Stella Dallas (radio)

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Stella Dallas
Anne Elstner and Vivian Smolen
Running time 15 minute
Country United States
Language(s) English
Syndicates NBC Radio
Starring Anne Elstner
Leo McCabe
Michael Fitzmaurice
Created by Olive Higgins Prouty (original novel)
Written by Frank and Anne Hummert
Produced by Frank and Anne Hummert
Air dates 1937 to 1955
Opening theme "How Can I Leave Thee?"
Sponsored by Bayer
Double Dandrine shampoo
Podcast The Egyptian Mummy
Stream episode from

Stella Dallas was an America radio soap opera that ran from 1937 to 1955. The New York Times described the title character as "the beautiful daughter of an impoverished farmhand who had married above her station in life."[1] She was played for the entire run of the series by Anne Elstner (1902–1982). Her husband Stephen Dallas was portrayed at various times by Leo McCabe, Arthur Hughes and Frederick Tazere. Initially, Joy Hathaway played Stella's daughter Laurel with Vivian Smolen later taking over the role. Laurel's husband was Dick Grosvenor (played by Carleton Young, Macdonald Carey, Spencer Bentley, George Lambert and Michael Fitzmaurice).

The series was created and produced by the husband and wife team of Frank and Anne Hummert, based on the 1923 novel Stella Dallas by Olive Higgins Prouty. The 15-minute drama began as a local show in New York City in late 1937, in the wake of the successful movie version starring Barbara Stanwyck, and it was picked up by the NBC Radio network beginning June 6, 1938, running weekday afternoons.[2]

The program's opening told the premise of the drama:

We give you now Stella Dallas, a continuation on the air of the true-to-life story of mother love and sacrifice, in which Stella Dallas saw her own beloved daughter, Laurel, marry into wealth and society and, realizing the differences in their tastes and worlds, went out of Laurel's life.[3]

The radio play inspired the name of the home furnishing store Stella Dallas in Dallas, Texas.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff. "ANNE E. MATTHEWS, 85, ACTRESS; PORTRAYED STELLA DALLAS ON RADIO", The New York Times, January 16, 1981. Accessed November 11, 2015.
  2. ^ "Save Our Stella", Metro Washington Old Time Radio Club.
  3. ^ Luther F. Sies, Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920–1960, McFarland & Company, 2000, p. 554. ISBN 0-7864-0452-3.

External links[edit]