Backstage Wife

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Backstage Wife
Vivian Fridell Backstage Wife 1942.jpg
Vivian Fridell portrayed Mary Noble on Backstage Wife in the 1930s and early 1940s
Other namesMary Noble, Backstage Wife
GenreDaytime serial drama
Running time15 minutes
Country of originUnited States
StarringVivian Fridell
Ken Griffin
AnnouncerPierre Andre
Created byFrank and Anne Hummert
Original releaseAugust 5, 1935 – January 2, 1959
Audio formatMono
Opening theme"Stay As Sweet As You Are"[1]
Sponsored byDouble Danderine
Dr. Lyons Tooth Powder
Ironized Yeast
Mulsified Cocoanut Oil Shampoo
Procter & Gamble

Backstage Wife is an American soap opera radio program that details the travails of Mary Noble, a girl from a small town in Iowa who came to New York seeking her future.


Vivian Fridell had the title role from 1935 until the early 1940s. It was then taken over by Claire Niesen, who played Mary Noble for 14 years, until the end of the series.[2] Mary's husband, Larry Noble, was portrayed by Ken Griffin, then James Meighan and finally, Guy Sorel. The music was supplied by organist Chet Kingsbury.


Each episode opened with the announcer (Pierre Andre, Roger Krupp, Stuart V. Dawson) explaining:

Now, we present once again, Backstage Wife, the story of Mary Noble, a little Iowa girl who married one of America's most handsome actors, Larry Noble, matinée idol of a million other women — the story of what it means to be the wife of a famous star.

In 1946, when the program was in its 12th year, a newspaper article summarized the plot's status as follows:

When her husband joined the coast guard, Mary tried to carry on his work in the theatre, thereby establishing a reputation for herself as an actress. Now Larry has come home, and the two are encountering the difficulties of peacetime readjustment.[3]


The show was created by Frank and Anne Hummert, who produced many radio daytime drama series, including Amanda of Honeymoon Hill, Front Page Farrell, John's Other Wife, Little Orphan Annie, Ma Perkins, Mr. Chameleon, Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons and Our Gal Sunday.

Backstage Wife debuted August 5, 1935 on the Mutual Broadcasting System, continued on NBC Radio and concluded on January 2, 1959 on CBS Radio. The sponsors included Dr. Lyons Tooth Powder and Procter & Gamble.

Broadcast history[edit]

  • August 5, 1935 – March 27, 1936, MBS, 9:45 a.m. ET
  • March 30–June 26, 1936, NBC Blue, 4:15 p.m.
  • 1936–1938, NBC Blue, 11:15 a.m.
  • 1938–July 1, 1955, NBC, 4 p.m.
  • July 4, 1955 – January 2, 1959, CBS, 12:15 p.m.

In popular culture[edit]

The program was parodied by Bob and Ray as their continuing satirical soap opera, Mary Backstayge, Noble Wife, serialized for such a long period of time that it became better known to many listeners than the show it lampooned. Ray Goulding played Mary Backstayge, playwright Gregg Marlowe and other characters, while Bob Elliott portrayed Harry Backstayge and stage doorman Pop Beloved.

In the Hogan's Heroes episode "The 43rd, A Moving Story", Hogan and Kinch find out from their secret radio that the bank is going to foreclose on Mary Noble, Backstage Wife.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fairfax, Arthur (December 28, 1940). "Mr. Fairfax Replies" (PDF). Movie Radio Guide. 10 (12): 43. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 January 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  2. ^ "Radio's 'Mary Noble' Dies in California". The Decatur Daily Review. October 6, 1963. p. 4. Retrieved October 9, 2015 – via open access
  3. ^ "Radio Guide". Altoona Tribune. March 26, 1946. p. 11. Retrieved April 2, 2015 – via open access

External links[edit]