The Screen Guild Theater

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The Screen Guild Theater
Gulf Screen Guild Theater ad.jpg
Other names The Gulf Screen Guild Show (1939-'40), The Gulf Screen Guild Theater (1940-'42), The Lady Esther Screen Guild Players (1942-'47), The Camel Screen Guild Theater (1947-'50), The Screen Guild Theater (1950-'52)
Genre Anthology drama
Running time 30 minutes / one hour (13th season)
Country United States
Language(s) English
Home station CBS (01/08/39-06/28/48)
NBC (10/07/48-06/29/50)
ABC (09/07/50-05/31/51)
CBS (03/13/52-06/29/52)
Host(s) John Conte (Gulf Oil, 1939-42), Truman Bradley (Lady Esther Cosmetics, 1942-47), Michael Roy (Camel, 1947-50)
Writer(s) Bill Hampton, Harry Kronman
Director(s) Bill Lawrence
Producer(s) Bill Lawrence
Air dates January 8, 1939 to June 29, 1952
No. of series 14
No. of episodes 527
Audio format Monaural sound

The Screen Guild Theater was a popular radio anthology series during the Golden Age of Radio, broadcast from 1939 until 1952, with leading Hollywood actors performing in adaptations of popular motion pictures such as Going My Way and The Postman Always Rings Twice.

The show had a long run, lasting for 14 seasons and 527 episodes. It initially was heard on CBS from January 8, 1939 until June 28, 1948, continuing on NBC from October 7, 1948 until June 29, 1950. It was broadcast on ABC from September 7, 1950 to May 31, 1951 and returned to CBS on March 13, 1952. It aired under several different titles: The Gulf Screen Guild Show, The Gulf Screen Guild Theater, The Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater and The Camel Screen Guild Theater.

(l. to r.) Jack Benny, George Murphy, Joan Crawford and Reginald Gardiner on the January 8, 1939 premiere of The Screen Guild Theater.

Actors on the series included Ethel Barrymore, Lionel Barrymore, Ingrid Bergman, Humphrey Bogart, Eddie Cantor, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Jimmy Durante, Nelson Eddy, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Johnny Mercer, Agnes Moorehead, Gregory Peck, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Temple, and Dinah Shore. Fees these actors would typically charge were donated to the Motion Picture Relief Fund, in order to support the creation and maintenance of the Motion Picture Country Home for retired actors. A 1940 magazine article noted that The Screen Guild Theater was "the only sponsored program on the air which gives all its profits to charity."[1]

During a December 24, 1939, broadcast of The Screen Guild Theater, starring Shirley Temple and Nelson Eddy, a crazed woman made an attempt on Temple's life. Temple was promoting The Blue Bird, by starring in a live action radio version of the movie. As Temple was singing "Someday You'll Find Your Bluebird," the woman arose from her seat and pulled out a handgun, pointing it directly at her. The woman froze however just long enough for police to get to her. It was later discovered that the woman had lost a child on the day it was publicly stated that Temple was born and she blamed her for stealing her daughter's soul. What the woman did not know however was that Temple was born in 1928, not 1929.[2]

The series came to an end on CBS June 29, 1952.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sunday's Highlights" (PDF). Radio and Television Mirror 13 (5): 44. March 1940. Retrieved 23 February 2015. 
  2. ^ Shirley Temple Black, "Child Star: An Autobiography" (New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, 1988), 293-295.

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