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House of Glass (radio program)

House of Glass is an American old-time radio serial drama. It was broadcast on the Blue Network from April 17, 1935, until December 25, 1935, and revived on NBC from October 23, 1953, until March 12, 1954.[1]

House of Glass'
House of glass 1935.JPG
Publicity photo of the cast of The House of Glass. Cast: standing, rear-Arline Blackburn, Paul Stewart, Bertha Walden, Everett Sloane, Joseph Greenwald. Center-Gertrude Berg. Seated-Celia Babcock, Helene Dumas.
Country of originUnited States
Language(s)English
StarringGertrude Berg and Joseph Greenwald (1935)
Berg and Josef Buloff (1953-1954)
Created byGertrude Berg
Written byGertrude Berg
Directed byGertrude Berg
Produced byGertrude Berg
Original releaseApril 17, 1935 (1935-04-17) – March 12, 1954 (1954-03-12)

1935 versionEdit

BackgroundEdit

Gertrude Berg, created House of Glass soon after her previous show, The Goldbergs, was canceled by NBC.[1] Berg had two objectives with House of Glass — "to show Pepsodent [the former show's sponsor] that she could survive without their money" and "to distance herself from Molly Goldberg.[2]

FormatEdit

House of Glass centered around Bessie Glass, a Jewish owner of a hotel, and a variety of eccentric guests who stayed there. A preview newspaper article described Glass as "a shrewish, blustering termigant".[3] The show's introduction invited listeners to enjoy "Bessie Glass and Barney, and the day by day human stories of their little hotel."[2]

Berg's father operated a resort hotel in the Catskill Mountains,[4] which gave her the background for recurring characters in House of Glass -- particularly the head waiter, the bellboy, and the dish washer.[2]:69 She kept the program's characters realistic by frequently mingling with people in Jewish neighborhoods, as she had done for The Goldbergs. Her primary methods of doing so were shopping and chatting with residents on the Lower East Side of New York City and attending meetings of a women's club in that neighborhood. She used a pseudonym and changed her accent so that people would not recognize her.[2]:68

PersonnelEdit

Berg had four roles — star, producer, director, and writer — with House of Glass[2]:65 Characters and the actors who portrayed them are shown in the table below.

Character Actor
Bessie Glass Gertrude Berg[1]
Barney Glass Joseph Greenwald[3]
Millie Arline Blackburn[4]
Ella Helene Dumas[4]
Tiny Celia Babcock[4]

The supporting cast included Bertha Walden, Paul Stewart, and Everett Sloane.[3] Billy Artzt and his orchestra provided music.[5]

DemiseEdit

Just as the end of The Goldbergs led to creation of House of Glass, the latter program ended when the former was revived. In 1936, Colgate-Palmolive took on sponsorship of The Goldbergs, leading to a five-year contract worth $1 million to Berg.[2]:64

1953-1954 versionEdit

In 1953, NBC brought House of Glass back to radio soon after the televised version of The Goldbergs went off the air.[6] In this version, Berg played Sophie, a cook, who was secretly engaged to the hotel's proprietor, Mr. Glass.[7] The cast and actors are shown in the table below.

Character Actor
Sophie Milner Gertrude Berg[8]
Barney Glass Josef Buloff
Dish washer Harold Stone[9]
Waitress Ann Thomas[8]

The producer was Cherney Berg, son of Gertrude Berg.[10] Gertrude Berg wrote the scripts in longhand, and her husband typed them for the program.[11]

TelevisionEdit

Berg created an original sketch of House of Glass and performed it on NBC's "first official television broadcast" in 1940.[2]:111

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio (Revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 333. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Retrieved 2019-11-17.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Smith, Glenn D. (2007). "Something on My Own": Gertrude Berg and American Broadcasting, 1929-1956. Syracuse University Press. pp. 44–45. ISBN 9780815608875. Retrieved 19 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Ransom, Jo (April 17, 1935). "Radio Dial-Log". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. New York, Brooklyn. p. 30. Retrieved May 23, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ a b c d Siegel, Norman (October 20, 1935). "The Lady Who Lives in a 'House of Glass'". The Ogden Standard Examiner. Utah, Ogden. Every Week Magazine. p. 28. Retrieved May 19, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  5. ^ "Gertrude Berg on Radio Again". The Des Moines Register. Iowa, Des Moines. April 21, 1935. p. 35. Retrieved May 19, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  6. ^ "The Goldbergs May Be Off Air for Present". The Star Press. Indiana, Muncie. United Press. November 22, 1953. p. 19. Retrieved May 23, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ "Gertrude Berg Starts 25th Year". The Tampa Tribune. Florida, Tampa. December 6, 1953. p. 19-C.
  8. ^ a b Gaver, Jack (December 27, 1953). "Molly Works Under New Name". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. United Press. p. TV-7.
  9. ^ Stafford, M. Oakley (November 23, 1953). "Informing You". Hartford Courant. Connecticut, Hartford. p. 12. Retrieved May 23, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  10. ^ Steinhauser, Si (November 23, 1953). "Another Crosby -- A Girl Too -- Acquires Fame". The Pittsburgh Press. Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh. p. 47. Retrieved May 23, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.  
  11. ^ "What's News in Radio and TV". Dayton Daily News. Ohio, Dayton. December 19, 1953. p. 17. Retrieved May 23, 2018 – via Newspapers.com.