...