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The Dreft Star Playhouse

The Dreft Star Playhouse was a daytime radio program in the United States, presenting adaptations of romantic movies in serial form.[1] It was broadcast on NBC June 28, 1943 – March 30, 1945.[2] The show's original title was Hollywood Theatre of the Air, but that changed effective October 18, 1943, "[t]o avoid conflict with similar titles."[3]

The Dreft Star Playhouse
Other namesThe Hollywood Theatre of the Air
GenreRomantic movies in serial form
Running time15 minutes
Country of originUnited States
AnnouncerMarvin Miller
Terry O'Sullivan
Directed byLes Mitchel
Axel Gruenberg
Original releaseJune 28, 1943 – March 30, 1945
Sponsored byDreft detergent


The Dreft Star Playhouse was classified as "prestige drama" by one source.[4] It "attempted to accomplish in a five-times-a-week soap-opera format what Lux Radio Theatre had done in the nighttime format."[5] Radio historian John Dunning called the program "a noble experiment, devised to see if daytime radio would support a show of purported nighttime quality."[2]

Programs presenting adaptations of movies proliferated on nighttime radio. Lux Radio Theatre may have been the best known; others included Warner Brothers' Academy Theatre, The Screen Guild Theater, Hollywood Premiere, Hollywood Star Time, Hollywood Mystery Time, Hollywood Star Preview, Academy Award and Hollywood Star Playhouse.[6]

In contrast to the evening programs, which limited an adaptation of a movie to a single broadcast, The Dreft Star Playhouse presented its adaptations in the form of serials whose duration varied. Perhaps the longest was "Dark Victory," starring Gail Patrick, which "ran two months in daily quarter-hour doses."[2]

Productions and playersEdit

Dunning called The Dreft Star Playhouse "an ambitious undertaking," noting that the program spent "up to $3,000 per week for 'name' talent."[1] Jane Wyman starred in its first production, "Bachelor Mother." Other titles and stars that listeners heard on the program included the following:


  1. ^ a b c Dunning, John. (1976). Tune in Yesterday: The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio, 1925-1976. Prentice-Hall, Inc. ISBN 0-13-932616-2. P. 170.
  2. ^ a b c Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 211.
  3. ^ "Broadcasting" (PDF). October 25, 1943. Retrieved 2 July 2014 – via
  4. ^ Sterling, Christopher H. (ed.) (2004). Encyclopedia of Radio. Fitzroy Dearborn. ISBN 1-57958-249-4. P. 1179.
  5. ^ Buxton, Frank and Owen, Bill (1972). The Big Broadcast: 1920-1950. The Viking Press. ISBN 978-0-670-16240-6. P. 73.
  6. ^ Hilmes, Michele. (1990). Hollywood and Broadcasting: From Radio to Cable. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0-252-01709-9. Pp. 67-70.