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Don Winslow of the Navy (radio program)

Don Winslow of the Navy was an American old-time radio juvenile adventure serial. It was broadcast on the Blue Network from October 19, 1937, until May 26, 1939, and was revived for a second run from October 5, 1942, until January 1, 1943.[1]

Don Winslow of the Navy
Genre Juvenile adventure serial
Running time 15 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates Blue Network
Starring Bob Guilbert
Raymond Edward Johnson
Edward Davison
John Gibson
Written by Albert Aley
Al Barker
Directed by Ray Kremer
Original release October 19, 1937 (1937-10-19) – January 1, 1943 (1943-01-01)
Sponsored by Kellogg's
Bristol-Myers Inc.
General Foods



Don Winslow of the Navy was based on the comic strip of the same name,[2] which was created by Frank V. Martinek.[3] The title character was a commander in U.S. Naval Intelligence who "conducted a never-ending war through many of the chapters with a diabolical crime czar identified simply as the Scorpion."[2] In addition to the Scorpion, he "fought other subversive types whose scheming could lead to control of the universe."[2]

Joel H. Spring, in his book, Images of American Life: A History of Ideological Management in Schools, Movies, Radio, and Television, pointed out the significance of the program beyond the level of entertainment: "The popular Don Winslow of the Navy carried a patriotic message in its programs ..."[4] Moreover he noted that the Scorpion was more than just an opponent in a story; the creed for the program's Squadron of Peace for listeners specified that the battle against Scorpion "represents the battle between Good and Evil."[4]

The program's scripts, which contained much naval terminology, were checked for authenticity by the U.S. Navy.[5]

Critical reactionEdit

In 1937, the trade publication Radio Daily described Don Winslow of the Navy as "... one of the best and most wholesome in the action and thrill category for juvenile listeners."[6]

In contrast, a reviewer for another trade publication, Billboard, panned a later episode of the program in the magazine's October 17, 1942, issue. The review said, in part:

Don Winslow of the Navy is introduced with a big build-up, airplane motors roaring, shouts like "Stand by for action and adventure," "All hands on deck for Don Winslow," salutes for the men of the Navy Air Corps 00 but what a letdown when the guy finally makes his appearance. [The program] was disappointingly unexciting and quiet.[5]


The title role was played by Bob Guilbert in the 1930s version, and Raymond Edward Johnson had the role in the 1940s version. Lieutenant Red Pennington was played by Edward Davison (1930s) and John Gibson (1940s). The supporting cast included Ruth Barth, Betty Lou Gerson, Betty Ito, and Lenore Kingston.[2]

The director was Ray Kremer. Albert Aley and Al Barker were writers.[2]

Squadron of PeaceEdit

Listeners of Don Winslow of the Navy could join its Squadron of Peace club, which enabled them to aid Winslow in his missions. The club's creed began and ended as shown in this excerpt: "I consecrate my life to Peace and the protecting of all my Countrymen wherever they may be. ... Love your country, its flag and all the things for which it stands. Follow the advice of your parents and superiors and help someone every day."[4]


In 1938, Kellogg's Wheat Krispies, which sponsored Don Winslow of the Navy, came out with a newly designed package as a tie-in with the program. An item in the trade publication Broadcasting reported, "The package front depicts a naval officer and a row of signal flags, while the rear of the box pictures a U.S. battleship with descriptions of the ship's functions."[7]

Sales for home useEdit

In the 1970s, Don Winslow of the Navy was one of a number of old-time radio programs re-issued as George Garabedian Productions by MARK56 Records on long-playing records for purchasers to enjoy in their homes.[8]


  1. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. pp. 206–207. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  2. ^ a b c d e Cox, Jim (2002). Radio Crime Fighters: Over 300 Programs from the Golden Age. McFarland. p. 102. ISBN 978-0-7864-4324-6.
  3. ^ "air-casters" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 15, 1951. p. 48. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b c Spring, Joel H. (1992). Images of American Life: A History of Ideological Management in Schools, Movies, Radio, and Television. SUNY Press. p. 121. ISBN 9780791410691. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  5. ^ a b "'Don Winslow of the Navy'" (PDF). Billboard. October 17, 1942. p. 8. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Air Parade in Review: Briefly" (PDF). Radio Daily. June 17, 1937. p. 5. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Radio Package" (PDF). Broadcasting. August 1, 1938. p. 74. Retrieved 2 September 2017.
  8. ^ "(MARK56 Records advertisement)" (PDF). Billboard. May 4, 1974. p. 34. Retrieved 2 September 2017.

External linksEdit