Open main menu

Mayor of the Town (radio program)

Mayor of the Town was a radio comedy-drama in the United States. From September 6, 1942, to July 3, 1949, it was broadcast at various times on ABC, CBS, Mutual and NBC.[1]

Mayor of the Town
Genre Comedy-drama
Running time 30 minutes
Country of origin United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates NBC
Starring Lionel Barrymore
Agnes Moorehead
Conrad Binyon
Announcer Harlow Wilcox
Frank Martin
Ken Peters
Written by Jean Holloway
Leonard St. Clair
Howard Blake
Howard Breslin
Charles Tazwell
Erna Lazarus
Directed by Jack Van Nostrand
Produced by Murray Bolen
Knowles Entrikin
Original release September 6, 1942 – July 3, 1949
Sponsored by Rinso
Mutual Benefit Life Insurance Company



Lionel Barrymore starred as the unnamed mayor of a community typical of those in other radio programs of the era, such as Summerfield in The Great Gildersleeve and River's End in Dr. Christian. Stories dealt with typical small-town situations that involved the mayor. The mayor's housekeeper, Marilly (Agnes Moorehead), and his ward, Butch (Conrad Binyon) usually played key roles in episodes.[1] One old-time radio reference noted the similarity of Mayor of the Town's plots to those of The Great Gildersleeve, citing "the grumbling but kindly mayor interacting with a number of interesting town characters."[2]

A review of the program in the trade publication Billboard had little positive to say. The writer opined that except for selling the sponsor's product, Mayor of the Town "is otherwise devoid of merit."[3] By way of explanation, he added, "From its very inception, almost every phase of 'Mayor of the Town' is the most palpable of contrivance; stock characters, stock plot and the lowest grade of corn."[3]

In contrast, radio historian John Dunning commented that Mayor of the Town "gave a realistic portrait of rural living."[4] "Often the stories were coming-of-age pieces," he wrote, "focusing on the mayor's special relationship with Butch."[1]


In addition to Barrymore, Moorehead and Binyon, actors on Mayor of the Town included Gloria McMillan (Sharlee Bronson, Butch's girlfriend), Priscilla Lyon (Holly-Ann, the mayor's granddaughter)[1] and Bill Wright (the sheriff).[5] Dunning noted that Barrymore's involvement went beyond his acting. "He insisted on meticulous attention to detail, even though others were in charge of production. Barrymore had a way of knowing what lines were wrong and why."[4]

The announcer was Frank Martin.[6] Wilbur Hatch led the orchestra.[7] Music directors were Gordon Jenkins [8] and Bernard Katz.[9] Con Maffie played organ for the show.[10]

The director was Jack Van Nostrand.[11] Writers were Howard Blake,[12] Leonard St. Clair,[11] Howard Breslin, Charles Tazwell,[13] Jean Holloway[14] and Erna Lazarus.[1]

Television versionEdit

In 1954, a syndicated television version of Mayor of the Town aired in the United States. It starred Thomas Mitchell as Mayor Thomas Russell, Kathleen Freeman as Marilly, and David Saber as Butch.


  1. ^ a b c d e Dunning, John (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 443. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3.
  2. ^ Reinehr, Robert C. and Swartz, Jon D. (2008). The A to Z of Old-Time Radio. Scarecrow Press, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8108-7616-3. P. 173.
  3. ^ a b Franken, Jerry (November 29, 1947). "Mayor of the Town". Billboard. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  4. ^ a b Dunning, John. (1976). Tune in Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, 1925-1976. Prentice-Hall, Inc. ISBN 0-13-932616-2. P. 400.
  5. ^ Abbott, Sam (January 30, 1943). "Hollywood". Billboard. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  6. ^ Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1949). The 1949 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 940.
  7. ^ Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1944). The 1944 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 775.
  8. ^ Abbott, Sam (December 19, 1942). "Hollywood". Billboard. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  9. ^ "Main Street" (PDF). Radio Daily. May 26, 1947. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  10. ^ Klos, Lloyd E. (January 1985). "Portrait of Con Maffie". Theatre Organ. 27 (1): 13. ISSN 0040-5531.
  11. ^ a b Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1948). The 1948 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 952.
  12. ^ Alicoate, Jack, Ed. (1946). The 1946 Radio Annual. Radio Daily Corp. P. 814.
  13. ^ "Main Street" (PDF). Radio Daily. July 8, 1946. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Behind the Mike" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 5, 1942. Retrieved 10 September 2014.

External linksEdit