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Orson Welles Commentaries (1945–46) is an ABC radio series produced and directed by Orson Welles. Featuring commentary by Welles, with reminiscences and readings from literature, the 15-minute weekly program aired Sunday afternoons at 1:15 p.m. ET beginning September 16, 1945. Lear Radio sponsored the program through the end of June 1946 when it failed to find a larger audience. The series was continued by ABC as a sustaining show through October 6, 1946. Orson Welles Commentaries was the last of Welles's own radio shows.

Orson Welles Commentaries
Orson-Welles-1945.jpg
Orson Welles (October 29, 1945)
GenreSocial commentary, political commentary, reminiscences and readings
Running time15 minutes
Country of originUnited States
Language(s)English
Home stationABC
Hosted byOrson Welles
Written byOrson Welles
Directed byOrson Welles
Produced byOrson Welles
Original releaseSeptember 16, 1945 (1945-09-16) – October 6, 1946 (1946-10-06)
No. of series1
No. of episodes56

EpisodesEdit

# Date Program Recording References
1 September 16, 1945 Welles begins his weekly series of social and political commentary and readings, and discusses matador Fernando López. [1] [2]:366[3]:141
2 September 23, 1945 Welles tells The Story of Bonito, the Bull by Robert J. Flaherty, the only part of the unfinished omnibus film It's All True he ever presented to an audience. Welles later told the story of Bonito in the final episode of his 1955 BBC-TV series, Orson Welles' Sketch Book. [4] [3]:141[5][6]:418
3 September 30, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [7] [3]:141
4 October 7, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [8] [3]:141
5 October 14, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [9] [3]:141
6 October 21, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [10] [3]:141
7 October 28, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [11] [3]:141
8 November 4, 1945 Welles discusses the ousting of Brazilian president Getúlio Vargas. [12] [2]:366[3]:141
9 November 11, 1945 Welles reads a letter from Louis Armstrong in which he recounts his early days, while Barney Bigard, Zutty Singleton, Fred Washington and others play "Perdido Street Blues". [13] [3]:141[2]:366
10 November 18, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [14] [3]:141
11 November 25, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [15] [3]:141
12 December 2, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [16] [3]:141
13 December 9, 1945 A broadcast from the U. S. Naval Training and Distribution Center, Treasure Island, San Francisco, California, via KGO, featuring Commodore Robert W. Cary, USN, commander of the center. The three theatre complexes are named to honor three World War II heroes killed in action: John Basilone (Theatre Three), Edward O'Hare (Theatre Two) and Doris Miller (Theatre One), the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross. Includes a conversation on race prejudice with Miller's father, Connery Miller, via WACO in Waco, Texas. [17] [3]:142[5][18][19]
14 December 16, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [20] [3]:142
15 December 23, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [21] [3]:142
16 December 30, 1945 Cast: Orson Welles [22] [23]
17 January 6, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [24] [3]:142
18 January 13, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [25] [3]:142
19 January 20, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [26] [3]:142
20 January 27, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [27] [3]:142
21 February 3, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [28] [3]:142
22 February 10, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [29] [3]:142
23 February 17, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [30] [3]:142
24 February 24, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [31] [3]:142
25 March 3, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [32] [3]:142
26 March 10, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [3]:142
27 March 17, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [33] [3]:142
28 March 24, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [34] [3]:142
29 March 31, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [35] [23]
30 April 7, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [36] [23]
31 April 14, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [37] [23]
32 April 21, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [38] [23]
33 April 28, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [39] [3]:143
34 May 5, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [40] [3]:143
35 May 12, 1946 Due to illness, Welles is replaced by George Hays. [41] [3]:143
36 May 19, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [42] [3]:143
37 May 26, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [43] [3]:143
38 June 2, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [44] [3]:143
39 June 9, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [45] [3]:143
40 June 16, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [46] [3]:143
41 June 23, 1946 Welles calls for protest on the end of the Office of Price Administration. [47] [3]:143[5][48]
42 June 30, 1946 Welles protests the end of OPA price controls and the imminent atomic test at Bikini Atoll—with his wife Rita Hayworth's image on the A-bomb, nicknamed "Gilda". [49] [50][6]:397[51]
43 July 7, 1946 Lear Radios does not renew its sponsorship option due to low audience numbers, but ABC continues the program. Welles's pay is cut from $1,700 to $50 per show. [52] [3]:144
44 July 14, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [53] [3]:144
45 July 21, 1946 Don Hollenbeck substitutes for Welles, who is ill. Topics include compromise on OPA rent and price controls, and unrest in Bolivia. [54] [3]:144[5][55]
46 July 28, 1946 First episode about the Isaac Woodard case. Welles reads an affidavit sent to him by the NAACP signed by Isaac Woodard, a black veteran who was beaten and blinded by South Carolina police hours after he had been honorably discharged from the U.S. Army. Welles promises to root out the officer responsible and makes the case a major focus of his weekly show. Bret Wood: "Welles took up the cause, having always been outspoken on issues of racism and turned the event into a scathing attack on postwar racism and ingratitude". [56] [3]:144[5][57]:329–331[58]
47 August 4, 1946 Second program related to the Woodard case. Welles remarks on world peace negotiations and Congress. [59] [3]:145[57]:329–331[6]:398
48 August 11, 1946 Third program related to the Woodard case. Welles reads from his July 1944 editorial, "Race Hate Must Be Outlawed". [60] [3]:145[57]:329–331[61][6]:398
49 August 18, 1946 Fourth program related to the Woodard case. Welles reads and responds to a letter from a white supremacist, and reads from his December 1943 editorial, "The Unknown Soldier". [62] [3]:145[57]:329–331
[63][6]:399
50 August 25, 1946 Fifth and last program related to the Woodard case. Museum of Broadcasting: "The NAACP felt that these broadcasts did more than anything else to prompt the Justice Department to act on the case". [64] [3]:145[65]:66
51 September 1, 1946 Welles is told in September that ABC is unable to continue his sustained program after the October 6 show. [66] [3]:146[57]:331
52 September 8, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [67] [3]:146
53 September 15, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [68] [3]:146
54 September 22, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [69] [3]:146
55 September 29, 1946 Cast: Orson Welles [70] [3]:146
56 October 6, 1946 Last show of the series, and the last of Welles's own radio shows [71] [3]:146[6]:401

ReferencesEdit

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