The Passing Parade

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The Passing Parade, a.k.a. John Nesbitt's Passing Parade, was an American radio series created, written, and narrated by John Nesbitt which was adapted into an Oscar-winning series of MGM short subjects. In both media, the series usually focused on strange-but-true historical events, both little-known and famous, as well as figures such as Catherine de' Medici and Nostradamus.

Passing Parade on radio[edit]

The radio series, developed as an outgrowth of an earlier Nesbitt-produced program (Headlines of the Past), was launched on the NBC network on February 1, 1937, running off and on until 1951 over three different networks and in syndication. Nesbitt's inspiration was a trunk left to him by his father which contained news clippings of odd stories from around the world. Nesbitt, who usually presented his stories without sound effects or music, utilized a research staff of fourteen people in verifying the details of his tales, but wrote the final scripts himself, often within an hour of airtime.[1]

Radio producer/announcer John Doremus later acquired the rights to the series and revived it as a late 1950s-early 1960s syndicated feature, billing his version as "from the files of John Nesbitt." Over 1500 three-minute episodes were broadcast.[2]

Parade on film[edit]

The series of Passing Parade one-reel short subjects was produced for MGM from 1938 to 1949.[3] Most of the films featured the slow movement of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 5 as the opening theme music. The directors included Fred Zinnemann.

The films were re-edited for television syndication by MGM in the early 1960s. The shorts in their original form were eventually reaired on Turner Classic Movies.


  1. ^ Dunning, John (1998). On The Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 533. ISBN 0-19-507678-8. 
  2. ^ "The Passing Parade", Grace Gibson Productions.
  3. ^ "Passing Parade (1938)", IMDb.

External links[edit]