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Favorite Story

Favorite Story is an American old-time radio dramatic anthology. It was nationally syndicated by the Ziv Company from 1946 to 1949.[1] The program was "advertised as a show that 'stands head and shoulders above the finest programs on the air'".[2] Originating at KFI in Los Angeles, California, Favorite Story apparently was not related to the similarly named My Favorite Story that ran on KNX in Los Angeles earlier.[3]

Favorite Story
Ronald Colman - publicity.jpg
Ronald Colman, host of Favorite Story
Genre Dramatic anthology
Running time 30 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Home station KFI
Syndicates Ziv Company
Hosted by Ronald Colman
Announcer George Barclay
True Boardman
Written by Jerome Lawrence
Robert E. Lee
William Froug
E. Jack Neuman
Directed by Jerome Lawrence
Robert E. Lee
Produced by Jerome Lawrence
Robert E. Lee
Original release 1946 – 1949
No. of episodes 118



Each episode of Favorite Story featured an adaptation of a story selected by a celebrity — purportedly his or her favorite story. The celebrities came from various fields: actors, directors, bandleaders, and athletes, to name but a few. Because they did not appear on the air, the Ziv Company saved any salary that their appearances would have incurred. Compensation came in the form of promoting whatever book, film, or other work the guest had coming up.[4]

Despite the show's premise, many of the stories presented may not have been the celebrities' actual favorites. Christine Becker wrote in her book, It’s the Pictures That Got Small: Hollywood Film Stars on 1950s Television, "Production documents indicate that celebrities were asked for their favorite stories, but they had to select from a predetermined list and were not always matched up with a story they selected."[4]

Stories presented were adaptations of literary classics,[4] including Alice in Wonderland, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, and Oliver Twist.[5] Not only did prestigious titles add an air of quality, but they had the financial advantage of being in the public domain, so that nothing had to be paid for the rights to broadcast them.[2]

The half-hour time span was better suited to short stories than to novels, but Tim DeForest wrote in his book, Radio by the Book: Adaptations of Literature and Fiction on the Airwaves, "In many cases, Favorite Story managed the incredible feat of jamming a classic novel into half an hour and still giving us a rewarding experience."[5]


As an anthology, Favorite Story had no regular characters; the only person who appeared in the same role from one episode to another was host Ronald Colman. His presence enhanced the program's appeal to listeners and to executives and sponsors at local stations — a factor essential to having stations broadcast the show. Frederick Ziv, owner of the company that syndicated the program, said that with Colman on board, "Stations were receptive, networks were receptive, sponsors were receptive, audiences were receptive."[4] Becker found that, besides being the host and acting in some episodes, Colman "did indeed have measurable creative input into Favorite Story", such as suggesting how the script writers should adapt the stories for radio.[2]

Actors heard regularly in episodes included Jeff Corey, Edna Best, Lionel Stander, Vincent Price, John Beal, Howard Duff, William Conrad, and Janet Waldo.[2] Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee produced, directed, and wrote for the program. Other writers were William Froug and E. Jack Neuman. Announcers were George Barclay and True Boardman. Music was by Claude Sweeten.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  2. ^ a b c d Becker, Christine (2001). "A Syndicated Show in a Network World: Frederic Ziv's Favorite Story". Journal of Radio Studies. 8 (1): 160–174. Archived from the original (PDF) on 31 October 2017. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b Radio Series Scripts, 1930–2001: A Catalog of the American Radio Archives Collection. McFarland. 2006. p. 156. ISBN 9781476606705. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Becker, Christine (2008). It’s the Pictures That Got Small: Hollywood Film Stars on 1950s Television. Wesleyan University Press. pp. 128–129. ISBN 9780819568946. Retrieved 30 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b DeForest, Tim (2008). Radio by the Book: Adaptations of Literature and Fiction on the Airwaves. McFarland. pp. 199–200. ISBN 9781476607597. Retrieved 30 October 2017.

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